In which I’m still here and nothing is okay


Got that one wrong.

Like a lot of white people, I keep wanting to write things like “I did not realize I lived in a country this hateful.”  I already Tweeted that my main mistake was underestimating the number of assholes in America.  I genuinely didn’t think there were enough white assholes to elect Trump.  That right there is a failure of empathy on my part; people of color and LGBTQ people and any number of others who aren’t straight cis white people have been telling us this for years, and while I thought I was listening I clearly wasn’t.  America isn’t any different from what it was a few days ago.  There’s just a whole lot of white people who can’t deny what America is any longer.  The proof just got rubbed in our faces; it’s going to keep getting rubbed in our faces repeatedly for the next several years.  I was proud, the other day, to realize that my son was going to be nine before there was even a chance of a white male being President during his lifetime.  Now I have to worry about what the next four years are going to do to him, and wonder whether living in the St. Joseph Valley will protect us from fallout from the Cook Nuclear plant the way it occasionally keeps thunderstorms from hitting us.

To be clear: White people.  This is your fault.  I am keeping my strong slapping hand oiled and in reserve for anyone pointing fingers of blame at any other group than white Americans, and particularly white male Americans, for what just happened.   I don’t want to hear shit about Democratic turnout.  I don’t want to hear shit about Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, or Gary Johnson.

This happened because white people wanted it to.  Everything that happens in the next four years is the fault of white people.  I said this on Twitter, too, and not for the first time: this happened because most white people in America would happily live in a box under a bridge so long as they could see a black family nearby that didn’t have a box or didn’t get to live under a bridge.

And here’s the thing, white folk: I’m talking to myself here, too.  We’re in the fucking mess we’re in because we didn’t do enough.  Each and every fucking one of us had family members, friends, co-workers who we knew were voting Trump.  I know for damn sure I’ve been doing a lot of keeping my mouth clamped shut and walking away at work lately, or letting clearly insane nonsense pass by in the name of a harmonious workplace.  I didn’t do a damn thing to move any of these people.  And now Mike Pence is going to be Vice-President.  A guy who probably wouldn’t even have been re-elected Governor.

I don’t want to hear shit about black turnout, white people.  We did this.  We own it.  And the consequences are on us and the blood– and there has already been blood, and there will be more– is on our hands.

There’s an American flag hanging on the wall to my left right now.  I’ve had an American flag hanging on the wall somewhere in my house or apartment for basically as long as I’ve been paying for somewhere to live on my own.  I looked at it yesterday and strongly considered taking it down.  Frankly, I could use the wall space for other things.  The alternative is some sort of (pointless) symbolic gesture.  Hang it upside down, something like that.  I think I’ve come up with a solution I like, though: I’ve just ordered a new flag, a rainbow flag like the one at the top of this post.  I’m hanging it on top of the flag on the wall.

I’ve had that flag on the wall for years because I hate what the right wing has done to the word “patriot.”  If you hear someone call themselves a patriot nowadays, chances are real high that that person is some flavor of asshole.  I’ve always considered myself one anyway; perhaps I’m just a different flavor of asshole than most.  Licorice, maybe.  But the thing is that, as I said above, I can’t pretend that there’s some inner core to America that’s worth being proud of any longer.  America is a sick, broken place, and we’re about to get a whole lot worse before we get any better.  And there are plenty of people out there who are being harmed by that sick society on a daily basis, and those people need me to remember them rather than let some fuzzy-headed, warm version of America take over my thoughts again.  The country I allowed myself to think I lived in was never real, and it was never great.  And I owe it to a whole lot of people to not forget that again.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan just announced his intent to “phase out” Medicare and replace it with private insurance.  Obamacare’s likely to get repealed within a week or so of the new regime taking over.  Who knows what other horrors are ahead of us.

This is going to kill a whole lot of people, and that’s before he starts any new wars.

You voted for this, white America.  And I’m not planning on letting you forget it.

On a more personal note: I was a very, very angry person during the Bush administration, and what scares me the most– and I know this is a selfish reaction– about all this is that I cannot go back to who I was during those years.  I was angry on the side of righteousness, but I feel like calling it “all-consuming” might understate what was going on.

And this will be worse.  There’s been an ironclad rule about the Republican party during my adult life: they only get worse, and they always get worse.  I will be nostalgic for George W. Bush soon.  And that is terrifying.

I spent a moment Tuesday night considering putting Luther Siler as a thing to bed for good.  You all know this is a pen name, if you’ve been reading for a while.  I don’t need to be a guy who vomits anger into the internet every day.  I haven’t sold a book in two months and the one I’m working on is so stagnant that it may as well be dead.  It would be one less thing to worry about in a time where I very much need to consolidate my priorities and figure out what is important and what I need to be focusing on.  I think I’ve moved beyond that at this point– that was literally a first-night reaction– but something may need to change.  We’ll see.

The new/last A Tribe Called Quest album is wonderful, by the way.  I may as well make a half-assed attempt to end on a positive note, here; music will probably get better for a few years.  Next to a pile of bodies, that’s not much, but at least it’s something.

Yeah, I know.  It’s not.

Current emotional state in two songs


8:29:  In front of the TV, iPad on Twitter to my left, laptop in my lap, pile of tacos and Mountain Dew on my right.  I HAVE ON MY JACKASS WRISTBAND AND FLORIDA IS TIGHT.  LET’S DO THIS, MOTHERFUCKERS.

8:30: The dumbnuts on CNN just called Trump’s lead in Florida “impressive.”  It’s five-tenths of a percent.  MUST HAVE TACOS.

8:31: I knock my iPad to the floor accidentally and decide one device is enough.  CNN calls a few states that surprise no one.  Fucking Marco Rubio appears to have won in Florida, which disappoints, and Evan Bayh lost in Indiana, which surprises me a lot.  So far though, no states surprise me.

8:35:  Remember, guys, California, Oregon and Washington are getting called LAST.  Don’t forget that when Wolfie pretends this is back-and-forth or close.

8:37: John King going over the Map of Doom for Florida has convinced me that Clinton is going to win the state.  If Clinton takes Florida we’re done here.

8:38: I’ll be wearing this shirt tomorrow by the way:


8:41: I’m out of tacos.  WHY AM I OUT OF TACOS ALREADY?

8:42: Eating six tacos in eleven minutes may have been unwise.

8:43: Do you ever get the feeling watching these things that Wolf Blitzer is too dumb to play with the map and is really jealous of John King for being the magic map guy?

8:44: Hey, cool, Mishawaka passed a schools referendum.  Toilet paper and chalk for everyone!

8:48: This blurry mess on the side of the Empire State building isn’t actually that impressive, guys.

8:51: My Internet connection shits the bed and CNN goes away.

8:53: Okay, I admit it, I’m a little nervous.


8:55:  I shoulda done a map.  I honestly can’t remember.  Was I expecting Virginia to turn blue?  Yes, I think.

8:59: Okay, I know Utah doesn’t close for a while, but can we agree that once again no one gives a shit about the third-party vote?  Because clearly we don’t.

9:00:  A bunch of states close.  Any surprises?  Hell yes.  TOO CLOSE TO CALL IN MOTHERFUCKING TEXAS.

9:03: Hey, who won in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, anyway?

9:05:  Clinton won both.  Wolf Blitzer has no idea what the word “impressive” means.  Meanwhile, it might be time to go ahead and call Georgia.

9:06:  All this yellow CNN is using is screwing with me.

9:08: Looks like somebody’s called Texas, which is disappointing.

9:11:  Let’s take a dance break:


9:18:  Well, it’s clearly going to be closer than I’d thought, but the exact same story is playing out in every state: waiting for the cities to come in, just like always.  I’m starting to get text messages from people.  It’ll be fine, folks.

9:20:  Liveblog over, I gotta find out where CNN is broadcasting from and go punch Wolfie in the throat so that he shuts up.

9:27:  Not updating as frequently because nothing is happening.  I kinda feel like Johnny would kill for a glass of water right now.

9:29:  Wolf seems to think that his job is to point at the map and recite random facts and/or to request a change of the state they’re discussing to some random other one.

9:30: I’d like a Senate update, please.

9:33:  Ugh.  I was really hoping to be done by eleven.

9:36: Seeing reports on Twitter that Michigan’s getting called for Clinton by some news services.  Meanwhile, CNN is showing MI’s raw vote total at Trump, for whatever that’s worth, which isn’t much.

9:40: No one on CNN has said the word “Senate” in the hour I’ve been watching.

9:41: Two more unsurprising projections, as Louisiana and Connecticut go the way everyone figured they would.

9:44:  Perhaps time for this again:


9:47: Has Georgia been called yet?

9:52: Virginia is closing.  Florida and Ohio looking ugly.

9:56: What the hell is taking New Hampshire so long?  I feel like they should be closer to done by now.

9:59:  My wife, tired of putting up with CNN, starts watching Gotham on the iPad.

10:01:  CNN calls Montana for Trump, another “no surprise” state.  Wolf calls a bunch of leads “impressive” again.

10:03:  Trump’s up 20 points in Georgia right now.  Why hasn’t that state been called yet?  Is Atlanta just not in at all right now?

10:07:  Also I swear no one has said the word “Maine” all night.

10:13:  I spend some time being reassuring on Facebook.  I briefly consider just going to bed and then laugh at myself.  I may need some more Mountain Dew.

10:15:  Continuing the “no surprises” theme: New Mexico called for Clinton, something else… Missouri?  called for Trump.


10:19:  Seriously why is no one talking about Maine.  I wanna know what’s going on in Maine!

10:23: What is this “Upshot” thing I’m hearing a lot about tonight for the first time ever?  Should I care about it?  Going to go with no; I don’t have time to care about new things.

10:24:  These ads for Man in the High Castle are not helping.

10:25:  Twitter reporting Ohio’s been called for Trump.  This is the first genuinely alarming result of the night.

10:35:  Maybe for the next election the urban areas everywhere could report first?  That would be cool.

10:36:  Twitter was moving a lot faster during the debates.  Interesting fact.

10:40:  CNN calls Virginia for Clinton.  Good; we needed that one.

10:41: A reminder that numbers in Michigan are pointless until Detroit starts coming in.

10:43: CNN apparently doesn’t realize this fact, as they’re really trying to drag importance out of early returns from Michigan.

10:44:  I don’t even know why:


10:46:  I note that results in Michigan are tightening.


10:50:  Colorado called for Clinton.  Didn’t they just call Colorado?  Argh.

10:51: The other mystery state is Georgia, which they’re showing us on rare occasions and Trump has been dominating.  I don’t know why it’s not called yet unless they’re still waiting on Atlanta.  I think I just said that a few minutes ago.  I’m getting tired.

10:54: Michigan has tightened by a full point in the last eight minutes.

10:56:  Seeing reports that Florida has been called for Trump.  Okay.  Now I’m nervous.

11:00:  Idaho, California, and Hawaii immediately called.  Still no surprises. CNN hasn’t called Florida yet which surprises me.

11:04:  Did I just miss the part of the night where they talked about the exit polling, by the way?  Someone just made reference to the gender gap; they’ve not mentioned those numbers at all tonight.

11:05:  Michigan down to 1.3 points.  I don’t see that holding.

11:06: In the most surreal moment of the night, John King pulls his iPhone out of his pocket to use his calculator.  He has the same case I used to have.  wtud.png

11:07:  And there goes North Carolina.  Still no Florida or Georgia.

11:11:  JOE ARPAIO LOST!  Finally some unalloyed good news.  Then again, Trump will probably make him Secretary of State.

11:18:  Oregon comes in.

11:19:  I get up to take a piss and feed the cat.  Hoping the world doesn’t burn down while I’m gone.

11:24:  I seem to have left all of my optimism on the couch when I got up.  That’s a problem.

11:32:  King quickly passes over the fact that Pittsburgh is only 25% in.  Pennsylvania’s going to be fine.

11:35:  Florida called for Trump.  There is now no margin left at all.  We’re probably fucked at this point.

11:41: Maybe take two minutes and click on that Senate graph.  Meanwhile, Washington unsurprisingly called for Clinton.

11:48:  Yeah, getting up was definitely the wrong thing to do, because all optimism is gone at this point.  Mike fucking Pence is about to be Vice-President.

11:50:  No.  NO.  Not Anderson Cooper and his gang of nimrods.  Please.  Fucking no.  This is already depressing enough.


11:52: Wasn’t there an Alaska poll showing Clinton up by four points recently?  That would be the only way for this to be even more insane if Hillary won Alaska.

11:54:  62% of voters didn’t think Trump was qualified to be President.  Some of them apparently voted for him anyway.

12:02:  I’m not sure how much I’ve got left here, guys.  I’m completely unprepared for this.  At no point– at no fucking point whatsoever— in the last year did I even imagine this to be possible.  I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to process it.  I want to go wake my son up and hug him.

12:05: Pennsylvania, somehow, is a tenth of a point apart.

12:08:  Okay, Pittsburgh’s still only 25% in.  But they just called Iowa for Trump.  This is over.  God.

12:22:  I’m going to bed.  Don’t expect a post tomorrow.

A few potentially useful reminders regarding tomorrow’s events


I’m working until eight tomorrow, which is par for the course on a Tuesday, and frankly is probably the best thing for my mental health, since I’ll be able to keep myself busy (vacuum ALL THE THINGS!!) and hopefully won’t be able to stress about the election.  By the time I get home I expect to know who my new governor and senator and representatives are.  I will be liveblogging from basically the second I’m able to get in front of the TV until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer or I decide to kill myself, whichever comes first.

Until then, some thoughts:

  • Do not panic.
  • No, really.  Do not panic.
  • This is a nation of 350 million people and many millions of them will be voting tomorrow.  Note that shit is going to go wrong somewhere.  Many somewheres, in fact.  Try not to draw conclusions and connect dots where there shouldn’t be connected dots.  For example:
  • Someone, somewhere, is going to lose a box of ballots that won’t be found until late.  Chances are the reason will be incompetence and not malfeasance.
  • Someone, somewhere, is going to be denied a vote who should not have been.  In fact, probably several someones.  This is regrettable but is also unavoidable.  Again: 350,000,000 people.  Mistakes are going to be made.
  • Some people are going to try to vote twice.  Some of them will be doing it for relatively legitimate reasons!  Most of them will be caught.  A very small number may slip by.
  • Someone will stand outside a polling place somewhere with a gun.  There will be reports of voter intimidation.  These will, by and large, be isolated incidents and chances are they will have been dealt with by local authorities well before you ever hear of them.  They are not likely to be evidence of either the KKK or the Black Panthers trying to sway the election.
  • There will probably be some violence somewhere.  Part of the reason for that is that this is America and there is always some violence somewhere.  Chances are by the time all the details get sorted out it will be run-of-the-mill violence and not an attempt at voter suppression.  Again, do not panic.
  • There will be early reports that are pro Your Candidate and early reports that are not pro Your Candidate.  Take them with salt.  Early reports are rarely worth the electrons beaming them into your eyes.
  • Donald Trump has no campaign and no ground game.  Hillary Clinton has the same GOTV operation that got a black guy whose middle name was Hussein elected TWICE.  #expectus, motherfuckers.
  • I expect Clinton to get at least 325 electoral votes.  I expect the Dems to take the Senate as well.  Sadly, I think Indiana going blue is unlikely, but still not impossible.
  • Go fucking vote.  Stand in line as long as you need to.

One more time, in case you still need it:


I can haz next Wednesday?

wegotthisHad a weird conversation with a co-worker today who was planning on staying up punishingly late tonight to watch Game 7 of the World Series, yet could not understand why I was not expecting to get any sleep next Tuesday night due to staying up late watching election returns, liveblogging, and generally making an ass of myself on Twitter. To my mind, they are basically the same activity, only mine involves literally defeating the forces of evil.

Do not panic, by the way, if you are a Democrat and prone to such things.  I have been saying this for months: Hillary is going to win, and she’s going to win big.  I don’t care what Nate Silver says, I didn’t care what Nate Silver said a month ago, and I’m not going to care what he says in five or six days.  Clinton is going to win.  Trump never had a chance.  I am more mellow about this election than any in my lifetime, and my memory probably encompasses an extra election or two beyond what you might expect from a 40-year-old, because I have a lifelong habit of paying attention.

I am right about this.

Trust me.

Do not panic.

Meanwhile, speaking of not panicking, the Cubs just went up 5-1.  I will probably watch another twenty minutes of baseball and then consign the rest to history and go to bed; I am working my way through a thousand-page Ken Liu novel and kinda want to prioritize that over grown men swinging sticks.

Goal for the next two days: no naps.  Likelihood of achieving goal: minimal.