I was going to scrap this post and start over, but I decided to stay true to my anger (although full disclosure: I did change the name from “Well…FUCK!” to “Here We Go.”) I am not used to being angry for any sustained period of time, and I have spent a lifetime trying to suppress my own emotions to please others. I try to always put on a happy face to encourage others to be positive, and I tend to stifle my own sadness and anger when I do feel them. This time, I will go with it. Here it is:
Well… here we are. Wherever the hell this is. Or should I ask, “When is it?” or “What happened?” or “How did I get here?” Yes, it’s been nearly two weeks since the election (is that it?), and I can still barely string words together into a coherent sentence that expresses a more eloquent thought than, “What the fuck?” Obviously things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped or expected. Right or wrong (clearly wrong), I did not see this coming. Have I been in mourning for the past two weeks? It sure doesn’t feel like mourning. It’s more like a brief shock followed by a profound and deep rage. Yes, I know the first two stages of grief are denial and anger, and they sound a lot like shock and rage, but I do not see me moving toward bargaining and depression, and I sure as shit am not moving toward acceptance, so this is not grief. Yes, the acute, shaking rage and despair I felt the day after has thankfully subsided, but a persistent and pointed rage has taken up residence inside me, and this is new for me. I don’t do rage and anger. I have wrapped myself in depression and sadness, and I have felt anger at times, but I have always just put on Nine Inch Nails and sung the freaking rage out of me. But that ain’t working for me this time.
I am raging against everyone and everything. I am most obviously raging against Trump and every single person who voted for him. I want to take them by the shoulders and shake them and scream, “What the fuck were you thinking?! Do you really think this man is going to do anything to make your life better?! He won’t, and in the mean time, thanks for rolling back the past 50 years of progress for women, gays and minorities!” 54% of rural white women voted for Donald “grab ‘em by the pussy” Trump? Really?! Where are your priorities and your self-worth? Now I also need to be careful and make sure I don’t just lump all Trump supporters into the “racist” bucket, because that is not only inaccurate, it’s just not fair? You know what? You’re absolutely right. Some of their best friends that they just threw under the bus for their own perceived economic interests are black and latino. How can they be racist if they have friends of color, am I right? And I should also feel sorry for the sad working class white men from the heartland whom I have supposedly forgotten even existed – the ones I supposedly just “fly over” and never think about. Oh you mean the sweet folks who have systematically rejected education and progress and perpetuated the status quo and the patriarchy for 50 years? Maybe, just maybe, if you hadn’t been so hell-bent on destroying feminism back in the 80’s, you wouldn’t still be imprisoned by the outdated notion that masculinity equals virility equals a big paycheck equals power? Maybe if you didn’t make life so miserable out there for all of the queers and the creative types and the innovators and drive them to the evil coasts to become successful, I’m sorry, I mean elitists, maybe things would be a little better out there for you, hmmmmm?
That’s what I WANT to say, but I don’t. And why don’t I say it? Because I’m an idiot who cares about everybody – even you, you fucking deplorables. And when I see past the red rage in my heart, and I see you as individuals with a past and a history and a family and goals and hopes and dreams, I am forced to take a step back and see you as individual people – people I don’t understand at all and don’t like very much right now, and don’t know if I can ever forgive, but people nonetheless. People whom I need to get to know - need to learn to talk to, or at least try to learn to talk to before I and this country implode. People in my own damn family who I don’t even really know. Even in the face of the racist, sexist and xenophobic shit show that transpired over the past year and culminated in the shockingly sad election results, I still have a gnawingly deep-seated feeling that we have more in common with one another than we don’t. We have relied on other people to tell our stories to one another, and haven’t spent enough time outside our comfort zones with one another.
Now, just because I express my personal desire to get to know people outside my Northeast bubble better, does not mean in any way that I think people should stop protesting, or that we should sit back and ignore the spike in hate crimes sweeping this nation, or attempt to silence one another with the statement that “He won; get over it; give him a chance and wait and see.” The way he ran his campaign; how he is running his transition and whom he is appointing in various positions does not give any of us who did not vote for him any comfort, and we will not just “wait and see” because we don’t have that luxury. The onus is on him now to prove to us he is not who we think he is. And while I’m at it, the onus is on all of you to prove to me that even if you are not overtly racist, that your economic insecurity and/or frustration with the “system” was so great that race didn’t play into your decision at all. I wish you luck with that one.
I started this blog a few months ago so I had an outlet for all of my thoughts, feelings and fears that have held me back and kept me from moving forward and achieving my goals. I thought I would take my time to analyze my life – to share my feelings and potentially seek community with others who might be feeling the same doubts and fears I’ve been feeling. My hope was that as I wrote more and connected more with others, I would defeat my fears; pinpoint exactly what my goals and dreams really are, and then start pursuing them. This blog was essentially to act as my emotional training wheels, as I navigated through discomfort and uncharted personal territory.
The 2016 Presidential Election emotionally kicked the shit out of me. It knocked me down; stripped me bare and left me shivering and cold in the fetal position. But as my body filled with rage, and I let it settle in, I felt comforted by its warmth, and I no longer cared if I was naked and afraid. I no longer fear my own discomfort. I no longer need the emotional training wheels. Do you know why? Because now I know. I know exactly where I stand in the hierarchy of America. And by proxy, I know exactly where people of color and the gay and trans communities and Muslims stand in the hierarchy, too. And I will no longer heed the voices in my head or in my community who say, “Stop stirring things up – things are fine the way they are” or “Racism doesn’t exist anymore” or “I don’t need to call myself a feminist because I can become a lawyer if I want” and “We live in a post-feminist and post-racial society.” I will no longer swallow my anger and feed my doubt by trying to emulate the self-described pragmatists of all genders, races and creeds who say, “If we just run good companies and have an unregulated, open economy, everyone will benefit.” Watching and laughing along with Samantha Bee and John Oliver and Trevor Noah are not enough. Reading article after article and hanging out with like-minded people isn’t enough. It is time for me to turn my anger into action.
I have spent the past twenty years following the issue of abortion in America. I don’t simply mean that I am pro-choice – I mean I have read and followed the strategy of the Religious Right and the anti-choice movement. I watched how they infiltrated seminars in the mid-1990’s; hired a public relations team who created the term “partial-birth abortion”, and then started to sell their misinformation to the American people like it was medical fact. I watched the media capitulate and spread the misinformation willingly as if it were fact, and I watched the Culture Wars reach fever pitch. I watched members of the anti-choice movement rise in the ranks of their organizations and then rise up the inside ranks of the Republican Party. We began to see a lot of the double-speak and misinformation used in the George W. Bush presidency, but twenty years of careful Republican strategy has ultimately culminated in the election of Donald Trump. It almost backfired - Donald Trump was not who they had in mind when they set out twenty years ago, but with Pence as Vice President, I think The Republicans are going to finally see the culmination of twenty years of work put into action. You may think I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but stick with me and I’ll share a lot of information with you that will hopefully prove otherwise.
I have had exactly two persistent dreams in my life that I have prevented myself from turning into goals or a career or actual action items out of fear: one is to protect and advocate for women’s reproductive rights; the other is moving to different parts of the country to actually get to know people in other states; from different backgrounds with different cultures and experiences. The motivation at the heart of each of these goals is the same: that by sharing our lives and experiences we can understand one another better and we can move past the heated rhetoric and misinformation and get to the humanity in all of us, which will only make society and this country better for all of us. I believe this now more than ever. The training wheels are off, and I might be hurling myself toward a tree, but I will do my best to keep myself upright and moving forward, and I look forward to taking this journey with all of you: together. Even if it kills me.
Sharing my thoughts in hopes of defining myself and connecting with you.