Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Obligatory Post About The American Election

Alright... looks like I finally have enough clarity to post again.

My fellow cybertavern patrons, I have a serious confession to make. When I started this blog it was to be used as a mental pressure valve. It was meant to be a means to keep my mind and my skills sharp even when I'm done with my work and my assignments as a nobody game journalist and critic. A bit of loose fun in an entertaining voice meant to bring joy as well as discussion. A means of abnegation so that I wouldn't fall into a terrible habit of drinking real alcohol, and all of the damaging dangers that come with such a habit.

My confession is this: ever since the beginning of the third Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump all the way up to the weekend after Election Day where I did my civic duty and voted, I drank. At least three mixed cocktails a day after 5 pm and my keys safely stowed away. It escalated to five after election day where I polished off a bottle of red wine. And for the first time in my entire life I have experienced a hangover in all of its physiologically crippling glory. My mind was in a haze, my motor skills became terrible, I lashed out in fits of rage towards my small but intimate social circle, and I was seriously considering performing mortal harm on people.

I broke my unspoken covenant with this blog. I gave in to temptation out of shear disbelief and complete despair. I let the easy self-destructive path overtake an already stressful and anxiety-inducing practice. I. Gave. Up.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past two years let me bring you through the details. The USA just had it's 2016 Presidential Election. A ceremony in our democracy that is supposed to be a mature and rational debate between our political parties where we as a nation determine who among them is fit to lead our country for the next term of four years. A harsh yet civil gauntlet of conflicting ideologies and methods all vying for the public's attention where the candidates prove why they are qualified in every conceivable capacity to take on such a daunting and taxing position of office. And I do mean taxing. Look at every single President before their election and after their first term, this job ages you thirty years for very good reason.

Except this election was radically different in the most frightening way. On the Democratic side was Hillary Clinton. She has a law degree, served as a Senator in the state of Illinois, her husband Bill was the 42
nd President, and she served under President Obama as Secretary of State where she stepped down. She has worked in politics for a long time and even owned a charity with a respectable rate of success. She was also responsible for a nasty terrorist attack in Benghazi where a US Embassy was attacked. Furthermore she was under investigation by the FBI dealing with a private e-mail server where several thousand were deleted against a court order that may have lead to national secrets being leaked. A lot of experience in the business but she has some black marks on her record to be sure. Absolutely not ideal but she did have more center-left leanings politically, meaning while such nonsense as Climate Change was going to get brought up she was also for educational reform, continuing to push for rights for LGBTQ people, women in the work place and people of color, and continuing political diplomacy. Which for anyone slow on the uptake is an increasingly worthwhile goal to seek in a globalized world. We learn better, we work together and because of the breaking down of borders businesses thrive.

On the other side of the fence was representing the Republican party... Donald Trump.

You probably already know him by name but let's still go over his history. He's the CEO of a major corporation that bears his name. It produces hotels, real-estate, and a myriad of other products, all stamped in garish gold and hoists his name in large letters on the side. Chances are you're more familiar with his name and his persona as a blustering, angry and thick-skinned business man more than any product he has made.

He has also been bankrupt several times. Was caught not paying any income tax in this country for over two decades due to a snafu in the 90s when he owed billions of dollars to the IRS. He is about to be investigated for several serious cases of fraud where he cheated thousands of clients out of millions of dollars with serious evidence backing it, allegedly participated in insider trading, is under a separate investigation for his dealings with Trump University – a college that basically charged tens of thousands of dollars then taught the students nothing practical at all.

What was his grand plan for his term in office as one of the most powerful men in the free world you may ask? Good question, maybe you should ask him. He had no concrete agenda and on various issues he kept flipflopping or changing hands except on several major instances. First, a highly unconstitutional mass deportation of all Muslims out of our country due to the frequent terrorist attacks by the Islamic extremists of ISIS, in addition to specially marking anyone who practices Islam in our country just in case they also turn out to be terrorists. Sound familiar at all to anyone!? Second would be to spend billions of taxpayers' dollars to build a gigantic wall on the Mexican border in order to dissuade illegal immigration and to slick talk the Mexican government to pay for it. A fundamentally stupid idea when you consider there's a wall there already that doesn't do much since most immigrants enter through either plane or by boat made worse by the fact that such a wall would cost the US even more untold amounts of money in maintenance and upkeep. Aside, Mexico paying for the wall would also be disastrous for us economically because it would negatively impact relations diplomatically and the fact that Mexico is the US's third largest trading partner that we really want to remain good pals with! Third, a thorough renegotiation of trade deals with other countries with the infallible logic of “yeah we'll help them but they have to pay.” Because apparently Japan paying his billions of dollars every year to basically act as their own army on their behalf with us calling the shots isn't paying already.
Let me also reiterate that Donald Trump has absolutely no experience whatsoever in politics or in the military. No experience at all aside from his name and is multiple failed business ventures, and by his own admission in an interview does no reading at all – citing that he has no patience for it and rather watch television.

So obviously in a just and rational world, regardless of your personal politics things seem pretty clear cut. Hillary won all three presidential debates with Donald by simply staying on message of having a nuanced and understandably condensed plan to deal with complex issues of the day. Donald meanwhile... doubled down on reality show tactics. Lashing out at journalists and critics, repeatedly using unforgivable racist rhetoric casually, insulted an autistic journalist on television by mocking him. Called his opponent a criminal while denying inflammatory statements he made several hours ago, Continued to blatantly lie to everyone he talked with to the point that if he said the sky was blue I would go outside and look just to be sure. And even went so far that he knew more everything than ENTIRE COMMITTEES OF EXPERTS THAT HAVE DEDICATED THEIR ENTIRE LIVES TO THE FIELD!

And for the record, I am not a mainstream political journalist. I didn't have to dig deep at all for any of these statements. You want a source, freaking throw a dart because it has been plastered all over the place by the news. Properly documented, properly cited, professionally neutral. Writing on the wall black and white clear as crystal.

So what happened come Election Day? I found out our new President-Elect was in fact not the one who actually did their homework and stepped up to the plate with a plan, but an utter buffoon who lied, slacked off and ran one of the most insulting divisive campaigns in all of American history. For someone who represented a party that famously stated, “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” he did a fantastic job splitting this nation down the middle when it came to the popular vote.

Once again. The future leader of The United States of America ran a campaign based on fundamentally un-American and toxic campaign promises, habitually lied to and harassed his critics, and basically has no credible experience whatsoever in the field.

Drink in this statement. I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat or if you voted for a dead gorilla for a laugh, read that last paragraph back to yourself. He won on that platform.

Now for some personal background on how much this hurts. Growing up with Aspergers Syndrome I was given the exact same pablum from my supporters that you most likely hear when it comes to a human interest news story covering such kids. Brilliant mind but socially distant, fantastic observation but has serious trouble making friends. Yeah, what they don't tell you is the serious amount of abuse you suffer. It's like messing with a Buckingham Palace guard, but you're a kid and therefore part-psychopath. The harrassment, being called retarded, nobody wants to sit with you at lunch because you're a quiet uncanny oddball. I seriously graduated high school with bruises the amount of nonsense I was put through.

And throughout all of this what was I told in my life? I'm ahead of the curve. I'll make waves in the world with my gifted unconventional mind, the bullies won't amount to anything I'll leave them in the dust. This is a country that prides intelligence and rationality along with a strong work ethic.

But how is that possible when a man with no experience in politics gets to be President?

Well how about his rhetoric about how he wants to bring jobs back to hardworking people in the rust and bible belt that have been left behind. The hardcore alt-right supporters who want to throw a firecracker under the asses of the out of touch liberal elite and bring things back to the common man. The silent majority.

This is not representative of this entire community but it's a story that bears repeating. I have family in the South. For the longest time my formative summer vacations involved me and my family making a two day long car ride to meet the folks and spend three months there. Did we go to amusement parks or play in the fields? Ha, you wish, we were in the boonies. Pre-internet boom, and it would take about thirty minutes to reach town, and even then your entertainment was slim. The majority of our time was spent fixing up our potential summer home. For the longest time it was an old trailer where we had to put in new furniture, bug bomb the place, stock it with groceries, and do legitimately taxing work to make it livable. Our reward was being able to enjoy clear warm nights with fireworks. was just us that put in the leg work. Our relatives nearby either found ways to criticize or demean our work, and every single time we left, without fail they would simply move in and abuse our accomplishments. Tear the place up, get drunk and party, then expect us to do it again the next time we arrived. It got to an almost insulting degree in the last few years we could make the trip where it was sprucing up my late father's old home. Linoleum in the floor, installing central air, a complete repair of the roof, the kind of stuff that wouldn't be out of place on Masters of Flip but we did it out of pocket. There were old friends of my grandmother that helped out, sure, but once again there were those who would sit high and mighty, look down their noses at how we were actually putting effort into something, then when things got bad they would swoop in conveniently and expect us to act like maid service. There was an especially insulting year where they turned half the house into a giant garbage dumping area, three feet or so of debris and junk. I was throwing it all out in garbage bags while one of my (at the time) in-laws were telling me off for literally taking out trash.
As far as I'm concerned, the myth of the hardworking southerner that can't find a job due to more progressive industries hiring is an absolute pile of bullshit. They'll yell and complain all the time, even if they're working, but the minute they don't have to they'll abuse it to Kingdom Come.

Yet these people elected a misogynist racist demagogue with no experience into the White House.
I've also mentioned my past before as a game journalist with my nightmare of a Satanist old editor and how good things happened to bad people while good people got dunked on. That psychological damage that affects my entire work. Now imagine that amplified from this election.

I should really work on expanding my network and refining my technique.
Why bother? Apparently you don't need to know anything to be President.

I need to learn more skills and get a more lean budget before the holiday season.
Why? Just scream anti-semitic stuff at the right people and they'll make you Commander-in-Chief.

Hey, wanna screw the world over but don't want several doctorates in mad science?
Get on a platform of hatred in what's supposed to be an enlightened country. Yell the most moronic things imaginable to the right people. Then when you get to the house with the big red button, lie to enough people that you should really make sure all the terrorists are dead then end the world as we know it. Because apparently anyone can do it!!

And it gets worse. Another group that has fervently wanted this man as our leader are inextricably tied to the Alt-Right movement. A subgroup of conservatives that are basically social media Nazis. And where did most of them crop up? During the loathed “GamerGate” fiasco that happened in my game industry. An entire movement of horrible people that have harrassed indie devs to suicide and attacked several hardworking game makers all while decrying it was about fighting against a corrupt and broken system of corrupt journalists. A conspiracy that I can tell you from personal experience doesn't exist. All because an indie dev had a fling with a journalist before and due to a kerfuffle wound up having all their dirty laundry thrown across social media. How did these Gaters survive something that happened two years ago? They got organized and co-opted by Breitbart news, an even more radical alt-right mainstream news group that have actually published in a professional sense everything from President Obama being a terrorist sleeper agent to how women in the tech industry should just “ just log off” in order to avoid harassment. You know, rather than fact check their stuff or do something to help the problem?

What did they do when Trump won? They took to the street and started performing hate crimes and spraying Nazi propaganda everywhere, saying the good times are back. These unanimously uneducated white boys who barely have any experience in the work force at all who started off as wanting video games to stay primarily aimed at them have gone off to start assaulting other people thinking they have finally struck back against the evil liberal Jewish women conspiracy or some other nonsense. Ostensibly the kind of people I've been taught my entire life will fall into obscurity while the exceptional people who work hard and tough it out go on to be great things.

Guess what? I'm still working for table scraps in an industry that is cutthroat as hell, and these obscure dime a dozen militant morons? Their guy is President. Even worse, the head of Breitbart was even appointed to his cabinet!

Riots and protests are breaking out. People on the other side are fighting back. My friends in Europe are collectively crapping their pants. Blatantly racist and xenophobic violence is happening everywhere. And I am stuck watching as a man who factually should not be given any more power than he already has stumble through transitioning into the role of PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

Nothing helped. I could barely write. Seriously, last week was supposed to be a semi-rant about how EA thoroughly messed up the launch of Titanfall 2 but Jim Sterling beat me to it with an in-depth video essay. Doing housework didn't clear my conscience. And no matter how much I tried to abnegate with games, everything turned to ashes in my mouth.

So I hit the bottle. And to my patrons... I am sorry.

Not just because I drank when I said this would be my alternative. No, because I drank instead of becoming more determined to deal with this new Presidency. I'll be the first to praise the new administration when it does something good, for example sensible reform of the Affordable Care Act is a good start, but I will not forget the methods he used to get where he is. I will not forget the divisive rhetoric, the thinly veiled anti-semitism, the islamophobia, the means to which he reached his end. I'm a writer, words mean things, and when you are supposed to represent the best of humanity in one of the highest forms of office meant to determine the future of an entire country, you can't just flippantly insult and deride half of your entire population for an entire year then say “just kidding folks, now let's all hold hands and make up.”

This is the Cybertavern. I founded it as a safe place where anyone who wanted to talk or drown their sorrows regardless of what they believe, who or what they love, or how they were raised. Life is too short and harsh as it is, and we all deserve a place to have something to take the pain off when things aren't black and white. Well, this is one of those times. So for everyone that is going to be in for a rough four years, here's to you. Sit here, speak out in the comments section and know that this place is sanctuary. When you are done writing to congressmen or doing community service or handling the children of Trump, come here and relax on the house.

I was weak once...but never again.

We now return to our regularly scheduled bit of defiance at the system.

No comments:

Post a Comment