I draw on two very similar emotional memories for why I feel so uneasy and have been having almost daily nightmares since Trump was inaugurated: I was bullied as a child and teenager by classmates in school and I have been in emotionally abusive relationships. Much of what comes from the mouth of this unjustly-rewarded-for-horrible-behavior-so-called-businessman-currently-occupying-the-office-of-the-president triggers some sort of memory in me of dealing firsthand with narcissism in adults or with other children as a child who had no decency or manners. His lies trigger a literal flight or fight response and make me feel enraged and self-protective.
But what disturbs me even more than his lies and horribly uncouth and ill-mannered behavior are the people who want to “school” me on how I am wrong, how I am not seeing the entire political picture or how Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are just as bad or worse. There are people I have actually considered friends who voted for him. There are strangers from high school who are Facebook “friends” who have made comments on rare posts I have made about all of this on social media. I have deleted most of these posts because I cannot even put into words how knowing that someone I respected could think this behavior not deplorable feels. It is best to consider me a “lost cause” when it comes to understanding how someone could support him, knowing and seeing and hearing all that we have access to. And I am okay with being a lost cause in this regard.
I am a believer in free speech and I don’t judge people for their “opinions”. I think this is a black and white moral issue and I do question the morals of any individual who could ignore the sexual predatory behavior toward women, making fun of a disabled reporter, lying about so much on a daily basis, treating the previous occupant of the job with racial hatred all for the sake of a “policy” or “political argument”. In addition, he has surrounded himself in this office that we are paying them to occupy with racist, hateful people. Regardless of what party affiliation or religious affiliation someone might hail from; what is going on in this country is not normal or precedented and the individual making it abnormal and unprecedented could care less about anyone: rights to healthcare, rights to earning a livable wage, rights to call him out on his bad behavior as a citizen he works for, rights of the free press, rights of women, rights of anyone different, the rights of the woman he ran against and the rights of the occupant of the office before him. He has proven time and time again he could care less about anyone else but himself. I question the actual morals of anyone who voted for or supports him. And I question the sanity of anyone who continues to support him all the while questioning the sanity of those who think this is abnormal. This isn’t “your ‘guy’ didn’t win the race, get over it”. It’s more like: how morally bankrupt are we as a country that we allowed this to happen? And I, for one, refuse to treat it as a normal political argument or “politics as usual” or anything less than the absolute moral crisis that we are facing on a daily basis.
When I say that he is #notmypresident, I don’t mean that I am confused about the election process and because I voted for Obama that I am upset my “candidate” didn’t win and that I need a lesson from someone about these issues. When I say that he is not my president, I mean that I am morally opposed to what has transpired, what could still transpire for all Americans, that I am embarrassed at the thought of what many decent world citizens must think of our country because of who is representing us and I am scared for the immediate future and the future years down the road. And I certainly don’t mind if anyone disagrees with me or even feels so stretched out of shape by my feelings that the liar-in-chief is a liar or the bully-in-chief is a bully. What I do ask is that commentary not be bullying itself or that the disagreement doesn’t immediately assume that I have a lesson to learn about how bad Obama was or about Hilary’s emails or about how international politics work or about how a liar and a bully will fix terrorism better. I am not confused about what is at stake here. I am unwilling to “pretend” with anyone else for the sake of protecting a first amendment our own president shows no respect for that the stakes are the same and the political arguments are the same or that any policy or execution of any kind in this process won’t be covered by the stench of a morally bankrupt election and a morally bankrupt individual residing where a decent and racially targeted person resided for eight years prior. To discount what I already have a firm grasp on about this is to discount me.
I have been scared on a daily basis of the effects on my little world itself based upon the propositions of the current chaotic “administration”: my mother’s healthcare being affected as an older person with a heart condition, losing healthcare coverage completely or not being able to afford it because I work for a smaller company and already pay a ton for my coverage, my rights as a gay female in the workplace and in general being compromised, the violence that has already escalated around race, sexual orientation and other differences effecting me or my circle directly and the long-term effects of climate decisions making a health or welfare impact on me or my circle directly in the near or far future. And what is so disturbing about these fears is the obviousness that the entire current male, white republican political leadership is using an emotionally unstable presence to carry out their wishes on this agenda.
But more than anything else, I am scared about the palpable and immediate effects already on me and my mother: as sensitive individuals who don’t just care about ourselves but those around us, we are deeply effected by the daily news of continued lies and chaos and have lost sleep and sanity and enjoyment and looking forward. New York City has been in a kind of mourning I can only relate to the days and weeks and months after 9/11. Some nights home on the subway you can hear a pin drop and are surrounded by long faces staring into the day’s news on their phones. My friend circle seems to make less plans and, when we do, we inevitably give this more time than we wish we had to, just being able to vent seems to be of some small comfort. An avid reader, I read articles and news across many different channels and I am so much more emotional than every before during this process, crying at articles that would have just been touching before. I yearn for artists to speak and share and make music and art and photographs and blog posts like I am awaiting the first gulp of water from a backyard hose on a hot summer day. I am not looking for pockets of agreement like I might have sought during the Bush years. It is not about agreement. I am looking for pockets of sanity in this uncharted territory of rewarding someone so morally bankrupt the highest office in the country and being stuck within the walls of this country.
to be continued…