Whatever I write feels insufficient.
The ballots are cast, the vote is tallied, and America has elected an asshole to “trump” all assholes.
If I write about my frustration with the results, I get written off as a butthurt liberal. It doesn’t matter that I’m a cynical centrist; I am, in the eyes of some readers, a butthurt liberal.
If I write about the disgust I feel when gloating Trump supporters shout taunts from the road, I only speak into my own discomfort. I cannot even begin to imagine the fear felt by my female friends, my friends of different races, my Muslim friends, and my LGBTQ friends.
If I write about incidents of harassment, I write from a secondhand perspective. As I white, Christian man, I am considerably safer than most. I’ve faced a couple taunts and a staredown: nothing egregious, nothing personal.
If I write about my dismay with the many people who voted for Donald Trump, I fail to acknowledge that many of those people feel swept aside by a neoliberal oligarchy.
If I write about the president-elect, himself, I only give him the media attention that he craves. Such free coverage only brought us further into this snafu.
If I write about the results and aftermath of the presidential election as if they are no big deal, I trivialize the legitimate qualms expressed by many Americans regarding their happiness, their safety, and their freedom.
If I write about those same results eschatologically, I join the ranks of the nutters who cry “end times” when there is still ground work to be done.
If I write about my experiences as a peaceful demonstrator, I gloss over the many protests that have gone sour. To some readers, it will not matter that I act out of love; there are still some who repaid evil with evil.
I consider myself a gifted humorist.
Why don’t I write satire, give people a moment of mirth?
Frankly speaking, I don’t feel like laughing and neither do many Americans.
Say I didn’t cover the election and its shockwaves.
Say I wrote about my favorite ways to cook asparagus, or posted some cute photos of baby pangolins.
Naturally both of those posts would be in the name of distraction, in the name of morale boosting, in the name of merriment. Earnest as such a piece may sound, it rings of the same ungodly apathy that got America into this situation in the first place: politicians apathetic to the rights of racial and religious minorities, fearmongering to accrue glory for themselves; bourgeois elites apathetic to the wellbeing of working class communities; liberals and conservatives apathetic to the personhood of the men and women on the other side of the aisle.
What if I wrote nothing, let this week slide by?
I wouldn’t have to come up with anything meaningful, profound, silly, inoffensive, offensive, optimistic, or pessimistic. I could take the easy way out, say I’m tired and have a lot on my plate. With so cowardly a move, I join the ranks of those who look to flee abroad.
There is still work to be done. People are hurting. I am, for the time being, still on my feet. With this essay, I have acknowledged the problem. From here I can step out and act as an agent of change.