A few times in my life, I’ve felt the Fear. When terror — long drawn-out exhausting fear — works itself to such a pitch inside you that you end up punching right through it, and a calm resignation takes over. You understand at a time like that that there’s absolutely nothing you can think of doing that might change the flow, to alter events in any way, and you become an observer. Whether it’s the cornered herbivore going limp as the predator’s teeth close around its throat or a detached zen calm is a matter of debate. Either way, it’s an instructive place to sit, in the eye of the storm, wrapped in a mental silence, utterly still.
I feel that way at the moment with regard to the American election. As anyone who’s ever subjected themselves to the Comedy Ranting of the wonderchicken is amply aware, I’ve made clear my feelings about the criminal scum who’ve left their snail tracks of glistening goo all over the remnants of a once-great nation. Although I’ve been accused of trying to sway people with my screeds and polemics, that has never been the case, at least not consciously. I was just playing. Writing for me is a ludic thing. I don’t want to change your mind, I just enjoy speaking mine, and playing with words while I do it. Maybe even having a conversation.
The rage, of course, was always genuine. It still is. But the fire’s banked at the moment. Not a flame to be seen, even if the carbon-black belly of the stove is glowing fiercely. It’s not about me, though.
It’s about you, my American friends. Much as I’ve castigated you as collectively stupid, hopelessly parochial, misguided and misled, lazy, fat and terrifyingly unaware of the great evils wrought in your name all around the world, well, I still love you. In the particular, if not the abstract. I was just poking fun. Serious jokes. You always hurt the ones you love, right?
Just like Jon Stewart, I want it both ways, you see. I want to be the funny monkey, and I want to tell hard truths. Serious jokes. I do believe it’s possible to have it both ways, and dangerously simpleminded to expect otherwise.
But this time, I’m going to speak plainly, from this terrified pocket of calm, not because it will make a difference to what’s going to happen, but because I would be betraying myself if I remained silent. We’re begging you, our American friends, our American enemies, our American taskmasters and landlords, our American occupiers and our American pimps, our American sisters and brothers, to do the right thing next week. We’re depending on you, all of us out here in the Outlands. We know you don’t give a flying f–k about us, really, all us furriners. We know you want what’s best for your country, your people, your families. You don’t want to hear our opinions about your politics. We understand that.
But do you remember when the whole world wept along with you and averred ‘We are all Americans‘ after that terrible day 3 years ago? It was true, then. It is hard, my friends, to find many who feel that way today.
Many of us believe that what’s best for America need not also be what’s worst for the rest of the world.
So please. Please. Vote next week. Think, read, put aside your tribal affiliations, and vote. I don’t even care who you vote for, because, much as I’ve abused you all in fun, I trust that most of you are good people, and that if more than the customary
40% 55% [thanks, Dan] or so of you do your duty as citizens and go to the polls, nothing can result but a landslide for the Other Guy.
I’m begging you. We’re all begging you. Do the right thing.