I’ve been trying to come up with a post for a couple of weeks. The election changed everything in this country. I have no pretty images for you today, I just have my words.
This is a frivolous blog about things I mostly do for fun and pleasure, so politics don’t come up much. But this isn’t politics, not now it’s sure not. This is humanity. This is (slightly less than) half of my country voting for someone who is the most woefully unqualified, narcissistic, liar, failed businessmen, racist, misogynist, xenophobic person, ushering them into the highest position in our country. A person who openly mocked a disabled reporter, talked about women as sexual objects worthy of physically assaulting, insulted the military. A person who can’t take even a shred of criticism without crying about it on social media. A man who chose as his vice president someone who as Governor of Indiana vehemently has opposed (with his voice and voting record) LGBTQ rights and women’s rights. Is this what a president looks like to you?
People either voted for Trump and Pence because of these things, or in spite of knowing these things, both of which are disgusting and reprehensible. Or maybe didn’t vote because they didn’t think it was important or mattered… then those two adjectives apply there, too.
If you’re rolling your eyes and saying “it’s not so bad”, “it’ll all be okay”, or “you’re being melodramatic”… wake up. You have your head stuck in the sand. And that’s okay, sometimes. But not right now. Don’t pretend this is normal. We’re already watching a parade of other dangerous men being considered for some of the top positions in this country. A known anti-Semite who runs a fear-based, fact-lacking conservative “news” site, another man who denies climate change even exists, another man who believes in gay “conversion” therapy, another man who thinks the pyramids were used to store grain… oh wait, I think that last winner already took his name out of the running. We’re also watching a president-elect skirt around the press pool (not okay, so not okay!), doing private dealings that are only turning up later, trying to include his adult children and giving them rights and security clearance for things they have zero business being involved in, and protecting his business ventures first. No, this isn’t a joke, although surely it sounds like one, doesn’t it? This is the depressing and scary reality of our country. Saturday Night Live wasn’t really off when they said an Internet troll was elected president. Disgusting but true.
I’m not going to say it’s going to be okay, we’ll all make it through.
Because frankly, how can anyone say that right now and really mean it? Maybe if you’re white, straight, and independently wealthy yeah, you can maybe say that, but you can only mean it about yourself. And my goodness, even if that’s you, please think about the millions of people who don’t feel safe! Who already didn’t, or won’t in the future. You probably have friends or even family members who are wondering if they’ll get to stay in this country, if their rights as human beings will be chipped away by laws that restrict their ability to love or express themselves, wondering if being sexually assaulted at work will just be par for the course, if they’re at all safe with local police forces, if the abortion they need to save their own life due to medical complications will be safe and legal, if their religion will even be legal, if wearing outward signs of it will cause them physical danger, or if they will be able to afford their monthly life-saving medication. If all of the racist and Islamophobic attacks that have taken a sharp rise since the election will be aimed at them next. So many more issues, across the diverse face of the country. Was my potential future ability to visit my legally-wed spouse in a hospital during a life-threatening situation worth your vote for Trump?
If you’ve been angry, despondent, grieving, full of rage, full of fear, or anywhere in between, I get it. Me too. Millions of us have. This isn’t normal. This isn’t “oh I’m so angry, my party didn’t win”. Nope, been there before. This is a dying of the light.
Be mad, be angry, be vigilant. And don’t forget. Please, I implore you, don’t pretend this is normal. I think that’s one of the worst things we can do. Do NOT let this feel normal. Find your joys in life again, but pay attention. For crying out loud, PAY ATTENTION.
When you see particular names come up for advisory positions (say, Steve Bannon), or potential laws that may be passed (say, privatizing and dismantaling Medicare), call your congressional representative. (Don’t know who it is? Look it up here.) Do NOT email (not effective), call. That’s what gets through. If you have too much anxiety to call, write a letter and mail it. Call your senators, too. (Don’t know who they are? Look them up here.) They are there to listen to you. Ask your members of Congress their positions, and tell them yours. Don’t know what to say? Use the “We’re his problem now” calling sheet that’s sprung up (that’s chock full of info so you’ll see there are lots of tabs in that, be careful to read them all). And keep your eyes on your own state, too. You have a state legislature with state senators and representatives, passing laws that impact you locally. Don’t forget about that. You can call the offices of your state legislators as well.
Donate to organizations that are going to help fight. Donate to organizations that promote diversity, inclusiveness, love, and acceptance. Do good in your local communities. Be more inclusive yourself. Look out for one another. Speak up. Smile at people that look different than you. Remind yourself that hate has no home here. (Note: slogan borrowed from this Chicago community’s signs; this is not my neighborhood but one nearish us, and we saw one of their signs on a church a few blocks away from us this weekend. ❤ We are going to try to get one too.) Fact check news, fact check social media. Be vigilant. Stay alert, stay aware, stay involved. And take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, throughout all of this.
I’ll leave you with the last two lines from a Dylan Thomas poem. The context isn’t the same, but these lines kind of sum up my feeling right now.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”
I love the diversity in this country. It’s what has always made us great. It will continue to make us great. I love you, my friends. Back to sewing and knitting and frivolity soon, but know I’m paying attention. I will not let this be normal to me.