So I have spent the past few weeks of my life reading a truly atrocious right-wing prepper novel.  I’m a masochist, I know.  The story takes place in the Northwest and is every armed MAGA hatter’s fantasy.  Portland, which is naturally a socialist hellhole, collapses in riot and flames, overcome by raging violent hordes of Antifa types.  The intrepid conservative heroine of the tale, who’s been hoarding guns and vacuum-sealed bags of food, has been ready for this moment and escapes into the mountains of Colorado, which are blessedly free of Democratic voters and immigrants.

Reading this alt-right daydream about the collapse of the world as we know it reminded me of a suspicion I’ve had for a long time now–that if an apocalypse comes, I don’t think I want to survive it.

I can picture it now–the day all the preppers have been waiting for.  Smoke is rising from the ruined cities, no doubt done in by the disastrous policies of providing union jobs and offering free school lunches to kids.  As the murderous socialist hipsters finish each other off in the blue urban areas, the few who are wise enough to understand what’s going on flee to the red countryside, where they go back to the old ways, hunting and sewing their own clothes and working the land and…barf.

I know, I know, you’re supposed to appreciate being alive no matter what.  But seriously?  I grew up on a farm and never liked farming.  I don’t even like gardening in my suburban yard.  I’ve never felt any kind of mystical connection while digging around in the dirt, except for the mystical thought that I wanted to go back inside and read the news.  And don’t even get me started on my failed attempts at sewing back in home economics class.

And I would miss all the things I’m not supposed to miss about the modern world.  Starbucks.  Playing around on my phone.  Riding on a crowded bus.  The gentrified downtown of my city.  Truth is, I actually love working my comfy cubicle job and eating artificially colored snacks from the vending machine.

Right, if only I could learn to let go of all that stuff, I would find that there is a magical, natural lifestyle waiting for me of running barefoot in the grass, baking my own bread made from my own grain, which I would be able to eat in the log cabin I built myself.  I refuse to learn that lesson.  Why?  Because I’m happy right now, in this messy, cluttered, imperfect world.  I get the feeling that a lot of the preppers are secretly hoping for a catastrophe, because there is something missing in their lives (maybe excitement?).  I also hope that they do find what they’re searching for…but without the rest of us having to go down in flames in the process.

So in short, if the zombie apocalypse ever does come, feel free to throw me off the back of the truck as bait.  No, really.  I’m okay with not continuing my existence at that point.

Knowing my luck, though, I will end up very much alive and stuck in some happy clappy farming commune.  I’ll be easy to spot–I’ll be the one sneaking away from the fields with a beer, desperately trying to find a wi-fi signal.

Note:  For any of my readers willing to torture themselves, the prepper novel is titled A Great State and written by Shelby Gallagher.  It’s part of a trilogy, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach the other two parts.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been seeing a lot of supportive I’m With Her posts on my newsfeed.  Mostly, I think, in reaction to the utterly disgusting and frightening comments Trump has made, both at the debates and in his personal life.  It’s been nice to see those posts popping up.

This has been a rough year for some of us who have, indeed, been with her.  For a while there, during the primaries, being a Hillary supporter was practically a mortal sin.  Here in Portland, it would probably require going to confession 😉  I know I mostly remained quiet about it on social media, as I didn’t want to get my head bitten off by Bernie supporters.  I also didn’t want to lose good friendships–not worth it over a crazy election year.  And I know for a fact of other Facebook friends who supported Hillary–they told me so in person–but didn’t post very much about it either.

Now, I can completely understand people disagreeing with Hillary’s policies.  I can even understand people not voting for her in November and will not lecture anyone about that choice.  I do believe in people voting their conscience.  If that means voting for a third party this election, so be it. But during primary season, things went a little farther than that.  Hillary was more than just an opposing candidate.  She was evil.  She was a fascist.  She was Satan.  She would mean a nuclear war and the end of the world.  As opposed to Bernie, whose little bird was a divine sign of approval from God or Mother Earth. No wonder that voting for Hillary made me feel like I should put on my devil horns and mount the seven-headed beast of the Apocalypse before filling out my ballot.

Why am I saying all of this now?  Sure, there’s some small amount of satisfaction in seeing more open support of Hillary lately.  Even more so since I think she will make a much better President than people give her credit for.  But mostly, this is an apology to myself.  There’s no pride in being a coward and keeping silent about what you believe.  Especially when I consider myself a “political blogger” unafraid to “express my opinions” and all this other bullshit.  You’re supposed to do that precisely when it’s difficult and unpopular, not when it’s easy.  Maybe when the next election comes around, I’ll be a little bit braver.  For now, go Hillary!

I’ve been hearing so much fearmongering about Common Core lately that I just had to go and check it out for myself.  Common Core is a set of new educational standards which has been adopted by most of the country at this time, and it has already been compared to the Hitler Youth and described as Marxist indoctrination.  As always, rumors of the Apocalypse are much exaggerated.

When I went to the Common Core page, I saw scary objectives for kids such as this one:  “Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.”  I looked in various sections, such as History and Science, to see if I could find any propaganda about climate change or sneaky suggestions to share your financial profits with the less fortunate.  But I found nothing except requirements for mastering specific technical and analytical skills in each grade.  For those of you who are petitioning against Common Core, if I have missed something, please let me know.

Perhaps this is the problem:  “Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.”  Many of the commentators who bash Common Core are not just religious, but of the fundamentalist religious bent, and I’ve found that fundamentalists dislike the idea of children being taught to dissect and challenge what they read–after all, one day they might challenge what they read in the Bible, and then what?

If people are this scared of something as simple as Common Core, I can’t imagine how they would have felt about my Dutch education, which included very open sex ed and a class on world religions, in which kids from different religious traditions were encouraged to describe their faith to their fellow students.  I think I’ve turned out just fine–and I can tell the fundies that I didn’t end up sexually promiscuous or an atheist–but they probably think I’m messed up anyway, so I won’t waste my time.

The NSA scandal has messed everything up.  I’m accustomed to all the usual suspects supporting each other on their respective sides of the battle, but alliances are splitting up on both the left and right, and my political spidey sense is going out of whack.

Now Rand Paul is getting ready to file a civil suit against the NSA, and he will find support for this action from both the ACLU and–if it gets to the Supreme Court–from a sympathetic Sonia Sotomayor.  This has to be the first time I have ever seen an article from a Cato Institute author praising Justice Sotomayor for anything she’s done.  Sen. Paul disagrees with fellow Republicans like Rubio and McConnell about this, but does agree with Michael Moore.

Even worse, I find myself agreeing with Rand Paul and disagreeing with President Obama in this situation.  Time for cats and dogs to start mating, and the Apocalypse to happen.

I’m back at work after Thanksgiving break and that can only mean one thing…listening to Glenn Beck in the morning for amusement.  This week, Beck went on for a while about how wonderful and peace-loving his followers are.  He recounted an anecdote about a book signing at which he was protested by mean-spirited, table-climbing Occupy radicals–and in response, his supporters sang Christmas carols.  He talked about how the liberal media will smear them and say they are horrible, when in reality, these are the good people.

I spent quite a bit of time after election night on The Blaze, Beck’s online forum, so something about this didn’t sound right to me.  And lo and behold, here are some quotes from Glenn’s peaceful fans:

“This country or at least half the people in it are a lost cause.  It doesn’t matter who wins at this point if we are forced to live with these vermin.  It’s time we start eliminating them now.”

“I for one will no longer give to charity in the event that my money would ever help someone who voted for Obama or worse someone who didn’t get off their lazy azz to go vote or decided that it didn’t matter.”

“I like Rush’s idea:  kick all of the Liberals out of the West Coast (and shoot them if they try to come back)”

“I’ve lost all faith in america I hope she burns”

“May the coming nuclear strikes hit the big blue cities.”

“Enjoy your trip to the concentration camp and don’t ask for my help, I voted for the American.”

About Californians:  “I don’t want to sound crazy, but why does it seem like they need to be contained or eradicated to control their disastrous spread.”

About libertarians:  “We might as well have shot them all to death.”

“Oh yeah, New York and New Jersey…have fun with the noreaster.  I hope you all freeze.  I hope the rats eat your children while they spread the plague to the dim-witted adults who for years have embraced left-wing politicians that have made your states the disasters they are.”

“I hope you’re regulars at soup kitchens because money troubles wrent your families apart.”

“I hope that Obama gets cancer.”

Ah yes, these are the good folks.  Now, I get that not everyone on The Blaze acts this way, but every discussion thread I went to on this site included multiple comments either threatening violence or wishing suffering and a slow death to those with opposing political views.  And these are the people I’m supposed to go to for Christian love…?

Links to the discussions I’ve culled these quotes from, if you’re brave enough:  here, here, here, here and here.

 

This one goes out to my conservative peeps, and there are a lot of you out there.  You’re my friends and neighbors and co-workers, and while our worldviews are very different, the conservatives I know are decent and responsible, and yeah, even compassionate.

Here’s what I want to say to you:  there’s no reason to freak out this much about the election results.  Democracy isn’t ending.  The world isn’t ending.  Liberal locusts aren’t raining from the sky.  I’m seeing a lot of talk of secession online, which I assume is just bluster meant to cover up hurt egos.  Where exactly are you seceding to?  You and I are stuck with each other in this country, whether we like it or not.

Also?  I know exactly how you’re feeling right now.  I remember hearing the election results back in 2004.  I remember being just as shocked and distraught.  “How could this guy have gotten re-elected?”  But we liberals survived eight years of Bush.  And you’ll survive eight years of Obama.  America has survived far more serious times, including a real civil war.  It has survived far more sweeping and bigger governmental programs being instituted than any Obama has proposed.  And after all the turmoil and change, it’s still America.  And it’s still a democracy.  A democracy which, by the way, worked exactly as intended on Tuesday.

I realize that you won’t believe me no matter how much I say it, but Obama isn’t about to usher in a new Communist era in the United States.  He’s not even progressive enough for most of us progressives.  And if by Communism you mean that weak sauce Republican health care plan which got passed into law instead of single payer, then that is one bizarre idea of Communism.  No, I feel pretty comfortable predicting that America will remain a firmly capitalist society.

And as always, the political process will remain a cycle.  At some point, another Republican President will get elected, and I will feel as if everything is coming to an end.  But that won’t be true, either.  Hang in there and trust me, your day will come again.  Unless you decide to secede before then–and that would just be silly.

Okay, so that Plan B I had in case everything went to hell?  I hate to be a pessimist *again*, but it seems to have flown out the window and bounced out the door.  At least one aspect of it.

I was hoping that if we truly went to Hades in a conservative handbasket, I would be able to focus on local political action.  Specifically, I had imagined that if the Affordable Care Act was struck down by the Supremes, there would be ways for progressive activists to make universal health care happen here in Oregon.  We’re a liberal state, so it didn’t seem like a stretch.  Or I could finally give in to my mother’s nagging and move East, to Vermont or Massachusetts, one of the states that had a good health care system already in place.

Now I’m hearing from various places that if the individual mandate is rejected by the court, this will automatically make the individual mandate in these state programs unconstitutional as well, and it will mean that most of these plans will come to an end.  I’m hearing this from fellow liberals, not conservatives.

Is this true?  I really hope it isn’t.  If it is, there’s nowhere left to go.  Every place in America, even the places which would like to have universal coverage, will be stuck with the abuses of the status quo system.

There’s always the option of going overseas:  plenty of countries which not only have universal health care, but take it for granted and don’t have to deal with huge political fights about it.  But as I’ve said before, I just don’t see myself leaving this country.  I have too many friendships, people I care about—I have roots here now.  I’ve grown to love this place.

So, Plan C—if things are going down in flames and there’s not much I can do about it, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the bread and circuses, and the good company.  If we’re headed in the direction I think we are, and I end up living in the slums, at least I’ll be with my friends!