There’s no doubt that this election’s close nature has left many of us disillusioned and deeply disappointed in America. And like many of us, I, too, expected that better angels of our nature would prevail. That we would come to our senses as a nation and roundly rebuke what’s happened these last four years. That the true character of our great nation would finally make itself known. I mean, this is the country that put a man on the moon, but, more than that, put Alex Jones on YouTube. And yet, still we must swallow the bitter pill that America may be ignorant, shallow, and irrational to its core.
I used to call myself an American with pride. Being part of a country that gave the world such lasting cultural touchstones as Jerry Springer baiting people into fistfights on live TV was a special feeling. But despite our proud heritage, this election reveals just how short we’ve fallen of living up to our vision of ourselves. And now we must all come to grips that our nation — the nation that gave us more than 100 episodes of Joe Rogan watching people eat goat testicles, that gave us not one, but TWO Paul brothers, is not what we thought it was.
It’s difficult to even begin making sense of it. For a nation like ours to show up and vote for a man like Donald Trump in record numbers defies every notion of what I thought this country was all about. But alas, there’s no doubt a shadow has been cast today over the once noble republic that birthed “Cash Me Outside” girl. And all of us who thought we could expect a little more from our country, a country where Tucker Carlson has the most-watched news program on cable TV, are left with questions that may never have good answers.
How can a nation capable of turning the simple act of revealing the gender of your child into a wildfire that burns down an entire state be so insistent on screwing things up? How could a country, one that birthed the timeless love story of 30 brown-haired white guys named Chad competing in an elimination contest for the chance to marry a woman, lack the emotional depth required to make the right decision for the future of all of us? How could a people that had to be explicitly told not to eat Tide Pods be so short-sighted? Or are some things simply beyond explanation?
Are we really that far from understanding each other? Is our great land, with a long-running reality show that recently featured a white contestant evicting three Black contestants, really so blind to its own inequality? How could the country who built a television franchise around following police as they arrest Black and brown people put their support behind a racist demagogue who broadly characterizes Black and brown people as criminals?
Does anyone know? Does anyone have the answer to how a nation whose most popular sport involves watching men give each other brain damage can so reject intellect? How a republic that gave birth to the planet’s biggest multi-level-marketing companies fails to see when they’re being conned? How a populace in which 34 percent of adults don’t believe in evolution supports a candidate who so consistently denigrates science? Or how could a country where OJ Simpson has 925,000 Twitter followers so egregiously fail to be a good judge of character? Or how our great, shining city on a hill that made a man world-famous for being an asshole to his employees on television fails to show even the most basic compassion and empathy?
How was this election so close?
I’ll never understand it.