Like any self-respecting Western, middle-class millennial I am prone to exaggeration. If I forget to grab my MacBook charger on my way to work – it’s the worst day of my life. A coffeehouse without AC in the middle of August – is the bane of my existence. And don’t get me started on spotty Wi-Fi – I literally can’t even. This sort of hyperbolic exasperation adds satire to otherwise mundane, daily nuisances by dramatizing the degree of discomfort to comical levels. It’s funny, it’s gimmicky, it’s a honey trap.
If everything is the worst thing ever, is anything really that bad? If both burnt toast and Donald Trump’s immigration policy make me want to die – is the latter really that big of a deal? Eleven months ago, when Trump began to dominate the polls while Republican darling Jeb Bush floundered in the shallow-end, I distinctly remember waxing terrified. But did I mean it? Was I scared? No. Trump drama combined what I loved most about TMZ with real-life consequences and turned tired politics into a soap opera. It was like Kim Kardashian vs. Amber Rose, but instead it was Trump vs. Hillary, and it was on CNN. It was fun, it was disturbing, but it wasn’t real. It was just one of those things – I was terrified of my Tinder match and I was terrified of Donald Trump. They were abstract, curious pseudo-dangers and all was well with the world.
But the polls made it real. As of September 23, 2016 only 3 percentage points separate a Clinton presidency from a Trump one. This meager lead can be undermined by the margin of error alone. That’s insane.
Do you know what I mean?
Or have I used up my quota of ‘insanes’ on toast, on crocs, on cheesy pick-up lines and Dasani water. And now I can no longer express the truth, the harsh reality, the bone-chilling fact that this is legitimately, unequivocally, and most importantly without exaggeration horrific. Have we become desensitized to our own words? Hearing ourselves without understanding, because theatrics are so commonplace they no longer provoke a reaction?
Why am I scared? Do I really think President Trump would build a wall, ban all Muslims and assassinate the families of ISIS militants? Not really. I can assert with some degree of confidence that there will be no wall, funded by Mexico or otherwise. Blackmailing Enrique with a moratorium on remittance outflows won’t work – informal transfers are a thing, look them up. Alternatively, paying for the wall domestically would cost over $25 billion and require budgetary approval from Congress, an institution that annually threatens to shutdown the government over infinitely more reasonable line items. Targeting the families of terrorists is also out of the question, given that it would be a war crime upon the order of which the “American armed forces would refuse to act.” It is equally unlikely that the remainder of Trump’s outlandish campaign promises would come into fruition. Lest we forget that American legislature must still pass through Congress (not to mention the Supreme Court), which for the first time in decades, is seeing heartening bipartisan unity ignited by joint hatred for the would-be-POTUS.
So what would a Trump presidency actually do? It would superimpose the extremist, hateful ideology of one man onto an entire country. In the eyes of the world, America and Trump would become interchangeable, one and the same. The United States is the most powerful hegemon in history, with a colossal economy and titanic, $560 billion defense budget. A Trump presidency wouldn’t simply turn the biggest, strongest kid on the playground into a bully – it would dunk him into a vat of radioactive waste, which would spread like contagion. Trump’s election would roll out the red carpet for radical fringe groups and escalate cross-cultural tensions across the globe. Racism, sexism, classism, bigotry, xenophobia, would all be validated and given an authoritative platform by the most powerful state on earth. This insidious environment would usher in a dystopian era of savagery, deterioration of human rights, war, pain and loss. Suddenly the Hunger Games wouldn’t seem so far-fetched.
Trump isn’t a nuisance or a minor discomfort; he is a serious threat. But how can I convey this if I wasted my most colourful words on cracked iPhones, slow Uber drivers, overbooked reservations, broken sunglasses and sold-out festival tickets? These little irritants, which have spoiled me into a false sense of security, have taken away part of my voice. Last week I said I was terrified there was only half a bottle of Pinot left in the fridge – I didn’t mean it. This week I’m saying I’m terrified Trump is only 3 points behind Hillary – and I do. Enough is enough. It’s time I start meaning what I say, it’s time for my ‘terrified’ to be taken at face value and not discounted as dramatic millennial humour. It’s time I put away the theatrics and admit just how scared I really am because, like Winter, November is Coming. And Trump isn’t going down without a fight.