Future Shock Is Here.
“I know what Trump is going through right now.” My husband said that to me last night.
“Why do you care?” I answered, surprised.
“Because his finger is potentially on the button. I don’t want him to have a complete meltdown.”
“I wouldn’t feel sorry for him. Besides, his meltdown already happened.”
“I’m not feeling sorry for him. I’m being realistic. When someone really believes they had something and it gets taken away, it has greater impact than if they never had it in the first place. Guys like Trump, who never lose, can’t deal with it they think they’d won in the first place.”
“So what do you think he’ll do?”
“Something crazy. I can’t trust his finger on the button,” he repeated.
“I was only thinking second civil war. Not nuclear war.”
This conversation took place at our kitchen table at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 5, 2020. We were trying to process—if that’s the right word—what Donald Trump had just said, even as legal ballots in key states were still being counted.
The first shock came on Tuesday night. I was stunned and bewildered to see that so many millions of people voted for Trump. I expected something like sixty-forty Biden. Maybe even seventy-thirty. How could so many Americans choose to vote for the lying, racist, sexist, narcissistic, Covid-spreading dictator-in-chief? How could they? It was barely excusable four years ago, but they must have believed his lies. Now, when they have the evidence, there’s no excuse.
When I watched and listened to his “news conference” last night, it was the scariest few minutes of television in my life. He declared himself the winner. He kept repeating that the votes being counted were illegal. Then he went into a typical litany of firsts and biggests. I kept asking myself, Is this some whacko nut job? No, it is the real President of the United States of America. A county in which half the adult population apparently respects and trusts this man.
We switch channels. At the very same moment, newscasters were reporting that President Trump is incorrect. He has not won. No one has won. The votes that are being counted are perfectly legal. In fact, it’s Biden 265 to Trump 215. The ballots that millions of people mailed in — in fear of being exposed to COVID19— are being counted.
Stop, now, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s goin’ down.
Suddenly I had a premonition. I hope it’s false. But could it be possibly be true? Being President is not enough for Donald J. Trump. He is so taken with himself and his supernatural powers in the face of adversity and opposition that he’s primed for bigger and better things. He needs to be a war hero. A Civil War hero. Statues of him — not on horseback but perhaps stepping out of a limo or helicopter — will be erected in city parks and town squares throughout the huge red zone that winds itself across and down the center of America.
If Biden gets 270 Electoral votes first, Trump will fight in the courts. What do you mean, will fight? Lawsuits have already been filed. If he doesn’t win in the courts and Joe Biden is declared the 46th President of the United States, Trump will lead a movement. He will form a vast army of unmasked millions in MAGA hats for whom he is the chosen leader. They won’t all be on motorcycles. Some will be in SUVs. Some will be carrying farm implements. Others will be carrying rifles. Semiautomatic rifles. What next? What will the Trumpers do? Will they erect an alternate White House in another state? In Oklahoma? And declare it the real White House occupied by The Real Donald Trump. Will they erect a whole alternative government with a Capitol Building and a Mall? Will it have a Museum of African-American History and Heritage? Probably not. But a Trump Museum for sure, with wax Don Juniors and Melanias and Ivankas, and which will be right up there with the Spy Museum as a must-see on every visitor itinerary. But wait, will he hold alternative sessions of Congress and sign alternative bills and executive orders? And will all of it be legitimized by no less than half the people in the United States of America?
No words. (Or, you can put your own words here.)
I have to admit that the Trump ads that ran in the last few days before the election were convincingly scary. They painted Democrats as radical socialists who will tear down the fabric of society by burning and looting. It was well crafted and edited propaganda. And it worked.
In my career as a design writer I’ve met and interviewed a number of agency people. Generally, they lend their talents to all kinds of liberal causes, pro bono. Who made the Trump ads? I want to know. They were too successful. Put your creativity to work for a just cause. Oh, but there was the money…
But I digress. It’s only natural. You don’t want to think about the impending apocalypse. You just let you mind wander to ad agencies and what yummy treats might be in the fridge to make you feel better.
Please tell me that my premonition was false and I should stop worrying. Please tell me now so I can sleep tonight, and the rest of the nights for the next four years—and maybe long after that. After all, things are looking a little better this morning. But I fear that last night is going to have repercussions for a long, long time.