That Disorientation You Are Feeling is Called “Winning”Jef Costello
I tried to avoid the internet for most of Election Day. As my readers know, I expressed confidence that Trump would win. But that was a bit of a lie — a noble lie, said to bolster my readers and get them to the polls. Secretly, I feared that the Forces of Evil might triumph once more. I was prepared to be bitterly disappointed, and that is why I wrote “After Trump.” It was an attempt to get my thoughts together; to steel myself for the worst, and soldier bravely on come November 9th.
Around 11:00 pm on the big day a friend called to inform me (breathlessly) that Trump was ahead in the Electoral College. It seemed too good to be true. I started streaming Fox News and watched as they called state after state for Trump. Then it was time for bed. By the time the benzodiazepine and vodka had taken effect, Trump was within reach of 270 electoral votes.
When I awakened, I immediately opened my laptop and refreshed the New York Times page, which was the last thing I had viewed before losing consciousness. Up popped “TRUMP TRIUMPHS.” I had imagined this moment over the course of the preceding weeks and months. I saw myself jumping up in the air, fists overhead, uttering a barbaric yawp. But that’s just not my style. If I myself had just won the presidency, I would probably only permit myself a slight grin.
I went about my day in a kind of a daze. I expected the liberals at work to be apoplectic. Instead, they were strangely subdued. In fact, I didn’t hear anyone mention the election all day. When I arrived at the grocery store in the early evening, I got out of my car and noticed that I was in the grip of an unusual happiness. “That’s not like me,” I thought, “why do I feel this way?” And then I remembered: Trump had won.
I’m not used to winning — or rather I should say that we’re not used to winning. It feels strange. I keep waiting for bad news. People are circulating a scare story about how the electors might vote against Trump. But that’s not likely to happen. And if it did there would be a popular uprising that would surely dwarf the pathetic “anti-Trump protests” that have been getting attention for the last two days.
Hillary gave a decent concession speech. No legal challenges to the outcome, it appears. Trump has been congratulated by world leaders. He has had tea at the White House. He has powwowed with the odious Paul Ryan, who might yet redeem himself. Everything looks quite . . . normal. Yet I keep thinking of the fourth episode of The Prisoner, “Free For All,” where they convince McGoohan that he’s been elected the new No. 2, hand him the reins of power — then beat him up and dump him back in his bed.
It just can’t be true that we won, can it? Yet it is true. What I described as “The Happening” really is happening. I’ve been involved with “the Movement” for about sixteen years now. And in those years hardly a meet-up went by without somebody saying “when are people going to wake up?” Well, they are. We’ve been saying for years that the truth would triumph, that people can’t live with lies forever. And we were right. I can hardly believe it, but we were right. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not under the illusion that our work is done, and that Trump is the answer to everything. Read “After Trump” and read the superb piece that Greg Johnson published the day after the election.
Nevertheless, this plus Brexit, plus the implosion of the witch Merkel, plus the rise of Marine Le Pen, plus the new visibility of the Alt Right (thanks Hillary!), plus Angry Birds, South Park, and Pepe, gives us very good reason for hope. Things have never looked better for our cause. And as it slowly sinks in, I am savoring it. Who cares if I miss that deadline? Trump has won. So what if I’m 50 and alone? Trump has won. (Besides, I look really good.) So what if I’m talking to myself again? Trump has won. Who cares if Daniel Craig never makes another Bond movie? Trump has won.
The air smells sweeter. Birds sound tweetier. I smile at people. They look away. There’s a spring in my step. I’m full of beans. I feel pretty, oh so pretty. Happy days are here again. Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gal. Trump has won.
All is right with the world.
We can allow ourselves to feel that way, for a while at least. Winning is an entirely new experience for us. But at a certain point we’re going to realize that the pressure is on. Losing is a lot easier: all we had to do in the past was to sit at our keyboards and generate a ruthless critique of everything that exists. But now our guy (or as close to our guy as we’re going to get) is in. And the next four years are going to be a nail biter. Will he? Won’t he? Can he? Let’s pray to whatever gods we worship — Odin, Kek, Crom, Cthulhu, etc. — that the opportunity is not lost. And let’s hold him to everything he’s promised. Let’s build on this.
But for now, let’s relax and soak ourselves in bliss. Trump has won.