Apparently the President is now taking hydroxychloroquine. That’s what he says, at any rate, and when has the guy ever told a lie? The drug is not a proven prophylactic for COVID-19 and can cause deadly heart arrhythmias, so for once I’m one hundred percent onboard with his strategy. Carry on, fearless leader. Carry on.

Like many of us, I’m conducting an ongoing post-mortem during the mortem, wondering how the actual fuck we got to be so stupid in this country. Mostly I blame Fox News and the Rush Limbaughs of the world, because without the imprimatur of the media, Trump is just a fat guy with a combover, all-capping on Twitter and selling steaks and fake degrees to the kind of people who were always going to buy that shit in the first place. Fox built the bubble, that’s what I believe. They did it so well that no one inside the bubble realizes where they are. Previously rational people are convincing themselves that we can’t possibly have over 90,000 people dead in this country, and in Florida they’re actively cooking the data and firing officials who won’t go along.

Photo by Evie Shaffer on

You could argue there are other causes more relevant to the state of the country. Social media, the fall of the middle class, entitlement, the myth of American exceptionalism. The original sin of racism, to which everything can be linked. Maybe it’s the whole toxic brew of social angst and the unmooring of our values. (Did we ever have those? Were they real or just convenient?)

I’m lost, truly. In the wilderness, without a compass, far from home. Lost. I’m trying to use some of our real life as fodder for the world I’m building in my series, but there’s so much I just don’t understand, starting with this:

How did we get here?

10 responses

  1. I wish I had something insightful or clever to add. I agree that Fox News and right-wing media have given us a master class in propaganda and its abilities to mold society.

    • They really have. I worry about how our kids are starting to think about the country and the world, this idea that the truth has no value because you can make it up as you go along. Imagine where we’ll be once the technology makes it possible to also manufacture the evidence.

  2. Yes a lot of us are wondering how we got here and is there any way out of this mess. I e see it as democracy having a mental breakdown. Sort of sick. We’ve had symptoms for awhile delusional introverted selfish uncooperative. This illness could lead to death. Suicide We are a young country. A teenager really. And remember how emotional teenagers are? Dramatic. Aggressive. With wildly fluctuating feelings? Self centered. We just need to grow up.

    • Yeah, exactly. And though I think we could wish for a more exciting candidate on the left, and Joe Biden wouldn’t have been my first choice, maybe he’s what we need. Calmness, finally. It would be a relief.

  3. I agree the original sin is racism: that we could say “all men are created equal” and deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and yet own slaves. That kind of hypocrisy and willful denial of truth seems to be going on still.

    • I know, it’s astonishing that they could get so much right and so much wrong at the same time. What they should have written was “all white males.” Not as poetic but definitely more accurate. I guess we’re all products of our time, but that ingrained entitlement has lasted through the generations, to the point where two white men still think they have the right to murder a black man who’s out for a jog, and the system still thinks it has the right to disregard the idea of justice in an us-vs-them sort of way.

  4. Averil, I’ve nothing pithy to add to your actual journal entry, but wanted to exclaim with delight somewhere over rediscovering your writing. It’s been – what – a decade? more? since I last read your entries on your old blog? And now I see you’ve got two books out and are journaling once more. Just made my day. Good to see you again (even if you’ve no earthly recollection as to who I am) and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as you post them!

    • Phil!! Of course I remember you! I can’t believe it’s been that long, but then I find myself saying that a lot these days. I’d love to hear any of your news. I’m trying to remember what part of the world you’re in, but it’s escaping me at the moment. Hopefully you and yours are safe and well in all this mess. It’s wonderful to hear from you!

  5. I did write a long — as in loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong — and ranty comment, then didn’t click publish. I’ll say this though: you people who have commented on it are pretty clever. And if even half of Americans were as right-minded as you are, the whole world would be a better place. But they’re not, and it isn’t.

    • I’d like to have faith in my countrymen. After all, Hillary Clinton did beat Trump by almost three million votes, and she was one of the most unpopular candidates we ever put forward. But faith is hard to maintain in this environment. It’s like being in an abusive marriage.

      I do know this: I would stand barefoot in the middle of winter on broken glass no matter the length of the line to cast my vote against Donald Trump. And almost everyone I know feels exactly the same way.

      November will be a reckoning for this country. I don’t think we can survive another four years with our structures intact.