The last column that I wrote was churned out in a frenzy on November 6; it was started before the polls closed and by the time I was finished, Barack Obama had won a second term in the White House, seemingly without even trying. The whole thing was over by ten o’clock Central Time, leaving Mitt Romney embarrassed and out of sorts. The poor bastard was so shaken that it was all he could do to pull himself together long enough to make a concession speech—something that he hadn’t even written, because he was so sure that he had it in the bag. For weeks the empty-headed folks at Fox News had been predicting a landslide victory for the man from Massachusetts, both on the air and in the halls of Romney Campaign Headquarters. Whenever a staffer expressed any doubt as to the outcome of the race, he or she was shushed by Sean Hannity, dressed down by Bill O’Reilly, and it’s been reported that Rush Limbaugh even went so far as to extinguish his cigars on the arms and necks of these naysayers.
It became evident that fateful evening that Republicans really believe their own bullshit. For a long time now, I’ve given the dumb brutes more credit than they deserve; I honestly thought that their blustering lies were a crafty way of duping the American public into going along with their ill-conceived schemes, all of which benefit only rich, backwards-thinking dullards and dropouts from popular culture.
But I was wrong.
While it’s no mystery that average red-voting American citizens actually believe they’re doing the right thing, the same holds true for the old white men they’re voting for. There’s no denying that these career criminals are ultimately driven by a sinister, almost clinical greed—but the psychosis runs so deep, and their stupidity is so monumental, that they’ve fooled even themselves. When it became apparent that Obama had won—that there was no possible way for Romney to turn things around, no matter what happened—Karl Rove started turning colors and called bullshit on the numbers. Even when they sent someone down there to confirm it, he wouldn’t budge. Sources close to Rove have reported that at eleven o’clock on Wednesday morning, he was still desperately watching the results and swearing that somewhere in there was a mathematical cocktail that would prove Romney had been victorious. That simpleton just couldn’t accept that the numbers that had been bandied about on MSNBC for weeks were accurate … and to be fair, even I didn’t necessarily believe them—I thought that the race was going to be close.
Donald Trump took it a step further. In what is now an infamous statement that he made on Twitter, the old fool swore that Obama had lost the popular vote and called for a revolution—but what he failed to take into account was that by the time the president had his needed 270 electoral votes locked up, there were still a hell of a lot of votes to tally. Naturally, Trump deleted his tweet once it became obvious that Obama had won the popular vote as well—but this speaks quite loudly to my point that these men are imbeciles. When you win by a margin as wide as Obama did, there is no possible way that he could have lost the popular vote.
Well … shucks. You can’t bother fundamentalists and ideological zealots with pesky things like facts and mathematical certainties, which is why you have elected officials like Paul Broun and Sylvia Allen who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, children rode dinosaurs to school, and someone named Eve fucked it up for the rest of us because she listened to that talking snake.
On election night, I was talking to a woman who desperately wanted Romney to win, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me since she depends on a number of programs that he would have liked to cut if not do away with. She is one of the fabled 47%, yet she fails to realize it … or perhaps she never even heard him say it, since she has an IQ that matches her neck size and can’t even remember Romney’s name. But what the hell, right? She watches Fox News and is a fairly typical viewer. So is the disabled, closeted lesbian who compensates for her self-loathing by going to church every Sunday and voting for Mitt, even though she also is one of those shiftless, tax-dodging bums who lives in subsidized housing and collects social security and disability.
Romney, you really should have given that 47% more credit—they voted for you, the ignorant dummies.
Anyway, this woman—like Karl Rove—didn’t want to believe that Obama had won; instead, she said, “What about California? They haven’t counted them yet, and there’s all those big cities like L.A. and San Francisco and whatnot.”
I almost shit. First of all, California is a blue state—and if she thinks that San Francisco went for Romney, she’s dumber than I thought. Not to mention Northern California and the Latino/black vote in L.A. Here is a woman who thinks only in numbers—and she thinks that everyone shares her opinion. She’s so out of touch and misinformed that she can’t even begin to grasp demographics or what they mean for an election.
Huh. This is what I mean by people voting against their own best interests, and it often is accomplished by convincing them that the invisible man in the sky, who they worship and look to for guidance, aligns himself with their particular stance on a social issue such as gay marriage. So, whether or not these folks think that Romney will make sure that they get their checks from the government each month, they’re told by their pastor to vote for him because God hates fags.
But so what? We’ve voted Butterfingers Obama into office for a second term, and not a hell of a lot has changed. We would do well to remember that he is controlled by the same reckless, greed-crazed Wall Street ghouls who drove our economy off a cliff in 2008—and while he supports gay marriage and talks a good game, at the end of the day he isn’t any better than Mitt Romney or any of the other Washington puppets. Do yourself a favor and watch the award-winning film, Inside Job, and visit http://represent.us/.
It’s enough to make a person want to give up—and while I never will, I never intended this column to go in this direction. But then again, I never sit down with a clear idea of what I’m going to write about—I think on paper and let the words go where they will. Here I am, over two-thousand words into this useless essay, and I haven’t even mentioned what I thought I wanted to say.
Which is what? Well … I guess I wanted to mention the election … and I wanted to say that I’ve been derelict in my duty as the editor of this magazine—nothing new there—but that I have been working on some exciting new things. I have also been wasting an incredible amount of time watching YouTube videos, Netflix, and obscure documentaries. To give you an idea of the type of shit that’s been occupying my time, here’s just one video that someone submitted to me, which led to about two hours of weird, “related” content:
And of course there’s Rescue Me, which I never watched when it was on, but got addicted to several weeks ago. I’m into the final season and should have it wrapped up in a matter of days. As much as I enjoy movies, I like series even better—and I usually watch them long after they’re over, just so I don’t have to wait a week between episodes. Right now, I’m struggling to keep my sanity while waiting for Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad to catch up with my manic desperation.
Besides all of that, I have four books that are in various stages of development … but what I’m most proud of at the moment is Secret Laboratory Radio, which is streaming 24 hours a day on this site, to a worldwide audience, and is also available at select times to listeners in New Brighton/Roseville/St. Anthony, Minnesota (and surrounding communities) on 88.9 FM. Right now, we’re playing mostly automated music and comedy tracks, but we feature live programming on the weekends and plan to expand. One of my first posts on this site was called “Broadcast Yourself” and some of those dreams are coming true. Not only do I see Secret Laboratory becoming a profitable online magazine, but I want it to eventually offer live television and radio coverage as well. If you’re a member of our site, and you’d like to help out with the radio station, let me know at email@example.com.
As I write this, my blinds are open and the floor-to-ceiling windows look out on what I can only describe as a desolate wasteland of snow and ice and cold. The wind is whipping, the Christmas lights are reflected in the glass, and I have Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing on the station. The radio studio is to the right of me, the fireplace is to the left, and I’m sipping a glass of red wine. On my desk is a bottle of 12-year-old single malt scotch and an 8-year-old bottle of Canadian whiskey; in the freezer is a bottle of chilled vodka; in the fridge is plum wine, champagne, and something pink.
Women tend to leave things when they’re here.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving—for me, it still is, since I haven’t been to bed yet. I did nothing. I slept all day, called no one, and am drinking alone. This is not necessarily a bad thing. While I feel melancholy at times—especially when I look at old pictures—I know that I’m better off and have found my true calling in life. These last nine months, I have been learning to embrace callousness, selfishness, and indifference as virtues—qualities that my ex-wives touted and I’m only now beginning to appreciate. After reading several books on the subject, I now realize that being an asshole is acceptable—ideal, even—and that from now on I will get what I want, pretty much all of the time. I’m okay with this. And I’m no longer afraid of saying, “No.”
For some reason, all day today I have been thinking about a certain woman who I spent some very dear moments with this summer. We pledged to vote NO together and she did some very fine work for the campaign. She should send me a text and say hello.
Last weekend was spent in a raging, alcohol-induced blur … and when the dust settled, I had made no major transgressions and my home was decorated for the holidays, tree and all. For the first time in my life, Thanksgiving Weekend will be spent at home enjoying the trappings of the season.
I will go nowhere, see no one, and buy nothing.
I could write an entire column on Black Friday, but I will save that for my next entry—later today, hopefully.
I don’t often write about my personal life or the emotions that accompany it, but I’m feeling candid at the moment … and yet dawn is creeping in here in Minnesota and my goddaughter will be over in less than two hours. One of the books that I’m writing has much to do with these things—and perhaps I should save myself for that—but flexing one’s literary muscle in such a public forum as this has its merits.
Ehh … to hell with it. For now, all I want to say is Happy Thanksgiving. There will be plenty of time later for explaining exactly why that is.
In the meantime, welcome to the weekend.
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.