Not surprisingly, I’ve been in mourning.
This is our Watergate. Political cynicism is the norm after Nixon. Before him was Camelot, for heaven’s sake. Similarly, there’s life before Trump and life after. America is not the same. America is an idea as much as it’s a country, and it is fundamentally changed.
This hit me harder than 9/11! Perhaps that seems hyperbolic, but it’s true.
Trump has no interest in governance. He wants glory and HIS WAY. He’s a would-be dictator. Thank god there’s still enough to our democracy to get him out and save ourselves in 4 years.
In the meantime, what I believed would be a post-election Republican postmortem is, instead, occurring within the Democratic party. With Bernie Sanders to lead the way!
Seeing Plan B’s “One Big Union” couldn’t have been more timely, motivating, and healing for me (though a part of me panicked that, 100 years later, the “bosses” are still winning). America has made great strides, and we’ll fight like hell to keep them. We’ll lose ground, no question, but we’ll reclaim it at midterms in 2018. And there will be sweet victories and progress in the meantime.
That being said, I am terrified by Trump’s choice of a climate change denier for his EPA team [and a rag printer of alt-right rhetoric as top aide]. Currently, with what’s happening – unequivocal crimes against individuals and a sovereign nation – Trump’s role in the already marred energy sector frightens me the most. Only the NRA has better-funded lobbyists than the dirty energy industry. We stand to lose what we cannot recover.
So I donate my small amount to Standing Rock. And I pray. I paint my drums. I put the hope and buoyancy that are my nature back into my big picture, and I WATCH.
Everyone is saying right now, “I hope he proves us wrong.” His choices so far show that he, likely, will not. Of course, the grandiose promises he made to deport everyone and ban everyone can’t be kept entirely, and he’s back-tracking already on what he “meant.” On the one hand, thank goodness. On the other, he’s a fraud. You got suckered.
We’ve been Trumped.
He will be more futile than he realized, I think, as the title doesn’t proffer the cart-blanche he anticipated. He’s so clinically narcissistic, he can’t even see that the job he applied for was not Absolute Ruler. But the damage is done.
Immigrants have been murdered this week. Boys chant at football games, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” People across America are vandalizing brown neighborhoods, and taunting immigrants and Latinos about The Wall and their place on the other side of it. The narrative has changed. As much as we were the land of opportunity, the champion of anyone willing to labor, America is now the intolerant paragon of hate. Racism is normalized. Fear-mongers are emboldened. Bigots feel at liberty to terrorize their neighbors, because their President-elect does the same thing.
There’s a prominent socially-conscious woman in Salt Lake named Mary Dickson. She hosts a public television segment, and wrote a play for Plan-B that I saw. I ran into her the other day and introduced myself. When I asked how she was, her eyes welled with tears. She’s been hosting Saudi Arabian students for years, she told me. When one leaves, another moves in. She loves them and their families. They are family. The day after the election, one boy was dressing in his regular Saudi clothing to head out somewhere, when the other student stopped him. “You can’t go out in that! They’ll kill you!”
The fear is real. It hurts!
It’s the first time that terror has touched me by so close a degree of separation. Yes, Trump hates women. Can’t even see us as beings enough to hate us, really. We’re things to possess and conquer, objects to reflect his prowess and power. While Rape Culture is removed to the 60s, at best, it’s still a theoretical shift. I don’t feel any more at risk of rape today than I did yesterday. (The day after the election, I wondered which men filling their tanks had voted for him, and felt markedly isolated.) (And, naturally, women’s health is a terrifying “we’ll see” for now.)
These boys are afraid for their lives! Their mothers want them to come home. This is as much America as anything we’ve told ourselves before. America is an unsafe place to visit or study, or live. This is the reality for so many! And in one big con, it was all made OKAY. Whitewashing xenophobia makes it that much more shameful. I’m ashamed. Might someone look at me and wonder if I support that hatred and chaos?
I weep for my country.
His supporters are keen to say that only a quarter, not the majority, voted for him (Meaning what?) and “most of those aren’t racist.” Perhaps not, but they’re fine with a dangerous criminal running the country. Is that any better?
And this convenient splitting of hairs offends me. That quarter of the populace told the electorate to give him the keys. That’s the majority! That’s how American democracy is set up. They know that. Everyone knows that. But faced with the consequence of aligning themselves with a racist – being considered racist themselves – they claim that a most fundamental principle of the American democratic process, the existence of the Electoral College, negates their responsibility for electing a bigot to office.
It’s not that they don’t understand basic principles that govern our land. It’s that they want those principles to now abdicate them from the blame they share for bigotry that’s newly strengthened in our country, and from the hate crimes that follow. “We voted for a hatemonger, but we’re not to blame for the danger that puts people in.”
One of the more somber social consequences of the Internet Age is online bullying. Trump epitomizes trolling. He legitimizes malcontents who hide behind computer screens. Those ugly people emerge from behind a cloak they needed a decade ago, before hate-flooding became everyday ho hum. That’s an unsavory population to a invite to a discussion that has real-world gravitas. These people play by virtual rules, and have lost the ability to empathize, if they ever had it.
Speaking of vile internet behavior, what must pedophiles be feeling – worse, doing – right now, with a President-elect on trial for raping a 13 year old?
This is real! I still can’t believe it’s real. People are in danger.
The other frightening thing about the internet is that truth has no meaning. Facts have somehow lost almost all value. How can we feel otherwise when a pathological liar is elected to the highest office in the land?
Anyone can say anything. With conviction, it’s taken as truth. All we want is the loudest ape. How can we be so blinded by bluster?
Do they actually think he’s going to save their jobs? The blue-collar contingent that lapped his pablum is the very population that will lose first!
You know, that brings up an interesting aside for me. I used to do that. In high school, I argued things I didn’t believe, just to see if I could win. When I did, I’d laugh at the chump that I’d convinced of utter bombast, of LIES. “You’re an idiot!” I scoffed.
Making others a fool became a power I abused.
That juvenile behavior characterizes Trump. He gets off on tricking people! I know that high. As I matured, so did my morality, and I made choices to be a kinder person. Trump has no internal compass to guide his choices toward good. He’s pure greed. And success doesn’t count if someone else doesn’t lose, or suffer, for your gains. He’s a dangerous, ironically bankrupt man.
And, still, none of this is the point. The point is the message. In the United States, we don’t respect, protect, or treat with civility anyone who isn’t white, male, Christian, straight, wealthy, and healthy. It’s a terrifying day for immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ, the disabled, the poor, the insecure. This is as much what America stands for, now, as anything we’ve claimed and believed about ourselves previously. It’s a strong, clear, horrifying, and heartbreaking message. And the majority chose it.
“Most of the people who voted for Trump aren’t racist” is a bullshit platitude that makes me scream. Permitting bigotry – while disavowing it in oneself – is a comfortable delusion that Trump supporters created so they can live with what his message tells their neighbors, fellow Americans, and the world. Your vote makes it your message.
“I voted for a man endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, but I’m not a bigot myself” is a pathetic story that no one believes but the people who tell it to themselves. Silence is deference. Anyone who stands idly by while another is marginalized is passively participating in that degradation. So if you vote for it, you are an active adherent of an ideology that tears people down and destroys community.
In other words, actions speak louder than words.
And their actions gave us the most self-serving, cossetted prince to rule America.
“No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things.” -Neal Gabler