So hereâ€™s how it is for me today, Jan. 1, the dawn of 2017: Weâ€™re gonna be okay.
Weâ€™re going to grow closer, smarter and more loving together as Americans, and citizens of the world – even some of us who hate each other.
Weâ€™re going to settle important problems with our government, with our cultures, and with our planet.
We wonâ€™t be just okay. Weâ€™re gonna be awesome. Because we are all human, and we will continue to evolve.
Yeah, yeah, I know, rose-colored glasses, Iâ€™m such a dope, everythingâ€™s fucked.
But this being a free country, Iâ€™m allowed to spout whatever nonsense I like on the Internet, and no one says you have to read it.
So if youâ€™re down for it, hear me out:
Looking back – well, hell: 2016 was a steel-toed boot to the face for progressives, a solid year of heartbreak, dischord and poisonous lies. Those 365 days bludgeoned us hard.
Russian hackers, virulent bigotry, shitty journalism and the narcotic comfort of Facebook confirmation-bias tipped our human sanity juuust enough – with our nationâ€™s decidedly un-democratic Electoral College as fulcrum – to dump the entire American pie into a globe-sized dumpster bonfire.
Now, weâ€™re in real, actual trouble: A corrupt, misogynist robber-baron has surrounded himself in the White House with amoral vandals, hell-bent on destroying every progressive institution – from Social Security and LGBTQ rights to the tissue-thin barrier of science and law protecting us from the heat-death of the planet – the minute he takes office.
Faceless goons rampage through our virtual streets. â€œWE WON, YOU LOST, GET OVER IT!!!â€ they bray – in between rage-spamming women, minorities and anyone else they decide to hate.
The relentless thudding pace of celebrity deaths – Bowie, Prince, Carrie and other lodestones of the pop-culture human spirit – only amplified the death of truth and goodness, it seemed.
And all of this played out to American exceptionalists as a trend-powered guarantee of a universal bloody American end in a war zone, mass shooting or terrorist attack, with our country faring no better than Syria, South Sudan and the Gaza Strip.
One by one, our heroes and our beliefs in inherent human goodness fell beneath the wheel.
Everyone I know spent most of November and December in a horrible, black-minded funk.
â€œWe are SO doomed,â€ they moaned, in between outraged retweets of Trumpâ€™s latest offense. â€œWe are well and truly fucked.â€œ
Sackcloth and goddamn ashes.
By mid-December, I had resigned myself to it: Food shortages, water riots, street-to-street gun battles, nuclear holocaust – yeah, whatever. The near future will suck, and the living will envy the dead.
And then, at some point – maybe just as I was rallying with my family in the past few weeks to pull together gifts and logistics for the obligatory Christmas trip to visit my folks back east – something inside me clicked, like the soft â€œplunkâ€ of a bucket into a deep, deep well.
And I shook myself, hard.
â€œHey, wait just a minute,â€ I muttered. â€œWe are ALL going to survive this. Because we all WANT to.â€
That orange-faced idiot punching our buttons like a meth-crazed toddler-king bashing his crib-side busy-box just to see what sounds we make? Heâ€™s just a symptom of the disease – and we can treat him:
First off, weâ€™re a nation of laws. Our democracy has endured unbelievable attacks and cultural warfare: A Civil War that almost destroyed us. The painful birth of unions that pushed back worker exploitation. Two world wars and numerous regional wars that wasted lives and destroyed cultures in pursuit of oil, water, money, leverage.
Brown v. Board of Ed, Roe v. Wade, gay marriage, universal voting rights? All settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, and anyone trying to reverse them will be duking it out in front of the majority of US citizens who SUPPORT those freedoms and protections.
Donations have flooded into the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and those few news organizations still attempting to speak truth to power.
And itâ€™s likely only a matter of time before he winds up smashing into a wall of investigation and/or prosecution and either quits or is impeached.
Second – and perhaps more importantly – human strife is cyclical. And this shit will not stand.
Weâ€™re humans, and we always solve our common problems – eventually – because weâ€™re smart, weâ€™re creative and we we need each other.
â€œShut up, cuck!â€ howl the fact-free trogs who yearn to see everything burn without understanding how and where the flames might spread. â€œYour time is over, you white-knight, SJW Pollyannas. Weâ€™re in charge now.â€
Whatever. You already blew your wad. You cast your vote for a worthless president, and now youâ€™re powerless.
Sure, you can still whine into the Twittersphere and bitch on your bumper stickers. But when Congress reconvenes and the GOP shoves their politically-supercharged Supreme Court appointee down all our throats, youâ€™ll be suffering the same fate that awaits the rest of us.
Youâ€™ll be left to sit back and watch the gubmint enact whatever half-assed, compromised version of your will you *thought* they would.
And youâ€™ll probably see exactly what happens when you ignore facts in the voting booth or chuck fake-news headlines and destructive hate-memes around like so much shit around the monkey cage.
Social Security? Gone. Medicare? Privatized. Wall Street checks and balances? Obliterated in favor of a bottom line that will screw you harder than you ever thought possible after the 2008 credit-default-swap recession.
The oligarchic puppeteers in Russia? They wonâ€™t feel a thing. Theyâ€™re already having a fine laugh at us all.
The lock-step GOP congressmen who are backing and boosting the incoming administration, no matter how batshit crazy itâ€™s becoming? Well, you put them into office. Enjoy â€˜em while you can.
Because whatever the coming shitstorm brings, the midterms are coming, kids.
And all those disappointed Bernie-or-bust or never-the-lesser-of-two-evils voters who stayed home and empowered this mess- and even the Trump-ites who believed he would somehow be better than the alternative? Theyâ€™re not gonna love the actual net effect of what youâ€™re threatening to do to healthcare and civil liberties any more than they will enjoy what Trumpâ€™s hollow promises and pointed larceny are going to continue to do to the dying middle-class economy.
Life. Will. Suck.
Expect yelling and venom, and probably violence.
And expect change, because the majority of us – those who prefer calm over chaos and talking over yelling and love over hate – we will all remember whatâ€™s important. And weâ€™ll start to work at extinguishing the *actual* flames lapping at our loved ones, as you will, because we will *all* feel the heat.
So consider enjoying the positives:
Medical technology is reducing disease. Artificial intelligence can help us solve problems faster. The Internet speeds transmission of knowledge (which we all want) just as fast as it does disinformation, which will grow much less popular as post-truth behavior delivers real-world consequences and the willfully ignorant rediscover the value of actual facts.
And the basic human freedoms we all desire – safety, respect, tolerance, beauty – you know where to find them. Go be with these people.
Lift each other up, and feel our common strength. Weâ€™ll be okay. We survived Reagan and Bush 2 (and some might add Obama) and we can survive this asshole.
Some of you – who have been snickering at the back of room since you started reading this simplistic, overwrought drivel – What say you?
â€œFuck you, you naive, moronic child. Mankind is bloodthirsty, technology is evil, truth is a corpse and weâ€™re all doomed. Everything dies and youâ€™re an idiot.â€
Yeah, I am. Naive. Simple minded. Optimistic. Opinions are like assholes: everybody has one. This is mine. Youâ€™re welcome to yours.
So, fuck me.
But Iâ€™ve already decided which future Iâ€™m going to work for. Have you?
Happy New Year, all. Letâ€™s make it a good one. All of us.