Twice this year we have awoken to a new world. First, to the unexpected chaos of Brexit in June—the first glimpse of our xenophobic, dystopian future— and now, the entirely unprecedented and largely unanticipated Trump presidency.
Last night, I sat in the backseat of my Uber, crying, eating a packet of M&M’s, watching the beautiful Washington, D.C. skyline blur into a frightening vision of Trump’s America. A new America where my queerness and womanhood are not only mocked and intolerated but maybe punished; an America where my Muslim loved ones and undocumented friends and immigrants I have never met will not be welcome; an America that doesn’t believe in global climate change, in science, in progress, in actual documented facts and figures; an America reborn in the blood of hateful rhetoric and fear.
There were hints along the way for this Grand Demise of the American Spirit, but I did not heed them. Instead last night I gathered with loved friends, wearing proudly our handmade Nasty Woman tee shirts, empowered by the belief that we were making history, that we were witness to a time where it has never been better to be an American woman. Now I can’t imagine a worse time to be a woman, a person of color, LGBT, “Other” in the eyes of the White Establishment; to watch our progress undone after being afforded basic human rights is worse than never having had the opportunities at all.
To be brief: The American Democrats ran a status quo candidate during a time where the average American cried for a thorough purge of the political machine. The result: Trump is now the answer for the angry, populist movement.
Yesterday, when the American people had the unique opportunity to elect the first female president of the United States, incidentally one of the most qualified political candidates to have ever run for the presidency, they failed to do so; instead, the true spirit of Amerikkka revealed itself. Racism, nativism, xenophobia, and hate just won the highest office in the free world.
But this isn’t just the new America. Xenophobia has been on the rise globally, with notable emerging figures of the alt-right and far right assuming positions of power across Eastern and Western Europe. Trump has joined the company of Marine Le Pen and Putin overnight, and hate has become an international movement.
The United States is now ushering in a fascist figure to its highest office. A man who has been quoted saying “Grab Her By the Pussy” is now our President-Elect.
But we should not fear one figure alone; we should fear his rabid disciples. We should fear the latent citizenry who has expressed themselves and their hatred most clearly in this vote. We should fear the emboldened Republican congress and the ever-growing powers of the executive branch. Know this, readers: Trump’s ascendancy didn’t happen in a vacuum. The political environment was ripe for it.
Boshemians: do not take the events of last night lightly. What happened in America is nothing short of a democratic coup. The global markets continue to fall as we enter an unprecedented era of leadership. For the first time in American history, we have a leader without military or political experience. We have instead an entertainer, a billionaire, a con.
My advice for readers at home and abroad: gather close. Do not isolate yourself. Do not run from this conflict, but face it head on with ferocity and fortitude. Be empowered by the energized movements that woke Millenials and activists have begun. Donate your time and energy to Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, to the Human Rights Campaign, to the American Civil Liberties Union, to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Please, have those difficult dinner table conversations with family members who have gone previously unchallenged.
[After all, this great American tragedy is due in part to the sweet old racist grandmas rhetoric (I’m looking at you, the American south) and our parents’ votes.]
Now perhaps the American people will suffer under a newly-constructed authoritarian regime, dressed like democracy, reminiscent of the groups and governments we fight against abroad. This is a new page in Amerikkkana, and I am terrified.
This is not a test. This is not a surrealist experiment. Fight back. And fight hard.
Suggested Media for Day 1 of the New World Order:
- Listen to this track, “My Country,” by Cheshi, a radical gothic folk band interviewed a few weeks ago by Boshemia.
- From The New Yorker, the most concise overview of last night’s events, aptly named “An American Tragedy.”
- From The New York Times, some thoughts on what to do next.
- And here’s an article from HuffPo on how to tell the youth of America what happened.