Everyone around me keeps talking about how America is heading for a civil war– so I did what any reasonable citizen would do: I bought a pizza, a bottle of wine, and set out in search of YouTube videos to walk me through the logistics of fleeing the country.
Alex was like “what if we trigger some kind of red flag by searching this stuff?”
But I was like “nah, man– it’s the internet. Any video we watch will already have 4.4 million views.”
Except, no. I’m definitely on some kind of list now, because these videos do not exist. I find this troubling because I can find a video of literally A N Y T H I N G on the internet– so either this vital content is being censored OR the Prepared Among Us are keeping it to themselves because they’re already planning to raid our homes and seize our non perishables as soon as society collapses.
Never one to be bested, I made up for YouTube’s deficiency by spending 7.5 hours of the following workday digging through Doomsday Prepper forums. Thankfully, my anxiety was almost completely alleviated because there’s little to worry about it IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE FIRST ONE TO DIE. Once you sort through their inner circle terminology and acronyms the only thing you really need to know is that you’re SOL.
I’m not sure I’d really want to survive though. Have you even seen 28 Days Later? It’s not the zombies we need to be worried about, it’s the other humans. Worry less about someone wanting to eat your BRAINS and take a moment to give a bit of side eye to those who are trying to control it by filling you up with fear and paranoia and tribalism.
Everyone keeps saying we need to reach across the aisle and IDK, guys. They may be onto something, because the people I tend to ideologically disagree with the most are also the ones with weapon caches, militia training grounds, and industrial sized buckets of slow-decay peanut butter. Believe me, no one is more brokenhearted to realize all those organic 98% cacao chips I’ve been buying for $17.99/lb at Whole Foods aren’t going to be what keeps me alive.
Then again, I guess I’d rather perish like an ill-advised snack than become an inaugural member of Gilead. Think I’m exaggerating? Please, step into my iPhone camera roll, where I have an entire folder of screenshots where people discuss lining Democrats up against a wall for the firing squad, or shooting Muslim women who dare to walk down their street, or how the Bible says it’s okay to rape your wife because lol that is what they are there for!
Someone here in the comments will be like “I can find liberals who are just as crazy” and I don’t necessarily disagree with you because being a horrible human being is a nonpartisan issue. But it also seems like we now have an entire subset of the voting population who thinks that holding the above “opinions” = their valid political beliefs = God’s will for his fav country of America. And lest you accuse me of cherry picking from the extremists, the above screenshots are all from PEOPLE I KNOW AND/OR ARE RELATED TO. Anyone who tries to tell you that people who think and act this way are a rarity are simply wrong. I come from that world, and I know how they think and they think people like me are “sick and disgusting” because they assume I spend my Thursday evenings slaughtering innocent (white) children on the altar of my god, Hilary Sorosantifa.
They also show up to vote every time they get the chance.
It used to just be the people on the Right who were digging bunkers beneath their houses. But now it’s the liberals too– “the Republicans are going to take over the government and make laws to keep themselves in power and lock POC in cages and shoot people they consider inferior and/or legislate them out of existence while setting a precedent for sexual assault being a boyhood rite of passage” and it’s like HOLD UP haven’t we been recycling this same plot for the last 242 seasons of the America Show?
I know there’s such a thing as the Trump Effect, but a part of me wonders if the real Trump Effect is just that all of us oblivious non-marginalized people are finally seeing the hatred, intolerance, and bigotry that has steered this country since the good old days when we were Great. I’m not saying we should clap ourselves on the back because we eradicated polio and have things like Uber, but let’s not forget how shitty things have been in the past. So, yes– we should all be freaking out because we aren’t there yet — but we should also realize that our country has always been this bad for certain groups of people, and that it’s our turn to pay it forward in trying to improve that disheartening reality.
People from My Old Days who read this will tear their clothing, throw ash on their heads, and weep “the liberals got to you!” while I’m over here thinking “I don’t remember getting gotten, I just remember the dawning realization that I’d been raised to never ever under any circumstances entertain the prospect of possibly taking it under consideration that maybe I might be capable of mustering an original thought.”
So here’s my contribution to an effort of civility: It’s probably a bad use of your intelligence to automatically hate someone just because they’re not in your political party.* A woman I know recently posted something about how she “wasn’t so sure about Trump”, but she’d vote for him again just because The Liberals™ hate him so much– “if the devil hates you, you must be doing something right!” Wow, guys. I’m the devil? And here I just thought it would be great to still have a planet after 2050.
Anyways. Before we bunker, we flee, right? This idea does not make me sad. I’ve been preoccupied with faking my own death and vanishing in the dark of the night since the earliest days of the internet. It’s literally the first thing I typed into a search engine when all those shrink wrapped AOL CDs started showing up in the mid 90s. My schoolmates were like “check out these internet pictures of Salt-N-Peppa” and I was like “check out this geocities webpage about how to live off the grid and establish a network of bolt holes.”
Except if America feels like the Titanic then we need to realize there definitely aren’t enough lifeboats– and I’m certainly not going to be one of the fur-draped assholes who listens to the quartet while everyone else sinks into the Upside Down. I know it’s way more tempting to just embrace your daily digest of rage-inducing headlines, but we also need to inform ourselves and VOTE IN THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS.**
I get that it’s easier to not think about it– especially if you’re not a member of a group that’s being targeted. But I think the bunker people are onto something: Our country is in danger of slipping into territory we should have left behind decades ago. It’s always frustrating to not advance as quickly as we’d like, but the idea of moving backwards is terrifying. I don’t want to know what that looks like.
So please make sure you’re registered to vote in time, and please do some googling on what’s at stake, and please actually remember to show up. It’s so important– especially for my fellow avocado-toast-ingesting millennials– to actually participate in our shit show of a political situation.
Last month, a coworker mentioned one of the candidates in our own gubernatorial race and I was like *blink blink* because I’d become so checked out– despite being able to recite every single piece of information publicly known about Brett Kavanaugh– that I was completely ignorant of anything happening in my actual state where I’m registered to vote.
No bueno, guys. Don’t be like me. And don’t be like Jack Dawson.
The door is big enough for all of us. Never let go.
*Then again, people in MAGA hats are probably not going to be allowed in my bunker because my bunker is a No Genitals Gabbing safe haven where we believe in literacy and science.
** Unless of course you don’t live in the states, in which case I request that you burn some sage and waft it in our general direction.
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