So sorry, world.


We the People suck. The deadly contagion of right-wing conservatism in the US will no longer be restrained, however tenuously and imperfectly. It has been unleashed to destroy the earth like flesh-eating bacteria. It will start, as it always does, with more death and harm to the bodies of the most marginalized among us, and eventually work its way to harming the very people who enable it—which is to say, harming almost everyone.

Except for the tiny fraction of people who benefit from conservative policies, they are and always will be unmitigated failures: economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, you name it. But to the conservative mind conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed. Ergo, we always need a bigger dose of it.

That “logic” stems directly from a notable flaw in the right-wing psyche: they can never be wrong. About anything. Ever. Oh sure, on rare occasions, they might be publicly shamed into doing the right thing. But as with all narcissists, unless and until a grave, entirely predictable and preventable human tragedy befalls a conservative directly—personal bankruptcy due to medical bills, say, or one’s own child sickened from a reckless corporation’s poison or pollution—they will not lift a finger to help. Instead, they will pile on the misery and hunt desperately for all manner of “fault” in an attempt to hold victims of circumstance responsible for their own plight.

Not them, though. The thin-skinned, ill-willed, empathy-deficient monsters in their mirrors can never be at fault for their own problems, much less the struggles of others; the party of “personal responsibility” takes none.

It is nearly impossible to break through the opaque haze of wrong-headed conservative certitude. Not with reason, not with evidence, not with appeals to basic decency or common humanity. I’m-more-deserving-than-you-and-I-can-never-be-wrong is the animating force of a conservative’s personality. The unevidenced, unwavering belief in their own superiority over all Others. The characteristic detachment from facts and reality. Hell, the polar ice sheets could melt en mass today and flood the entire planet, and conservatives will still insist global warming is a hoax—or worse, their shitty god’s will. Women’s bodies are piling up across the red states, and conservatives are still going after Planned Parenthood.

Well here’s a dose of reality: A petty buffoon who invents his own self-serving reality and cannot responsibly handle a Twitter account will now have our nuclear launch codes, access to mass surveillance data, and perhaps worst of all, an emboldened following of people who proudly embody the worst impulses of humanity. They will never change, and they will never stop. There is a vicious cycle at work here that only creates more and more of them.

Finally, I am utterly disgusted at the “surprise” and “shock” media narrative. (I’m looking at you, Paul Krugman.) Nothing is surprising about any of this. If you paid even minimal attention during the Bush/Cheney debacle, you know that racism, misogyny, unbridled greed, religious bigotry and a citizenry primed with fearmongering and degraded by permanent war carried the day for eight long years. We are not seeing anything new; we’re still living with it and still paying for it. White fragility, toxic masculinity, puerile and corrupt corporate media, the most heavily propagandized population on Earth and the pestilential scourge that is conservatism have again fused to deliver us a government that no one, not even conservatives, deserves. Today, those forces delivered a blow not just to the country but to the entire planet, one from which we may never recover. My privilege will insulate me from some of the worst effects, but I am racked with deep sadness, rage, pain and heartbreaking despair for my friends, family and fellow humans here and around the world who will unfairly bear the brunt of this. But not surprised.

Oh, and one more thing.

If you voted for Trump, or you live in a swing state and voted for a third party candidate or declined to vote entirely, you can go fuck yourself.
You are now and always will be dead to me.


I’ll have more to say on the Democrats’ part in this catastrophe in another post, another day. (SPOILER ALERT: The blight of conservatism figures prominently in that analysis as well.) In the meantime I’m going to snuggle my kitty, do my laundry, make dinner, reach out to loved ones, and maybe get through today. And then the day after that. And the day after that.

Everything is going to be unimaginably worse and is never going to get any better. ―Kurt Vonnegut


  1. sonofrojblake says

    It’s been said elsewhere by people with far more reason than me to be annoyed, but please, allow me to be the first say:

    Fuck your “sorry”. Not good enough. Keep your apologies.

  2. says


    Fuck your “sorry”. Not good enough. Keep your apologies.

    Of course an apology is “not good enough.” Nor is it all that I have done, and will keep doing, to support those more marginalized than me. So no, I won’t keep my apology, because it is necessary to own my part in the shitshow that is the US.

    I was not intending to make this about me, but because you apparently insist on making it about you: maybe consider for a goddamn minute that I’m a woman, a multiple sexual assault survivor, and someone who would likely fucking die if I get pregnant and cannot abort. Yours is not the only marginalized class of people endangered by these election results. But you don’t see me telling men who voted for Hillary Clinton to fuck off for apologizing and not doing “enough.” Do you think maybe I should rethink that?

  3. says

    I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am in a state of shock today. This day, this is the stuff of nightmares. I guess I had hoped that good sense would prevail. Why I hoped that, I don’t know.

    Oh, as an aside, sonofrojblake is not an American, so whatever class he places himself in, it’s not one in this country.

  4. sandykat says

    The rest of the world is pretty horrified right now, but we know not to blame every individual American. Take care of yourself and yours as it gets scarier, Iris.
    And if you ever need to flee, I’ve got a spare room in a vaguely hospitable part of Canada!

  5. says

    Agreed; politics is rooted in personality — far more than in “issues” or even “interests.” I tend to favor “authoritarian-xenophobic” over “conservative” as the name for the right-wing personality type, but the latter is obviously more widely used (and is how those with the personality type typically self-identify, which is a plus, of course). Whatever we call it, the personality type also lines up neatly with findings of so-called “moral foundations theory,” specifically that two values (“moral intuitions”) are more-or-less universal (help-vs-harm and fairness), while three others (hierarchy, in-group-loyalty, and purity) weigh heavily with only a sub-set of humans (and tend to occur together).

    Unfortunately, I don’t think we know very much about what influences the prevalence of the authoritarian-xenophobic personality — or its mutability. (My *conjecture* is that urbanization — in which an increasing fraction of the population grows up in an undeniably diverse environment — skews against the authoritarian-xenophobic personality, but I can think of half a dozen reasons that that could be dead wrong. And the urban-rural split we see in US politics could easily be a consequence of self-selection.)

    The good news — I am glass-half-full-guy, after all — is that 59.6 million Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, and there’s no reason to claim that the 59.3 million Trump voters are somehow more representative of the “American character” than Clinton’s supporters. So there. I feel better already.

  6. Siobhan says

    there’s no reason to claim that the 59.3 million Trump voters are somehow more representative of the “American character” than Clinton’s supporters

    Representative? Maybe not. But they have influence in every arm of government.

    I can say in my dissection of the legal proceedings concerning trans rights that Pence’s pledges and the Republican platform constitute a slow genocide for gender variant folk, especially youth. That will be dismissed as hysterics but every possible outcome from here is going to well and truly hit so unbelievably hard for my community. All the shit anyone else has to deal with plus more.

  7. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Or not-so-slow genocide.

    Genital re-de-struction of intersex kids has always been a blatant part of intersex genocide.

    From the CPPCG:
    Article 2

    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    Yeah, and why is (e) in there? b/c refusing to allow kids to grow up connected to their people is an active attempt to prevent/destroy the existence of an entire culture. Trump’s supporters are quite clear that they want to eradicate the possibility of a culture that treats gender as non-mandatory, sex as largely irrelevant. We’re not an “ethnical,” national, racial or religious group, so we’re not **actually, legally** covered under the CPPCG, trans people as a people and intersex people as a people are sure as hell facing overt acts of genocide that have only marginally declined during the last 8 years in the US and may very well have increased in many other parts of the world. Trump’s victory can only make his supporters more successful participants in the global genocide.

    Sure, a disturbingly large percentage of them agree on committing other genocides as well, but the genocide of trans folk? As strong as your statement is, and as grateful as I am for all your writing Siobhan, on the point of the “slow genocide” I’d say your critique is too fucking generous.

  8. says

    sonofrojblake, what the fuck are you on about? People I care about are hurting and terrified. I am hurting and terrified. If you don’t like my blog that’s fine, but do us all a favor and go the fuck away. I don’t need shit from you right now or frankly, ever.

  9. says

    Representative? Maybe not. But they have influence in every arm of government.

    Certainly. I’m just saying that it’s important (and good for morale!) to keep in mind that the rightward lurch of the American government is not at all the same thing as a rightward lurch of the American people. The lurch is a consequence of our peculiar 18th century institutions (and a certain amount of cunning organizing on the right), not some kind of fundamental shift in the American character or zeitgeist.

  10. says

    that guy on the internet: I agree, but there is a third force in play. The deep state – i.e. the permanent power factions in the country (big banks, big energy, military-industrial-complex, corporate media etc.) – are and always have been deeply, deeply conservative.