Before the midterms, my TV was full of angry, resentful conservative politicians assuring me the 'woke' hordes had better look out because a deep red wave was coming.
What grave threats did they see on the nation's horizon? Transgender people. Why did they want me to care so much about transgender people – a tiny minority who's rights don't infringe in any material way on my own?
And what was this about drag queens reading nursery stories to children? I was supposed to fear that? Had any of these people ever actually met a drag queen? Had they ever been to the theatre or to a pantomime in their lives?
You have more to fear from pastors and priests than from any drag queen. As a matter of fact, I have never heard of a drag queen sexually abusing anyone, ever. Pastors and priests are another story, however, as a quick scan of the daily police blotters from coast to coast will confirm.
So why were so many far-right politicians attacking the most marginalized people in our nation suddenly? The answer was obvious: for votes. Every election cycle needs its scapegoats and the more marginalized you are the better the scapegoat you'll make.
When our screens suddenly fill with conservative politicians shouting themselves hoarse about the latest supposed threats to the country: immigrants, LGBT people, Muslims, and so on, it is always worth asking yourself if you actually feel threatened.
I don't know how you go about your day, but I don't spend mine worrying about how bathroom accommodations for trans people will impact me personally.
I don't worry because I have discovered they really don't impact me personally. Bathrooms on planes are used by either sex and no one freaks out about it.
If anything, making the world a little more accommodating for people who have been traditionally marginalized makes the nation a fairer, more decent place.
But I know there are people in this country who can't sleep for fear that the people they personally dislike are not being relentlessly cauterized. I know there are people who feel that a gain for others is always a loss for themselves. I pity such people.
Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the nation's press wasn't invested in a legacy candidate, or indeed a woman. Instead, they were casting around for more drama, something with which to entertain themselves before her inevitable win.
Donald Trump fit that wake-us-all-up casting. He was obnoxious, flashy, and low-key unhinged. He would say or do anything to catch the headlines and make a splash. He couldn't win, but he could entertain. There would be no harm in giving him a platform.
The New York political press was particularly entertained by his showman's antics. We know this guy, they told themselves, we know that he's a lifelong grifter and a con man. Let's watch him make a fool of himself again on the national stage before the Clintons come and win the game and bore the pants off us.
Trump, it's important to remember, rose to prominence politically by pursuing Barack Obama's birth certificate like a dog catcher pursuing an escaped mutt. There was something about Obama that was different and untrustworthy, Trump repeatedly told us, and we need to see his papers to determine exactly what that is.
When racism is this aggressive and blatant, the press doesn't know how to respond to it, it turns out. So instead of touching the third rail, they unwittingly conspired with Trump to report his racism as if it were news, as if Trump were engaged in a sincere search instead of a racist dog whistle.
Trump wasn't taken seriously, so he rose without opposition. Since Trump, the thing that has happened, that we have all been too slow to see, is that a horde of ambitious mini-me's have decided to mimic his bombastic style, in the hope of gathering his mob.
That's why your screens were full of angry, blustering men and women scapegoating their fellow Americans for the bigot vote. That's why every major conservative political prospect now looks or sounds like a cross between Trump and Tucker Carlson.
Trump deputized what the Bible calls a generation of vipers. He said to the worst people in the country you can finally come out from under your rocks, your time has come.
He may run again himself, but his rise has flooded the GOP with equally ambitious and unprincipled vipers, and vipers don't care who they bite to survive.