It’s been nearly three months since I last published work on this site. Detractors and social media trolls (I’m a female web writer so they’re extra numerous in my world) labeled me a sore loser, or an out of touch, cisgender, white urban liberal on kinder days. Sometimes the slurs were more colorful. The basic point: that I hadn’t seen the coming uprising, couldn’t handle the rejection of “political correctness,” immigration run amok and nasty women.
Au contraire. Similar to Bush vs. Kerry 2004, the looming trauma was most evident. I just hoped my country would see beyond emails, the gender of the opposition, hyper liberal fantasy (the question was always Clinton or Trump, period) and a whole lotta right wing menace and blarney. I understand that for some, there were real concerns and a desperate need for change that wasn’t rooted in racism, misogyny or one percent cynicism. And to those dozen voters I say: I hope we can find ways to weather the storm together.
So now we have President Trump. It’s hard to believe his weird, dystopian farce of a ceremony took place just 10 days ago. 10 long, painful, humiliating and frightening cycles of the sun to ponder our chances of surviving this administration. Not journalistic hyperbole here. I told my partner Bob yesterday that we might want to hold off on overseas travel for awhile. The former host of The Apprentice is racking up domestic and foreign ill-will at an astonishing clip.
Immigrants, refugees and even green card holders are being treated as nefarious threats to national security when the only real menace is a part-time resident at the White House, his unqualified cabinet and an alt right Chief Strategist. Women’s reproductive rights are in peril and Obamacare, we hardly knew ye benefits. “Winners” of the Trump revolution are a constant threat to African-Americans, Muslims and the LGBTQ community. It’s all more than enough to make one lie down and remain prone.
So why am I back at Contemptor? Because after the most qualified candidate for President in modern history lost to a pile of tweeting orange hair, like many others, I fell into a deep depression. The kind where I still went to work and did the laundry but was otherwise stuck in a state of numbness. I ran in the other direction from traditional and social media. So many women voted for Trump. How could they? In short, I’d given up on my fellow Americans. We are too harried, burdened with day to day survival, glued to screens. 1984 is here and now.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama boarded that helicopter. Dr. and Mr. Biden drove to the Amtrak station and with their respective departures from Washington, so went any semblance of judgment, class and decency from the Oval Office. However in a strangely enticing and welcome twist, something happened with the American public that Inauguration Weekend. The majority of us who disapprove of President Trump were afraid, yes. But we also collectively remembered who we are, what we have…and we recalled our commitment to each other.
It wasn’t just the gracious, celebratory solidarity of the January 21 Women’s Marches across the country and the world that started the blood pumping again. I was on the ground in my hometown of Chicago, a city very recently threatened with martial law by the POTUS. A town that has thoroughly and routinely rejected Donald Trump since the earliest days of the 2016 primary season. The biggest metropolis in a solidly blue state that was most definitely With Her on voting day.
The Women’s Marches were dismissed by critics as an exercise in pop cultural zeitgeist, a flash of positive dissent with an important message, maybe. But certainly not a sustainable movement with a defined platform. Resistance should have more to say than #NotMyPresident, right?
But what if that’s wrong? What if the POTUS and his cast of cartoon villains are so dangerously backward and un-American on so many issues that the mere rejection of them is enough to bring us together? For the love of all that’s holy, I’ve found myself in agreement with the likes of Dick Cheney and George Will in recent days. Genuine fear for the country makes strange bedfellows. Maybe Trump is just the perverse jolt we needed to step away from the monitors, to be present and communal for our personal politics.
I wasn’t able to get to O’Hare Airport this past weekend, one of many airlines hubs that witnessed mass demonstrations against Trump’s heartless, awful immigration pivot. But in my Facebook queue this morning, there was an invitation to a local series of events called Resist Trump Tuesdays. It seems the Windy City is but one chapter in the growing, organized movement. Because of Hillary Clinton’s loss, we don’t have the taco trucks on every corner with which we were threatened (promised?). But this weekly dish promises to be a little more satisfying, better for our digestive systems.