Dearest Electors, And Also My Fellow Americans:
I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but things have gone slippery here in the ol’ States-That-Are-United. I feel like I’m watching one of those videos where a car hits a patch of ice in slow-motion and then drifts ineluctably down a hill toward an intersection, and we see it’s happening but we can’t do shit about it, just as the driver of that car couldn’t really do shit about it. Except this video is worse than any video I’ve seen, because the car is now sliding toward a school bus, and a church, and a zoo full of adorable animals, also a hospital, and at the end of it all is a nuclear munitions factory sitting on a fault line.
The news from President-Elect Trump’s side of the chasm comes fast and furious every day, and it’s never really good news. It veers somewhere between head-scratchingly odd and gut-churningly apocalyptic. It’s like watching TV in Bizarro-World. If I wrote this stuff in a novel, people would tell me it was too far-fetched for fiction. If I wrote it as satire, it’d be too on-the-nose, too crass, too clumsy. It’s all very confusing. We’re all very confused. We have a phrase amongst me and my fellow bewilderbeasts: this is not normal. But lately, that phrase has almost started to feel a bit toothless to me. We’ve set a benchmark for normal that includes George W. Bush’s run, because at this point I think we’d all gladly agree to another four years of him, instead. But normal is so small a signpost, and so far in our rearview. Abnormal isn’t even visible anymore from where we are. We’re in Fucking Cuckootown, Population All Of Us. We all live here now, it seems. The news is like being covered in fire ants. Each headline seems weirder and worse than the last. TRUMP ANNOUNCES MUMM-RA THE EVER-LIVING AS PICK TO HEAD SECRETARY OF STATE. MUMM-RA SAYS, “I’LL GET THOSE THUNDERCATS. ALSO I PLAN ON DISMANTLING CLIMATE CHANGE LAWS, WORKER PROTECTIONS, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND EACH YEAR INSTEAD OF PARDONING A TURKEY FOR THANKSGIVING WE WILL CATAPULT A BAG OF KITTENS INTO THE SUN. MOSTLY, THOUGH, IT’S THE THUNDERCATS THING. ANCIENT SPIRITS OF EVIL, TRANSFORM THIS DECAYING FORM!”
One of the aspects that is so far beyond normal to me is the fact that conservatives are… somehow on board with all of this. Listen, I get it, Trump ran on a platform of draining the swamp, and Crooked Hillary with her Evil Emails and also her Goldman-Sachs ties, and he was a Man for the People. But that hasn’t worked out. We aren’t even remotely heading in that direction. Trump is surrounding himself with the richest pay-for-play donors. (He’s also got a few generals up there in civilian roles, which is sounds a lot like a junta.) Trump is kissing-friends with Goldman-Sachs. Trump is bringing in people who have done a lot worse than Hillary in the email department. He’s not only failing to protect the American workers, but he’s glad to individually call them out on his Twitter feed like a vengeful god who is also somehow a poop-shellacked diaper-baby. And yet gods, that’s just the beginning of it.
He refuses to take intelligence briefings.
He’s surrounded himself with Nazi-Adjacents.
Kellyanne Conaway said he’ll stay on as a producer for The Apprentice, but then he gets on Twitter and rants about how CNN is “fake news” because that’s totally untrue, despite his own spokesperson saying it. (This is gaslighting, and please read Teen Vogue’s take on that.)
He provoked diplomatic conflict with China and India before he’s even in office.
He defended Duterte, who has idly suggested, oh, he wouldn’t mind slaughtering 3 million drug-users in his country because sure, that’s a thing you can do, and also, Duterte is a fan of Hitler ha ha ha oh shit.
Some of his people have signal boosted completely deluded ding-dong conspiracy theories about Democrat kid-toucher cabals operating out of secret Satanic pizza shops.
Pretty much every appointment he’s making are either people whose ethics place them as haters of the department they’re about to lead, or they’re just woeful incompetents who have no right to head their given department. I’m pretty sure for the EPA, Trump is going to appoint a guy spraying CFC hairspray into the air while dancing on a cairn of burning tires.
Like I said: Fucking Cuckootown.
Except — except! — somehow, we were not content with merely remaining in Fucking Cuckootown, oh no. No, no, no, no. We packed our bags and said, “I bet there’s something even wackier going on down the road,” and we all got in our cars and we headed on down to BATFUCK CITY, POPULATION EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE AND THIS IS FINE. Because now we are starting to see evidence that the state of our democracy is that it’s a finger puppet with a Russian middle finger up its ass. The wind has been whispering it for a while, and now we have intelligence agencies confirming it — not just that they intervened, but that they intervened on behalf of the candidate who won. (A candidate who “won,” by the way, by losing the popular vote and whose margin in battleground states was so thin you could slip it under a door.)
I just want you to take a moment with that.
Swish it around in your mouth.
Savor that for a while.
Surely some of you are fans of cinema. Maybe you like, oh, I dunno, The Hunt for Red October. Or you enjoy an Indiana Jones movie once in a while. Could be instead that you’re a student of history, or at least a fan of The History Channel, back before their version of ‘history’ was about UFO Sasquatches. And if you watched The History Channel, you probably remember, oh, mmm, I dunno, the Russians and the Germans were not positive role models on the world stage. Do we remember the Cold War? No, I know it wasn’t fun, but it was better than just handing over the keys to the American Experiment, wasn’t it?
Let’s enjoy a brief timeline:
Trump asks, back in July, in a press conference, if Russian hackers will find Hillary’s emails. (We remember Hillary’s emails, right? The ones we printed out and braided into a noose to hang her with?)
WikiLeaks hits Hillary, and only Hillary.
Hillary warns us in a debate that Trump is Putin’s “puppet.”
Comey gets one last dig in just before the election. THE EMAILS THE EMAILS OMG wait j/k.
This also times out with PizzaGate, which is created almost literally out of thin air.
After he’s elected, we learn that Trump’s team had contact with Russia.
We also learn that Giuliani was in contact with Comey.
And now, 17 intelligence agencies, led by the CIA, confirm that there was election meddling with the explicit goal to elect Trump — and it was Russia, or one-step removed from Russia. And funnily enough (ha ha ha *sob*), Trump on the same day announces that his potential secretary of state is Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO who is also (ha ha ha *weep*) pals with Putin. For extra-credit, Trump sided with Russia and against the CIA in this report. I want you to crystallize that in your mind: a Republican president-elect just doubted the intelligence from the CIA to prop up Russia. This is a man who has no experience as a politician or a leader who routinely rejects intelligence briefings in order to say, nah, I don’t buy it, thanks.
This is not sensational. This is not fake news.
This is really happening. (Or, worse, has already happened.)
This deserves investigation, for one. I don’t care if it was the Girl Scouts who did it, it still demands a deeper look — especially because this is a foreign power who would benefit from us losing our power on the world stage. Consider the book, The Foundations of Geopolitics, by Alexander Dugin. Dugin, a Russian political scientist who is chummy with Putin and who influences policy at a high level, wrote about a return to Russian power. In regards to the US:
‘Russia should use its special forces within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism. For instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.’
(For extra-chilling reading, check out what happens to Russian foes. Hint: it involves being discredited with planted child pornography. Whispers of PizzaGate, or worse. Is this what will happen to Trump’s foes?)
(And hey, what did Dugin say after Trump was elected? Oh, here it is: “Washington is ours.”)
That’s not —
I mean, shit. Fuck. Shitfuck.
That’s not good, people.
You get the sense that, if we’re not careful, we’re all going to end up as butt-puppets.
Now, let’s ask:
What can we all do?
Well, for those of us who are not electors, we can write to our representatives. Our local representatives are best, as Emily Ellsworth has noted on Twitter. I would argue we should ask they continue to investigate Russia’s presence in our election, and further, demand an audit of the election. We should know what has transpired.
If you’re an elector —
It’s time for a hard discussion.
You have a job and arguably that job is to vote for the person who won the election.
Now, of course, that’s a bit wibbly-wobbly, isn’t it? Because one candidate gained nearly three million votes more than the guy we’re about to put into the Oval Office. But even there, I understand your job as the electoral college is separate from the popular vote. I also understand that maybe, once upon a time, you thought Trump was the Right Guy. He made promises. Drain the swamp. Get rid of crooked crony government. Big talk. None of it looks true, though, does it? He’s betrayed the promises. He’s not even in the chair and he’s failed us in innumerable ways.
And then there’s the Russia thing.
Listen, there’s maybe a part of you that says, hey, I don’t want another Cold War. And maybe these Russian hackers, maybe they exposed some truth on our behalf and we should just shrug and look the other way.
A few problems with that though, my dear elector.
First, if it can happen to them, it can happen to you. Meaning, if External Forces decide in a future election that your party is the problematic one, they’ll hack it the other way. The GOP has traditionally been hard-lined toward Russia — it is not outside the realm of possibility that they will sow discord in the other direction.
Second, considering everything I said earlier, it might be worth realizing that Russia is not a benevolent player. Sure, we don’t want another Cold War. Nobody wants a war of any kind. But if that war is coming to our doorstep, then it behooves us to not… just open the door, right? If a guy with a gun is at our door, we don’t let him in because we don’t want damage done to the door.
Third, if we allow this to stand, then the American Experiment as we know it is over, at least for a while. We will have ceded our power on the global stage. We will be a puppy showing its belly to the wolf standing above us.
(If you need an example of a principled conservative standing up against this on the daily, look no further than the Twitter feed of Evan McMullin.)
Put succinctly, we are in trouble.
Which is where you come in.
Let’s re-frame these political shitnanigans as what they’ve become:
A reality show.
Our PEOTUS is a reality show host.
It has routinely attracted our eyes in a lurid, reality-show way.
Trump used to host The Apprentice, created in part with Mark Burnett, but let’s instead look to another of Burnett’s shows: let’s look at Survivor.
I watch Survivor, and the big thing of the show these days is when all the survivors go to tribal council, and they vote out someone who wasn’t expecting it. The show puts up a hashtag: #blindside. Because that’s what it is. Some survivor who felt supremely comfortable in how they were controlling the game is suddenly sent packing when the rest of the tribe revolts privately against them. This happened, arguably, to Clinton — and some part of the electorate cheered. But now, we’ve gone the other way. The swamp was only drained so we could harvest the swamp monsters that had been slumbering in the bottom muck. So let’s do it again. Let’s blindside. It’s entertaining! It’s fun! And you can do it, electors. It’s on you. You can make the vote. You can change history. You can deliver the greatest blindside that the American Reality Show will have ever seen. Vote Trump off the island. If you can, some of you also need to vote for Clinton (I know, I know, her emails!) to get her to 270 electoral college votes.
This is, I get it, the Hail Maryest of the Hail Marys.
And I don’t know what happens if it happens.
And maybe more of you are waiting in the wings.
Let’s not give up the American Experiment just yet.
Let’s embrace the democracy you still have as electors.
Let’s blindside the hell out of our Comrade-in-Chief.
“You ask for miracles? I give you, the electoral college.“