This week broke my brain and sunburned my soul.
Like so many of you I watched it all unfold in real time and live, CNN color (or perhaps it was more of a red or pale blue network hue for you). My fellow Oddballs and I podcasted on Election Night from 8:30-10, and the feeling at the beginning of our cast was significantly different than shortly after we were off the air. I watched with my wife for the next 5 hours as the big red wave rolled across the electoral map, first claiming NC then FL, then WI, OH, and MI. And as I downed IPA’s I hit Facebook with a fury, venting my very real anger that my fellow citizens – associates, family members, and friends of mine – had actually made a Trump presidency a reality. I held little back, but luckily I didn’t say anything I felt I needed to take down, so that’s a good sign.
On Wednesday I awoke with a socio-political hangover the likes of which I have never felt. I got up early and took the train into Cambridge to finish recording and mixing my new album and as I traveled I saw my own gray numbness reflected in most of the disheartened faces that I passed. A whole moving mass of people thinking the same thought together, ‘how did we do this to ourselves?’, and searching the faces of their fellow travelers for the happy ones that brought this upon us. Donald Trump. That is the man I will have to look to as the leader of my nation in 4 short months. Donald Gold-Plated Trump. The 6-time Bankrupt Donald J Trump. The Twitter Beefer in Chief. The man we all collectively laughed at only a few short years ago as he sat behind a giant desk and ridiculously “fired” celebrities.
And then you get into the things that are not so bipartisanly ridiculous but should be. The Birther Movement. ‘Grab Them by the Pussy’. ‘Why have nukes if we’re not going to use them?’ Turning a presidential debate into a discussion about a newscaster’s menstrual cycle. Bad hombres. ‘Climate control is a lie created by the Chinese.’
Should I go on? Ok, I will-
Every time he compares his Wall plan to the Great Wall of China which was built with slave labor and took more than 200 years. Every time he says “the Blacks”. Every time he calls something a “disaster”. Threatening to jail reporters for disagreeing with him once he’s in office. Wanting to dissolve our NATO alliance because we’re not making any money off of it. Wanting to start a national Muslim registry.
These are just a few of the things that we need President-elect Trump and his supporters to answer and explain to us. You all no longer have Hillary Clinton’s supposed criminality to pivot to when we question Mr. Trump’s corrosive words and actions. Hillary is gone, you successfully “drained the swamp”. But now you have to answer our concerns about what you’ve decided to build in its place, about the man you all decided should lead our nation. And we’ve got more than a few.
Trump’s America: Build the Wall
Sadly and not un-predictably, in the immediate aftermath of the Trump victory we have seen an alarmingly large number of people (although any number is alarming) compelled this week to persecute their fellow citizens. Verbal assault and vandalism, physical violence and threats thereof, across all age groups and regions we’ve seen segments of our citizenry emboldened in their White Nationalism. Just as we saw when England went through Brexit this summer, in the xenophobic rhetoric of those campaigning, citizens found someone they believe thinks the same way they do. And tragically, thanks to the liveness of social media, we have watched it unfold right in front of our eyes, impossible to deny or ignore.
Middle school children chanting “Build the Wall” at their Latino classmates, Muslim women frightened into not wearing their hijabs, graffiti and vandalism calling for the deportation and eradication of segments of our population hashtagged with ‘Make America Great Again’.
THIS is #TrumpsAmerica and until those who supported his election objectively admit his and their part in this atmosphere and actively take responsibility for denouncing such acts, their calls of ‘can’t we all just come together?’ are going to fall on deaf ears. In the context of these continued persecutions, your “come together” directives sound more like “shhh, stop talking about this”.
I’ve had a couple conversations already wherein Trump supporters argue that our new leader is not responsible for these attitudes and acts. I’ve had to remind them that the “Build the Wall” chants were started at Trump rallies and are a truly disturbing display of American xenophobia. While he has not explicitly said the words, ‘Now go out and chant this at your fellow non-White citizens’, I think it requires a pretty strong degree of ignorance to absolve him and his supporters of responsibility.
Also, I have already heard the argument that this might all just be anti-Trumpers attempting to sew division. Save that shit for someone else. And yes, I’ve seen that video of a supposed Trump supporter getting beaten and carjacked in Chicago. That shit is ugly, those three guys should be arrested and prosecuted. But referencing that video in answer to my questions about the rise in hate crimes this week only serves to reveal, at best, your apathy and, more accurately, your complicity.
Additional sidenote: as reported by Snopes, while one woman can be heard on that carjacking video saying “he voted for Trump”, the man had no outward signs of Trump support, the 5 people involved show no signs of HRC support, and the Chicago police report claims the incident started from a traffic incident. This is not a justification for assault and car theft, but the reports of the man wearing a red MAGA hat or somehow otherwise identifying himself as a Trump supporter are inaccurate.
Trump’s America: #ComeTogether
I know you want us to come together, liberal, progressive and conservative, but you are the same folks who tore down not just our President but his wife as well, sharing memes comparing her to a gorilla. But no, you’re totally not racist. Michelle Obama, a Princeton and Harvard Law educated beautiful mother of two, who dedicated her time in the White House to helping making your fucking kids less fat. That’s the woman y’all chose to hate on. And we’re supposed to rally around the host of The Apprentice and his Playboy model wife? Come now, come now…
You’re the same folks who when our future President questioned the legitimacy of our current President’s nationality, said, ‘Eh, I’ve never seen the birth certificate so maybe that Trump guy is right, Obama probably is an Arab.’ Wait, what? A Kenyan Arab or Indonesian? I get so confused.
I know you want us to come together, male and female, but can we just go back to ‘Grab Them by the Pussy’ for a second? I can say, with all certainty and honesty, that I have never heard that phrase uttered by any man before hearing it come from our President-elect. Not ever, not in any locker room or school bus or college dorm or opium den. Not from any age group or demographic. Nope, not ever.
And complain all you want that it was behind closed doors and never intended to reach public ears. It’s not like we caught one “gotcha” moment, as he likes to call them, taken out of context and twisted. That line, for those who may not have watched the video, was part of a larger and lengthy conversation celebrating sexual assault. After the infamous line, Mr. Trump talks about grabbing and kissing women, explicitly saying that he “doesn’t even wait for them to say it’s ok”, and going on to say that he would probably do so to Arianne Zucker whom he and Billy Bush were on their way to meet. Your President-elect. And the only answer we’ve gotten from the man himself and his supporters is a defense of the comments, that it was “locker room talk”, as if somehow, even if that were true, it makes it a fine and valid opinion for any man, nevermind our elected leader, to hold and celebrate.
I working a new bit, may I try it out? It goes like this:
President Trump “accidentally” grabs German Chancellor Angela Merkel inappropriately. She knocks him out with a right cross and when he wakes up he claims couldn’t have done anything wrong as she wasn’t attractive enough for him to have assaulted.
200 miles of Trump’s Wall have been built when President Trump attempts to file for bankruptcy, claiming none of the contractors will be paid. Unlike his previous Trump building crews, they are not comprised of illegal immigrants and they fight back, beginning what is known as the Humpty Dumpty Revolt. #TrumpsAmerica
I’ve had many discussions and debates through the campaign, many of them online, and I’ve probably had an even higher number of them in the few days since the election. Despite my sometimes angry and aggressive tone, I do think this level of dialogue and social/political conversation is a strong positive to come from a divisive event. And while I do theoretically believe that our citizenry should come together under a new President, our concerns and fears about a Trump presidency are very real and those who supported his election have said precious little to address them. This is not a matter of folks being mad because they lost. Had it been John Kasich, or Rubio, or even Ted Cruz’s crazy ass, or when it was Romney or McCain, those were all very different and I don’t believe you’d be seeing protests had any of them been the victors. This is different, and Trump supporters know it. I fully believe that there are many of them who understand the difference in their brains but are unwilling to say so, finding it easier to be angry at the protests (though they may be, perhaps, somewhat aimless) than to speak on real upcoming issues.
Despite all the concerns that we have about Mr. Trump’s personality and demeanor, still more troubling, to me at least, is the manner in which he is woefully unprepared to perform the most important job our country has. And it is here, in our imagined scenarios of President Trump attempting to execute his duties, that his volatile disposition and genuine lack of knowledge and insight are most worrisome. We “safe space liberal, SJW’s” (which I’ve never understood that being an insult) aren’t going anywhere and now you folks have voted in a man that checks a lot of bad boxes for us, and should for you as well. I will respect the position and I will attempt to be less angry at my fellow voters, but don’t expect me or us to be quiet about it. It IS your responsibility to respond to our concerns about a man who we believe provides our country with a frightening future. You Trump supporters were able to ignore and pivot away from his darknesses during the campaign, wrapping them into your hatred of Clinton. Now that you all have succeeded in elevating him to the highest office in our land and made Trump’s America a reality, it’s time for some answers.