Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Metaphors from an Election

I've never been in an earthquake, but when a big one hits, you ride it out, hoping you're dreaming but knowing you're not. It ends and you start to assess the damage.

And then there's an aftershock. A while later, another. And so on.

Donald Trump’s election to be president of the United States is like that. At about midnight last night, as I watched in growing disbelief, I had a flash that I was asleep, having a nightmare. That it couldn't be real.

But now that it is, the aftershocks of meaning keep coming:

  • Climate, climate, climate, from the U.S. signature on COP21 to vehicle fuel standards and the Clean Power Plan and much more Clinton would have done (or not done, such as "bringing back" coal).
  • Undocumented kids and families being deported.
  • Refugees being harassed or kept out of what should be a safe place.
  • Expansion of stop-and-frisk and generally backing law enforcement as they expand the police state and racist policing.
  • No criminal justice reform in any way I would like.
  • Using nuclear weapons, for god’s sake.
  • Losing the Supreme Court for a generation, including women’s right to control their bodies, marriage equality. And those are just some of the negative things: so many positive changes were possible.
  • Getting rid of Dodd-Frank, as imperfect as it is, and especially the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Attacks on First Amendment and newsrooms, as he has threatened and exemplified by his billionaire supporter Peter Thiel.
  • The EPA's very existence.
  • The health of NATO and the safety of the Baltic nations.
  • Health care… though I find it hard to believe they can — politically — leave millions of people who now have health insurance in worse shape than they are now.
  • Any possibility of gun control or gun safety.
  • The Iran nuclear deal.
  • Biff Tannen and the kleptocracy that will come with a proven lawbreaker like Trump.
And, finally, there’s just the fact that we will all have to constantly hear about Trump and what he represents for at least the next four years.


I have no idea where we can go from here. It has to be through organizing from the bottom up, and I think people of color are the main ones who see that now because they've always known it wasn't a one-election struggle, but right now I can't see how.

Bayard Rustin's vision of nonviolence was that you have to put your body into the gears of the machine to stop it from working. That's what it will take, while at the same time showing what society can be instead.

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If you've ever had a family member who was emotionally or physically abusive, you'll recognize what I call walking on eggshells.

You modulate everything you say out loud or even what you show on your face so that you don't set off the abuser.

That's what life in Trump's White House is going to be like, and for any other people who have to work with him, and by extension, the nation.

It will be all about how to survive him and maybe get him to do what you want through twisted manipulation instead of honesty.

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Remember how insane Michele Bachmann sounded when she talked about Obama or the Left having indoctrination camps where they would round up people from the Right?

Are we insane to fear Trump on that level? Because I know there are people who do. He has said he will deport undocumented people and they will be in camps or prisons on the way — some of them already are, but would be more so under Trump, if he follows through on his promises.

Trump said he would ban Muslims from coming into the country, whether as residents or visitors, but he also implied he may do something to Muslims who are already here (tattoos, anyone?), and his statements about Somalis the other day when he spoke at our local airport illustrate that fear.

Do we need to fear surveillance of our activity and communications more than we do already? Are we safe to speak out against him?

Do we need to set up sanctuaries in our houses and churches for the undocumented or other people threatened by him and his policies?
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That's all for now. I'm overwhelmed.

3 comments:

Tracy Buck said...

I'm just so devastated, to my core, and I can't even think about what the next step should be. Just sick, physically, about what could come from this. I also just can't believe that people who supported Trump would feel this way if Hillary had won. Just trying to keep moving forward, I will focus on things in my immediate control I guess.

Daughter Number Three said...

Here's another aftershock: all of his eviscerating cabinet appointments.

Gina said...

The irony of it: for months Trump claimed the system was rigged because of the Electoral College. Then he doesn't win the popular vote, but he does win the Electoral College. It has to be particularly painful for Clinton right now, knowing that she won the popular vote.