I spent 2017 and 2018 criss-crossing Trumpland. It was a deeply depressing experience. The cliches are all, sadly, true: low IQ bigots without two functioning neurons to rub together. They all repeat the same memes, believe all the propaganda they’re fed, and are utterly incapable of grasping even the most rudimentary facts of modern life. I saw a sign saying “Kill All Demo-Rats!!” on a drive between Dallas and Houston. I heard people openly talking about killing lib’ruls. A friend working in Dallas moved back to India after his four-year-old daughter came home from kindergarten in hysterics because a white boy of the same age had come up to her and told her, “My daddy says we can burn you and all your family now.” The teacher hadn’t intervened because, well, this is freedom of speech and we have freedom in the USA.

The USA is a nation where 33,000+ gunshot deaths a year are normal, where lies and bigotry and a Disneyesque version of history are all common currency. A nation of ignorance and folly and fear and sexual repression unimaginable to people living in Western Europe. It’s exhausting.

For me the most pathetic thing of all was the enormous number of obese white males lacking any form of education who believed they were “superior” because they could still jam a flabby finger through the trigger guard of their favorite weapon. They truly believed that by managing to hit a few paper targets at a very modest distance each was an embodiment of the Superior White Race. They knew nothing of stoppage drills, of shooting while falling or sliding or rolling, of engaging multiple targets while taking hot rounds. They’d watched the Hollywood movies and swallowed the nonsense. In their minds they were all Squint Eastward, not sad dull-witted obese losers. Their guns and their bibles were all they had between them and a recognition of their own absolute inadequacy.

Staying within the coastal bubbles is the only sane thing a thoughtful, intelligent, and educated person can do in the USA. Elsewhere it’s so backward it might as well be the Medieval period, only with smartphones and AR15s and pickup trucks.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.