WELL, THAT HAPPENED: The Great Election Purge

By on November 8, 2016

The path to cleaning house and reverting back to a normal, post-election way of life.

A friendly reminder to remove bio-hazardous political waste from your front lawn. (Photo: Andrew Munz)

A friendly reminder to remove bio-hazardous political waste from your front lawn. (Photo: Andrew Munz)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – If you’re reading this, congratulations! Somehow you survived.

After years of vomit-inducing torment, overbearing political coverage, heated conversations with loved ones that went absolutely nowhere, and mediocre Saturday Night Live sketches, you’ve now entered the post-2016 election reality. How exciting.

By January, a new leader shall be christened and she (because, let’s be honest, Hillary won, right?) shall impart her war-mongering, email-pilfering, Benghazi-conspiring worldview upon the masses. Thanks to the First Gentleman’s new vegan school lunches campaign, “Beet It!” we’re all gonna be slimmin’ down and clearin’ up that weird acne on our butts. Sure we’re gonna be losing weight and lifting the scale that is North America out of the rising oceans but, best of all, come Inauguration Day, your mandatory Nina McLemore-designed pantsuit will be dropped on your doorstep in a beautiful complacent, inoffensive shade of mauve. One size fits all citizens! (Please utilize the Piperlime accessory wall thoughtfully.)

Bow down to your Super PAC leaders. Contribute to the Foundation. Worship the Donkey. And may our approved religious affiliation’s imaginary overlord(s) bless the United States of America.

In all seriousness, I think everyone’s in agreement that it’s been one long, winding, shitty, pot-hole-riddled road to the election. The exhausting poison of national politics infested us at a local level, turning even our cutesy, old-fashioned town council and mayoral candidates into venomous East Jackson dogs off the leash.

“Hey! Get your rabid, barking candidate away from me!”

“Oh, sorry! He’s normally so friendly.”

“Well, he’s… Aw man, now he’s shitting his sign on my front lawn!”

Now that the election is over we finally get to participate in the Great Grand Teton Election Clean-up of 2016 in which we recycle (or burn) all the door-to-door pamphlets we’ve acquired over the past few weeks, chuck all those GILL signs on Gill, scrape off our Cheney stickers (again), preserve those Flaunt Your Money posters in formaldehyde, and put on our favorite record by Sneaky Pete and the Mayor Zephyrs.

The running joke is that today is the first day of the 2020 election, which makes me wonder if we’re going to be trapped in this K-Hole (89.1) of incessant political discourse for the rest of our lives. Can’t we just binge watch House of Cards every February and just pretend that it’s fantasy and not the way our government actually works?

But alas. This post-election reality happens every four years, a leap year of a few weeks worth of solace that is quickly lost once we step into the three-ring family Thanksgiving drama. After that we must endure more frustrating dialogues about how our unethical, ritualistic celebration of capitalism (#blackfridaysmatter) is causing riots and traffic jams on Fifth Ave. And surely we’ll have to endure another wave of firefighting with zero causalities during the perpetual War on Christmas, before we welcome our new president a few weeks later.

After spending countless hours on social media during the election season, I’m almost tempted to get rid of Facebook altogether and somehow get back to a state of being human. Not #reality, but actual reality. I saw Off Square’s reading of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang last weekend in the Black Box, and the character of Vanya (played by Pat Towne) has a brilliant monologue rant.

“There are no shared moments anymore. There’s just Facebook and email and Twitter and cable and satellite; and the movies and TV shows are all worthless! And we don’t even watch the worthless things together anymore. It’s all separate and our lives are disconnected.”

To think that all this technology that brings us together is actually pushing us away from each other is not a unique concept. But politics is no different. Elections are meant to unite communities to support similar causes, and yet we’ve become more disconnected from each other than ever before. We care less about the lives of others because we can barely keep our own shit together.

A friend said to me: “I’m not going to vote. I’ve never voted and never will. I just adapt.” As a voting citizen, it’s frustrating to hear that, but I realize I can’t really blame her. It’s like she’s never eaten at McDonald’s, and I haven’t yet realized that politics isn’t Paleo.

Lucky her. PJH

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