To say this has been a difficult week is perhaps the greatest understatement since, “Wow, the Civil War was messy.”
The days following the election of (oh, I can barely stand to write it) Donald J. Trump to the office of U.S. President have been some of the worse of my life. Hell, November 8 was the worst day of my life. Hands down. Even worse than the day I swallowed an entire bottle of prescription drugs and spent the night in the ER drinking charcoal and Sprite to empty my stomach. Worse than 2005, when my mother-in-law had a heart attack, Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast (including the city of my birth, New Orleans), and my gross income was $2500! Yes, November 8, 2016, was worse for me than all of those horrible things combined.
“Oh, come on,” you might say. “You’re over-reacting. It’s not that bad.”
And to this platitude, the angel over my right shoulder says, “Yes, dear, it really is that bad. I understand you’re trying to help. I understand that, from your viewpoint, not much is going to change. But things are different here in the real world.”
The devil over my left shoulder says, “Fuck you, you self-centered, ignorant twit. You are not the one looking down the barrel of the most anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-woman Administration in the history of the country.” Then the devil usually insults their clothes, but that’s another blog post altogether.
In the five days since the election, I’ve been tempted to just hide–burrow down into my imaginary world and play with my imaginary friends and hope this is all resolved when I come up for air in four years.
But I know that is not going to happen. As a lesbian, I have enough to worry about from a Trump-Pence Administration. But the last couple of years have broadened my horizon a bit, and it’s no longer about me.
- It’s about my friends who are African-American, who describe going their jobs post-election as “showing up at a Klan rally.”
- It’s about my friends who report their Hispanic neighbor coming to their door in tears because Trump goons smashed in all the windows of their cars.
- It’s about my friend who is transitioning female-to-male who was accosted on the street by jeering goons in a Jeep, but couldn’t actually file charges because he hadn’t actually been physically attacked.
- It’s about my friend whose Native American neighbor wore a scarf to the grocery to cover her curlers and had it snatched off her head by someone calling her a Muslim.
- It’s about one of the most talented drag queens I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting posting that they were going to buy a gun to protect themselves from what no doubt was to come.
These are just things I heard from people I know personally. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, over 200 crimes were reported in the four days following the election. And those are just the ones reported. They do not include the incidents of micro-aggression people of color, Muslims (or people who look like Muslims), women, the disabled, and members of the LGBTQ community are reporting on social media. They do not include incidents experienced by people too frightened to go to the authorities.
I have to admit this publicly–I am not a brave person. I am a chicken-shit coward, honestly. I’m afraid of heights. I’m claustrophobic. I hate wide-open spaces, and the sight of a clown makes me wants to vomit from terror. My default mode is not fight, nor is it flight. It’s “play dead and hope to the heavens that it doesn’t see me.”
But that is not a stance I or any person with a heart or conscience can take now. The skin has been ripped off our society, and the disease is very, very visible now. We no longer have the luxury of ignoring it and hoping it will go away on its own.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what you can do. I mean, they’re the government, right?
No. NO. Learn your history. They are not the government. WE are the government, and they are our representatives. Our employees. We hired them, and by the gods, it’s our responsibility to make sure this country gets run in a way we deem appropriate.
The time for apathy and inaction is over. If we want a government for the people, by the people, and of the people, then WE the people need to get off our asses and start making this country what it’s supposed to be.
In the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting ways we can help, places to volunteer, articles that can help us educate ourselves. We are most of us woefully ignorant of the realities of life that many of our countrymen and women experience. My goal is to help fix that problem.
I should have done this before the election, but I didn’t. I yelled into my wind tunnel of like-minded friends and thought I’d spoken the truth. I realize now that, as far as the people I really needed to convince were concerned, I was just a silly Kassandra, seeing doom and destruction were there was none.
Well, this Kassandra has a loud mouth, and I’m not going to shut up until we fix this. Buckle up. It’s gonna get interesting.
Until this, I remain respectfully yours,
Loud Mouth Kassandra