Letter to the Editor

Let's regroup

I'm depressed. Can't sleep. Can't exercise. Can't concentrate. Can't play with our cute new Golden-doodle puppy, Deuce. I wish he would leave me the fuck alone. Doesn't he realize we just elected Donald Trump? I'm baffled by his level of energy, his appetite. What's he so happy about? It's good to be a dog. It's my anniversary today. My husband, who voted for Hillary, albeit reluctantly, doesn't share my sense of despair and hopelessness. He's trying to be sympathetic. But it won't be long now before he loses patience and says what he's undoubtedly been thinking since Wednesday morning: "Come on. Get over it." He's already said as much by his carefully worded attempts to tease out why I'm so sad; like can't-drag-myself-out-of-bed sad. "What do you think is going to change for the worse in your daily life now that Donald Trump is president?" He even went so far as to ask if I thought I would be lynched and hung from a tree. I truthfully answered that I wasn't so sure I wouldn't. As a white male, he enjoys the privilege of belonging to a tiny sliver of the population that Donald Trump hasn't personally insulted in the last 15 months.  I suppose if I were in him, I might be more inclined, as he has, to shrug my shoulders and say "Hey, it might not be so bad".  This is a man who consoled himself on the election loss with the fact that at least the Dallas Cowboys are 8-1. In fact, I don't altogether disagree that I'm over-reacting. Yes I cried real tears when I calculated my age at the end of eight years of Donald Trump tyranny; as if it were time spent lost at sea. I am wrestling with how to live and work among my fellow Americans who supported this person for President. Do I sever friendships? Re-evaluate the people I thought I knew? Where is the common ground? Yes I considered leaving the country. But I would never give a racist the satisfaction of running me off. This nation has seen worse than Donald Trump. The shock and panic is a result of realizing how tenuous a hold we have on our positions in society as women and minorities.  Given this country's dark history, I had unconsciously become arrogant in a belief that our ancestors had suffered enough for all of posterity, and I was absolved of ever having to tolerate even the slightest indignity from any white man, let alone a blatant bigot as POTUS. We surround ourselves with like-minded liberals who all agree that the progressive path our country has taken is a good thing. We dismissed those who want to reverse progress as an impotent patchwork of backward hicks, waiting on a disability check, stewing over a world that has passed them by. Either too feeble or too tweaked out on meth to channel their anger into any meaningful action, we were confident that most of them would soon die of old age or an overdose, thereby extinguishing any lingering opposition to equal rights and diversity. We had the audacity to believe that our grasp on an equalitarian society could only grow firmer, not unravel. On Tuesday November 8th, a bright red election map threw a big bucket of cold water on all of those naïve fantasies.  The woes of the White working class apparently supersede quibbles about a nation's fate under the boot heal of a xenophobic dictator.

I was initially soothed by the reports of Hillary supporters throwing up, sobbing, collapsing, skipping school and work, and otherwise behaving as if the sun went black over Hillary losing.  At least I'm not alone in my grief, I thought. But this last couple of days has jarred into focus what a sissy I've turned into. Even though I live a comfortable life now, my upbringing was far from it. I survived poverty, molestation, rough streets, and being Black in the South. To crumble to pieces over this just goes to show that perhaps I am a little too comfortable. Maybe it all comes down to the fact that I thought I was above having to drag my upper middle class Black ass into the fight. I wanted to read about the struggle in history books, not re-live it. Well the struggle rages on. We all need to get a grip ASAP. The next move is crucial and there is not a minute to waste on hysterics. Republicans don't need to see us collectively wallowing in sorrow.  We can't give them that. They think we're pussies-and right now we're acting like it. Even though Trump was prepared to not concede and his supporters to take up arms if he lost, we cannot perpetuate the perception that we are frail whiners. We must retain our pride, swallow this loss, and quickly plot our next steps. We cannot afford to waste emotions and act out in ways that play to the opponent, giving them more reason to gloat.

Enough with the protest marches. I've said it throughout the BLM movement. We marched already fifty years ago. It's old and nobody cares. Do you see any rich white folks out there marching? No. They're smirking from their control towers thinking, "Look at all those niggers, still marching." To the Trump protesters: They're laughing at us. It's done. He was elected. Signs and spray paint won't change it. The next frontier needs to be hatched behind closed doors, not out on the streets. We need to draw on the courage, dignity, intelligence, and resilience of the women suffragists, the runaway slaves, the Harvey Milks of the past—leaders who forged change and faced dangers that we can no longer imagine. Donald Trump sucks in every conceivable way, but it's not 1863 or even 1953. We at least have the benefit of having rights established now that weren't in the past. Retaining them will shape up to be a battle- a maddening one that should have been put to rest long ago. But it's much easier to retain the ground already won. The hard work was done for us by people who had more reasons to despair and melt down than we do. They suffered in ways we will not, not at the hands of Donald Trump or anyone else. We must face this new reality clean and sober. Let's back off the brink and re-group now.

—Velvet Goss

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