Election Day 2016 from America’s Couch: A live blog
He came out of an indigo curtain, his buttons undone, his red tie hanging outside an open coat. The music was something out of a Hollywood exposition scene, neither dramatic nor any way recognizable. But, damn, he was happy.
And how could he not be?
No one outside of sycophants and asylum patients gave him a real chance. Nevertheless, here he was, the same semi-orange man we’ve seen for the past 18 months. He was coifed, swaggering, and self-sure.
He was barely removed from calling everything rigged—the media, the election, the entire damned system. But now, all of it had elected him to be the most powerful man in the free world. With a capped-teeth smile, he looked in the moment as if he couldn’t believe it himself. He touched his Vice President on the shoulder and innocently kissed the remaining women on the stage.
At the edge of the podium, the crowd chanted “U-S-A!”
Quietly, humbly, that man people had called a clown for 18 months uttered his first words as the President-elect of the United States of America.
“Thank you. Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business,” he said.
The cadence was the same the audience had heard for 18 months, but this time the gravity was different, because his next words were these:
“I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us. It’s about us on our victory.”
The rest was off a teleprompter, but it wasn’t bad. He praised Hillary Clinton for her hard work. He said it was time to “bind the wounds of division.” He said, “It’s time for us to come together us one united people. It’s time.”
It’s the same thing any of us would want to hear from the President of the United States. It was humble. It was grateful. It was, although unbalanced, almost Presidential.
And it came from a man who wants to build a wall to stop Mexican immigrants. A man who wanted to give a religion test to enter the United States. A man who believed he could grab innocent women by the…
What does it matter?
It doesn’t. At this hour, President-elect Trump’s victory is decisive. It wasn’t even a contest. The how and why of it will be debated for the rest of my lifetime, but the simple fact is that this is what we asked for.
We asked for a democracy. A vote of the people. An electoral college.
Moreover, it’s what we allowed.
We allowed gerrymandering. We allowed a craven cable news system. We allowed a post-fact generation.
And it’s what we allowed ourselves to create.
A nationalistic, celebrity, strongman who flouts every convention we held sacred and does so to his own benefit.
Here’s the rub: we have to accept it.
If we’re to uphold the ideals of our nation, then we are to respect the office this man has—however he achieved it—earned. He may eventually lose the moral right to our respect for his Presidency, but until then our system of government makes him our President.
From a personal standpoint, I’m exhausted. If you gave me a torch, I’d burn it all down tonight in the hopes we could mold something from the ashes. But, deep down, I know the only path is to see it through. Whether it’s four years or eight, the only path is forward.
As I’ve said many times before, I’m a white, straight, married guy with a decent job. My life probably stands to improve in some weird way over the next four years.
But I have friends. They are gay. They are women. They are Muslim. They are foreign. They are other white, straight, American males. I worry about them all. Not just for the next four years, but for a long time after that.
Eight years ago, people made fun of me for having hope. They poked at me, giggling about the fact I was optimistic that President Obama was a reason to be hopeful. Some were relentless, and they guffawed at every one of Obama’s missteps.
Tonight—this morning, I guess—I will give them the courtesy of not wishing ill on this new President.
Instead, my hope is that President-elect Trump rises above his own rhetoric and turns himself into a man this nation can respect. He has time if he has the will.
Because now, some 22 hours after I got up this morning, I’ve just put my little boy back to bed. He woke up, looked at the results, and vomited twice (the two things weren’t related, admittedly, but the timing was sort of poetic). I put myself in bed beside him, rubbed his wispy hair, and asked him if he was okay.
“I’m okay, Daddy,” he said.
That’s the best I can do at 4am. I can rest assured my family is okay.
In less than three hours, my people will be awake for another day. The sunrise will look the same in every way, but it will happen in a different America. That’s not hyperbole. That’s a simple fact.
We’re headed down a different road, and it’s up to all of us to make sure the people we love make it all the way there with us.
And where is there? Well, I used to know the answer to that.
For now, let’s just walk together.
All networks now confirming Hillary Clinton has conceded. Anyone who is reading this at this hour knows that already, but I figured it was worth noting for this record.
Here it is folks. This is our new America.
Listen, if you read this from bottom-to-top, I’ve been wrong at least as much as I’ve been right tonight, but this much is must be true: Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States. If there is any doubt, which I don’t believe there is, there is zero reason for John Podesta to come out. There is zero reason for Secretary Clinton to not concede.
The point here is, you either stick it out and wait, or you concede. The one thing you don’t do? Exactly what President-elect Trump threatened to do and leave people waiting.
Meanwhile, here we go with what Trump is about to say. Get ready for a preview the next four years.
This is a clip from a news story in a legitimate national American paper. And as much as it may hurt some of you to read, it’s true.
At least half of you who read this one won’t like it, but it comes from a one of my smartest friends who I feel comfortable saying is unlike anyone you’ve ever met. He’s pragmatic to the point I want to strangle him sometimes. He often speaks against my interests, and I’d suggest he occasionally speaks against his own interests. But, he’s smart, practical, and worth your consideration. Here, he discusses The Resiliency of America.
Black Dog hasn’t left my side. She’s restless, groaning against the non-stop coverage from the TV on the wall. She doesn’t want to hear Wolf, Carville, or Todd. They make her pull her big paws up underneath her chin. She whines, but she doesn’t leave, and she won’t until I do.
I won’t until it’s over.
It’s not that either of us think this night is in dispute. It’s that I won’t leave without witnessing it, and she won’t leave until I do.
It’s unquestioned loyalty. There is a warmer place she could go. There is a darker place. There is a quieter place. But she won’t go there until I see it through.
It’s exhausted grit. It’s believing you stick with the people you love. It’s knowing that, even if you don’t understand everything that’s happening, you know what’s important.
I’m lucky she considers me important, because otherwise I’d be watching this alone. Twitter has listed. Facebook has gone silent. My text messages haven’t buzzed in a while.
A man and his dog. I guess that’s how it ends sometimes.
Here is something I want you to read. It comes from a friend of mine who lives in an important state in this election.
It’s been 18 hours since I started this thing, something I thought was superfluous to the entire moment, something I thought would keep my brain occupied, something I thought would mark a different sort of historic moment in America.
My hopes for America are no secret, and the few views I keep private are pretty much in line with the public part of my life. If you know me at all, you know I’m uncomfortable right now. I’m watching my wife’s eyes, and they are breaking my heart.
As someone else said earlier, I’m a white guy who lives a comfortable life. I’m going to be fine, and there was no outcome where that wasn’t going to be the case.
Nevertheless, there are important issues in our society that I value over myself. There are people I love who need those issues to be resolved. What happens tonight is going to make that process a lot harder.
Yes, this was a lark tonight, and I think anyone who knows me well knew that.
I didn’t believe this was going to happen, and no one I knew did.
I can’t tell you about the conversation I just had with my wife, but I can tell you what I told everybody else on Twitter earlier.
Hey, y’all. Remember who you were this morning. Remember you were good & full of grace. Remember what’s important. Keep being you, please.
— Brad Willis (@BradWillis) November 9, 2016
I don’t even know who might have been reading here. I know a lot of you were, but I don’t know who it was, what your politics are, or how you’re feeling right now.
The boys went to bed a while ago. My wife is still here, but her eyes are intermittently closed, something that happened not too long after she said, “I’m sad.” The black dog is snoring beside me. White dog is roaming the house, uncomfortable and absorbing the weird anxiety that’s taken over this house.
I think we know where this is going, and it’s a new America. I’m going to try to put the rest of these people to bed, and then I’m going to watch this all go down. Bear witness, folks. This is a defining moment in our lives.
It’s 56° outside. There are scales of clouds over a gibbous moon. Something–frogs, crickets, I have no idea–is peeping in my yard. It’s American air, and it will be this time tomorrow night, no matter what happens tonight.
When I woke up today, I put on southern socks that say “Y’all” all over them. My shirt has my area code on it. My underwear? They are printed with an American flag.
I burst into my wife’s office wearing nothing but those underwear and a towel (as a cape, as you do). I sang a triumphant flourish of horns, hoping she ignored the obvious ugliness of the situation. She humored me with a half-smile and dispatched me from her workspace.
What do any of those mean? Well, nothing, I guess. In the moment, I meant it all to mean I’m a man who loves his city, who loves the South, and who loves America.
Like everyone else, I didn’t expect this to happen. Like everyone else, this makes me uncomfortable in ways I’m not ready to talk about.
But we did this, folks. We did this. No matter what we want to think right now, this is the U.S.
Put another way: this is US.
If there are any of you left here who are sober enough to read or not in the back of an ambulance, I’d like you to take a breath. Go outside. Breathe American air.
Mark it 9:35, dude. (AKA, the time America first admitted to itself that Donald Trump could be President of the United States)
No matter what happens in the next few hours, the referendum the anti-Trump crowd was looking for isn’t going to happen. The fact that the battleground states actually turned out to be battleground states is going to floor a lot of people.
If you want some reading material that will help explain it, read J.D. Vance’s bestseller Hillbilly Elegy. You may not like a lot of what it says, but it’s very instructive.
Dow futures down 300. Clinton drops to -180 on Pinnacle. We just poured cocktails.
From the UK…this tweet from Max Silver.
Every American who laughed at the UK for Brexit, this sweat is for you.
— Max Silver (@max_silver) November 9, 2016
My Twitter feed right now is a lot like the Alabama fans at the 2013 Iron Bowl the moment the ball fell in the hands of the receiver in the end zone, all issuing a collective, “Oh, wait. This could still turn out very badly.”
I spoke to a conservative I know a little while ago. He is the farthest thing from a Clinton supporter. Nevertheless, he had not yet put his kids to bed. He knows the likely outcome tonight, but he and his wife had a plan.
“We are trying to teach them the importance of respecting the president as a position,” he said.
You want hope for America? There it is.
And this is now. This is the moment I probably always knew was coming. This is my home state today. It’s not the fault of the media, politics, or anything I can firmly put a finger on right now. But here we are, watching an interview that is simultaneously about election returns and a serial killer investigation. Meanwhile, the GOP keeps the House and…
The AP finally called South Carolina for Trump, which, again, was always expected. He could have literally challenged Governor Nikki Haley to a duel and won this state.
Why? Well, look at Mark Sanford. You might remember Governor Mark Sanford? The one who disappeared from the state, claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail, and showed up in Argentina with a mistress. Yeah, he about to win another term in Congress.
Meanwhile, in a new modern record, America’s Couch managed to listen to Wolf Blitzer verbally masturbate for 75 minutes before changing the channel.
Here’s where most of the numbers start coming in, and the early projections are, of course, no surprise.
Trump: Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi
Clinton: Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Delaware
My seven-year-old, due for bed, just collapsed on America’s Couch, and said, “Tell me in the morning who won President of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands…”
It went on, but you get the idea.
Everybody in my house needs a sedative. I rather expected this would be a party atmosphere. Instead, it’s like we’re waiting to hear if a loved one made it out of surgery. I’m comforting myself by looking at a picture of my kid that I’ve wanted to see for a long time.
Next result in, and again no surprise.
Trump: West Virginia. It’s the only state that exists entirely in Appalachia. He was always going to win there.
Meanwhile in California, the LA Times reports there is one person dead and multiple people shot near a polling station. More here.
Donald Trump will win South Carolina. This has almost never been in doubt.
But it’s very instructive that the networks can’t call South Carolina at 7pm.
That is, if you have an early day tomorrow and need to get some rest, you can pop the Ambien now.
First results in:
Trump: Indiana, Kentucky
Several years ago, I met a guy named Jeff. He was a poker player who had made a final table at the World Series of Poker. He lived near me and ended up becoming a friend of the local poker community in a lot of ways.
He’s a southern man in just about every way. His voice dips and drawls when he talks. He has dogs named Atticus and Scout. He smokes a pipe. He’s a decent man.
And we disagree on about 80% of the political issues most people think matter.
I still think he’s a decent man. In fact, I think he’s a very good man.
Here’s one request. If you do nothing else right now, think of one person you seriously disagree with politically but think is a good person, regardless.
Send that person a note right now and tell them thanks for being your friend. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Dinner’s on. I’m a little sideways in a way that I wasn’t expecting. So, we’ll ramble for a moment.
Remember, this is the moment that has consumed most of the world for 18 months. It’s longer than a normal sports season. It’s longer than a school year. It’s longer than most of the things in our life by which we measure time. It’s forever, and it’s been in the background of every major news story for as long as our short-term minds can handle.
And it’s all going to end sometime in the next few hours.
Think about that for a moment. The thing you’ve been arguing about. The thing that has been on your TV. The thing that everybody wants to talk about. It’s going to cease to exist like a bad drama series on Cinemax. No matter what happens right now, this obsession, this mess, this damned thing is going to turn into something else.
Look at whoever is sitting next to you and remember what they look like right now. Remember how you feel looking them. That’s going to change tonight. You may love them no less. You may not feel the difference at all. Regardless, no matter what you want to happen tonight, your world is about to change.
Yes, that’s a mess of hyperbole, but I’m bound by no standards of objectivity. I’m feeling slightly untethered for the first time today. This is my seventh Presidential election since I came of voting age, and it in no way feels familiar.
All I can do at this point is take the advice of my personal physician, Dr. Paul McGuire, who just texted, “I watched an hour of BBC coverage. You’d think the world wasn’t ending.”
That’s what my wife said when I finally called her on her obvious anxiety. She’s been on edge all day long, and thought she’s an election junkie like me, she’s been subdued all day long. It’s been off-putting.
I didn’t admit, I’ve felt the same way most of the day. It’s like watching a circus performer on a tightrope. You know everything is going to be fine, but damn it, you sort of wish America had a net below it without so many holes.
And so, for now until the election returns start to come in at 7pm, we turn our focus to flag football and dinner. When we come back, we’ll be out on the wire.
After spending most of the day with my sons, I wondered what the older one thought about all of this. It’s clearly been on his mind, but I couldn’t help but ask myself how critically he was thinking about all of this. I decided to ask him a few questions. He surprised me in a few places, especially about halfway through. Have a listen while I cook dinner.
”Having an election night party?”
The cashier at Publix was probably in his early 20s and was eying my conveyor of groceries.
I must have looked shocked, because I shop there all the time, and when I have a party, it’s pretty obvious (and usually involves charcoal). Nevertheless, I conceded he was right. Within four hours, I’d be posted up on America’s Couch with a party of six waiting to see what’s next for the nation we call home.
This fact, and the fact I’m writing here at all requires the briefest of explanations about America’s Couch.
It’s U-shaped with space for two adults, two children, and with a perfect Tetris-style squeeze, two 75-pound Labs. It’s insignificant to the nation, the vote, or either of the major candidates. Yet, it’s ours and still looks at least reasonably like it did when this photo was taken in 2012.
It belongs to two former journalists. She covered the 1996 GOP convention in San Diego. I covered the 1996 Democratic convention in Chicago. After that, we covered more campaigns and races than I can count. State races in three states. National races through three Presidential campaigns. We were junkies who, if we had kept the monkey on our back, would be up all night working on tonight’s results.
But we shook it off and turned ourselves into citizens. We had kids. We adopted dogs. We freelanced. We bought our own insurance. We became frighteningly…normal.
The byproducts of this decision were unexpected. First, when removed from the media bubble, we saw things differently than before. It’s hard to explain exactly what that means, but the value of not living and breathing the news every day can’t be understated. I sort of wish every journalist who works the beat was forced to go live a normal life for a couple of years as part of a Regular Citizen Internship.
Second, we didn’t lose the itch. Though we took ourselves out of the newsroom, we remained voracious election night consumers. By and by, we spent a lot of that time inviting our friends to join us virtually here at Rapid Eye Reality. It was a ball.
If I’m honest, while I’ve been live blogging for a living for more than a decade, the idea of one old guy doing longer-form blogging in 2016 is downright silly. This night will play out on Twitter, Facebook, and cable news. Nevertheless, this morning, I had a few people ask that we do it again. So, we are.
Who are we to comment on tonight? We are, as my wife put it on Facebook earlier, “We’re just an average American family trying to make it through this Election Day that some see as Historic and others see as the End of the World.”
For more, you can keep reading below.
The 12-year-old was suspicious of our motives.
“I feel like you’re making a joke,” he said. “I can see you smile.”
We were on our way to lunch. To one of our local Mexican joints. It was the wife’s suggestion.
If one wanted to believe we were going to eat Mr. Salsa one last time before there was a taco truck on every corner, well they could just go on believing that. But we weren’t saying it aloud. We weren’t building a wall. We were going to lunch. And we were going to pay for it.
We got the last seat in the house. Every table was full. Young, old, students on Election Day break, families like ours out for a quick bite. It was so busy, the owner himself brought us chips and drinks and then waited on us for the rest of the meal.
I’ve seen this guy time and again over the years I’ve been going to the place. I’ve seen his wife and staff. They are there almost all the time because I suspect they work almost all the time.
They walk through this city with brown skin and a Hispanic accent. They sponsor little league teams. They pay taxes. And judging by the old man’s shirt, he does something else.
As he walked away from our table, I saw the sticker just below his lapel.
“I voted,” it read.
Our precinct is just about a mile away through streets lined with orange and red trees. Our neighbors had their children bouncing in the leaves. When they waved and asked us if we were going to vote, it felt almost theatrical, like we could all stop in the street and break into song. Election Day: The Musical.
We walked our dogs through two neighborhoods and up to the elementary school where both my sons’ attended. I got yelled at for checking my cell phone in the line of 20 people waiting to vote.
“Up in here causing problems!” the poll worker yelled. “Don’t you know how much I get paid? And causing me problems!”
Her smile was faint, but it was there.
There aren’t any signs for Hillary Clinton in my neighborhood. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve seen a sign for Hillary anywhere in my community. I live in South Carolina, and a Clinton sign might be seen as a sign of northern aggression. We know how that turned out last time.
There are Trump signs, though. On neighbors’ doors. On their cars. In the hands of baseball teammates standing across the street from the polling place.
“You think you know somebody…” said one naïve soul who I’ve chosen not to name.
That’s the overriding theme of this election year: that we are dividing neighborhoods and friends, that we are doing so with malice aforethought, that we will take some pleasure in their pain tonight. My hope this afternoon is that that is fear talking.
I have a friend in the next neighborhood over, and though I’ve known him for a number of years, I don’t really know his politics. Regardless, I think know his heart. He wrote this last night.
While I waited to vote, a pizza delivery guy showed up to deliver two cheap pies to the poll workers. I shook my head at the quality of pizza those poll workers had to eat. When it came time to cast my ballot, the machine hiccupped once before letting me do my thing. I was in and out in 15 minutes.
On the way out, the poll worker who yelled at me put a sticker in my hand and said, “God bless you.”
“Thanks for volunteering,” I said.
She laughed. “Don’t you know I make $500 an hour to do this?”
“Then you can take me out for a steak when this is all over,” I said.
“Anytime, honey,” she said.
On the walk home, I saw a Papa John’s delivery driver pull into a neighbor’s driveway. It was the second delivery of bad pizza I’d seen in 30 minutes.
And I’ll be honest: no matter how much bonhomie I might try to conjure on this beautiful day, I judged those people.
Not for their vote, but instead for the pizza.
I took down the Halloween decorations with my older son. The air smelled like the burning North Carolina mountains, and it made me think of an author I like. He lives up under the smoke, and he tweeted this today.
Welcome to the scariest day of my American lifetime.
— David Joy (@DavidJoy_Author) November 8, 2016
We put the skeleton in the collapsible wagon we use to lug baseball gear and rolled it toward the garage. It was hilariously macabre, and no one saw it but us, an middle-aged man with a paunch and a floppy-haired tween who hasn’t yet lived through the scariest days of his life. It’s why his smile is so genuine and his curiosity so pure.
Joy, the author, is ten years younger than me, and I don’t fault him for seeing this day through a lens of fear. While there are many people who would disagree, there are possible implications with today’s vote that are terrifying. I think those possibilities are unlikely, but they are not impossible, and for that Joy can be forgiven (or even celebrated for) his plan:
The plan's to pass out drunk by five, wake up to the news either mad I didn't die of alcohol poisoning or hopeful enough to chug a Gatorade.
— David Joy (@DavidJoy_Author) November 8, 2016
Nevertheless, no matter how amped I am right now, and no matter exactly how long I pour my drinks tonight, I remain still hopeful that America values itself enough to not burn itself down. I remain with roiling intestines and tension between my shoulder blades from the true and abject fear I felt on the afternoon of 9/11/01. I don’t remember being more scared for my country before that. At this hour, at least, I don’t feel that scared today. I hope that doesn’t change.
Finally, I thought of another Western North Carolina friend and this post he made to Facebook today. He is a reason to be hopeful. He is a reason to not be afraid.
“They found another body on that’s guy property,” I said.
I was in the backseat of my Uber on the way home from the airport. I’d been gone for a week. I’d stayed in Atlantic City within view of the now-closed Trump Taj Mahal. Its doors were locked and the red Trump sign on top didn’t light up at night.
Now in the Uber, I was scrolling through the day’s news from my community and discovered there was a third body on the property of a suspected serial killer 30 minutes south of here.
“I’d say it was shocking if anything surprised me anymore,” the driver said.
He’d been as accommodating as the best drivers, offering my choice of radio station, air temperature, and cell phone charger. The ride was less than 15 minutes, but he wanted to make sure I was comfortable.
He and I talked about our former lives, mine in crime journalism, his in law enforcement and security. Both of us were in an Uber, which was probably telling in some way.
The driver had left law enforcement two years ago to help his wife when their first child was born.
“She served me with divorce papers,” he said, and then trailed off. He thought for a few minutes. “Its not so much that I’m out of law enforcement as waiting to get back into it.”
On this dark ride through the back roads of South Carolina, base-level politics weren’t going to matter much to two tired guys trying to do their best. Nevertheless, if you listened hard enough, you’d hear what it means to be an American. Put another way, it didn’t take long for the conversation to transition from serial killers to marriage and jobs.
“Which house is yours?” he asked at the top of my street, which was hilarious, because the entire thing was still lit up with Halloween decorations.
“The bright one, apparently,” I said.
From the curb, it did look sort of ridiculous. Scarecrows, ghosts, and mummies still milling about my yard eight days after the fact. I’m sure the neighbors talked.
But that’s just us. That’s the Willis Family right now. I left town on the morning of Halloween and just got back home. In the meantime, my wife managed school, hockey, basketball, flag football, and a bunch of freelance assignments. These are busy times, and the Mommy has to take precedence over the mummy.
It forces me to think, too, about the single mom who has a fulltime job…or two of them. The one who doesn’t have time to put up or take down Halloween decorations because she needs insurance for her kids. It makes me think of the dad who got up at 5am today to go to work like he has every day for as long as he can remember. Those people didn’t have the privilege of waking up today and snuggling with their kids over discussions on the origin of man. They didn’t take a long hot shower to wash the casino off them. They were probably wondering how they were going to pay the babysitter because schools are closed on Election Day.
I hope they could still find time to vote.
I woke today before the sun came up. I had the day off after a long week on the road. I intended to sleep until the dogs or kids forced me awake. Instead, I saw a sliver of red-gold sunrise through my blackout curtains, and I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep.
My older son was already awake. He’s 12 and was as excited about Election Day as he was his own birthday. The younger boy wandered in later with morning breath, shivering against the morning cold. We hadn’t talked much in the week I’d been gone. He wanted to talk about an artificial lung he’d built, the Vietnamese man in the Guardians of the Galaxy hat who won the World Series of Poker, and whether the winner’s check was one of those big ones or a little one like his mom used to pay for his soccer enrichment.
Apropos of nothing, he, too, wanted to talk about the origin of man.
“A woman had to come first,” he said, unprompted. “Because women make men.”
“Okay,” I said. I’d had no coffee.
“But, then, what created the woman?” he asked.
“That’s a good question,” I said.
He paused, thinking about it, unbothered that I was watching.
“That’s trippy,” he said.
My wife was working on the breakfast table, buried in an assignment she hoped to finish before the end of the day. Two sleepy Labradors rose and stretched, unaware today was anything more than “People Are Going To Give Me Food Day” again.
This is my family on Election Day. We are white, privileged, happy Americans. We have run better in life than most people should be allowed to run. No matter which way the election goes tonight, our lives will not be dramatically impacted. Nevertheless, for reasons I can’t fully explain yet, this day feels important beyond what a cable news countdown clock would suggest. It feels like it has more gravity than a tumbling Twitter stream. It feels less ethereal and hollow than a Facebook feed.
It feels like a referendum on what it means to be an American, and that’s a kind of patriotism that makes a little flag in my hand feel like the weight of the world.