Throughout the election season, John Oliver has started out his numerous segments on the presidential face-off between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with painfully accurate descriptions of the state of the race — and how terrible we all think it is. If you were afraid that was over, don't you worry. Last Week Tonight was back on the air with Oliver explaining why the election season was better and what to do now that the unthinkable has happened: Trump actually won.
Here's his final description of things and it's painfully accurate: "I thought I wanted it to be over but now that it's over I wish it was still going on because it turns out the ending is even worse 20 — f*cking — 16." Too true. Make sure you're emotionally ready to jump into this before watching the episode, even the host himself acknowledged that he's been on an emotional roller coaster since he first realized that America might have gotten things wrong — even if the results "were a little different than what just over half the voters wanted":
It turns out, instead of showing our daughters that they could someday be president, America proved that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world.
He dedicated the whole episode (ironically, the season finale!) to the topic. Oliver started off listing some of his fears: that Trump will have access to the nuclear codes, that he was supported by a former grand wizard of the KKK, and that he will choose the Supreme Court justice to fill Antonin Scalia's seat — not to mention any more that actually come up during his term.
Oliver's comments echoed the arguments put forward by protestors across the country, but he was also good enough to acknowledge there were some people who supported Trump, and that they should be acknowledged:
Some are voters who think he'll bring jobs back and shake up Washington. Others are happy simply because he isn't Hillary Clinton. And others, of course, are Vladimir Putin and Scott Baio. But for the rest of us, we are faced with the same questions as a guy that woke up the day after a Vegas bachelor party deep in the desert, naked, tied to a cactus and a dead clown — namely: "How the f*ck did we get here?" and "What the f*ck do we do now?"
Luckily, Oliver had some advice. First, yes, Trump will be president, and we must respect democracy, Oliver argued. But there are limits too. Talking heads since Tuesday have said repeatedly we must "give Donald Trump a chance." However, it's maybe not the best route to take. Oliver compared it being on a plane, and finding out the pilot is a wombat: "I don't like this, I don't understand how it happened, and I'm pretty sure we're headed for disaster, but what the hell? Come on, batty, prove me wrong!"
"Optimism is nice if you can swing it," Oliver suggested, but he argued that you have to be careful not to normalize Trump, as he is abnormal. In the realm of politics, "he sticks out like a sore thumb, and, frankly, he even looks like a sore thumb," Oliver said. Therefore we must stand up against the policies Trump has put forward, i.e., "the to-do list on Satan's refrigerator — which, of course, Satan no longer needs now that hell has frozen over," Oliver quipped.
There are two bad roads ahead, "two devastating options," Oliver pointed out. On the one hand, everything Trump said over the course of the election was a lie just to fear monger his way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On the other, he actually meant it. "It's impossible to know which one," Oliver said. "Trump is like a Magic Eight Ball. Every time you shake him, he gives you a different answer."
So what then are you supposed to do exactly? No, Canada is not the answer; America's democracy requires that we stay and fight. He suggests that you start donating to organizations that will have extra work under the Trump administration, like Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (he also had the brilliant idea that you could do your Christmas shopping via donations to these organizations in the name of family members, especially those that voted for Trump). Of course voting in midterms is also vital but even more than that he said:
For the last eight years, we've had a president that we could assume would generally stand up for the rights of all Americans, but that is going to change now. So we're going to have to actively stand up for one another. It can't just be sounding off on the internet, sharing think pieces, or videos like this one that echo around your bubble. I'm talking about actual sacrifice to support people who are now under threat.
More than anything, don't forget that this is not normal, Oliver said, because a "Klan-backed misogynist internet troll is going to be delivering the next State of the Union address, and that is not normal." So pay attention, organize, and support the most vulnerable in our society. They need our time, money, and solidarity.