On Tuesday we elected Godzilla as president of the United States of America. You know, my mom and I had talked about calling people to go to the polls and I even thought about donating a few dollars to the other candidate but I honestly just didn’t believe Godzilla had a prayer. I thought we knew better, as a country.
Turns out, there was a pretty large secret Godzilla vote—people who didn’t want to own up to being Godzilla supporters to their friends or neighbors, but still voted for him. It’s a global movement, Reptile Nationalism, and it’s rising in Western Europe too but this is just a totally new scale.
My friends from abroad messaged me and asked if I was okay, but honestly I don’t even know. Godzilla is starting slow, assembling a cabinet, but he’s promised to destroy at least two coastal cities in his first 100 days in office. I live in Western Massachusetts so it definitely could be worse, but I know that he’ll hit here if he can manage it so I’m pretty stressed out.
A lot of people, celebrities, politicians, and so on, are saying this means it’s time to reach out a hand to Godzilla supporters and establish a dialogue across party lines. That mainstream America has ignored the experiences of kaiju-allied Americans for too long, and we had this coming to us. That what matters most is a peaceful transition of power, and remembering that we are all Americans first, before we are terrified, frantic civilians or toxic-waste-driven creatures arisen from an oceanic trench lost to the passage of time.
There’s a few thought pieces making the rounds about how the coasts are too insulated in their wealthy liberal bubbles to truly understand the desperation of rural, reptile-loving America. When your Rust Belt job dries up and the coal mine closes, they say, you just feel so angry and betrayed by the Washington elite that you’ll elect anyone who promises to make change, even if it’s a man-eating, rampaging evil dinosaur that can spit fire. Others are interpreting this swing towards the depths-of-the-ocean end of the political spectrum as a response to the ongoing fights for racial and gender equality and ‘political correctness’ in America; that white men and women feel that if they can’t count on every incoming freshman spot at their state school and they can’t call Black people the N-word in the grocery store they might as well inflict a monstrous, nuclear-blast-breathing ancient terror on our whole nation. Take back America, they say—either back into the sweaty, blood-sticky hands of landowning lawnmower-riding white men, or back into the fearful depths of the Pacific where terror immemorial lurks, waiting to be awoken.
I hope President Godzilla won’t be as bad as everyone thinks. I’m scared for my friends who live in big cities, who are right by the coastlines, for the people who have come out loudly and publicly against letting a vengeful sea monster rule our country. Some of my friends are saying that we should impeach him, but with the lizard men holding such a large section of Congress, it’s hard to be hopeful.
Mostly, selfishly, I am scared for me.
At night I swear I can hear him walking.
Tomorrow morning we build the bomb shelter.
Wesley O. Cohen is a San Francisco-based author who specializes in short stories. Her work appears in Matchbox Magazine and Star 82 Review, and is forthcoming in Prized Writing. You can follow her at wesleyocohen.wordpress.com.