[There are many ways to experience election day, this is one.]
With timeless unhurried grace the sun rose. It was cold. I wanted it to rise faster. The sun doesn’t give a shit. I sat there and shivered. I was cradling a rifle and leaning against a tree; I may have fallen asleep a few times (it’s hard to tell).
I was hunting, or rather lying in ambush near a well-situated tree. I’d been there since before dawn without seeing the slightest hint of a game animal. A large portion of hunting is waiting for hours or days followed by ten seconds of high pressure. There are no do-overs. It’s like life.
On election morning freezing my balls off for several hours had been for naught. Oh well, sometimes it works. I stood up and stretched. The sun felt good but it wasn’t warm.
Fifty yards away my hunting partner (who I’ll refer to as Dr. Mingo) sprang to his feet. I was dressed like the Michelin man and a little chilly, he was dressed lightly and was probably an ice cube.
The lure of the truck heater was irresistible. Soon we were hiking for the road. Just a couple of hunters hoofing it through the woods. You know the kind. Generic men clad in blaze orange and camouflage, evil Second Amendment assault weapons of doom slung over their shoulders (guns to which, according to our current President, we fearfully cling), we had non-ironic wool hats, non-metrosexual beards, boots with actual mud on them, and represented the entire package of rural lifestyle which screams “deplorable” to pasty upscale urbanite elite shitheads. All we wanted was bacon and eggs for breakfast but our presence seemed symbolic on election day.
Soon we were basking in diesel fueled heat and rolling towards the nearest greasy spoon. Dr. Mingo asked the question that was weighing on both of our minds: “Which one of the two idiots are Americans going to elect today?”
I had no idea. I turned off the gravel road onto a state highway, passed two “Trump” signs and a passel of state or county election signs. (“Smith for dogcatcher.”) I ignore most of the local stuff, half the time they’re unopposed and the rest of the time I’m happy with whatever the hell they do… which is not much.
“You are riding in a truck with the only blogger that has deliberately logged off Wi-Fi on election day. I haven’t got a clue.” Actually, I had a theory, but it’s hard to be certain of yourself when the media screams the opposite day after day.
I shrugged my shoulders. I have faith in competition. Faith doesn’t come easy. Yes, it is true that Americans periodically choose badly. (FDR had no ability to rein himself in, Buchanan couldn’t avert the coming civil war, Carter stepped on his own balls, etc… Institutions of men are always fallible.) But in general, we at least select from those who are competent enough to steamroll their opposition. Trump had entered Thunderdome and emerged having defeated literally a dozen opponents. The elites and the NeverTrumpers and George Will and his precious little bowtie can get pissed off at Trump’s vulgarity but the bastard left a trail of severed heads behind him. I can respect that. After John McCain and Mitt Romney I was ready for a candidate (male or female) with some fucking spine. Trump entered fair competition and won hard.
Hillary competes in a different way; if you think you’re in a fair fight with Hillary you’ve already lost. She taught a generation of idealistic “Feel The Bern” nimrods all about math and collusion. A lesson that will serve them well in the future. Could I make peace with the concept that a corrupt felon that puts away her opponent with misdirection and scheming is merely using a different kind of competition? Is not mastery of the dark arts a form of competency? Is it not skill and acumen to have your hired monkeys in the press poison your opponent? Was she a winner simply because she could lie on a pile of money while Bernie and then Trump were shredded by her minions? I didn’t like it but you don’t get to pick who emerges from Thunderdome. Just as competition brings out the best competitor it brings out the best cheats. Maybe this is a time in history when America needs a cheat?
I sighed. I have faith in competition and I have faith in democracy but sometimes I see a Che Guevara shirt at a Starbucks or an addled land whale in WalMart and lose the latter. Faith ‘aint easy.
We enjoyed our greasy breakfast and went back to the woods. My blog post went live without me. I avoided all media. The grid stayed on, the nation continued functioning, the sky was still blue… This election day, as with all election days, the media was hyperventilating about “the most historic election in the history of ever” but I didn’t hear. I leaned against a tree and tried to sort out the sounds of rustling leaves. Was that a squirrel or a trophy class buck? If Washington D.C., New York, and LA were all smoking radioactive craters I wouldn’t know of care for hours. The wind shifted to the west and we changed hunting plans.
Elections matter but the wind mattered more.
(To be continued when I get around to writing it.)