This moment, the one we are all feeling in various ways, with its swirling resentment, terror, anxiety, but most of all, rampant fear. This nightmare we seemingly can’t wake up from. With everything in my heart, I beg you to let it be.
Look beyond what is clearly a calamitous event, an implosion of almost everything we hold so dear.
Let that pass. Wake up, breathe, as painful as that is, and exhale.
Right now, a flurry of frustration has been unleashed, spread wide and thin. The unthinkable has come to pass. Work through that. Don’t forget or even forgive.
Feel each emotion as they pass, but then concentrate on how much of it is in an imagined future. How much of it is, “what next?” As humans in the modern age, we loathe uncertainty, crave something to make us feel more secure.
At this very moment, when hope is but a slim lifeline to me, it would be the easiest thing to despair. To feel let down by the whole of humanity, envisioning a world that will not only just be less inviting, but more hostile and violent to my humanity. To those that I love, to those that I care deeply for and will fight tirelessly in service to, it will seek to crush us all.
Nothing it seems could be worse than what has happened, but it is done. Watching people on the White House Lawn chanting: No Justice! No Peace! was a highlight of the evening. Watching students take to the streets in a tweet video yelling: “FUCK DONALD TRUMP” gives me hope.
That our complacency should not be expected. That Black Lives Matter, and #NoDAPL, are just the tip of an iceberg, visible in a supposed “Better America” than the one that has just been mandated.
It is in no way going to be easy. That it will require all of us, to push back on this with all our might. The next Attorney General may be “America’s Mayor” who is an avowed bootjack authoritarian. Whose first goal will be to make sure our police are more militarized, and to run America’s Justice System the way he did its gleaming metropolis. Like a dictator. First thing he’ll dismantle? The reporting system put in place to track shootings. Then embolden the FBI, DHS, and NSA to stop us with all deliberate haste.
Yet let us not despair, these are the very same goals they had under Bush. We did ‘survive’ that, well those of us reading this, not the world, not those who were caught under its machinations, and it is for them, and others, that we must now coalesce.
The first knee-jerk reactions are to blame. Those who voted third party, those who didn’t vote, those who voted for Trump. Again I’m only able to remain so calm, because something keeps playing in my head: “The system didn’t fail, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do”
We’ve not seen the vote tallies, that will actually take weeks. (Nov 29th) We can only forecast & predict at this moment, but when even the vaunted Nate Silver got it “wrong,” then we shouldn’t even bother without that infrastructure.
What worked? Disenfranchising & disincentivizing the vote. Put enough restrictions in, close or restrict all the things that helped Obama win, and you could have run a monkey in a cheap chinese-made suit on the ticket and the results would be the same. That “third-term” extensions are very rare. These problems are systemic. Our heralded system is functionally rigged.
So before we apportion blame, before we, like the demagogue that won, quickly search out the most marginalized to blame, let us remember, white people did this. In a growing diverse country, their anxieties reached for something (as dangerous as it is), to throw over themselves and the “changing” America that they are no longer comfortable in.
(Take 7 minutes out of your day to see disenfranchisement at work, in a film by a friend who I worked with to fully understand why we lost)
That a man with no political experience at all, no platform to speak of, only the vaguest of promises which offer the moon, but will in effect give everyone more of the same. Who will turn out to be the biggest political insider we’ve ever seen.
There was, some months back, and easily lost in this flurry of outrage, a caller to Glenn Beck’s show. Who when it looked like Trump (post-convention) was going to pivot on his Great American Wall and immigration, said rather cryptically that if Donald reneged on this, that the consequences could be deadly. As vile as an assassination by a right-wing radical seems, especially with President Pence being an option, it signals to me that these people who have elected this buffoon expect him to deliver on their specific promise of: Hate & Great! Donald gave a speech doubling down, on a wall that is all but impossible to deliver on the very next night, in what passed for a “policy speech” — so I’m not sure what to expect. [READ MY LIPS!] An American President can’t only be the leader of his base…and I’d expect that we’ll not see this kind of political unrest or theater in a generation. From both sides.
That just as the fringe of the Democratic Party were the most hard on Obama, I’d imagine the wingnuts that they have unleashed will be Trump’s greatest foil. That they will be his undoing, that they will be his to grapple with. Even as he tries to be the Law&Order® President, that unprecedented fomenting of the very basest elements in our society can seem rewarded and yet having once won, be lost on a lark. That America is not and should not get comfortable with a Trump Presidency the way it did under Bush. That if ever you needed a clarion call to say: NOW IS THE TIME FOR CONCENTRATED AND STRATEGIC ACTION. This is it.
Let’s hope that the organizers of marches past, like those in the 80s-90s, who are still with us, and could coordinate unity, articulate a cause, and get people to coalesce around it, still survive. They are willing to learn or teach it, while being open to a changed landscape. That our history of fighting for more, to expect more, has not been reduced to simply the things we post on social media and memes. That our organizing (which the youth are doing as we lit up Baltimore, Charlotte, Ferguson…) which NYC has done for the past few years, is renewed. That our spirit is not only NOT LOST or complacent, but felt in every fiber of our being. That this new organizing will not be led by white people, that it will be inclusive, that our leaders not intrusive, but led by a grass-roots sense of disgust. Fed Up! to FIRED UP!
Take time today, no matter what you do or experience, to look for the hope. That will be the only way.
That to become spent with anger before the fight has even begun is what they are hoping for. That we will lay down (and if we do-let it be in the DIE-IN position) and let them walk over us. They should expect us, as we should expect them to paint us as thugs, violent, unAmerican, and so forth. Let us all refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance/National Anthem. Let us be fully American, born out of protest, without being borne out of the violence that through genocide and displacement of one people, then enslaved and imported another. Decolonize our ways of thinking and protesting.
We need not crouch it in the respectability of the past either. They don’t see your humanity now, they won’t see it any better in a (pant)suit. Or through a cable news show talking head. Or on the Op-Ed pages of your favorite news outlet.
Let us celebrate the unruly. The non-respectable faggots, the ratchet, the convicts, the outlaws, the unforgiving. Let us lift them up, because just as it took one fed up trans Marsha P Johnson to throw that damn shot glass into that mirror, so that New York, and then the world could see itself in the shards. Let us look not just to the CRM, Black Panthers, AIM, Gay Liberation Front, the Weather Underground, and other historic movements. *raises fist high above my damn head* Let us create our own, they are already there, we need but to tap in, and support them, have faith in them. Even when we disagree. Our participation will make them better.
They will lead us onwards. Just as I’m sure most silly queers in NYC thought what Marsha & Sylvia wrought was more pain & heart ache on them, when they just wanted to exist in the shadows, were comfortable there. Who if survived now, couldn’t imagine this world. Just as the ones who put Trump in office, think they want to return this country to greatness, by retrograding everything.
We need to be our own revolutionaries. Whatever that means to you personally. My situation being unique, where alas everything in my life is falling apart just as the world starts to “burn” means that I’ve nothing left to lose. That my ideals, hopes and dreams are not resting on the power of white supremacy, and all its rewards, even under a black president. What they’ve shown you is that the only people who get to return to this greatness are the ones that worship at its highest and most vulgar altar.
We now know, or can look back to that night in ’08, and know truly what the other side felt. Then (their most powerful) met the very next day in a steak house in DC, and started plotting how to grind this American Machine to a halt, to stall and create gridlock. While we need not be them, or so politically and amorally shrewd, we do have to use this moment to create a resolve, to foment what will be at its outset impossible. We have to organize, coalesce, and find the weakest points of entry to beat them at their own game.
If America is not “Great” —and it won’t be. Then they’ll have no one but themselves to blame. Two Branches of Government under their “control.” The VRA, has to be restored. Roe v Wade, in danger. An entire generation of SCOTUS that will be lost. Tuh!
What happened to Bork, but on steroids. That was during the Cable News Era, now we have social media. He’s already released his nominees, and they must not stand. They must not get passed, even in a congress/senate that leans their way. We have to form a prayer circle around the oldest justices, to make it through. Yet we will also have to call these senators, get them on-board, get coverage for it, and make sure that whatever he thinks about meets gridlock. Opposition Research crowdsourced. Phone Lines & Mail flooding in. Email, tweets, et al…blow up their FB page, let them know: WE WILL BE HEARD.
Our corporatized press won’t save us. Hell, Twitter might not even survive in Trump’s America, as much as he loves it. Our politicians won’t save us. We have, but to save ourselves.
Starting this from a place of love, and transiting into activism, is the only way I know how to deal with this situation. Even as it all seems vaguely distant. My resolve is pure. Yet as with anything political, it is easy to talk change, a much harder thing to put into action. It requires getting those, even our staunchest enemies, to at least hear us. Then convincing them to work with you.
Not to show them the err of their ways, or an “I told you so” but with love in our hearts that they will see. Finally recognize our humanity, see us as equal. That what is good for us, is also good for them. This worked with AIDS activism, that showing America it had blood on its hands, and that we were dying in the streets, while they were comfortable? Not on my watch. *slaps table hard*
We can’t have what happened with W. Our collective apathetic response to that, allow it to fester into a second term. At the midterms they should expect us. It isn’t ironic that I have nothing but love for the ones who elected this man.
Even as their vote has not only imperiled my life, and that of those I love. Even as they have no love for me. Loving in spite of their considerable power to my supposed powerlessness.
It is not a surprise that I tried to write about not voting yesterday and framed it around abuse. Surviving abuse. Of learning to love even through all the bitterness and pain that creates a victim.
This has been the most abuse laden election cycle in my lifetime. That to survive it personally helps you cope with the inevitable realities. It also only begins when you start to advocate for your humanity, even as it makes those around you uncomfortable to talk about.
My relationship with America is one of constantly undergoing her abuses of me, and learning to love her in spite of that.
This isn’t symbolic abuse I’m talking about either. Under Reagan they wanted my diseased faggoty body dead too, and were bold about saying so. In 2004 they ran an entire campaign and got elected around denying me Marriage. Which inevitably failed in the long run, but the short term gains were just enough for them to run the economy over a cliff. Now they callin’ it “religious tolerance” — expect more of that, using our SJW weapons against us. Turning the tables. We must evolve. Our tools and toolbox must too.
They are experiencing their resurgence now, they are old enough now, those homophobes, to really show us what they still think of us. Of our n*gg*r-lovin ways, of our activism, of our Taco Trucks, and everything else.
This is their version of fighting back, fully supported by a system that would cast a billionaire* as a working man hero. The same one that saw Jimmy Carter as weak & ineffectual, but elected a movie star who would have dementia. Who let an entire generation die, as opposed to utter the word AIDS. A system that would gift an election through SCOTUS to Bush.
Loving them through all the pain they caused me, and all they hope I’ll endure is hardest of all.
My love need not make them comfortable, or let them feast on the bones of an America I love. Then toss us the gristle to fight over.
A love that pushes back, that illuminates, that doesn’t perpetuate more violence. A love that protects the least among us, and uses whatever privileges we have as a shield for them. Not a memetic prey-upon-their supposed conscience like an orphaned Syrian refugee boy who just survived a bomb blast. They have no conscience, the system has none. It will remind you over and over again in a capitalist society, even the most enlightened, that profit beats all. Socialize the cost, while privatizing that profit. War is profitable, to the elite. Love and compassion on the other hand is not.
A love that must win in the end. That sees a Jim Crow and fights for desegregation and then endures hell just to get the job done. We won’t endure water hoses and dogs, as now they have war-ready cast-offs, plus cell-phone blockers. Everyone wanted to think that what happened in the American cities was a fluke, even as another dead black body wrought more unrest. Sparked another uprising. They were canaries in the coal mine of American Exceptionalism™. My life too, when those freelancers and the participants in the gig economy see their balance sheets in the coming months & years. When they see the protections against getting ripped off are clearly rigged, like our elections, in favor of those that have, over those just trying to make it through. They too, will pivot. Into an economy that has learned how to survive without them.
Into fresher faces, and youthful resumes, who will and can, do what you do, for less. The bane of an open & free market is always willing to pay much less. The inevitable price for disruption.
Loving them is hardest for me. Yet I know they are simply pawns being used to blunt me into oblivion. It is with loving arms I’ll embrace them in this fight for liberation.
Listening at times to the moaning & creaking blame pieces about them in the press, reminds me how Gen X was written off, completely, as apathetic.
That many are raised by Late Baby Boomers, makes a difference, but many are also raised by our generation *throws up Bronx X sign*, so there is that too. There should be several kids & grandkids in my wallet, but the way heteronormative shit is set up, I said: NAH, B.
There is a way through this for all of us, one that cares for us, as we care for each other. Even as we all suffer the indignities that are certain to come, we must also realize fully, our privileges. That those at the margins have been shafted by a system that when established by a bunch of land-owning white men wasn’t ever gonna cater to them, or the other half of the population, Women.
Women didn’t just lose last night, those attached to the Patriarchal White Supremacy showed up in force to repudiate anything you ever held dear. Look upon them with love, even if only possible by doing a dance on Phyllis Schafley’s grave, and defecating after.
Look upon a world with hope, and wish a motherfucker would. Know that they are coming, through the legislature, the highest court in the land, and every other daily strife they can impose, to make this their Amerikkka again. We can’t let that happen. Let our love look like shutting down highways, protesting until we are hoarse, and any other act of peaceful protest. Yet let it not blind us that the system has the ways and means to deal with that. So we must not only vote, and have that be the end of our civic responsibility, but get on our school boards, vote when the rest of the world is too busy (midterms and local elections) or doesn’t seem to care. We have to make Americans want to participate. That is what this election was very good at doing. Not giving us anything but binary options. Humans aren’t set up like that, and our system exploits it knowingly and fully.
Hoping when all seems lost, or the future treacherous, is at worst a gamble, but at best the rock we need to lean upon in these uncertain times. Yet in our first-world agonies, we are not in a war-torn country, being bombed by drones daily, without electricity, or making a way without any life-sustaining comforts. That people all over the world, but especially in our backyards, are suffering. They rise, and put on a mask of resilience. One we should be able to see beyond, one we should not encourage, but fight to dismantle.
To see truly, or love fully, requires us to take humans in all their complexities. Their preternatural instincts to vote against their own best interests. That they fall so hard for the divide and conquer, the us vs them propaganda, of which we participate, feeling in all our bias and complicity with these power structures, that “we alone are right” and those against us are wrong.
Let me not humanize however those that would seek to kill me, and my American Dream, to the point that I don’t see their poison. This is not a level playing field, and there will be no false equivalencies, when my humanity is on the line. When they always refuse to see me as fully worthy of it. Will not drink from that cup, no ma’am.
Also will not devolve into the one who would let them use their subtle exploitation of my anger and frustration into anything other than being resolved to fight it. It will not find me resorting to becoming (or even letting them frame me as) the enemy. That my so-called “political correctness” and activism should further rob me of the protections they claim are so possible in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave™. Or that my resilience and ability to survive, should not be ignored or championed, when this does not equate in any way to being able to thrive.
Let us Live. Let us Fight.
When fighting is life, having to fight a war (a cultural one) just to live, is tiring. There is fatigue and exhaustion, ones that can rob and pilfer anything remotely approaching a desire to keep up the battle, or to win that war. When the most vulnerable pay the price for all of this folly. When any gains are quickly accompanied by a shuffle and the well known back-steps. Take all the time you need, but rebuke despair, let it not rob you of the will to make this situation right. That is exactly what gives them power. They are counting on us, being docile or meek. After all, you can’t claim a mandate when you lost the popular vote, can you? Let them try.
Nothing in politics is ever fast or easy, that getting 300 million people to go along, will not be overnight. Forcing them to accept it, or resigning to failure, is to make a bed that none of us will be able to sleep in. So while the way ahead doesn’t seem clear, or particularly nice, we must all evaluate the ways in which we are complicit and work on dismantling that from this day forward.
Your life depends on it. Your health care choices, your social security, every one of your civil liberties, and many of the things you have not thought about in a while, are all coming into play. I’m reminded of the African proverb: ‘If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito‘. That we should turn into a biblical-sized swarm, and plague their every move, is my greatest wish.
“…let me say, that though I have not yet been a week in the United States, I can bear witness to the habitual excess of metaphor, which seems to be an American instinct. The most insignificant production is advertised as ‘the best in the world.’ A victorious pugilist becomes ‘the world’s champion.’ ”—Paul Borget, 1895
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