What is an American to do?

Today’s blog post is brought to you by all of the posts that I see of conservatives telling Americans upset by the election of Donald Trump that they need to stop protesting, get over it, support Donald Trump, and come together. Let’s just set aside the fact that these same people saying this now are the people that never showed that kind of respect to President Obama.

Whenever I hear someone say that people need to “stop protesting” and “support President Trump,” not only do I feel like those people lack empathy for people that are suffering, but what they really mean is they want the rest of America to go back to being invisible. We are supposed to be quiet and get in line. We are supposed to accept our place behind the white males (and white women) who voted Trump into power. That is the only acceptable version of America – Trump’s. We cannot mourn the loss of a vision of a kinder, more inclusive America without being called unpatriotic or immature.

I am not being dramatic about this – but today it hit me, that really, America isn’t anything close to a democracy. Our next President is a demagogue, who takes his cues from fascism. He is going to be our next President, not because he won a majority of American voters, but because of an anti-democratic institution created to appease slave owners. That isn’t a democracy at all.

Let’s think of the political systems from which he takes his cues.

He names his family, similarly uninformed and unqualified as he is, to be on his “transition” team, while also his family are the ones controlling his business interests. That sounds a little more Kryrgyzstan-like than American.

He plans on immediately withdrawing from UN Climate Accords and rebuild the coal industry. He wants to give us the air quality of Chinese cities, but even the Chinese are a part of the climate accords. Perhaps he is thinking this is the way we win the trade war he also plans on starting?  We can “compete” better if we don’t have any environmental protection laws, and even better if we don’t have any workers protections (I am sure that is coming soon). Corporations will bring back those manufacturing jobs then, even if they are low wage jobs that make people sick. I am thinking here he is taking his cues from Bangladesh, maybe?  Maybe throw in a little Democratic Republic of the Congo in there for how he will probably have his Secretary of the Interior (Sara Palin?) sell off federal land to mining conglomerates.

And then there is his choice to have Steve Bannon, godfather to the Alt-Right White Supremacists as the Chief Strategist to his Presidency. There is his statement today about deporting 2-3 million “undesirables” his first day in office. Will he send the military around to people’s homes to round them up?  I am sure that gives so much comfort to minorities everywhere! Let’s be honest, the most obvious parallel to a political regime happens to be a historic one from a major European country….

So when I see those people out there on the street, raising the alarm about this person taking control of our institutions, that is when I see America.  That is what gives me hope for the future. Telling them to go home and stop protesting is telling them to cease to believe in this country’s future. It is telling them to stop caring about what happens and accept the lot given to them. It is asking them to surrender their belief in America and instead accept that this country isn’t theirs.

The racism, the hate, the misogyny that Donald Trump’s campaign unleashed shouldn’t be accepted. It should be resisted every step of the way. I applaud those resisting it.  I applaud those out there reminding Donald Trump that he lost the vote of the people and it is up to him to make it right. The early signs are that he plans to do nothing in the way of actually trying to make it right for the people who have already been victimized because of his Presidency. He is going to rely on the same tools he used in his campaign, his entitled children and the rest of his hateful posse, Twitter rants, threats of deportation, and blatant falsehoods. Resisting this Presidency is the most American thing that any of us could do.

 

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Dear White Men of America: You Have Forced My Hand and Now I Must Return to Blogging

I said that I was done with blogging, and I thought I was. This embittered return is brought to you by approximately 48% of American voters who decided to make a festering, decaying pile of last week’s Cheetos President of the United States. Did I mention that pile of Cheetos is also racist? And misogynist? And stupid? And fraudulent? And selfish? And greedy? And lustful for power? All of the horrible things, in other words.

So, I cannot stay silent for the next four years. I have to use every outlet available to me, even if one of those outlets is a blog seldom visited by others. It feels cathartic and right. So sorry Internet, you have to deal with more of my ramblings again.

Today’s edition is brought to you by way of inspiration from Ethan Cohen’s sarcastic Thank You notes he wrote in the New York Times to thank those who had a hand in Tuesday’s results. I have been mostly been waffling between grief and anger this week, but sometimes a good dose of sarcasm feels helpful to counteract the effect of those two extremes.  It feels right today.

Let me preface my letters with this. I don’t hate all white men! Not all men! There is my dad, who even though he is a Republican, didn’t vote for Trump. There is my husband, who is as big of an HRC supporter as they come. There are my darling boys, who will one day grow up to be white men who, if I can help it in any way, won’t fit into any of the categories of white men who will be addressed in the letters below.  And finally, there are many, many other white men who I am pleased to call friends or family and who have impacted my life in positive ways and who I praise for their kindness, understanding and goodness.  If you are reading this: you are most likely one of those people. Don’t take offense, because you are probably one of those, okay?

Now for the rest of you: you know me and I know you. We have never gotten along. In middle school, you called me Feminazi and “Dougiette” (female Dougie Houser, I am told). You gave me noogies. You liked to mock me. In high school, your language to describe me turned a little more colorful. One of you dirtbags popped my bra strap in my PE class. In college and law school, you thought I didn’t know my place. I wasn’t the BYU “marrying” type. I was too outspoken and called you out on your chauvinism.  You said things to me like I was taking up space in law school that should have gone to a man with a family to support. We have known each other a long time and we haven’t been friends. Sure, there may have been times when I have tried to hide my feelings for the sake of being accepted in the frivolous way that all people do in their lives, but I have always regretted it.  Your acceptance was always short-lived and always reminded me of how empty conformity is. So let’s get a little more specific, dear white men, because I have a few things to say after you all blew it for us.

Dear Michael Moore: Why are you everywhere right now? Shut up. We don’t need your Monday Morning quarterbacking. You said Donald Trump was going to win back in June or July and now you are doing your victory lap for “being right.” That’s so great the spotlight has returned to you! But let me ask, what were you actually doing to stop Donald Trump from being elected? You only seem to pop back up to tell the rest of us how wrong we were, and that doesn’t strike me as someone who is a true progressive – but an opportunist. You suck. Your movies are overwrought and unhelpful and you didn’t do enough to get HRC elected President to sound so high and mighty now.  You are the case in point to the larger group I am about to address next.

Dear Liberal White Men Who Are Littering Facebook, the Huffington Post, and Salon Talking about How HRC is the Worst and Now other Liberal White Men Need to Take Over the DNC: You aren’t helping. You claim that HRC didn’t do enough to win the vote of working class white men and that she should have talked about trade more. Oh, I am sorry that the world’s attention wasn’t focused on you and your problems for about five minutes. I am sorry HRC was trying to bring attention to some long forgotten issues that particularly affect women – like family leave, equal pay for equal work, subsidized child care, universal free Pre-K; or she was trying to comfort people terrorized in Donald Trump’s vision of America – immigrants, refugees, people of color, and Muslims – by talking about things like implicit bias, criminal justice reform, and comprehensive immigration reform. I suppose the fact that she lost the vote of white men had everything to do with the fact that she wasn’t talking enough about trade and nothing to do with the fact that white men preferred to vote for a misogynistic dumpster fire instead. No, we women had our chance, so now we need to surrender the future of the Democratic party back to you white males who will tell us what we need to care about in the future. I understand. Thank you too for reminding me of my place. Also, more likely than not, if you are the one saying these things now, you weren’t out there working like mad to get HRC elected and to stop Donald Trump. You may have been too busy lamenting Bernie’s demise to work the phone lines, canvass neighborhoods,  or register people to vote.

Dear White Men Who Voted for Donald Trump: I get it, not all of you hate women. You just don’t mind voting for a candidate for President who hates women, who sexually assaults women, who only can talk about women by talking about their personal appearance, who in his own words claims he doesn’t respect women. You don’t hate ALL women right? You just hated this woman running so much that it was preferable to elect a President who does hate all women. Can’t be too careful, right?  I mean, she had a private email server, right? That must mean that she is the worse option comparative to someone who never knew a minority group that he couldn’t insult in some way.

Oh wait, I get it; now I am being the intolerant “hateful” one by saying this.  I am supposed to “come together as an American”, which really means, shut the hell up and not be angry that any of this is happening. I am supposed to relearn my place in American society. You all have been telling me this since middle school. Why don’t I just learn my place and deal like the 53% of white women who voted for Trump?  They accepted their inferiority as women, so why can’t I?

Dear White Men Who Will Be in Power For the Next Four Years: Prepare to be held accountable for everything that you do and say. The majority of this country who didn’t vote for you to be in power, myself included, will not be silent. We won’t give up.  I cannot give up. There are too many things to fight for – most importantly fighting for the kinder, more inclusive, dare I say more-female America, that I know is there waiting to burst to the surface one we work this mess out.