The United States of America - the nation that helped lead the world in the war against fascism, the nation that landed a man on the moon and brought him safely home, the nation claimed by Democrats and Republicans as the fabled shining City Upon a Hill - is now the nation that elected Donald J. Trump as our 45th president. We did it, and we can hardly be surprised that the rest of the world is staring at us with shock and disbelief.
There's no point is counting down the litany of unhinged things Trump said throughout the campaign (though one comes to mind: "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters"). No honest observer of this national trainwreck can say that we were fooled in this election. Ignoring precedent, the pundits, and his own advisors, Trump - President-elect Trump, I mean - promised to bring the whole system down. And I am confident that he can deliver.
And yet I'm still horrified. I remember sometime last night, when Stephen Colbert's comedic coverage of the election became a national dirge, I nearly spit out a mouthful of scotch while exclaiming, "Oh my God, the Supreme Court!" Yep, this guy will select the next two or three (or more!) justices who will shape the law of the land for generations to come. He's also the guy who pledged to deport 11 million immigrants, build a wall on our southern border, prosecute Hillary Clinton, dismantle Obamacare, and defeat whoever's winning the "War on Christmas." This is the same guy who after being caught on tape bragging about his ability to grope women dismissed the ensuing furor as "just words."
Well, he said those words, loud and clear. We listened and we elected him anyway.
I imagine that political junkies around the country are looking up that alleged Pauline Kael quotation: "None of my friends voted for him!". She didn't actually utter those words, but never mind. I can honestly say, I don't have a close friend who will admit to voting for Trump, which says a lot about me and a lot about the country. In my benumbed sadness, I'm tempted to put David Bowie's This is Not America on repeat for the rest of the day, for the rest of the year maybe. But doing so would merely demonstrate the provincialism of that apocryphal Kael quotation and my own failure to see what has been in front of my face for the past two years.
This is America. We elected Donald J. Trump as our next president. And now we face the consequences.
Trump image from Wonkette • "I am going to eat you" (by Paul Noth) from The New Yorker • Electorial map from The New York Times.