Fight or Flight — The Social Imaginary of “Canada”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Substantial protests against Trump’s election have spontaneously begun in cities across the country, and I imagine that their participants are familiar enough with the outcome of protests to dismiss any hope of remediation. As of yesterday, the gap in the popular vote between Clinton and Trump had grown to over a half-million, thereby replicating the same disjuncture as in the election of 2000. This time, however, is far more foreboding: the continuing scandalous repression of the popular vote and the ability of fascist elements in the United States to control the outcome of elections on a national level is only slightly discomfiting compared to the dystopia about to be unleashed on us.

It is a fundamental question of fight or flight. Few of us have the resources to flee; as for fight, we can afford few mistakes, whereas those about to take power will be indulged regardless of the grievousness of their errors. If California suffers the long predicted earthquake during the next four years, it will marinate in the rubble indefinitely. Trump won’t lift a finger. George W. Bush was hardly a president that New Orleans could rely on, and the West Coast had better be prepared for a worst-case scenario.

In the meantime, I take solace in the capacity of poets to alleviate the immediate distress with ironic humor. One of my favorite poets is Richard Garcia, who is probably the best living poet published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Rattle magazine posted one of his poems this morning in its “Poets Respond” section.

http://www.rattle.com/canada-by-richard-garcia/ Poets Respond section of Rattle 11/13/16