I was readying myself for sleep the other night and made the mistake of looking at Facebook. There are a number of reasons this could be problematic: getting sucked into some asinine argument, going down a photo wormhole of your friends’ cute babies or just scrolling endlessly because we’re so addicted to the glow of the screen and the buzz of electronic interaction. Facebook is the graveyard of ambition, even if you’re just trying to go to sleep.
But this misstep was different: I saw a headline that read, “North Korea says ‘nuclear war may break out at any moment’.” It was a hell of a thing to read just before putting my head on the pillow. That time between when you turn off the lights and when you fall asleep is verdant ground for imagining wonderful possibilities or terrible outcomes. I’m sure you can guess which way my mind went that night …
Knowing that San Francisco would be a primary target if nuclear war was eminent, I started imagining what I’d have to do to get out. I thought about finding a place for my girlfriend and I to meet, and then getting to the Amtrak station in Emeryville. In that twilight, tossing and turning, I reasoned that all the roads and bridges would be immovably packed with cars. But the ferry might still be running. And if we could get to Emeryville, we could catch a train away from California to Fort Collins, Colo., where I have friends.
I know, it’s a weird tangent to go down, but we’ve all had those moments in the late-night darkness, where our survival brain starts planning for the worst. Unfortunately, it seems to be happening more and more.
This is what the Trump era means for all of us. Whether you’re on the Left or the Right, it’s a time of terror. We are all scared of what possibilities the future may hold. I don’t fully understand what the Right is so frightened of, but they are — otherwise, they wouldn’t be acting so ugly. I do know what the Left is so terrified of, though, and so much of it seems to be coming true. The strong push of all things anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-Muslim, anti-gun control — things that really feel anti-human — end up being anti-getting-a-good-night’s-sleep.
But this nuclear war stuff is something else completely.
The Right pushing an agenda that upholds the supremacy of the straight, white, Christian male is nothing new; having a president who is such an absolute piece of shit is. George W. Bush may have been a dummy and a religious fanatic easily swayed by warmongers, but I honestly don’t think he was a mean person (that was Dick Cheney’s job). Donny, on the other hand, is just an awful human being.
You can tell the Molester-in-Chief has never been punched in the face, by a human or by life. He’s someone who has always gotten his way, even if it meant cheating the people who work for him, bullying those who don’t do what he wants, defrauding his customers, sexually assaulting women who rebuff him and suing anyone who speaks up. Yes, there is even an entire Wikipedia page about the legal affairs of Donald Trump.
What a vile, disgusting, predatory, thieving, greedy, molesting, abusing, shameful excuse for a man. He represents all of the things that our society deems reprehensible. But since he’s rich and plays on people’s fears, he not only is rewarded but he also becomes leader of the free world.
I woke up that next morning and read a bit more about the possibly of nuclear war. It put my mind at ease. It’s not very likely that North Korea will be launching missiles, and even less likely that they would reach California. But the fact that we have a man-child in office who purposefully taunts “nanny-nanny-boo-boos” at other world leaders, political opponents, members of his own party and people on his cabinet is more than a disgrace.
It’s an international tragedy.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.