is this what great looks like?
I struggle to know how to write this. I struggle because I can’t reconcile the fact that our highest office is about to be handed over to a bawling, orange megalomaniac who has never held public office, never served our country, and never done anything but further his own self-interests. And I fear this new venture of his, President of the United States, will be more of the same: grandstanding his own triumphs (real or imagined) while he denigrates anyone (or any nation) who doesn’t rise to the level of sycophancy he feels he deserves.
I struggle because I’m scared. Scared because ISIS took to the streets reveling in his victory. Scared because the KKK donned their asinine white sheets of hate and held a victory march. Scared because it wasn’t just Trump that won, it was a victory for extremism, hate, and intolerance everywhere. Scared because my social media started to blow up with friends who had no choice but to sit with their terror. Terror for their safety, their loved ones’ safety, their hard-won rights being stripped away again, or not knowing if they would be able to continue life-saving medical treatments in Trump’s New America. As the night wore on, hopeful, cautious, wary optimism gave way to anxiety. Anxiety morphed into fear. Fear turned into horror, and our horror became grief. Yes, grief. I want to make something clear: this is not about Democrat v. Republican, this isn’t about “my side lost,” this isn’t about wanting a woman in the White House after 227 long years of male domination. This was about who we are as a people. And evidently, we are now people who smile blandly when our president laughs about his right to grab women by the “pussy.” We are people who label an entire ethnic group “criminals, drug dealers, and rapists.” We are people who cheer at the idea of deporting millions of Muslims from their homes. We are people who throw our arms up and scream with anticipation when promised that we will “bomb the shit” out of our enemies. We are people who think, hell yeah, climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. We are the people who willingly bought (and will pay for) a president who says he will insist on the U.S. Military committing war crimes.
They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.
-Donald Trump, March 3, 2016
He’s literally assuring us his personality and charisma will compel the U.S. Military to commit illegal acts. Does that remind you of anyone..?
At the very best, he’s completely out of touch with the office of president and what his personality and charisma can realistically achieve. That’s still not a good scenario for us. To have a bloviating, mendacious, reactionary toddler in the seat of power scares me. To have one that thinks we should have more nuclear weapons, believes climate change is bullshit, wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education, and literally thinks Mexico (nation of criminals, drug dealers and rapists, lest you forget) is going to pay for his grand wall, which might as well be constructed with Legos, ego, and sticky globs of White Nationalism…well, that’s astounding and I can’t wrap my mind around it. With his busy agenda of erasing President Obama’s legacy, where will he find the time to punish women for abortions before having Roe v. Wade repealed? I guess he’ll save some time by delegating to his Number 2, Mike Pence, who would like nothing more than to rip away every last fabric of dignity from LBGTQ citizens.
The election has come and gone, the signs have been removed. We were supposed to return to a state of relative calm, neighbors again. But I can’t. I went to bed early Wednesday morning, and woke up that day feeling less safe, with less faith in my neighbors. I’m not sulking because I lost. I’m grieving because we lost. The countless stories of school students being handed deportation letters by their classmates, having “Trump won, get out now!” screamed in their faces, of Kindergarteners in tears because their peers are jeering at them that they’ll have to leave their school and home and go to a country they’ve never even visited is proof of this. The Swastikas, racial slurs, death threats and messages like, “Fuck your safe space,” “Die nigger bitch,” and “Black lives don’t matter and neither do your votes,” that exploded overnight further illustrate that Mr. Trump is not our president. He appealed deeply to a few, to the detriment of many others. The climate of fear was such on Tuesday night that mothers were cautioning their daughters not to wear their hijabs the next day for fear of reprisals. Some who did had them ripped off their heads and told to hang themselves with them. A woman was assaulted on her way to the store when a man grabbed her and whispered in her ear, “you scared yet, you liberal cunt?” These are only a few examples of the intimidation –the domestic terrorism- that women, people of color, LGBTQ, Muslims, Jews, and frankly anyone that doesn’t fit into the mold of white Christian male, now has to fear facing. Was everything perfect during President Obama’s time in the Oval Office? No, but President-Elect Trump hasn’t even gotten to the White House yet, and these despicable acts of rage and intolerance are already blossoming like a mushroom cloud. The New York Times had an article this past week saying that win or lose, Nationalists and Neo-Nazis already felt like they’d won. The rise of Trump had allowed their beliefs, once relegated to the “fringe” to join the “mainstream.” They have become emboldened by the new face of the nation.
There’s too much to add right here, his inability to receive any criticism, immediately declaring anyone who dares to be “incompetent, a loser, a zero, nothing, naïve, stupid.” If his critic happens to be a woman, she has “blood coming out of her wherever, disgusting, a slob, fat pig, a dog.”
Suffice it to say, I am not looking forward to the next four years. I fear his effect on everything, and everyone. The environment, foreign policy, education, trade, the deficit, the Supreme Court…those are all scary, and some will be incredibly hard to reverse the damage he and his cabinet inflict…but beyond all that, I fear the world we live in now. Not the big, abstract things that are easy enough to avoid, but the day-to-day. If I go outside to take my dog for a walk, will some man feel comfortable coming up and yelling violence and intimidation in my face? Assaulting me? Worse? What about my gay friends? Will their marriages continue to be recognized as valid in this country? Will their children be secure? Safe? Will some bigoted jackass feel entitled to threaten or hurt them? Tuesday night they truly felt like they had a target on their backs. Our new Vice-President would like nothing better than to hook electrodes up to their genitals and pray the gay away. I doubt their feeling of despair has gone away already. And what about our neighbors who can’t act straighter, or take off their hijabs, or pass somehow? Try to imagine their fear.
It breaks my heart.
But we can still fight. We can donate to causes we believe in, organizations that actually help instead of tear down. We can reach out to those we know are suffering and afraid. We can let them know they aren’t alone. A really easy way to do this is to join me in wearing a simple safety pin. It can be hard to tell who is an ally, and this is such a brilliant, inexpensive way to let others know. Even if you never encounter a scene like I mentioned above, to simply know you’re not alone is powerful.
(And I’m sorry to anyone who tells me that they don’t agree with the things I’ve written about here, but they still voted for Trump: you are complicit. You have shown what your values are. You are no more innocent than the benevolent slave holders who continued to uphold the system. Not because they believed blacks were less human, but for their own financial reasons. It’s all just different means to an end. And the end really sucks.)