By Kahren Eloyan, Opinion Editor
// I used to worry a lot.
Four years ago, in 2016, I was uneasy. America was faced with one of the most difficult decisions it would ever face, up there with letting Florida decide an entire presidential election; dropping two atomic bombs, when one just might have done the trick; or letting the president roll around in a convertible in an area which a sniper might find decidedly advantageous.
See, back then, the American voter had to choose between an incompetent, misogynistic pathological liar derided by half the country, and an allegedly misogynistic pathological liar of somewhat questionable competence derided by the other half. In short, it was a lesser-of-two-evils-type situation.
Donald Trump was an aberration. It was as if he was the herald of some surreal parallel universe, deposited into our realm by some farcical cosmic mishap. He had admitted to sexual assault, he had no viable plan for the nation, no actual political experience to speak of, and a wealth of controversies so vast that if you somehow turned it into money, you could pay for a wall to be built not just between Mexico and the United States, but around all of the states, those non-contiguous hipsters Alaska and Hawaii included. Baffling was the fact that somehow there were any people in America willing to vote for him. It was honestly a national travesty that he’d gotten so far in the election, and thoroughly mystifying to boot.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, had a plan, and decades of political experience, but was also no stranger to controversy. Less than completely above-board on a colorful array of issues, her email-related indiscretions launched a maelstrom of towering scope which she spent the entire campaign trying to mitigate. To millions of Americans, she was a corporation-loving monster without the strength of her convictions; a pandering liar that put her toupé-wearing opponent to shame; and an enduring symbol of dishonesty in politics. The great shame was that her image wasn’t entirely unwarranted, and the scariest thing about Hillary was that there was always a sense that whatever we knew about her only scratched the surface. There were fathomless depths to the darkness.
So as an American citizen who had the power of the press behind him, I did my civic duty and I launched into the political fray, thoroughly unsure of what to make of the situation. The one thing I knew for sure was that the loudmouthed, spray-tanned businessman had to be kept from the White House, and I argued passionately against him, both in eloquent and obscene terms, in the public field, as well as the private. I did all this while involuntarily applauding the virtues of a woman who, for most of my life, I found to be incredibly odious. It wasn’t so much that I believed Clinton to be the best choice for president- it was simply that Trump was the worse option of the two.
The truth was that I hated both candidates, I hated that America had to choose between them, and I hated that I knew who I wanted to be president more.
I shook to think of what might happen if Trump ever lay his tiny little baby-fingers on the nuclear football. I trembled to think that Trump might ever have the power of the presidential veto, or that he’d be the face of the American way of life to the world.
I shuddered considering that Clinton would probably dismantle the nation and sell it piecemeal to the corporations. I quaked knowing that she’d lie about most everything and change her mind about most everything else.
Eventually, I consoled myself with the notion that maybe the American people could weather four years of Hillary’s presidency. Trump, however, was the herald of the apocalypse, and I doubted the country could last four weeks under his direction. Let alone four years. I could almost see the mushroom clouds bursting over the horizons in blinding, vaporizing flashes. My hypocrisy sickened me. I felt my previously-ironclad values shrivel into rust and blow over the border where Trump would build his wall.
But as time wore on and my disgust and fear resigned themselves to becoming an exasperated sort of passive acceptance, I got to thinking. My blustering proclamations and searing roasts lost their passion; and with that attrition I realized that whether or not I was right about Hillary’s presidency being less of a calamity than Donald’s was irrelevant. In the end, it wouldn’t matter who took office, because ultimately nothing would change. Trump or Hillary, the gears of politics would turn, and all of the machinations and deal-making and lobbying would continue in the District of Columbia as they’ve almost always done. In the words of the great American musician-poet, 2pac, whose great wisdom belied his young age, “Life goes on.”
The fact of the matter is that in Washington, the president has been a puppet for a while now. And in this brave 21st-century world of multinational mega-corporations and special interests, it’s never been more true. Regardless of who takes office, neither Clinton 2.0 nor Trump will be able to effect radical change in one direction or the other, because the comforting, invisible hand of the men who really run the world will always right the course.
Massive paradigm shifts or great calamities are convenient to no one, especially big businesses, which probably won’t find themselves turning too large a profit if Trump ends the world, or if Hillary’s other private server gets hacked and America’s defense secrets are scattered to the winds and all our enemies destroy us. That’s why they’ll see to it that our current and perpetual state of harmonious and mindless consumerism will continue undisturbed, making sure the president, whomever he or she may be, always toes the line.
And surely enough, my epiphany held true. Tuesday, November 8 passed, the new commander-in-chief took office, and absolutely everything changed in absolutely no meaningful way.
So to those of you who worry now – there’s no need – everything will turn out just fine, even if you don’t believe me. You should really just thank the friendly invisible hand of the corporations for it.
Or better yet, if you really want to thank them, go buy tons of their junk.