About a week ago, I was considering the possibility of a Trump presidency. I’ll admit that actually gets my blood boiling. He’s upsetting. It’s even more upsetting that I live in a country with people that would put him in charge.
Then it occurred to me that at least I wouldn’t have to spend the next 4 or 8 years being forced to defend Hillary Clinton. Don’t get me wrong. Hillary Clinton was my first choice for president eight years ago before I swung over and voted for Obama twice. I like Obama. I happen to like Clinton more. I remember thinking that she should be the president the first time she gave testimony to Congress in 1993. I’m not going to get into how or why, and I’m definitely not going to get into her alleged crimes. Think what you want. I don’t care.
I am absolved of the responsibility of having to defend why I think she is the most qualified candidate to ever run for president. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have to defend the policies that she can get passed that are watered down enough to pass a Republican Congress. I am absolved of having to explain why Obama’s failures have everything to do with Republican and Tea Party obstructionism. I don’t have to deal with Conservatives dismissing Republican obstructionism claims because Obama should have been a better leader.
These realizations were a huge relief but kind of weak. Why do I care to have positions at all if I’ll drop them just because the candidates I support are lightning rods for criticism? Then the real weight of it hit me…
I have been somewhat obsessed with politics since I was a kid. I remember very clearly the Reagan vs. Carter election. After Carter was defeated, I was very upset. Reagan was very paternalistic and patronizing. It was clear that he was convinced that he had the moral high ground. Throughout the 80’s, that became more apparent and a coalition formed with the Christian right. This has lasted for 36 years.
It has worked too. In more ways than just politically. The Republican/Christian coalition has made it their business to make sure that everyone understands the natural order of things. Real Americans go to church on Sunday. Real Americans consider Jesus in all policy positions. Americans that do not claim some form of Christian affiliation (“I’m a Baptist.” “I’m a Catholic.” “I’m a Methodist.”) are on the fringes of society. We belong there. In our box. On the outside.
I’m an atheist. I was brought up Catholic. Many Christians have stories about how they came to believe. I have a story about how I came to not believe. It was the moment the Bishop put the oil on my forehead in my Confirmation. Clear as a bell, I heard, “I am not Catholic.”
But for the last 30 years, I have made it a point to be polite about it. I am not an atheist evangelist. I don’t have long arguments with believers about why they shouldn’t believe in God. Believe if you want to. I am even encouraging. Spirituality is a human need.
I couldn’t escape the beliefs of my Christian family, friends and associates. Every political discussion with a Christian Conservative eventually transforms into a discussion about the bible. The bible is quoted to support any political position. It became clear to me that many Christians believe that there is no morality without the bible. This seemed absurd to me then and still seems absurd to me today. I was still polite about this even when my own thoughts were dismissed outright because they didn’t originate in a bible verse.
I’ve read the entire bible at least four times. I’d argue against whatever support they quoted from the bible. I argued about the original intention of the quote. I quoted stuff from the bible that they couldn’t possibly support. All of this was dismissed mainly because I didn’t believe in the bible’s authority. The stated reason for dismissal was that I was cherry picking verses. This really means that they will never agree with you no matter how reasonable your argument because you are not a believer.
The Republican coalition has been fairly successful with this sort of thing. Fiscal conservatives partnered with Christian conservatives is a match made in hell. State a position, follow it up with some good old condemnation. Argue in circles even when people are just seeking the same privileges and rights afforded to Americans that are not on the outside. Justice? Equality? These are no match for the bible.
I have been a musician, artist and writer my whole life. I have always thought like one. I have always been around other artists. I have always been open minded and accepting of different people and different beliefs. One Liberal tendency is to campaign for tolerance and understanding. One Conservative tendency is to take any campaign for tolerance and understanding as an attack on their values. Still I like to think I have left people to their own devices. Even while friends of mine were not able to protect their families with marriage. “Sorry. God says no.”
So back to walking down the street the other day. The thing that really hit me was that I no longer had to consider religious belief in anything I do. I am a free man. Even if Clinton wins, when a Christian or Republican complains about her all I would have to do is say, “You offered up Trump. Sorry.”
But now Trump is going to be president. I am truly a free man. Liberals shake off your chains! We are free of the religious argument. I don’t give a fuck about your bible. I don’t give a fuck about spelling out fuck. It’s a word! American Christians have been denying rights to people, and they will fight you to do it. Fuck you! You gave us Trump. Live with it. Go grab someone’s pussy.
I have had several things going on for years. I have kept them separated. I have a career in programming. Mainly in the oil and gas industry. Then in consulting. I’ve been a musician. I started making films recently. I have dedicated a good deal of my life to the arts. But I kept those worlds separate. Part of it is just me being polite – my music and art can be pretty dark. The films I am working on are very dark. The other part of that is that my art can be pretty personal. I don’t want to explain it, and I definitely don’t want family or people that I work with being patronizing about it. It’s enough that I am polite and ignore their judgement in person.
But now I am free of this double life. I don’t give a fuck what they say about it. Or even if they understand it at all. The Left has been way too polite for way too long. What’s funny is that now that the election is over, I see that Conservatives thought we were being too aggressive. Oh how mistaken they are.
Now the curtain has been pulled back. I would have understood McCain. He was a decent person, but Palin? It was just a bad pick for VP. And Romney just fell flat. But I would have been okay with him too. Truly anyone else on the Republican Primary stage. Cruz would set me back, but I get that he believed in something and was trying to be a decent human being. To try to make the argument that Trump was a safe pick because Clinton is worse, you just lost me. He’s a stinking pile of shit. I would have even been okay with Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. They are decent people. Clinton may have made some mistakes. She’s shitty in the ways we have come to expect presidents to be shitty. But she’s been in public service her whole life and dedicated to it. She is the most qualified person to ever run for the office. Somehow Clinton is worse?
It’s over. I am not arguing about whether LGBTQ people should have the same rights and privileges as ‘normal’ Americans. It should be obvious. I’m not arguing about abortion anymore. Call me a murderer. I don’t care. Keep your hands and your policies off of women’s bodies. I’m not arguing about whether Islam is a violent religion. That should be obvious. I’m not arguing about whether it’s okay to deport individuals, families and children that have contributed to our culture and tax base for decades. They supported Trump as a candidate and got him elected. With all of the small businesses he has cheated, the women he has groped, how openly misogynistic and racist he has been on the campaign trail, the violence he has encouraged at his rallies – there is not even the appearance of the Christian values the right has banked on and shoved down our throats. They can point to people on the Left all they want. They’ve been calling us criminals and philanderers since the 70’s. But they could do this – and we would let them – because we kind of agreed with them.
Most people didn’t want Trump. A lot of Republicans got stuck with Trump, and this upset the balance of pendulum swings in American politics. But when they got him, they really were upset about another Democrat for four years. I understand. I felt like this in 1988 when George H.W. Bush won. So they doubled down. They took an asshole, made him look like an asshole, praised him for being an asshole and then showed themselves to be assholes as well by getting in our faces and telling us that we didn’t see what we just saw. They tried to clean him up and pass him off as a Christian to save the coalition and their pride. They only fooled themselves.
Now my life can be a lot less complicated. I don’t have to be polite to anyone, because now that Republican Christian Coalition is morally bankrupt. I haven’t felt this free and happy since Ozzy pissed on the Alamo. We will fight them on everything. And we will win, because we have the moral high ground.