The results of this election have awakened a sleeping lion inside of me. Before November 9th, I was content to sit back and complain. Now, the intersectional feminist in me is readying herself for war. My heartbreak is becoming revolution, and I am preparing to combat every inane, apathetic response I encounter.
“We survived Nixon and Reagan and Bush.”: WHO survived them? The people killed in the Cambodian genocide? The people who died during the AIDS crisis? The people of color being locked away for a bogus “drug war”? The countries in the Middle East that we waged war on? Who “survived”?! Oh, that’s right. Straight, white people survived. They always do.
“Just wait and see.”: Let’s sit back for a second and really think about this “wait and see” policy. I am a Jewish-American woman. I have been nervously obsessed with the Holocaust since I could understand what the Holocaust was. The sight of swastikas, the words of survivors – these things impact me deeply.
Steve Bannon is a Nazi – he is a living, breathing Nazi, who is now in the White House. It is true, and my reaction to this is not an overreaction. Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon is an obedience test for America. The way in which we react to a Nazi being given a position of power is an excellent way for Trump to gauge exactly how much leeway he and his other White Supremacist cabinet members will have. Will we say, “Absolutely not. You are not allowed to do this.”? Or will we say, “This is America, it’s not possible. Let’s spout some bullshit about acceptance and unity and try to assuage our feelings of guilt with safety pins.”?
He is testing how much Republicans will put up with, and how much resistance all other citizens will offer. Do we normalize this with safety pins? Do we make jokes? And as these tests get closer and closer to atrocity, we have already normalized the outcome of the last test, so the next one barely seems worse. This is how Hitler did it, and this is how our president-elect is doing it. They are already discussing a registry for Muslims. It won’t take long for internment camps to pop up, which, by the way, have not been deemed unconstitutional. That, in itself, is an outrage that we have ignored for 72 years.
“But Hillary was corrupt!”: And Trump isn’t? The man is literally settling $25 million fraud lawsuits as we speak. His conflicts of interest are unprecedented. He is a living, breathing, walking lawsuit. His likelihood of being impeached would be comforting if Mike Pence weren’t even scarier than Trump.
Hillary is imperfect, like most politicians. Anyone who is ambitious enough to run for the presidency is going to have some fishy backstories. But those of us with vaginas are not allowed to be imperfect. Marred by a long and extremely accomplished career in politics, Hillary had too many skeletons. Trump didn’t have an email controversy or a Benghazi controversy – because he never had the opportunity to fuck up in politics. There are a million other reasons why he is not fit for the presidency, but those don’t matter, because he is “anti-establishment” (Yeah, he’s really “draining the swamp”… and making sure to keep the scum at the bottom) – and because he has a penis.
And to those who will argue that sexism did not play a role in this election: imagine you were given two anonymous resumés to fill the position of the presidency, resumés that list every scandal and every job experience, and you tell me which of the two you would have chosen – the one with 30 years of experience and a lot of scandal (most of which has been debunked), or the one with zero years of experience and a lot of scandal (most of which is accurate).
The people who elected Trump are not allowed to get angry when they are called racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic. They are not allowed, because regardless of their intent, they saw a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic RAPIST and thought “Well, he’s better than ‘Crooked Hillary!'” They are not allowed, because regardless of intent, the actual impact that his presidency has had, and will have, is far more wide-reaching than their intent. The hate crimes are only the beginning. The people who elected Trump have elected a symbol of hate and misogyny, and symbols mean something. This symbol is giving people a license to hate and a license for bigotry.
I used to be annoyed and frustrated when I walked down the street and men stared or catcalled. Now, I am furious and frightened. Any safety I once felt has been stripped away, and I am left to build my own defenses. According to Trump and Pence, I do not deserve to own my body, so I must own it in whatever small ways I can. I am creating a shield inside me, thicker and stronger than any I’ve built before, and most other women I know are doing the same.
And if you’re wondering what this has to do with the theme of my blog: this shield that I am creating has a mind of its own. I have never been less romantically or sexually attracted to men in my entire life. I am having consistent, violent, and ferocious fantasies from the most sadistic parts of my subconscious. I am disgusted by the inability of the men around me to be even a little bit validating, supportive, and understanding. I am repulsed by the men who tell me to “get over it” or “stop being so angry”. I am enraged that my father has not said a SINGLE word to me since the election, other than to jokingly comment on how I am “the most attractive of his LinkedIn endorsers”. My fury is seeping into every interaction that I have with any man. I am bored by their predictable “bottling up” of emotions. I am sick of accommodating their needs over my own in the name of “compromise in relationships”. And, frankly, I’m not at all worried about whether this feeling will fade in time, because I have better shit to do now than worry about how comfortable the men in my life are.
Some ways to get involved: