I am going to assume that most of you have seen the stories circulating around social media and traditional media outlets since the election. Hillary hiking alone in the woods and taking selfies with her supporters after “bumping into them” like some sort of bizarro-world attention seeking Sasquatch. Let’s put aside the humor involved in the situation of an old lady that feints because of a cold and is frequently unavailable to the public due to her rigorous nap schedule, trudging around the snowy woods just a few short weeks after the greatest professional loss of her life, granting fulfilment to her biggest fans wishes. For many following this election, the last year and a half has been a long strange trip and this modern-day folk hero story sums it up quite nicely. A trip that for some Democrats and Republicans was a carefully marked by a trail of bread crumbs laid by some of the most influential people of our time. They followed the trail that was laid out for them with their heads down to make sure that they didn’t miss a clue. When it all ended so abruptly on November 8th some looked up and found that we were deposited in a place that could not be less familiar.
To me, mainstream ideology represents a highway with many parallel lanes that wind back and forth, overlapping and departing, but all heading in the same general direction with a common destination, the betterment of humanity. The framework for this highway began with the trails blazed by important and influential people in history and these trails were then strengthened by the masses that followed the markers that had been left behind. Over the years the commonly traveled ground has etched wide and safe lanes of passage through a dense forest filled with danger. While the path most traveled is not ALWAYS the best way, the vast majority of travelers will find that it offers scenic views, space to accommodate your fellow-man, few large obstacles, and the least amount of danger.
On November 9th a large chunk of republicans found themselves busting out of the bushes to discover this bustling eight lane highway with traffic composed of democrats, republicans, and independents who have been trekking together for quite some time now. It has become clear to me, based upon what I see on social media and the mainstream media outlets, a large percentage of democrats instead found themselves deep in the woods without a clue of which way leads back to civilization. Both parties have made a journey into the wilds of ideology over the last twenty years but at the end of this election they have ended up in vastly different locales. While there is still a contingent of republicans living in cabins in the deep woods with no trespassing signs and rebel flags littering their property. I would say that a vast majority of republicans embraced the path that lead them out of the wilderness and into the middle of the highway of mainstream ideology and if not to the middle then at least to the right shoulder. While some democrats were able to find their way back, I think there is still a great number of democrats that have simply sat down and resigned themselves to yelling at trees, rocks, and squirrels for the forseeable future.
What I find so funny about this Hillary the wandering folk hero story is that even though she was quick to abandon the “Trump is a Russian Nazi Misogynist Bigot” rhetoric that was her platform throughout the campaign and headed back to the main road, her most avid fans have doubled down. In this story she is literally meeting her fans in the woods where she metaphorically left them. Politically the only way to reach her base now is to hike back into the ideological woods and assure them that this is in fact where they want to be. They remain encamped because she has continued to visit them bringing fresh supplies of Russian interference and dangerous behavior by the President-Elect. This ragtag band of wilderness squatters huddle around the camp fires consisting of recounts, faithless electors, conflicts of interest, imaginary white supremacist conspiracies, and impeachment before inauguration. All the while yelling “This is NOT normal you hateful bigots” and “You should accept the will of the people” to every passersby. Under the guise of journalism, the mainstream media has been devoting all of its resources to covering the daily struggles of this encampment, placing a particular focus on how each part of their harsh reality makes them feel. Acting as a bridge between the camp and the rest of the world, they give daily and hourly updates on how to manufacture outrage and ten more reasons to be frightened by things that Trump hasn’t said or done yet, BUT COULD AT ANY MOMENT.
Meanwhile on the Republican side, Trump used a megaphone from the right lane to draw his base out of the wilds with a simple message “I know you’re upset and I get it, here are some reasonable things we can do together to make things better. Come join me, there’s lots of room and not so many damn trees” and those that chose to come out and join the movement found that a compromise on their issue wasn’t quite so bad if it could make things better. Maybe they were too hard on immigration, gay marriage, refugees, climate change, and all of the other issues that caused them to flee into the woods. Maybe, just maybe, a compromise could get everyone what they want, or at least enough of what they want to make it worth abandoning that shack.
One question remains to be answered. How long will the democrat camp remain entrenched in the ideological woods clinging to their hallucinations? The hallucination that Orange Hitler is going to kill us all, and when he isn’t killing us all, he will be scheming to imprison, rape, censor, delegitimize, oppress, and swindle us all. The endgame of his master plan being to make a few bucks while instituting his fascist dictatorship. The only people capable of answering this question are the ones that are hallucinating, and I for one don’t expect a reality check any time soon. Especially with the mainstream media using their narrative for what I can only assume at this point, is its pure entertainment value. As long as the not so illusive Wandering Folk Hero continues to be followed around the woods by a media crew and rabid packs of fans, the legend will continue.