As I write this, Representative Kevin McCarthy is poised to lose his 7th attempt at being Speaker of the House. These last three days it’s been a shitshow in American politics. And that’s saying something.
There’s a sense of dread of what comes next as the detractors continually vote against McCarthy, keeping him from taking the reins. Reins that he assumed he already had since he moved into the Speaker’s office over the winter break.
While this isn’t even the most ballots cast for Speaker (that record goes to the 34th Congress (1855-1857) which had 133 ballots), it has shed some light that something’s gotta give.
While I have no illusions that McCarthy will not be the next Speaker, it’s insane that we are watching the center collapse. That the in-fighting of the so-called “party of Lincoln” is being aired before the country and all countries across the world.
It shows a weakness. Not just in the Republican party in the aftermath of Donald J. Trump, but as the country as a whole. In seven ballots, Hakeem Jeffries earned 212 each time while McCarthy has only earned 202 (for the first three) and 201 (for the last four). They need 218 to win. And it would be political suicide if six Republican centrists or seventeen Democratic centrists would vote for the other team.
If this doesn’t scream that a change needs to be made, I don’t know what will.
I stayed up late, knocking out a quarter or so before one a.m. I kept my TV on with the volume lowered to just above a whisper. I do this whenever there is a major storm brewing outside my window—natural or political. It’s almost reminiscent to the 2004 election. A part of me wanted to deny the truth that had set into my heart early on in the day. John Kerry wasn’t the most likable or charismatic candidate, but standing next to Al Gore the man was a marching band. And standing next John Kerry, Hillary Clinton was an orchestra on the rise of a crescendo. Obama? Don’t get me started on Obama. I love the guy. A great speaker, well-learned. Standing him next to any of the listed candidates is unfair.
I turned off the TV before any results spilled in. Hillary Clinton was losing, had lost. I knew it the moment I woke up in the morning. A sudden dread had cast itself upon me. I read all the polls. Read all the blogs. Read tweets and interviews and political insights. Everyone—well, nearly everyone—all agreed, Hillary could take this election in a landslide.
Sleep reminded me to check my phone at 4:20 a.m. to see what I had already knew. The country had elected Donald Trump as its next leader. And while it seemed like a nightmare in the making, there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing anyone could do about it.
As expected, the social media backlash was astounding. Names were called. People broke down on their Twitters (I was one of them). We called out Jill Stein and Gary Johnson as spoilers (which they were, but not enough to actually affect this election). People exclaimed that the Electoral College is an outdated system (an argument I’ve made several times in the past even when the vote was in my favor). Hillary, like Al Gore, won the popular vote while failing to secure the electoral one.
And now we play the blame-game, seeking out who is most at fault. The under educated? The Alt-right? Republicans for allowing this charade get out of hand?
I’m comfortable blaming the Alt-right for now. And maybe the Democrats. And the far-left liberals. Who knows?
Joke as I may about moving to New Zealand and starting a new life there, I will not abandon my country. And neither should you. This election was our Brexit. It is our monster and we must tame it before it continues to poison our waters. This isn’t just a Democrat problem, it’s everyone’s problem. And no, this country isn’t doomed. It may be in shambles, and it may get worse, but it isn’t over. It isn’t dead. It’s united by division. It’s our separate opinions that make us strong. Forgetting that will only make us weak.
So grieve, yes. Cry, sure. But don’t you dare give up. Don’t you dare stop keeping tabs on those who are in office. And don’t you dare forget to vote in two years during the mid-term election.
And for those of you whining and protesting about how the system is broke, letting your vote go to waste by not casting it like so many did last night—I have this to say to you: Grow the fuck up.