I think the thing that kills me–and it kills me about myself, too, so I’m not sitting on a moral high ground here–is everyone’s talk about resistance, about fighting, about standing up to this. And I have to say that it reminds me of all the gun nuts who “need” guns because they need to be able to stand up to the tyranny of the government.
And I just don’t see how it’s supposed to work, the fighting. There is no authority to appeal to. No one recently elected who can be shocked into changing their ways. We don’t even know if we will have a government like we are used to having or if Trump will be an autocrat with no respect for traditions (very likely) or if he’ll get bored and/or overwhelmed and go play golf while Mike Pence runs things (also seems possible) or what.
I don’t know. I think it’s important to just say “no.” But I also think that there are types of pushing back that grant legitimacy to the thing you’re pushing against. Think of it this way. Say your neighbor builds a high concrete barrier in your back yard to keep from having to see you. Is standing there all day trying to push it down effective? Or is seeing that it’s only six feet wide and going around it effective? I mean, obviously, the barrier is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but there has to be some balancing on our parts between addressing it and getting on with our lives.
Since the wall is on your property, you can spray paint “Fuck you” on the side of it that faces your neighbor’s house. Make them sorry they put the wall up every day until you get it taken down.
I guess what I’m thinking about is that this election is supposed to be a punishment for a lot of us. We are supposed to be sorry we crossed the Trump voters and we’re supposed to get ready to be a lot sorrier.
I think then the most important thing is to not be sorry, to not accept our punishment as something we “earned,” to not try to appease the punishers by trying to figure out what we’ve done wrong and to promise to never do it again. Or to even give the appearance of doing that.
Wanting to marry the person you love is not wrong. Not wanting to marry anyone is not wrong. It’s not wrong to want to use the bathroom in public. It’s not wrong to move away to go to school. It’s not wrong to not speak English. It’s not wrong to be poor. It’s not wrong to need medical care. It’s not wrong to be fine and excited that we had a black president. It’s not wrong to be sad that we didn’t get a woman. It’s not wrong to be appalled and disgusted that people voted for the guy endorsed by the KKK who now don’t want you to see them as racist. And on and on.
The Obama years and the social gains we made during them are not evil and we are not wrong for enjoying them.
I feel grim. I feel angry. But solemnity is a proper response to seriousness and we live in a dreadfully unserious moment. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t be mindful, but I keep thinking that taking this so serious grants a level of legitimacy to it that it has no right to.
We have to laugh in the face of this. It’s our civic duty.