In my vision I’m sitting on my couch, watching television with a faceless child, one of several in my ever-growing tribe. We’re watching another mediocre clip show called I Love the Twentyteens. Each episode is apparently broken down by year and this one is 2016.
It starts off with various b-list celebrities reminiscing about the time our country had a collective stroke over the Ghostbusters remake. And then the tone changes and the music gets ominous. An image of Donald Trump’s face floats across the screen with glowing red eyes, as the voice of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings movies bellows, “I see you,” in the background. What follows is a flurry of standup comedians and TV personalities laughing about the time Trump thought he’d built a movement.
They talk about the complete meltdown he had when it became clear he wasn’t going to win the election, and how he turned the misogyny and the hate speech up to eleven. As still images from his campaign trail montage, one into the next, they make jokes about his hideous appearance, his crepe-paper ego, and they marvel that there could ever have been a time when a large segment of the populace could have allowed themselves to be talked into giving that much power to such a petty, horrible man.
The screen crash cuts to video footage of white, screaming mobs at his rallies, shoving people of color and vomiting hate speech all over them. A comedian’s voice speaks somberly about Trump’s efforts to create civil unrest and derail the whole country out of spite. Screen grabs of racist threats and calls for revolution on various internet message boards stream across the screen. If the people couldn’t have their bloated, hate-filled demagogue in the White House then by god, they were going to burn this country to the ground.
“But then he lost and nothing happened,” says a game show host.
“Clinton was inaugurated and nothing was on fire,” says a podcast host.
And the child sitting next to me turns and asks if that’s really what happened. And I explain to him that yes, these were the same people who didn’t want to pick their own produce, let alone sacrifice their personal comfort for the sake of a political point. For all their anger and bluster, they were just bloated, racist dinosaurs who hadn’t yet realized they were already extinct. And the 2016 election was their death rattle.
“It’s like…if you’re going to have a revolution you should really make sure your army is made out of something sturdier than hatred and gout,” says an ageless Michael Ian Black.
And the child and I laughed.