As I write this, it is a beautiful day in San Francisco. It’s in the mid-60s and will probably reach the 70s. This is gorgeous weather — possibly perfect — but it doesn’t matter. There is a dark and inconsolable cloud hovering over this city like a funeral veil.
On election night, I was at El Rio. We watched the TVs and drank and soft-laughed, trying to push away the gnawing feeling that tragedy was waiting for us just around the corner. And it was, with a bludgeon the size of nearly 60 million scared and angry white voters. I was about to order a drink when I looked up and saw nothing on the screen.
“Hey, why’s the TV off?” I asked Pete Kane.
“It’s over,” he responded. “They turned it off.”
“Wait, what do you mean?” I couldn’t quite process it. “Are you fucking with me?”
“I wouldn’t joke about this”
I felt my face fall from confusion to desolation and I crumpled, weeping into Pete’s chest as he hugged me. I don’t cry very often, especially not in public, but there I was, gushing a river in the middle of El Rio while the low hum of heartbreak passed through the crowd.
This whole time, we thought the 2016 Election was the end of the Republican Party when, in actuality, it’s the end of the Democratic one. Those of us who fought hard and banged and yelled, mean as hell for Bernie Sanders … well, we got took. When finally there was a candidate who was sick of the corporate shill job that is the Democratic Party, the DNC did all it could to bury him. They obfuscated his message because it was Hillary’s turn, goddamnit, and they didn’t build this system to work for them just so that a socialist Jew from Vermont could actually deliver on the promises they’d been breaking for all these years.
Looking back now, it’s like it was pulled straight from Dostoevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor.”
They sabotaged Bernie and then made us feel bad about it, selling us on apocalyptic damnation, in order to scare us into line. They got us like the suckers we are, but apparently just didn’t do a good enough job.
This was not a case of the “Silent Majority.” No, this was the unsilent one. The loud, obnoxious one. The onerous one. The terrifying one. The one that represents the dark side of all these truths that we hold to be self-evident. Because it is devastatingly clear that we are not all created equal, not in the eyes of this country, not in the eyes of nearly 60 million people who voted to elect a man who grabs women by the pussy while calling Mexicans rapists. This is who the fuck we are as a country, and it is harrowing. I can barely look myself in the mirror.
I didn’t stand there in El Rio, weeping into Pete Kane’s shirt, because I gave a shit about Hillary Clinton. I cried for us. I cried for those of us who knew better but went along with it anyway. I cried for those of us who towed the party line out of fear instead of principal. I cried for all my brothers and sisters who are queer, or black, or Latino, or Muslim, or Jewish, or anything but chickenshit, scared white people. I cried because I realized that this election wasn’t about democracy or making the world a better place; it was about who could do a better job of scaring citizens into voting.
And the Democratic machine couldn’t even do that right.
So, I’m done. I’m out. You lost us, many many of us. I don’t mean I’m done fighting for justice, equality and equity — hell no. I’m done with the Democratic Party, if there still is one. And now that I’m done crying, it’s time to pick up the pieces and keep pushing. There’s a whole lot of ugliness on the horizon, and we’ve got work to do.
And one last thing: Fuck you, Donald Trump.
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.