So now we know what snakes on a train look like. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel wasted no time slithering on board the Trump Train after president-elect Donald J. Trump's stunning victory last Tuesday. The reptilian duo and most of the Republican establishment spent the entire campaign attempting to knock The Donald off the rails, yet they still hope to blend in with the new scenery, like chameleons.
Silly snakes. You're lucky you didn't get run over already. The Trump Train has no brakes, and you were getting in the way.
That's scary to a lot of people, the Trump Train having no breaks. Cher, according to the Drudge Report, is off to Jupiter. In a Facebook post, a friend informed me that he'd tried to climb on board the Trump Train, but the cars were marked only for “gypsies, jews and latinos.”
Silly friend. There's a car for everyone on the Trump Train, including Hillary Clinton's entire basket of deplorables as well as her loyal supporters currently rioting in major cities across the country because she lost the election.
From the /r/The_Donald Reddit page, one of several major social media platforms where Trump support was strong.
There's a boxcar for guys like me on the Trump Train, a middle-aged, underemployed white male with a college degree and an uncertain economic future. Maybe, amidst all the dog whistling, you've heard a little bit about guys like me this election cycle. Our rates of suicide are increasing, our lifespans are decreasing, our kind is in demographic decline. Therapists counsel us that's just the way it is and pass the Prozac.
A lot of us were on board with Sen. Bernie Sanders, while the Clinton campaign whispered to the media we were too white. My father (who is way more successful than me and enjoying a nice retirement, it should be noted) and I follow politics closely, and discussing the subject is one of the great joys of our lives. We're what used to be called progressives, before all political terms lost their meaning, and in Sanders, we found a champion.
For me, the high point of the campaign season was going to the Whitmore fire station with Dad and casting our votes for Sanders in the June primary. We're both non-affiliated voters and had to request special ballots. There was some confusion at the polling station. I'm not sure if anyone in rural eastern Shasta County has ever actually seen someone openly voting Democrat.
There was a buzz in the air that day. Bernie was surging in some polls and it seemed like he had a legitimate shot at the title if he could take the state. Alas, the next morning after the primary election, even though he'd won Shasta County, Sanders had lost California, and any real chance at the nomination.
Thus six months ago we were presented with the two most unpopular presidential candidates in American history. My father and I have no love lost on the Clintons, for reasons too numerous to list here, so there was no way we were with her.
But jumping on the Trump Train was freighted with hazard. I'd been pointing out for more than a year to dad, my Facebook friends, aNewsCafe.com readers and anyone else who would listen that many of Trump's policies, especially on trade and foreign military entanglements, were similar in substance, if not presentation, to Sanders. My dad, my friends and most of the readers here would have none of it.
It's been a long, painful six months.
A couple of days after Sanders' defeat, my dad banned us from discussing politics for the duration of the campaign. We've been tip-toeing around each other ever since.
My social media friends, for a variety of reasons, from Trump's alleged racism, sexism and xenophobia to his former status as reality TV show celebrity to an understandable wariness of billionaire real estate developers, weren't getting on the train, and many of them made it quite clear that I was also a sexist, racist and xenophobe should I purchase a ticket, or even publicly mention I was thinking about purchasing a ticket.
The one thing none of my social media friends would do, with few exceptions, was discuss the actual issues at hand. To raise the issue of immigration was to be instantly branded a racist. To mention it might be a good idea to vet refugees from countries we've been bombing into oblivion was to be instantly ridiculed as an Islamophobe. To point out billionaire financier and alleged philanthropist George Soros was funding both Hillary Clinton and the Black Lives Matter riots was to be instantly stained as a conspiracy theorist, racist and anti-Semite (Soros happens to be Jewish, but the only side he's apparently on is his own).
There was one place where such issues could be discussed, and that was the internet space that's become known as the Alt-Right. You may have heard of one of its mascots, Pepe the frog.
The Alt-Right is the basket of deplorables Hillary Clinton mentioned, a network comprised of hundreds of websites and millions of mostly white male users who discuss topics that can be generally placed under the umbrella of “white identity.” At some point in the recent past, younger users on message boards such as 4Chan and 8Chan misappropriated Pepe the Frog from Matt Furie's “Boy's Club” comic series. Using Microsoft Paint, they began dressing the crudely drawn amphibian up in Nazi uniforms and posting the images online.
A meme was born. Nazi Pepes proliferated. The Southern Poverty Law Center declared Pepe a symbol of hate.
That's how absurd this election has been. I'm now writing about a cartoon frog. Younger members of the Alt-Right swear Donald Trump won the election thanks to such meme magic. Half the magic is shock value, the ability to troll a vaunted organization such as the SPLC into censoring free speech. The other half is mystery. Is it satire or are they really that into Hitler?
It depends, which is why I don't mention Alt-Right websites by url and never, ever comment on the actual sites while I'm lurking about. Sometimes satire works, and a Nazi joke can come off funny. Sometimes the guy telling the joke is actually a Nazi. Figuring out whether to laugh or call the FBI is the tricky part.
Same thing goes for the intellectual component of the Alt-Right, comprised mainly of conservative thinkers kicked out of the Republican establishment because they wouldn't go along with the evolving party line on the estimated 11 to 30 million illegal (the nice word is undocumented) immigrants in the United States.
Some of these guys, and it is mostly guys, white guys, exploit the measured scientific and statistical differences between the races and the sexes, anathema in today's multicultural, pansexual wonderland where race and sex are mere constructs, unless the topic is systemic white racism or Donald Trump's pussy-grabbing. Right now, they're all busy congratulating each other for figuring out that if white people actually become aware they were white people, they might actually vote in their own interest.
Pretty scary stuff, considering that's sort of what happened and we're all now riding on a train with no brakes. It was while lurking on Alt-Right websites that I realized that's what the problem was. People are scared. Someone posted a meme, a still from Starship Troopers, where the platoon psychiatrist mind-melds with the defeated brain bug and declares, “It's afraid!”
It being Hillary Clinton supporters, frustrated that no one could stump the Trump. The train just kept a rolling, with a cartoon frog at the controls.
People have legitimate reasons to fear Donald Trump, which is why I prefer this version of the “It's afraid!” meme, with a non-threatening blond pussy cat instead of an ugly ass brain bug.
I'd maybe make more fun of people being afraid if it wasn't for my mom, who's terrified of Trump. For that I blame not only The Donald for truthfully yet in the coarsest language possible pointing out that some of the people coming across the Mexican border illegally are criminals and rapists, but CNN, MSNBC and even FOX News for amplifying Trump's vulgarity and completely ignoring Clinton's long history of corruption, cronyism and warmongering.
To his credit, Trump tempered his tone and rhetoric as the campaign progressed, as anyone who watched his many rallies broadcast on YouTube can attest. For those confined to cable news, including my mom, we've just elected literally Hitler, who's in league with Vladimir Putin, who is also literally Hitler.
That is, literally, what all our cable news networks and most of our mainstream newspapers have been reporting since this whole ordeal began.
I would say the demonization of Trump and what can only be called the complete falsification of what's going on in Russia, eastern Europe and the Middle East were the establishment and mainstream media's largest transgressions this election season but for one exception.
To quote the sexually insatiable political genius and former President Bill Clinton, it's the economy, stupid. Despite the mainstream media's insistence that the stock market's recovery during the otherwise sluggish past eight years is a sign that Obama's economic policies have benefitted most Americans, no one who follows such matters closely believes it.
Members of the Alt-Right cheering the stock market's rebound since Trump's election need to seriously get a grip. Wall Street and Main Street were unhitched years ago. That train already left the station. The Trump Train is going to need some fuel.
On paper at least, we are headed for seriously hard times, for all the reasons Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders told us, in their own unique ways, and for all the ways Hillary Clinton couldn't tell us, because she was more wedded to Obama's economic record than her own husband. Who says tragedy is dead?
The good news is that paper can be torn up, Dad and I are talking again and not only can the president be reached on his Twitter account, he has massive bankruptcy experience. I'm thinking we bail on our $20 trillion national debt, kick all the snakes off the train, and before you know it, we'll be making America great again.
It's just a tweet away. After all, he's our president.
Or, if you prefer, you can join Cher.