To those who have said “wait and see” about the results of the election, I have seen enough events and phenomena to feel that I am sufficiently prepared to venture an opinion on the results of the election. Here are some, listed in random order:
- An effort to compile a blacklist of overly-liberal educators.
- The discussion about creating a registry of Muslims.
- White nationalists cheering for Trump with Nazi salutes.
- Pettiness and an unwillingness to take criticism to a degree that is terrifying in a President.
- Someone who doesn’t believe in evolution being considered for Secretary of Education.
- An announcement that he doesn’t intend to stay in the White House but wants the city of New York to fund police protection for Trump Tower. The cost is over a million dollars a day. It might be noted that during the election, Trump insisted he would rarely leave the White House.
- The appointment of an alt-right thought leader to the position of Chief Strategist.
- Ethics violation after ethics violation, which doesn’t bode well.
- A $25 million pay-off on fraud charges.
- Clear signals he intends to dismantle net neutrality.
- War being declared on journalism.
- An Attorney General pick who is against all forms of gay rights, including marriage and don’t ask, don’t tell.
- A whole lot of ugly behavior by folks doing it in Trump’s name.
I need to stop because the more I look, the more the hits keep on coming. What a bizarre time to live in.
So. For those of you who either didn’t vote for Trump or did and now are all “I’ve made a huge mistake“, aka the sane and/or informed ones, yeah, buckle up because it’s going to be a rocky ride. At best, a lot of wealthy people are going to skim money from our government while changing laws so they can exploit us even more while at the same time, hatred and intolerance are normalized and neo-Nazis are allowed to try to silence dissent. At worst our rights are stripped away and things go up in flames.
There were election shenanigans, to a point where people should be at a minimum auditing the results. There was documented Russian interference and more than that, there was the result of sedulous gerrymandering on the part of the Republicans for the past decade along with their removal of the Voting Rights Act.
In my opinion. You may disagree, and that’s fine. This is what I think and what’s driving my actions over the next four years. I am going to speak up and object and point things out. I am going to support institutions that help the groups like the homeless, LGBT youth, and others whose voting rights have been stolen and whose already too-scant and under threat resources are being methodically stripped away.
I am going to continue to insist that honesty, tolerance, and a responsibility for one’s own words are part of our proud American heritage, the thing that has often led us along the path where, although there have been plenty of mistakes, there have been actions that advanced the human race, that battled the forces of ignorance and intolerance, and that served as a model for the world. That “liberty and justice for all” are not hollow words, but a lamp lifted to inspire us and light our way in that direction.
I will continue to love in the face of hate, to do what Jesus meant when he said hate the sin while loving the sinner. I will continue to teach, formally and by setting an example of what a leader, a woman, a good human being should do, acknowledging my own imperfections so I can address them and keep growing and getting better at this human existence thing. If I see a fellow being in need, I will act, even if it means moving outside my usual paths.
I will not despair or give way to apathy. And as part of that, I will celebrate the good, point out the wonderful, witness the absurd, the amazing, and even the wryly amusing. I will let my sense of humor buoy me, and I will continue to consider the alt-pantless, sorry, alt-right, petty, pathetic, and laughable. They know that they are. Writing in 1944 about anti-semitism in his essay Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate, Sartre stated things with a prescience that makes his words apply to their theater of outraged outrageousness, in which they prance around with the self-importance of bright preteens who have just discovered death metal and nihilism.
Never believe that anti-Semites are completely aware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert.
I will not be intimidated or disconcerted. Feel free to laugh at my naiveté, my over-earnestness, and idealism. I’m going to dance right past you, m-fers, and you will never know what hit you.
Language matters. Truth matters. Even in the face of this sort of thing:
The world is broken. Love isn’t enough to fix it. It will take time and effort and blood and sweat and tears. It will stretch some of us almost to the breaking point and others past it. We must help each other in the struggle, must be patient and kind, and above all hopeful. We must speak out even when we are frightened or sad or weary to the bone.
The millennials, may the universe bless them, are inheriting a shitty world. Those of us from older generations must teach and support and help where we can, realizing that what we do now affects the rest of their lives. We cannot let things slide into any of the nightmarish worlds we see depicted in so much science fiction, but if we do not act, they will. I will not sugarcoat things; it may be too late. But living as though it is not is the only way we’re going to survive.
Act now. Even if it’s just saying hello or smiling at someone that you wouldn’t normally. Start putting some good energy out in the universe to counteract the fog of hate. You’ll be surprised by how much better it makes you feel. Don’t pay attention to the trolls; they’re trying to keep you busy so you won’t act, to discourage you into slumping back onto the couch before you can even take a step out the door.
And here’s a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies I know. In case you need a little chocolate in your life. We’ve gone through several batches of them in the past week here at Chez Rambo.
Bright blessings on you all,