This Year's Madness Might Just Fade Soon

Look, by just about any measure, 2020 was a clusterfuck inside a shit sandwich covered in stupid sauce. I was telling a pal of mine, "This wasn't the worst year ever in the United States because, you know, black people aren't property and we can be gay without getting arrested and women are heading towards equality and we have medicine and technology and all that. But it's the dumbest year in modern times because we have medicine and technology and all that and it was still so fucked up." 

It's not just COVID and the economic crisis that sucked the hair off the balls of 2020. It's not just that Donald Trump was president (and, let's be honest, 2020 doesn't really end until January 20, 2021). It is that so many Americans threw themselves, body and soul, into the delusional world of coronavirus conspiracies, QAnon madness, and Trump worship. Yeah, to an extent, conspiracy theories and Trump worship were ludicrously widespread and interwoven before this year, but it all skyrocketed in 2020 to the point where Trump got far more votes than anyone would have imagined (but not enough to win, obviously) and a few conspiracy nuts got elected to Congress. The country seems stuck in a fever state, and we see column after column about how we're going to be here for a long damn time, just flailing about, regressing in so many ways as we fight to defeat the harmful politics that exist in Trump's wide, porcine shadow.

But lemme say something that is uncharacteristically hopeful to end this goddamned year (and before we get to haiku - oh, yes, we always end the year at this joint with haiku). I don't think it's going to be as bad as we think. There is a chance that this madness is going to fade sooner than we think for a simple reason: shit getting back to normal post-COVID.

Go with me here: In the wake of the pandemic, every fucking thing that we did as groups of humans, from large family gatherings to football games to concerts to bars and restaurants, all of that was shitcanned. Sure, sure, in most places, you could, after the lockdown ended, go to a 25-50% filled bar with all kinds of precautions, with the constant stress of those COVID protocols hanging over you, whether you were following them or resisting them (wear your fucking mask!). Even the most MAGA-minded assholes were forced into a radical reduction in activities, no matter how often they got together for backyard barbecues or weddings or other superspreader events. 

People are so fucking bored and frustrated right now. When your weekend was built around tailgating or boot-scooting or whatever, you're gonna wanna lash out. Of course, people are gonna veer into the bullshit that soothes the lizard brain to explain why life sucks so hard right now. Of course, if you were inclined to rock out with your MAGA out, you're gonna identify even more with that fuckery because it tells you that you don't bear any responsibility for any of this. If you dabbled around the fringes of conspiracy theories, well, fuck, there's only so much porn you can watch before you go ahead and click on that suggested YouTube video about pedophiles and baby-eating Democrats. You've got nothing to occupy your brain because you sure as shit didn't read before the pandemic. It's not like you're gonna all of a sudden pick up Crime and Punishment and go to town. 

Fuck, no. You're gonna go to the gatherings you can, whether that's Trump rallies or Proud Boy Zoom meet-ups. You're gonna head towards people because that's what we do. Goddamn, I miss people - real, physical, present people, not ghosts on a video chat. I miss theatres and music clubs. I miss my fucking family in Louisiana. I miss getting the fuck out of this country to meet new people. So I get it. I get that urge. I've filled it with whiskey and pharmaceuticals, along with too much CNN and Netflix/Hulu/Prime, as well as the comforting closeness of a couple of beloved humans and a dog. But I can see how you'd want to massage that ogre part of your mind and fuck shit up even more than you'd fuck it up if things were normal. Hell, you've finally got time to fuck it up, especially if you've been furloughed or fired or even if you're just working from home.

I truly believe that big segment of the crazy-as-a-shithouse-rat population is gonna go back to getting drunk at college football games or dancing drunk at bars or drunkenly hanging out with your grandparents or some other activity, probably done drunk, when we reach a point with the vaccine where we can have a relatively normal life again. The pandemic happening in an election year was just the perfect storm of disorienting new existence and oppressive behavior, helped along by the yowling, paranoid maniacs of the right, most especially by the Maniac-in-Chief. Once people have shit to do, they're gonna do it. And while there will still be a big fuckin' MAGA and QAnon presence in this idiot nation, I truly believe that, given the choice between waiting to see what the latest Q dropping is and going to a Jason Aldean concert or a Cowboys game, people will be rushing to de-politicize their brains. They'll still be idiots. But at least they won't be trying to blow the joint up.

That's the best I've got. I hope that Biden's Justice Department will ream out Trump and his crew with all the savagery that they can muster (and I think they're being coy about that until after the Georgia runoffs, if not until after inauguration). And I think that Trump will quickly go back to being the circus freak he always was. 

The fever will break because the only other option is that we move on to violence on a large scale. And we're fortunately too selfish and lazy to head in that direction. I hope.

(By the way, this doesn't excuse anyone for believing their democracy-harming lies. It's just explaining how they got to the point of making such nonsense the center of their lives. Always and forever, fuck these assholes.)