Text: Richard Agerbeek
Until recently I nearly felt inspired by all the great work I have been witnessing; Ted talks I have been watching, Instagram postings I’ve been hearting, inspirational quotes I’ve been Pinning and cool apps I’ve been downloading. I was nearly convinced to drop my self-defined band of pessimism and be optimistic about the glorious future the millennial generation has been paving for us one social posting and app at a time. I resolved to put my guard down and be, at very least, cautiously optimistic. That’s how I felt in early November of 2016. I did, however, include the “cautiously” I mean between Brexit and the run up to November, we saw a caustic, narcissist, asshole win the Republican party’s nomination their presidential candidate – all on a racist and xenophobic platform. So yeah, better be a little prudent because we are not out of the woods yet, right? It was time for some optimism! We’ve had a black president for eight years and now the first woman president. No way that Trump nut job was going to be president. America has come a long way; gay marriage is legal in all states, marijuana couldn’t be far behind, there is even a mixed race couple renovating the lone star state one “Fixer Upper” at a time. The future gonna be so bright I am going to have to wear RETROSUPERFUTURE® shades!
But then bam, the “impossible?” happened; President-elect “motherfucking” Trump!?!? All the good intentioned privileged urbanites looked up from their now overly optimistic pre-election posting to the biggest surprise ending no one saw coming. Like some surprise ending of a Netflix Original. Except for this is one series that everyone was binge watching at the same time and also one where there was no way to post a spoiler on.
There was no way anyone could have seen this coming, right? Unless of course, you had nothing better to do than taking a long walk through the rust belt to notice that rust was turning those states redder than Bo and Luke Duke’s necks. Sorry, I couldn’t think of a more contemporary redneck. I guess those Duck Dynasty guys, but I couldn’t recall their names as I can’t let myself give an ounce of attention to Google that shit. I grew up deeply steeped in a redneck, burnout, and racist world. Nothing good came out of that, except I somehow know all the words to “Sweet Home Alabama.” I can find nothing entertaining about being a southern rural jackass.
I know it sounds insensitive to the out of work-ing class who are being severely affected by globalization, corporate greed, and the changing world economy. But seriously, people! You cannot expect coal mining to have the same comeback as craft beer. Manufacturing jobs are not coming back anytime soon. The only kind of fucking micro industry like that is what? Some fixed gear bikes or copper colored watches handmade in Detroit. There is no amount of vintage-styled pocket notebook manufacturing that will save the middle of America from getting a shit job at Walmart. Ironically, businessmen like Donald Trump started shipping those jobs out of the country a while ago.
I am trying to be innovative over here. We are supposed to be driving electric or solar powered cars by now. Shit, flying cars for that matter. You coal country people want me to be shoveling coal into my flying car? That sounds like some steam punk nightmare scenario but with black smoke. I joke about it but as NY Times truthfully reported on this Coal Rolling phenomenon is a real thing for a select few idiots. ‘Rolling Coal’ in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke
But Anyway, back to pessimism.
For the people that didn’t vote for Donald Trump, (or just didn’t vote) you’ll need to pour yourselves a big half empty glass of frosty cold pessimism. AND! for ya’ll who did vote for Donald Trump need to pour out that half full glass of optimism because you ain’t getting shit from that con artist. You are just gonna die a lot faster now your affordable care is taken away soon.
For me a strategic approach to pessimism is the key to success, feeling better and being accomplished. I’ve seen optimistic people sit around and think “something good will happen,” “something is gonna change,” “I might win a lottery.” Well, it’s not. Nothing is gonna happen unless you start making it happen and when you start trying it’s likely to go badly. You need to lower expectations, assume the worse will happen, and plan for it. You have to think through all the negative outcomes and plan for them. Lower your expectations on everything, and in the instance when something is good, well, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The Wall Street Journal published a piece on pessimism.
The Perfect Dose of Pessimism | The Wall Street Journal
Plan for the worse and start doing something other that posting shit in the echo chamber of your own social media sphere. Do something real, give money, time, or whatever as long as it isn’t just going to sink downward into a reverse chronology social feed.
Give to these charities and subscribe to media outlets that fact check.
Everytown for Gun Safety
The Southern Poverty Law Center
Human Rights Campaign
National Immigration Law Center
Center for Reproductive Rights
Natural Resources Defense Council
International Refugee Assistance Project: IRAP
The Trevor Project
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund