The Confession of a Political Junkie
First, the caveat. Yes, many of us are really, deeply upset at the prospect of Trump in the White House. He is unstable. He is nuts in a way that could one day be a DSM-labeled psychological condition with its own name: “I’m sorry to inform you that you appear to be showing signs of early-onset Trump.” He is willfully ignorant. He is unacceptable. He’s not a nice guy in the way he speaks about Muslims, immigrants, Megyn Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell (Oh Rosie!), or that wall he promises he’ll build along the border. His success to date has already deeply damaged your soul.
You know those times when you get the feeling that your parents are looking at some very accomplished person on TV or the Internet, and giving you that look that says, “Come on, just so I know. Would it have been so terrible if you’d excelled from time to time?” Well, it’s bad enough when that person on the TV or the Internet is at least impressive. Imagine when your parents give that look while comparing you to a schmuck like Trump. Yes, I get it. This is really bad. Like really, really.
All that, and much more, is a given. But there’s something news and political junkies aren’t admitting to you. Or to ourselves. It is the Becky to our Beyonce. We know it’s there, we know it’s doing something bad, but we can’t quite bring ourselves to call it by its sick, depraved name.
This election is like a fucking dream. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s riveting, it’s entertaining, it’s funny. It has brought so much fun back to our Twitter conversations. I couldn’t take much more of your complaining about delayed flights or recounting your customer service calls to Comcast. You need to understand; I am not in your body. I don’t live in your personal experience. I do not give a shit. None of us do. If you want to whine endlessly about your miserable life and the grotesque world around you, do what I do. Come to Medium. Seriously. We get it. United is not a great airline. Can we move on?
And then boom, just in time, Trump came along and made you interesting again. You got funny. Or more often, you got funny about Trump being funny. Admit it. He is hilarious. “You’re going to be so sick of winning you won’t believe it.” Jerry Seinfeld and Louie C.K. could build an arena tour around that line. Rickles thinks Trump is unusually good at insulting people. It’s like when someone asked Eric Clapton what it felt like to be the greatest guitarist and he said, “Ask Prince.” Ask any of today’s most revered Comics what it feels like to be the master of the craft, and they’ll look you straight in the face and say, “Ask Trump.” And then they’ll laugh. But in a scared way.
If Donald Trump said that he once smoked pot but he didn’t inhale, it wouldn’t even be among his top lines.
Little Marco. The Christie face when he stood behind Trump after the endorsement. The Tweets… This is one of those cases where if it were a movie, no one would believe the plot because it would seem too unrealistic. In the third act alone you’d have to convince audiences that, in the end, the Mexicans actually pay for the wall. (Oh, and one of the key candidates is running as a self-described Socialist. And get this; no one gives a shit.)
The reality is better (in the most horrific way imaginable) than any art could ever be. Sometimes, I am just about to totally lose myself in one of those Game of Thrones scenes where a couple of attractive siblings are making out, when I say no. Stop. This is damn good. But it’s no Trump presser. Even the most exciting show on television can’t compare (although Joffrey came closer than anyone else…).
This election cycle is simultaneously the most watched event on television and the most discussed event on the Internet; with enough twists and turns for you to, at one point, find yourself actually rooting for Ted Cruz.
It’s like you’re the protagonist in an extended version of Heart of Darkness. You’ve just said, “The Horror, The Horror.” But then you pop up and say to the Dennis Hopper character: “You know what? What say we go like ten times further up the river?” Of course, it’s there that you witness your first Trump debate.
You know what I’m talking about because you’re just as into it as we are. And that’s best part.
Just like us, you can’t look away. And when we see you at dinners and parties, you immediately run up and want to ask us what we think about Trump. After years of listening to you drone on about your family and your life, you’re finally talking about what we want to talk about. You’re finally obsessed with the same subject matter as we are. And you finally understand how fun it is being a political junkie.
But don’t get too used to it. It’s not always this fun (or terrifying).