AS I WRITE THIS, the United States is slogging through a dark and damning season of political tawdriness roiling with dangerous racism, violent sexism, and the ugliest truths about our fellow Americans exposed, and I am very high.
This is a good time to live in a state with readily available legal cannabis, and if I’ve been inspired to partake more than usual, it’s only because I’ve more often needed weed’s fast-track connection to the things that make life worth living (food, sex, laughter, dogs, art, harmony with fellow humans). Because we have seen some terrifying shit, and it’s been coming at us at a rate that defies processing.
In any previous election, any one of Trump’s 1,001 horrifying proclamations—inner-city African Americans have “no education,” some women are too unattractive to sexually assault, every Muslim in the US is possibly ISIS-affiliated—would’ve fueled weeks of media hubbub and a level of uproar commensurate with the moral affront. But the three examples just cited all came in one week, two of them in the same hour, and it’s cumulatively pummeling.
Regarding my claim that this election “exposed” the ugliest truths about our fellow Americans: This statement is bullshit, or at least deceptive. Exposure suggests foiled discretion, and one of the most horrifying components of the Trumping of America is the pride citizens have taken in embracing this madman and his ideas, crowding into stadiums to essentially scream in unison, “We love and support this deranged, racist sexual predator who defies decency with every breath and resembles the haphazardly embalmed corpse of Richie Rich!” Even that joke’s a bit of bullshit, as certainly a fair number of these stadium-fillers are there for more complicated reasons, along the lines of “We’re so destitute and estranged from all avenues of American advancement we’re willing to toss our lot with that racist, sexist cartoon corpse offering promises of salvation.”
So, yes, it’s been an ugly time, and it has the potential to get much uglier, but weed has helped, granting me a mental expansion that helps me to survey the current carnage with a bit of detachment and even grim appreciation: “So this is how Hitlers happen,” my high brain notes. “Huh.”
Still, it’s not like this horrifying election cycle has been without its pleasures. For example, Twitter, for which the entire Trump campaign has been a de facto long-con commercial. “Check Twitter!” whispers the wind, every 15 seconds or so. “Trump’s probably done something horrible!” I’ll never forget my experiences of lazily visiting Twitter out of habit and being jolted to astonishment by our would-be Republican president calling Mexicans rapists or noting the blood coming out of Megyn Kelly’s wherever or picking a fight with a baby and insulting a Gold Star family. Twitter followed me everywhere. The act of eliminating personal waste is now so linked to reading Tweets about terrible new Trump things that I’m no longer sure I can do the former without the latter.
This apotheosis of Trump in Twitterland came with what will likely be cited as the key to his candidacy’s demise: the release of that 11-year-old Access Hollywood tape and the unleashing of Grabherbythepussygate, which hit Twitter like a bomb and inspired days of brilliant aftershocks. What happened on Twitter between Friday, October 7, and Sunday, October 9, will be remembered by all who experienced it as one of the great literary events of the 21st century, with Friday’s schadenfreude-rich revelations inspiring galling deflections from the Trump camp, what should be career-ruining hypocrisy from Republicans and evangelicals tying themselves in knots to maintain pro-Trump positions, and days of brain-tingling wit. (My favorite meme: The photo of a riotously laughing Hillary Clinton, with the line “Like his hand could grab a whole pussy.”)
But this shit isn’t funny. At the most recent presidential debate, Trump made another of his dangerously racist and reckless proclamations about ISIS infiltration when he suggested that every American Muslim is a potential agent of ISIS and putting every brown-skinned American at risk of violence from Trump-loving “patriots.” And I can’t imagine what it feels like to be a woman in America in 2016. On one hand, you’ve got the most retrograde sexist in contemporary American history as a viable presidential candidate inspiring waves of shockingly sexist commiseration and support from politicians and religious leaders. On the other, you’ve got a brilliant, hardworking human ready to become America’s first female president. I’m so sorry you’re having to wade through so much traumatic shit en route to what will be a rapturous day, when we elect our Madam President, or die trying.
Thank you for joining me on this stoned journey through my mind. I must now go eat two sticks of pepper-jack string cheese melted on a plate.