Just after the election, I spent an hour writing up what would happen if Trump happened in comics -- how Superman would deal with him, how Captain America would deal with him, how Batman would deal with him, even how Spider Jerusalem would deal with him. And it felt good. But at some point, I stopped and looked at what I had. And I thought to myself, this isn't a comic book world. We don't have heroes. We won't have anyone to save us. All we have is each other, and that's not necessarily a good thing.
We live in a world where evil always wins and good always loses.
I know I'm prone to hyperbolic panic and to expectations that the end of the world is just around the corner. I read the first chapter of "The Hot Zone," and I was convinced for years that we'd be wiped out by the Ebola virus. I once read an article about electromagnetic pulses, and spent two weeks worrying that EMPs would destroy civilization. I'm prone to these apocalyptic panics, and they never happen. My family and friends try to remind me that my worst fears don't come to pass. But it doesn't stop my fears.
And I worry that this time, the world is going to make my worst fears come true.
I'm a pessimist at heart -- I tend to believe that pessimism and realism are essentially the same things. But I also suffer from optimism, too. It's why I was convinced that Hillary was going to coast to victory. And the optimist in me remembers that during disasters, people band together. It happens over and over, in disaster after disaster. There are videos of a crowd of people teaming up to lift a burning car to rescue a man trapped underneath. We have a natural instinct to help people who need help. My optimist heart believes that.
But we live in a country where a quarter of the citizens said, "Fuck it, so he's a white supremacist, so he retweets Nazis, so he hates everyone who isn't white, so he's a thin-skinned narcissistic sociopath motivated solely by greed and a desire to boost his own ego, fuck it, I'm bored, let's watch the guy with the funny hair set the world on fire." We live in a country where, upon learning that Steve Bannon, one of Trump's chief advisors, is a white nationalist who hates Jews, the media decided to describe him as a mere firebrand, as a media mogul, as a Goldman-Sachs executive. We live in a country where our police, already saddled with a reputation as kill-crazy criminals who see nothing wrong with gunning down unarmed black kids, went all in for Trump, probably because they know he'll let them kill even more unarmed black kids.
I'm encouraged when I consider that Clinton got many, many more votes than Trump did. I'm encouraged when I consider that he was elected with only 20-25% of the population. I'm encouraged that he's extremely unpopular now, and will only grow less popular as time goes on. I'm encouraged when I hear about people banding together to resist hate.
But I see so many more stories about people being attacked by Trump supporters while bystanders turn away in fear, police laugh off the investigation, and the media shrugs things off. I worry that we're now governed by a minority of violent, racist, sadistic, sociopathic nihilists who love Russian strongmen, TV hucksters, and fascism more than they ever loved America, democracy, freedom, or equality.
I worry that it's going to be bad. I worry that it's going to get bad very quickly, and that it'll get even worse than that.
Here are the scenarios I worry about. Trump has already said he'll start deporting undocumented immigrants as soon as he's in office. And I think it'll quickly escalate to involve rounding up Hispanics, regardless of whether or not they're citizens, because they're all brown, the wingnuts hate them all, and the press doesn't care. I think they won't be deported -- Mexico would probably refuse to accept them. I think they'll be put in camps. I think the camps will be exactly what you'd expect them to be.
I think some dumb Muslim kid will let his hormones overload his common sense, and he'll shoot up his school. The Trump administration will declare a terrorist emergency, and start rounding up Muslims. The wingnuts hate them all, and the press doesn't care. I think they won't be deported -- most Middle Eastern nations would probably refuse to accept them. I think they'll be put in camps. I think the camps will be exactly what you'd expect them to be.
I think some Southern state -- Mississippi or Alabama or South Carolina -- will rewrite their voting laws to specifically ban non-whites from voting. Yes, there'll be an outcry, and yes, it'll get sent to the Supreme Court. But I think the Supreme Court, freshly stocked with wingnuts and racists, will give it their stamp of approval. States Rights and all that garbage. And I think every state with a Republican-leaning legislature will pass identical laws. Ultimately, I think Congress will also pass those laws. The wingnuts hate them all, and the press doesn't care. I think protestors will get beat down and dragged to the camps. I think the camps will be exactly what you'd expect them to be.
I think good people will protest. I think good people will say stop, not on my watch, not in my name. I think those good people will expect police to follow the law. I think they'll expect bad behavior from brownshirts and goons in MAGA hats, not from police officers.
I think those good people will die, sometimes in vast numbers, sometimes singly and in small groups. I think Trump will let the police off their leashes and tell them to go, have fun, don't worry about consequences. I think they'll kill college students, Black Lives Matter activists, individual people in small towns, mass numbers of protestors of all races and backgrounds.
I think the press will publish the Official Report. They were all terrorists. They were all criminals. They all hate America. I think the newspaper comment sections will be full of people laughing and saying they deserve it.
I think the families of these slain victims will be visited, dragged from their homes, accused of aiding terrorists. I think some of them will be killed, some will be imprisoned, some will be roughed up and released, to make sure the neighbors see what happens when you speak up.
I think a lot of us will lose our nerve. I'm not even sure I could blame them. Could you damn your parents, your children, your siblings, your friends to degradation and death? I'm not sure I could blame them, because I don't know if I have an ounce of courage in me, or if I'm a coward all the way down.
I think things will get bad, and I don't think anyone will come to rescue us. The police won't help -- they'll be the arm of the state, and they'll be as busy as the redcap-wearing Stormtrumpers. The courts won't help -- they'll be stocked full-to-bursting with Trump cronies. Congress won't help -- most Republican congressmen hate minorities anyway. What about the fiscal conservatives? Paul Ryan is a Randian fanatic, and all he cares about is killing Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, school lunches, and libraries. As long as Trump lets him do that, Ryan will sit back and enjoy the show.
I don't think we can rely on overseas allies to help either. The UK went all-in for Brexit, and their leaders are likely to start their own campaigns against their citizens soon after we do. I think the Australians and Greeks are champing at the bit. I think the French won't need much encouragement at all. I think the Russians will be doing all they can to add to the chaos. I don't even think Canada is safe -- they have plenty of politicians styling themselves after Trump, and if you find their "It can't happen here" scoffing comforting, you haven't been paying attention.
Yes, the Trump transition team is unorganized to the point of chaos, focused largely on petty revenge against enemies in their own party, demented on a level that would get you locked up in a hospital if you weren't a political bigwig. But I don't have enough faith it'll make any difference. Maybe they'll engage in a circular firing squad and waste their time butchering each other. Maybe they'll get crazier than everyone else will tolerate. But I worry that plenty of these modern Republicans, wingnuts, and neo-Nazis won't be so easily distracted from their goals, and that the sane population won't be able to hold out against the psychos.
I think there are a lot of good people out there. I think they don't want innocent people to die. I think they want to help people.
But I think we live in a world where good always loses.
I hope I'm just letting my apocalyptic panics run me wild again. But it's not stopping my fear.