Don’t Worry About a Civil War. There's a Faux Opium War Happening Online.

It's a survival of the fittest on Twitter with the invention of new fighting words.EXPAND
It's a survival of the fittest on Twitter with the invention of new fighting words.
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May countless blessings be bestowed upon whichever young people coined the online terms “copium” and “hopium,” because if there’s anything we desperately needed in 2020, it’s a shorthand for how pride cometh before the chagrin-inducing fall.

For those unaware, “copium” is a portmanteau of “cope” and “opium,” while “hopium” is one of “hope” and “opium.” Opponents of President Donald Trump have spent the past four years taking copious (heh) amounts of the fictional drug copium, while his sycophantic supporters have been on a four-year bender of its counterpart. To medicate with copium is to accept or bargain with defeat, and to ingest hopium is to gloat in the face of your opponents while you revel in sweet victory.

Supporters of Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden have spent this past week chasing the hopium dragon as their candidate became president-elect, and as if to intensify the schadenfreude, they have even appropriated the likeness of alt-right icon Pepe the Frog to do it. The most shared of these memes is one of a forlorn Pepe breathing copium via a nasal mask, but others have taken more creative liberty in portraying the MAGA crowd as sore losers in the violent throes of grief. 

This online relishing of the defeat reached meteoric highs last week as a Twitter account with the handle @CopingMAGA already attracted over 56,000 followers by posting screenshots of pro-Trump meltdowns on right-wing hotbeds such as 4chan. On Reddit, left-leaning subreddits are gawking at the post-election ramblings of right-wing influencers like Charlie Kirk and Steven Crowder.

But outside of this churlish internet bubble, others are pleading for more grace and civility. In a Nov. 3 editorial in The Forward, veteran journalist Jodi Rudoren pleaded, “If your guy wins, don’t gloat.” After Biden’s Nov. 7 victory, ABC News correspondent Steve Osunsami tweeted, “If you’re celebrating, remember that you have friends who feel like you did in 2016.”

Conversely, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted a gif with the caption, “Me, trying my best not to rub it in. I am really trying, but it is so hard.” Silicon Valley actor Kumail Nanjiani also took to Twitter to say, “We must heal. But first, we must gloat.” Meanwhile, ABC News reported that a voter fraud prevention hotline manned by the Trump campaign has been flooded with prank calls mocking the president for his defeat.

Call it classless to succumb to such pettiness, but you would be hard-pressed to argue that Trump and his supporters haven’t engaged in similar behavior. The president frequently stroked his batshit crazy ego by waxing nostalgic about his 2016 victory against Hillary Clinton. His supporters called dissenting voices “triggered snowflakes” and accused them of having “Trump derangement syndrome,” and no female protester could ever let their passions take the wheel without the potential consequence of being turned into an alt-right meme.

“Live by the sword, die by the sword.” These are the words Jesus of Nazareth said to one of his disciples after he struck a servant of the high priest with a “Liberal Tears” coffee mug.

If you’re a Trump supporter who is tapping into the world’s limited copium supply, let this humbling experience be a valuable lesson on the dangers of hubris. If you’re one of millions of anti-Trump Americans basking in the Audacity of Hopium, try not to overdose.

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