Fear and Loathing in The United States of America

This is the first post I’ve ever written with the mindset of “I’m going to revisit this post 1, 5, 10, 20, 40 years down the road and either laugh or cry at how accurate or off the mark I was.” I want to capture my thoughts — scattershot as they are — for the sake of capturing and coping with the moment at hand.

Trump lost a free and fair election by a wide margin, but because he is a deeply unstable narcissist with a dictatorial bent he was unwilling/incapable/unable to accept the results. Rather than protect democracy, his Republican cronies continued to go along on Trump’s wild ride so as not appear like liberal pussies to their base. “What harm could it do?” they thought to themselves. WELL.

Last Wednesday, Trump and Co. incited a mob to descend upon the US Capital in an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States of America.

That’s the harm it could do.

So here we are, scared to death. Normally with terrible events, there is a fear response and that gives way to calm and resolve in subsequent days. With this, it’s the opposite. Each passing day I’m becoming more worried and scared. The mob is still at large, planning their next move. We’re a few days off from Biden being sworn in, and the FBI is saying there are credible threats of armed protests across all 50 states, targeting government buildings and who knows what else.

There are more guns than people in the United States.

I feel like we’re on a roller coaster that just went over a little drop to get you warmed up, and now we’re climbing up the big hill waiting for the big drop. CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK as we inch toward the apex.

Conservatives have been force-fed a steady diet of “THEY’RE GOING TO TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS AND FREEDOM” and “GOVERNMENT TYRANNY” for decades. Decades. And now we’re at a point where to them, the “reality” of the present matches the fear they’ve come to accept as true. This is a long time coming, and I’m terrified.

Somewhere along the line, the last thread that kept these people tethered to any sort of reality snapped. The collective and purposeful delusion and cognitive dissonance on display is utterly staggering. These peoples’ minds are so fucking warped that viewing a fervent crowd of their own and say “That’s not us. That’s antifa.” At this point, they could be told stop signs are in fact green and they would defend this new “fact” with rabid conviction.

This is a cult, and its members are deluded and dangerous. The cult does not necessarily include the whole 70,000,000 that voted for Trump, but certainly some significant percentage of them (including a ton of police, military, and other power structures who are the ones supposed to save us from something like this.)

How do you recover from this? How do you deprogram millions of cult members? It will take a massive and concerted effort that I suspect will take generations. And I’m not hopeful we’re up for the task. Hell, we’ve shrugged off a pandemic that continues to kill hundreds of thousands of US citizens. “Let’s fight a deadly pandemic” should be the most uncontroversial statements of all time, but Americans’ brains are so scrambled that apparently even that is a controversial topic.

The disease is bone deep and I don’t know if we will survive.

This is me at my most pessimistic. Thanks 2020. I hope I’m wrong about all of this and that nothing of consequence happens over the coming days, months, and years. I hope that the sorry people who got swept up in an alternate reality come back to earth. I hope we’re able to learn our lesson and put structures and systems in place to prevent shit like this from happening again. But, Brad from 1-5-10-20-40 years in the future, you tell me: are you laughing or crying right now?