Apparently, the most recent permutation in self-righteous outrage toward Donald J. Trump centers on his appointees’ attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. I can’t escape it on any corner of the Internet where I tend to waste my time: not Reddit, not Tumblr, and certainly not that sorry pit of sociopolitical bedlam known as Facebook. Queer people and their allies are in a veritable tizzy over headlines such as “Trump’s latest Cabinet candidate called Orlando massacre a ‘distraction’ and mocked transgender ‘freaks.’”
I don’t need to waste brainpower reassuring my readers that I believe such language and the attitudes it reflects are deplorable. That’s not the point I’m trying to make. That’s not the biggest issue with the Orange Menace’s personal views, his transition team, or his status as President-elect. The real problem is that our whole political system is collapsing before our very eyes. The foundation that was supposed to keep it upright — an alert, independent, informed populace — is being chewed apart by the corroding parasite of tribalism.
As a friend put it recently, Trump and Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin. The best course of action never had anything to do with voting for one or the other. It has everything to do with finding a better way to govern, one that doesn’t devolve into public choice between two abysmal options. Just look at the two of them. Trump is complicit in homophobia, whether he himself shares that prejudice (I suspect he’s actually rather neutral on the subject in his personal life). Hillary is a coldblooded warhawk. Are we really going to spend the rest of this imperial downfall arguing which is the lesser of two evils? Shouldn’t we ask ourselves the deeper questions: How did it get this bad, and how can we fix it?
As for me, well, I’m a self-stylized lesbertarian, an aficionado of nonaggression and sapphism in equal portion. (Lady love is my bread, and liberty love is my butter. Lick it, don’t ticket. Et cetera. You get the idea.) Anyway, from my view, the primary concern isn’t about what Trump’s doing. It’s not about who won the election in the first place. Trump is but a symptom, and the sickness is authoritarianism. The problem isn’t that elected officials have bad ideas, it’s that those officials have so much power which has been freely given by a Congress enamored with the fantasy of a macho, strongman executive branch and a voting public hamstrung by its own issue-obsessed priorities.
So am I worried about what Trump thinks of my sex life, or what his appointees have said about my fellow sexual deviants? Not one lick. What does bother me is living in a society where one half continually imposes its preferences on the other for several years at a time, always overcompensating in policy and in rhetoric for what the opponent has enacted or espoused when it was their turn as national overlords. Frankly, it’s giving me a crick in my neck, and I need a break.