Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

It's Tuesday, and I should be writing the Things That Piss Me Off post for this week and last, but the truth is that I'm weary. I just don't have it in me at the moment to rage at the level that would be required to produce a post like that one.

Maybe tomorrow.

I know why I'm quiet.

It's Thanksgiving week.

It always has this effect on me, and I've reached a point in my life where I have just accepted that part of my reality. Thanksgiving is hard for a lot of people. A lot of them.

Never mind that celebrating it in any form this year seems more wrong than it already ordinarily would because of what is happening at Standing Rock. If you aren't angry about the events taking place there, you aren't paying attention. The last few nights have been particularly egregious in terms of the violations of human rights taking place, all in the name of the almighty dollar, all for the benefit of a corporation.

We've decided as a society that people are expendable.

Here, in the supposed land of the free where we're all said to be equal.

The aftermath of the election has only really just begun, I'm afraid, and it looks a lot more like 1930's Germany around here than it did two weeks ago.

I feel like I'm a broken record these days, and I'm sick to death of saying it, but I'll put it here too. If you voted for him, you either support his and his running partner's racist, misogynistic, homophobic and Islamophobic views, or you're content to accept them as part of the package deal. I honestly don't care what your reasons for voting for him might have been. I know that you had to accept that those entire segments of society could be leveraged in order to do it.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

I stood in a room this week on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, holding the name of a trans person killed in this past year for simply living their life. This has been the most violent year on record against the transgender community. I can't even fully articulate how eerily similar it was to my days working in an AIDS legal aid group, when the phone would ring every so often to tell us that another contact needed that box checked in the database. Another life, ended.


This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

I have friends who are quite literally planning to leave the country. Not because they don't want to live in a country like this one, but because they're afraid they won't survive it. This isn't some passing grievance with the political system, this is legitimate fear of intimidation, of further oppression, of violence. Their lives are endangered simply because of who they are.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

There are men and women saluting our new President elect in this new world order, proclaiming that the white nationalism movement is back and stronger than ever and ready to reassert its dominance. Their rolls have increased over 600% in the past few years. They're vocal and enabled now. They're hosting events in Washington, DC. They're the Klan. The Nazis. Neo-nazis. Stop believing that names like Alt-Right are acceptable. Call them what they are.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

Though it appears that the ACA will survive, at least in some pieces now, it's become obvious that the GOP led Congress fully intends to rapidly move to destroy Medicare as we know it. Ironically, they want to move it to more of a privatized system, one that looks shockingly like the ACA that they've spent years trying to dismantle. This is a very uncertain time, and these are lives being discussed as if all that matters is the number on the bottom of a balance sheet.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

While your future President was throwing a tantrum on Twitter about the cast of Hamilton asking his VP for consideration in the most respectable, most eloquent manner, the media largely ignored the fact that he just settled a $25 million dollar fraud lawsuit. Just like they've ignored the corollary to his tantrum, which is that he can't stomach criticism and wants to be able to determine what other people say about him, threatening libel lawsuits against anyone who doesn't please him. He and his followers rail against safe spaces, whine about how political correctness is ruining everything, but then they turn around and beg for the same thing in, as one of my friends so-aptly named the theater, the house that gay built? No.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

The media has largely ignored the very disturbing backgrounds and views of all the old white men he's naming in his transition. Just like they've given him a pass on the highly suspicious contacts with the Russian government prior to the election. Just like they've given him a pass on the issue of using a cell phone to discuss unknown things with world leaders. Just like they've given him a pass that his conflicts of interest are many and multiplying. Just like they're given him a pass that he's already been negotiating ways that he can use his new position to profit. Just like they've given him a pass on the presence of his adult children in meetings they have no business being in. Just like they've given him a pass on his insistence that he lives part time in NYC and his wife and son intend to remain there, all at the cost to the taxpayers. He is supposed to work for us now, right? Not so much.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

The media, the one he's worked overtime to convince people is biased and wrong and opposed to everything he does...they've normalized him and everything about him even as he's told large portions of the citizenry that they're somehow the ones lying about him. They've sat in the corner while he berated them and refused in large part to challenge him. They've glossed over the inflammatory things he said in exchange for sound bytes. In this digital age full of talking heads on television, the people of reason find themselves looking to Dan Rather's Facebook page for responsible journalism. This is wrong. This is all wrong.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

The hate crimes in the past two weeks have been so simultaneously disturbing and so entirely predictable. Of course the racists would feel empowered. Of course men and even school aged boys would start grabbing women's and girls' genitals because they believe they have that right now. Of course children would start chanting "build a wall" to their Latinx classmates. Of course swastikas would start appearing all over the nation. Of course. Nothing about this is surprising when a candidate ran on hate and won. People too quickly forget that his entrance into politics was the creation of the birther movement, one rooted in nothing but racism. People don't seem to comprehend that his entrance into the Presidential race began with accusations about illegal immigrants that were entirely unfounded. Net migration from Mexico has been at or near zero for over a decade. This was just racism. And it worked.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

I've come to see his selection of Pence as a brilliant strategic move. He's essentially impeachment insurance, because anyone who pays attention to politics understands that Pence is an existential threat to women and the LGBTQ community in particular, but he's quieter about it. He is a dangerous, dangerous man, and it's no simple coincidence that he is in the position he is, where he can appear to balance the chaos of the other. His mere placement beside Trump makes him appear moderate, centerist. His version of radicalism is normalized just by proximity. And it's frightening to think what might happen if he ever finds himself in that highest office.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

This week is Thanksgiving, a holiday where we are bound by obligations to sit around tables with our family members, and this Thanksgiving is bound to be a difficult one. I've seen so many insist that we are supposed to set aside our differences, agree to disagree, embrace the opinions of others and tolerate them and love them anyway...but here's the problem with that suggestion.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics. 

I wish you all peace this week. Keep yourself safe. If it's too much, don't go. You're not required to get over anything, sure as hell not because of a day on the calendar.
xo

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