Less than a week ago the world ended. That’s how it feels.
I am not being my usual hyperbolic self. It literally feels as if someone important to me died, as if everyone I love in this world simultaneously suffered a catastrophic disaster. I am enraged and I am mourning. I am hate and I am spite and I am despair. I will not apologize for my tears.
If you’re looking for a message of unity and acquiescence, you need to go somewhere else.
On the day of the election, I was too sick inside to watch the news. So I refused. I wore myself out, working hard all day, and went to bed early. I awoke around 3 a.m. and I instantly knew by the flood of messages I’d received from friends all over the world that we had lost, that our country was lost.
I am a woman and I am bisexual and I live a life that is decidedly not mainstream. My far-flung tribe, the family I’ve tinkered out for myself, they’re all fabulously weird, too. They are feminist, anarchist, pacifist, wiccan, multi-racial, BDSM-oriented, fat, disabled, musicians, artists, queer. The messages I received that night echoed the cold knife of fear that immediately entered my heart. “I cannot stop sobbing.” “I’ve cried all night.” “I love you.” “Be safe.” Over and over: I love you, stay safe, stay safe, stay safe. “We are fucked.”
I’ve been told that we need to stop that. Stop being sad, stop being angry. You’re being divisive, you’re being nasty. We need to band together and support our New Lord and Leader! Which is hilarious coming from a group who voted a man into power best known for his toddler-esque tantrums whenever he doesn’t get his way. A man who almost single-handedly kept the wackjob birther movement alive and, until scant weeks before the election, refused to acknowledge that our President was in fact a natural born US citizen. (And even then did it in such a pouting, begrudging way that eschewed any sense of sincerity.) A man who repeatedly made clear that the election was rigged and that he would refuse to accept the results if he lost.
Now that they’ve won, they’re suddenly pillars of peace and unity. Us godless heathen libtard feminazi types need to shut the fuck up and stop crying because we lost. Only fucking faggots cry. Stop being a pussy, a pansy and all those other feminine things that obviously denote weakness.
I say, fuck that. Let them keep their repressed emotions for themselves. Don’t you dare hold back. Your tears make them uncomfortable for a reason. Deep down they realize what they have wrought. I would rather see you on your knees and wailing. I would rather have our voices and tears rise up together, forming storm clouds of change in the heavy air.
I’ve also been told that I need to remember that not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist,misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, disabled-mocking asshole. It was his economic policies! Or they just couldn’t vote for “Killary”. Or or or.
Okay, I get that. I live in rural America. The poverty here is an aching, palpable thing. The rampant drug addiction and crime rival any inner city I’ve ever seen. When someone promises they’re going to bring back coal mining jobs, all you hear is jobs, it’s easy to forget your granddaddy who died of the black lung and your uncle who was crushed in a mine collapse. It’s easy to forget that factory jobs have gone overseas because people there are willing to work endless hours in life-threatening conditions for a tiny fraction of the pay. It’s easy to hate those fucking illegals stealing our jobs, when the truth is that white Americans for the most part simply won’t do the grinding, back-breaking work of field-picking produce or cleaning toilets in hotel rooms, jobs that destroy your soul while still leaving you in abject poverty.
I’ve lived through that same poverty, which is why I understand on a molecular level how hard it is to care about anyone else’s struggles when you’re drowning in your own. How can you worry about the problems of total strangers when you’re struggling to feed your family or buy medicine? When you have to choose between keeping on the water or the lights this month.
And the environment? Seriously? You’re supposed to give a shit about some endangered fucking owl? If it’ll bring the price of gas down five cents, they can frak the land until it can’t be frakked anymore, ask you if you care.
But there’s something else at play here as well. They’re what I can only term The Friendly Bigots. They’re nice people and most of them would argue that they aren’t bigoted at all. I’ve dealt with the friendly bigots from birth. My grandparents, great aunts and uncles were all deeply racist and sexist. You didn’t so much as cuss in front of a lady, but you could beat your wife to keep her in line.
My dad would give anyone the shirt off his back if they needed it, even when he had nothing. But this is the same man who told me, in all seriousness, that I should never date a black man because when the races mixed and had sex their babies would come out zebra striped or checkerboard colored, all manner of oddities. And this was him being his most carefully non-racist. My father more recently bemoaning Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from national Olympic star into a…woman. When pressed he said he had nothing against trans and gay people, he was just afraid they might infiltrate us. “I think they’re already here…” I said, mistakenly thinking by ‘us’ he meant America. “I mean the family” he said. Oh.
My fourth grade gym teacher would tell wildly racist jokes, which he prefaced by asking if any of the kids were of that ethnicity. Because little kids are going to speak up to an authority figure and say they’re offended. I’ve received anonymous letters in the mail here telling me I’d better rethink my life and accept Jesus. I’ve had friends online tell me that they’ll be sad that I’m not in heaven with them, so again I better hurry up and accept Jesus as my personal savior. (I try to imagine telling THEM “Hey I need you to knock it off with this Jesus crap, I’m going to be sad when the great unicorn in the sky runs you through with his Mighty Horn Of Justice.” I can only picture that conversation going over like a lead balloon.) But they’re otherwise nice people, they do good things in the world, they love their kids. They probably really believe they love me.
Even the girls, who I’ve taught to be open-minded, began visiting an Evangelical church and were soon dropping their gay friends in school and dreaming of becoming missionaries, converting unbelievers in other countries. Which, I don’t want to accuse that church of being a cult that uses music and pageantry to lure bored small town kids with little else to do…but yeah, yes I do.
All of this leads to why I don’t need to be TOLD that I have to suck it the fuck up and get along with people who range from not understanding me to openly proclaiming that my soul is going to rot in hell. I’ve been placating these people my entire life. Tiptoeing around their precious feelings because I actually believe in their right to have their happiness, even if they don’t believe I should be afforded similar rights.
And that’s the thing. You can say you didn’t vote out of hatred, and that’s fine. On a good day I might even believe you. But you’re still responsible for your choices. And your choice includes a man who openly admits to sexually assaulting women, who calls women pigs and cunts and dogs, who mocks disabled people, who the Ku Klux Klan are having a parade to celebrate. Your choice includes his monstrous Vice President, a man who supports government funding for gay conversion therapy and doesn’t believe women should work outside of the home.
When I’m told that this is just sour grapes, this is the same way conservatives felt when Obama was elected, I need to hush and get over it, all I can really say is “Fuck you.” This is not politics as usual. Your discomfort with having a black man as your leader is NOT the same. You know why? Let’s count how many people had to worry, upon Obama’s inauguration, that they would be added to some roster based on their religion, forcibly removed, targeted, bashed, have their bodily autonomy taken away, have their rights as a family stripped from them or in general be treated as less than human. Right. Zero people had to worry about that.
Please contrast that to now, when our new Liege would like to pass laws like the First Amendment Defense Act, which in part: “Prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage”
If you suffer from a complete lack of imagination, let me fill in the blanks for you. That shiny little piece of legislation alone would cause it to be legal to do everything from deny service to gays, deny jobs to gays, schooling, housing, insurance, medical care. It would make hate crimes legal or at least open up a gaping pathway to defense. Every time you’re tempted to tell someone they’re over-reacting, please go read that again.
That’s the most infuriating thing. Being told again and again that we are over-reacting. We are jumping to conclusions. Nothing bad has happened! Everything’s finnnne! We need to give Trump a chance.
Unfortunately I have only Trump’s words to go on. You don’t get to spend the better part of two years fearmongering, cashing in on distrust and bashing..well, basically everyone without repercussions. To quote Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time. I believe both Trump and Pence to be exactly who they have shown themselves to be.
I’m baffled as to why so many people can’t see that. Again and again I’ve seen folks say that he’s honest. Even compared to all other politicians, he isn’t honest. This is a person who lies every time he opens his mouth. He lies about easily verifiable things and when confronted with obvious proof, just lies more. The only thing I can figure is that the definition of honesty has changed from “truthful” to “willing to say foul shit right out in public.” It makes me sad. I feel like this election was the biggest sham on earth. PT Barnum stood on stage wiggling his cigar saying “look over there folks, look over there” and so very many of you did. Even he can’t believe he pulled it off and he’s laughing at us all.
The turkeys voted for Thanksgiving. Because who doesn’t love a good pie?
I’ve seen whining that it’s been several days, why haven’t people shut up about this yet? Like omg that news is so last Tuesday, can we move on.
The same people say we shouldn’t protest, no human rights have been violated (while simultaneously saying the protests are faked, all actors, no one’s really upset. Pick one, it can’t be both.) They say all the Trump-associated violence against minorities since the election is faked too, though I’ve seen case after case with verified evidence.
Don’t let anyone shut you up, shout you down, make you stop. This is too important.
Wear your tears proudly, you don’t have to hold them inside. Emotions don’t make you weak. Pretending other humans don’t matter, that’s a weakness. Standing by while the rights of your neighbors and coworkers and friends are stripped away is a sickness.
For those who keep telling us to be quiet, please realize you have come for my family. You are on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of me. If you do not stop, I am coming for you too.
For the rest of you, I offer as much refuge and solace as the space between my arms can hold. There are worse times ahead. Be safe, be safe, be safe. And I love you all.