Binary Blues

I had the strangest dream last night. My husband and I were at the White House, invited to dinner there by the President. But the President wasn’t Donald Trump, it was Jeb Bush. I don’t know why, but I can just tell you that’s who it was. There was a table that was beautifully set for dinner, but we didn’t eat there. Instead, we were shown to a table with nothing on it. And Jeb looked at us and was like, well, I guess we better set the table. And so we did. And Jeb worked on plates and my husband worked on napkins and silver wear and then we sat down together to eat.

I’m not messing with you. This is what I dreamed last night.

And weirdly, it actually makes sense.

I’ve been struggling with some real fatigue lately. Internet fatigue, general life fatigue, resistance fatigue. I’m just tired. If you spend any length of time on Twitter for anything other than a live feed of the Grammys or Dancing with the Stars, than I expect you to feel as I do now. As though all hope in humanity is lost. Everyone is a party, a bucket, a side. If you like this person, then by definition you must hate this person. If you feel X, then I must feel Y. The news isn’t much better. You sort yourself by what you read or watch. No one just provides information. They give you a kernel of fact inserted amidst an endless stream of opinions. Everything everywhere is opinion. If I say to you that Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump are pussy grabbers, than in our binary world you must oppose me by saying that Bill Clinton is also a pussy grabber. And this must sufficiently enrage me and then we must argue. Even though Bill Clinton is a pussy grabber too. You see all of those things are true. All of them. But that doesn’t even matter.

Because I have to spend all of my time caring about how many Patriots showed up. And I have to compare this to Obama’s. And somehow on the left we don’t realize that this kind of exercise is that actual equivalent of two men measuring the length of their dicks in the locker room. It is literally the same thing. And even if one crowd size was bigger than the other or it wasn’t or the seating configuration were different it wouldn’t matter because real leadership and effective change cannot be measured by crowd size or popularity. Not that either side seems to remember that.

All Republicans did for the entirety of the Obama administration was obstruct. And 2016 came around and they got rewarded for it. And so Democrats are thinking this is now an official game plan — just obstruct everything. There is no effort to work with anyone anymore. In fact if you work with someone from the opposite party, you have an official target on your back. So we all dig into our trenches just a little deeper and guess what: nothing happens. We don’t get safer or smarter or more progressive. We just get better at running these stupid binary campaigns to keep Republicans or Democrats in power.

Increasingly, the resist campaign feels like when you have that shitty job and you will do anything to leave it and someone offers you 5 bucks to sit in a windowless room and eat horseshit and you’re like — yeah! I’ll do that! It has to be better than this! And for like 90 seconds it is and then you are like, fuck, I’ve got to find a way out of this windowless horse shit room.

Look, I’m not saying we’re in the windowless horse shit room. Or that Obama was the windowless horse shit room. I’m just saying that we need to start standing for something, in addition to running from and resisting everything. And we need to not actively penalize our leaders for working with people from the other side. This is how our government is designed to function. And if we penalize them for that then we will literally pay them to golf and get free healthcare while they do nothing which I’m sure they’ll be fine with, but I just can’t handle.

Democrats we have got to realize that the election was this close because there are economic realities that Obama never tapped into, never addressed and arguably got substantively worse under him. Not because he was a bad President. But because good people and good leaders with even really good intentions can enact policies with unintended negative consequences that were real and deep for people in those rustbelt counties. In our current binary state of paralysis, we have to believe that everything Obama touched was awesome. It wasn’t. And that’s okay. He was still a great President. Both those things can be true.

Also, the election in the end came down to about 80,000 votes over roughly three states. So Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, you owe 65 million of us a handwritten apology with your one percent margins that literally created this situation and your regular smearing of Hillary Clinton that made white privileged people feel like they could “sit this out” because she wasn’t progressive enough for them. I hate you both.

Also person who just wrote the book about the inside story of how Hillary Clinton lost this campaign — I hate you too. She has been in public service for a gazillion years. No we aren’t going to pay you to troll her for a just little bit more. Sit your ass down.

Guys — Micheal Douglas (the person who is actually President in my mind’s eye right now other than Jeb Bush apparently) in The American President tells us when people are thirsty they drink the sand. And we are all in a great big binary sandbox right now and the President himself is sorting us into buckets and making us think we can’t trust each other. I call bullshit on this. We need to stop resisting long enough to start talking to each other again. More than that, we need to start listening to each other again. Just yesterday I was behind a pickup truck with the bumper sticker that said, “Turn off the news and love your neighbor.”

I cannot stop thinking about it.

If we ever want people to stop drinking the sand, we’ve got to give them something or someone that will inspire them again, not just rally successfully their mistrust, their misgivings, and their anger. Dig deep and remember that all politics is local. Stop talking long enough to hear what people need. Give them something to go toward, not just run from. And then find someone with a big ass shovel to get out us out of this shit filled sandbox by 2020.