And so it ended much as it began; as a bad joke, a parody of itself, something at which to laugh, long and loud, if not for the four years of carnage – financial, social, economic, racial, environmental – that had preceded it.
And sandwiched between a funeral home and a sex shop, no less, a presidency of fools and fuckups essentially laid to rest outside a landscaping store in a sad and sagging strip mall on the outskirts of Philly, languishing between dead bodies and dildos.
Everyone knows this; it’s old news now.
No one knows what will happen next (court battles and potential coups, a tidal wave of misinformation laced all the way through to its rotting core with the inane rantings of a man who doesn’t know how to lose, how to concede, how to graciously fade off into the night, good or otherwise). No one, though, is confident it’ll be graceful and easy.
The Day itself, over here across the Pacific, unfolded in slow motion; Election Day, the cornerstone of American democracy, the one day every four years when The People exercise their right to choose, and exercise it they did, a record turnout across the US, both in person and via mail, wave upon wave of people intent on Voting, on casting their ballot and choosing who they thought was Best.
The original intent here had been bloody marys and the Count up on the big screen, starting as it did late morning, wending its way through lunch and the long and hot afternoon, into the evening where things got vicious and strange.
Bloody marys were scrapped though, events beyond our control, and so devices were flicked between over the course of the day before beer and whisky were brought out late in the dusky afternoon and we settled down to watch properly. I’d been monitoring across five or six outlets, an information net cast wide in order to catch as much as possible – Presidential, Senate, House races running across the country, slowly at first but building as the heat intensified and then popping with alarming regularity.
Numbers varied widely across the board, some News outlets not calling until certain points, others rolling the dice and making calls early – states turned red and blue, others remained white, numbers ascended in real time, the Popular Vote, while the Electoral College ticked steadily, slowly, interminably onward as the sun set here, rose over there, preposterous claims emanating from the flailing blowhard, Ol’ Mate 45, with the same velocity as the virus ravaging the very country he was intent on leading.
I’d not heard him speak much these four years past, preferring print as my principal news source, and so to hear his voice and watch him perform, so intent as he was to cast doubt and confusion, was to bear witness to something so obscenely gauche and dangerous as to almost defy reality. Had this person truly been the Leader of the Free World these past years? Of course, I knew it to be true and yet to hear him actually talk was to make it seem all the more real and desperate, and how did this happen and how has it been happening for so long?
For here is a special kind of person, one so lost within the miasma of his own mind – an alarming place, one devoid of compassion, respect, civility and tolerance – that he truly believes what comes from his own mouth; he’s not lying to the American public, to the people he professes to care so deeply for he wants to be their Leader, no – he’s speaking the utter truth. It’s just, unfortunately for sane people all over the globe, that it’s his truth – he believes what he’s saying, he just has no idea that what he’s saying is wrong. And this is truly dangerous.
And so he blew hard, Ol’ Mate 45, he cast aspersions upon all and sundry and we watched it from across an ocean, gaped at what was happening, not really able to believe that this man was saying these things, the pure hypocrisy dripping from his being like honey from the hive, almost visibly pooling on the lectern behind which he stood.
Elsewhere, Biden urged calm as he waved from behind black face mask to crowds across the country, gearing up for what they saw as a slowly dawning reality; that is, the demise of the unreality, and some sort of Hope for the future. We watched it too, leaning forward on the couch toward the flickering big screen, scanning for some sort of definitive answer.
None was forthcoming of course, and this indeed came as no surprise to anyone, other than the man spouting all manner of misinformation, refusing to believe that there was no concrete result on Election Day, as if this had never happened before. Indeed, in a country where over 150 million votes were cast, counting will take time. Days. Perhaps even weeks.
And so it continues now, more than a week later. But that night, that Day, as it all unfolded across an ocean, was intensely interesting to watch – parts in the vein of Hope and a better future for fellow human beings, parts for the pure theatre, the grotesquery, the ugly and viciousness that even at that early stage, was sagging under its own weight, slowly going under, a fetid candle now little more than spent wax and impending darkness.
Indeed. And then the presser outside the landscaping centre, where it all came to a sloppy halt, finally dying, left to decay among the ashes of human beings and rubber dicks, cock rings and black plastic corsets. Apt perhaps. Or, seen from another light, about fucking time.