I starts like every other drug. You remember trying it early in Junior year of highschool. At first it was just to prove you could do it. That’s where it always starts, isn’t it?
Churning the gears in your now smooth brain, you try to remember where it all began. The tweet, of course. You drove through the town of Florida, Massachusetts, saw the sign on the town line, surrounded by snow, took a picture and tweeted, “think global warming is real? explain this liberals.” You just wanted to feel something. You just wanted to be a Republican.
Your fellow liberals attacked you in the comments. You got a hell of a buzz from that goddamn tweet. You showed your friends, you told your parents. You laughed and laughed. You had fooled them. You felt the warmth of the hatred of liberals. You revelled in this victory, and then went back to your normal life.
Days and weeks passed before you again put on your overalls and work boots. It was Thanksgiving. You were surrounded by your conservative family. You took your “my cat is a democrat” bumper sticker off your car. After shooting beer cans in the backyard, you headed inside and listened to the adults talk politics. Your grandfather referred to your black friend as “that boy,” and you did not argue. You told your step-uncle that you believe guns should not be regulated, life would be more fun if everyone had an AR-15. Fuck it, why can’t we have a tank? You felt the buzz once again. Your heart beat faster, your neck ached for the embrace of a gold cross on a chain. Your father wept.
That Christmas you complained of the war on Christmas. You made a MAGA ornament for your Christmas tree. You exclusively listened to the white savior Christmas song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and hung out in your local Hobby Lobby. But why? Who even saw these jokes? No one but yourself, and God. This was the breaking point.
Turning Point USA visited your school. You greeted them eagerly. You wiped tears from your eyes, telling Chad that he was the first conservative you had met on campus, and you’ve felt so alone. You wore your Patagonia that day. You almost blew your cover. Chode asked why you dressed like this, you explained to him that you have to dress like a liberal or else you are discriminated against. He kissed you on the lips. You preached every conservative talking point you’d ever studied. Chode offered you a seat in their club legislature. You told him you don’t believe women should be in leadership positions. The warmth filled you.
You hit the peak of your teenage depression. Prozac had nothing on the rush of being deplorable. No one even bore witness to your jokes. Could they even be called jokes anymore? You joined your home town’s Conservative Facebook page. You used the hug reaction in response to any post that promoted the police. You were no longer undercover. You were one of them.
Your phone’s wallpaper was now a confederate flag. You ripped the Beatles posters down from your dorm walls. A framed photo of Rush Limbaugh sat upon your microwave. You listened exclusively to country music. You couldn’t sleep without interacting with every tweet by Trump that day. You had “guns, guts, glory” tattooed across your feeble shoulders. You bought an Android. You stopped being bisexual. You hand painted “Thank You President Trump” yard signs. You transferred to Norwich University. A simple ironic remark would no longer give you the buzz upon which you depended. America flowed through your veins. You only owned red white and blue clothes. You craved the warmth. You needed it in order to drag your limp body to and from your local diner to sexually harass the waitresses day in and day out. Finally, you cast your 2020 vote for Trump. It was done. Eternal comedy. Your sickly corpse laid still in the mountains of West Virginia, but the joke would never die.