I can’t believe it was a simpler time for politics back in 2012. It felt like there was really something boiling under the lid, something about to spill over and really harm the country. Of course, that feeling ended up proving true in 2016, when the forces under the surface of the prior election cycle became the ultimate symbol of chaos and division for the United States.
The GOP presidential primaries that year were a battle for the soul of the party, where Tea Party demagogues like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum dueled against the big business establishment of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and against the libertarian populism of Ron Paul. A holy war was being waged, and the eventual result, four years later, was that all three of these factions would collide into the socially conservative, big business populist known as, uh, that one guy who became President in 2016.
July 16th, 2015, a terrorist attack happened less than five miles
was sitting at home, doing whatever. Who even knows. Then the news
came in that a deranged man shot up an military recruitment building
in Chattanooga. Then he got in his car, drove to a Navy Reserve
center, and shot it up as well.
5 people died, and two were injured. The man wasn’t ISIS, but he had been influenced by jihadi propaganda on the internet, as well as mental health and drug abuse problems. Right here, where I lived, where I never even considered the possibility of something like this happening, some depraved being went on a rampage committed a mass shooting.
We look back at the past decade of American history and remember, oh wow, gay marriage was only legalized like five years ago. The entire culture has changed around gay marriage so rapidly that it’s hard to remember that, in 2010, only a couple of states allowed it. Being LGBT+, even in the most open of online communities, wasn’t generally something accepted.
I think it’s awesome.
Gay marriage has so completely changed the rest of the United States that it’s made every other place on Earth without it look like ancient barbaric wastelands. Japan, famous internationally for its comic books about boys kissing, is treated more and more backwards with every passing year, and honestly, it’s probably deservingly so.
The fact that I can write a gay romance web novel (I have no shame so here it is) and share it with friends and family and none of them will bat an eye… It’s not even something I had considered until I sat down to write this post, and it’s honestly bewildering me now. How did things move so quickly? How did it normalize so permanently?
I mean, it’s not like LGBT rights have improved THAT much in the past decade. We still have people act like it’s an unholy abomination and comment gladly on Facebook with their “I have a gay relative, so it’s OK that I can say this” posts. We still have transgender people treated like second-class citizens who can’t even use the bathroom for fear of retaliation. For all of that, I don’t want to praise the world TOO much. There’s still an extremely long way to go.
But gay marriage? The ability for same-gender couples to come together and start a family and live in harmony? It’s like… Dang, that’s a completely regular thing now.
Not that most politicians ever have a backbone about anything, but the complete and utter collapse of Lindsey Graham has been a disturbing and almost Greek Tragedy-level event unfolding before our eyes these past four years.
Sean Spicer, one of the first goons of the current White House administration to get sacked for publicity and ratings reasons, has a strange animosity towards Dippin’ Dots, that bad ice cream you sometimes buy at water parks. Just to know that this tweet exists, and that this guy went on to be on Dancing with the Stars somehow, brings a bright LED light to my cold, robotic heart.
I think America is really messed up in a lot of ways, but one way is in our collective short-term memory being a single news cycle long, and that’s on a good day.
Remember when, five years ago today, North Korea launched a state-sponsored terror attack against Sony Pictures, leaking thousands of e-mails, scripts, and other sensitive files, then threatening a repeat of 9/11 if The Interview was shown in theaters?
This actually friggin’ happened, and yet it’s barely a footnote in the 2010s somehow. What is wrong with us?