New Normal

As the inauguration looms ahead, I’ve been trying to ease into a new normal.  It should be said that the protections I enjoy as a white hetero cis American citizen may make this easier for me than for some of my friends who are wondering if they are about to be deported, if their marriage will still be valid, and if they will be able to afford medical treatment. The increase in gay weddings and IUD purchases illustrate the specific fears of groups who feel vulnerable, who feel like rights and privileges granted to them are no longer guaranteed.

Those who speak out are not only criticized by Trump supporters, but also have to deflect a possibly deserved rhetoric from the down-trodden for not doing enough.  If the backlash against Meryl Streep for her impassioned anti-Trump Golden Globe Speech doesn’t make you want to hide under your bed, you are made of stronger stuff than I am.

In a previous post, I called upon you to mobilize, to finish your grieving and to act.  Since then, I have….well…I’ve made a few phone calls.  That’s not really very impressive.  I keep waiting for something to happen.  I dreamed of a rogue electoral college, a stray New Year’s bullet, a miracle.

If you still hold out hope for divine intervention, today may be a good day.  The news is filled with unsubstantiated claims that the Russians have both financial and personal dirt on Trump.  This seems entirely plausible to me, but fake news has made me both wary and weary.  And I am left to wonder what Trump could possibly have done that would conceivably turn his voters against him.  I do not think paying hookers to urinate on him is enough, but what do I know?  I already think he has committed any number of more egregious acts than that in public, and here we are.  I am sadly not in the mood to enjoy the myriad of pee jokes already hitting social media. Still, we should be concerned. While our security is thankfully not dependent on the sexual proclivities of one man, it is dependent on having elected leaders who cannot be blackmailed.

Still, Donald Trump is very likely to be president 9 days from now.  What are we going to do?  It’s never fun to lose, but this particular loss has exposed the dark underbelly of the right-leaning disenfranchised, and sooner or later we are going to have come out of hiding and decide if those people are still our enemies.


When Trump is Your President

Close elections are tough.  Close elections where the majority of people who voted actually lost are brutal.  If you are like me and in the majority, you’re upset right now.  I understand.  You feel personally betrayed by every neighbor, friend, colleague, and relative who voted Donald Trump. You blame the media.  You blame the DNC.  You blame the RNC.  You blame third party voters.  You blame Bernie Sanders.  You blame Hillary Clinton.  You blame your racist uncle.  I’m with you.  You are genuinely fearful of a new era of discrimination against people based on their gender, their race, their religion, who they love, or where they pee.  I think your fear is justified.  You lay awake thinking about the nuclear codes in the hands of a man with the emotional maturity of a four year old.  A period of mourning is appropriate.  But let’s not be paralyzed by the apocalypse before it happens.

Look, I’m not here to tell you that everything is going to be ok.  I’m not going to say it doesn’t matter who is president because that’s not true.  Besides it’s nihilistic.  The first order of the day is to fight back the existential dread of the dawn.  Some of us do this every day anyway, but if you’re new, I’ll give you a minute to catch up.  I’ll even wait until you finish that bottle of tequila.

I’m certainly not going to tell you it will be ok because you are a good person, and God is in control, and you are in his favor, and everything happens for a reason.  That’s nihilism too.  Dressed up like a big red poppy. If you are a person of faith, I hope your faith gives you enough strength to accept the hard truth that religion is, by design, the institutionalization of complacency.  If it guides you to action, great.  If you give away your personal responsibility to a higher power, then get out of my God Damn way.

It is perfectly ok to throw one hell of a tantrum.  Scream, curse, drink, smoke, run, cry.  You’ve got about 3 months to do it.

But you may not spend the next four years prostrate at the grave of your dreams.  I guarantee you Hillary Clinton won’t be.

You may not renounce your citizenship.  How dare you?  The democratic process is not over because you got an I VOTED sticker.   You don’t get to stop being an American because your candidate didn’t win.

And let’s just stop right here for a moment with the jokes about how we won’t need a wall because immigrants won’t come here under a Donald Trump presidency.  It’s not funny to imply that watching your children die of starvation due to US trade policy is somehow a worse fate than a Donald Trump Presidency.  It’s not.  It’s not worse than living in a dictatorship either.  The fact that you do live in a democracy is a privilege most people don’t have. So get a grip.  You have duties.

And don’t say Trump is not your president.  Because by doing that, you absolve him of accountability.  It is only because he is your president that you have the opportunity to hold him accountable.  And he must be held accountable for each and everything he does from here on out.  Held accountable by you.

You don’t have the luxury of saying there is nothing more you can do.  Do you know who your senators and congressional representatives are?  They are your allies, no matter who elected them.  They do represent you if you voted for them or not.  Do you know their email addresses?  Their phone numbers?  Do they know you by name?  If not, then you have plenty of work to do.  You must demand that they mitigate the Tump presidency.  That’s your job.

Everyone mourns at their own pace.  Take some time.  But then pick yourself up and pull yourself together.  Be an American.