You’re tired of Facebook. Not because it’s abused its control of your data. Not because you think they helped Trump beat Hillary. You think those things, sure, but that’s not what makes you reluctant to tap the icon on your home screen. But you still do.
The articles pile up. CNN. Washington Post. New York Times. BuzzFeed. Your friends know only to share real news from real journalists. But still—maybe because of this—it’s hard to read, the avalanche of daily updates about the actions of the president, his surrogates, and his followers. It piles on, one after the other.
Today it’s funny. The President thinks we need IDs to buy groceries. How out of touch!
You catch yourself laughing. You curse yourself for doing so. Nothing is funny anymore,you remind yourself. Even an idiotic gaffe like that might make people think he’s human again. “Forgetful, sure, but it’s like grandpa. He’s harmless. Couldn’t be a fascist.”
Maybe that was their goal. Maybe this was all intentional. Paranoia gathers around the edges of your mind. Maybe it’s all coordinated and well-planned. Maybe they’re all idiots that are inadvertently good at fascism, only in retrospect. Does it matter which one it is?
One foggy day, you see the mother of Vlad, a small Scottie that your German Shepherd thinks is a toy. You smile at her as Vlad gets closer. But then you see the shirt she’s wearing. Your smile evaporates. She’s one of THEM?
It’s a grey shirt. Non-committal to color. In the center, a candidate is printed in bold blue letters, like he’s not a communist. “Bernie,” it says. Friendly. Disarming. Like he knows you and won’t destroy this country.
“I voted for Hillary,” you announce as Vlad gets close and you yank Pierre away to the other side of the street. You’ll have to remember not to engage with Vlad’s mother the next time you see her. Even at the dog park when you’re both just trying to avoid the intense dog parents, the ones that get in fights over toys and humping and normal dog behaviors.
Fuck her, anyway. Who does she think she is, destroying the party AND the country.
The Administration wants to close the National Zoo to free access. Limit 13 entrances to three. They say it’s about national security but you can see through the veil of their argument. There’s been no attacks or attempts at the zoo ever. You copy and paste the note he’s sent you into a form available for public comment and submit it quickly before the rage inside you dissipates to other news items.
The podcast you listen to on your way to work outlines a long list of un-heralded atrocities: undermining the WTO’s arbitration system, flooding the lower courts with conservative justices after Congress blocked Obama-era appointments, the government has no records of what children belong to what deported immigrant and it’s likely they’ll never be reunited. And Steven Seagal has been appointed BY RUSSIA to be an envoy to the United States. You switch over to Taylor Swift’s new album before the pitch gets high enough that you have to scream. You put “New Year’s Day” on repeat because it’s beautiful and will make you feel positive again. Even if it’s about the fear of losing friends.
She wants to know why you haven’t returned dad’s phone calls. “He still hasn’t apologized,” you say.
“For what? What did he do?”
You know it’s something but you can’t remember the specifics. “Voted for Trump.”
Your sister sighs. It’s knowing and demeaning and not-in-the-mood-right-now. “A lot of people voted for him, sis. Even Roger.”
Roger. He’s your brother-in-law’s best friend. You thought he was really funny at the Christmas party your sister hosted last year. And he was single. Why’d Roger have to go a fuck up a good thing?
“I’m sorry, sis. But someone has to take a stand.”
She sighs again. Knowing. Condescending. Tired. “I just wish that someone wasn’t you.”
You see more articles on Facebook that make you mad. They’re from the few Bernie supporters that you stopped yourself from unfriending. One says that Bernie is the only reason that Medicare for all is even talked about right now. You type out a counter argument about candidate Matt Santos popularizing the idea during the 2006 presidential election in The West Wing. You feel satisfied after that comment and pour yourself some more Chardonnay.
Planned Parenthood. EMILY’S List. The Human Rights Campaign. The ACLU. The D Triple-C. They all leave voicemails sometimes. “Now more than ever it’s important that we fight the Trump Administration,” the plea begins in a sonorous and pleading tone. Like the world is ending soon but not right now, not as long as you make a donation. “Bitch, I know,” you want to reply, but it’s just a voicemail. Maybe you should call them and request they stop calling because you’re unemployed right now. Maybe you should cancel your monthly $5 donation to each of them.
You delete the messages.
Online dating is even harder now. At first, you were scared of all the Trump supporters that might flood into the city. But after bracing for the inevitable you found it was worse. Bernie Bros. They’d wear “The Future Is Female” shirts to their first date and bitch about the tragic news that week. But then they’d mansplain to you how Hillary was a bad candidate and be surprised when you said you weren’t interested in a second date. A few of them understood, knew you were hardcore Hillary, would never recover. The rest sent you dick pics as if that would change your mind.
She says things are worse than ever. No one knows what the message is, what they stand for anymore. You think that’s obvious from the media coverage but don’t say anything because you know she just needs to vent. “Is there anything I can do?” you ask, leaving out the unspoken caveat that you’ll sure she’ll get: Besides give more money.
“No,” she sighs. “Maybe losing is the only thing that will help.”
You think the world’s gone mad. One side wants to destroy democracy while the other forgets that ideals are worthless if you can’t articulate them well and don’t have the power to put them into place. You thought it’d be easier, connecting with people in the resistance. But nobody agrees and everyone is fighting and you just want to relax for once and laugh with some friends. But they’re at a protest tonight or drinking away their sorrows or posting some maddening articles to their social media.
Maybe that’s what you should do again tonight. It’s been one year, eight months and 27 days and you’re still doing the same thing. But what else can you do? What else is there?