Tag Archives: US

This is NOT a Peaceful Transition, Stop Playing.

19 Nov

To start off, please read this article by Teju Cole. I know that I already linked to it the other day, so I am sorry for being repetitive. But, honestly, sometimes things are good enough to require repetition. And this is one of those things. I sort of want to link to his article in everything that I write for the next few years that in any way relates to the complete and utter horror show that is our in-coming presidential administration. I want to link to it and I want to send it to people and I want to slide it under doors and fold it up in holiday cards and mail it to my elected officials. I want to keep telling people that no, this is not normal and that no, we should not fall in line. We should not stop protesting and talking and writing and calling our senators and representatives to register our sheer disbelief, despair and dread that there is now a white supremacist mere feet from the Oval Office. That Donald Trump has just made Jeff Sessions Attorney General. Jeff Sessions who, by the way, opposes both immigration reform and bipartisan efforts to cut mandatory minimum prison sentences. Oh, and he also thinks the NAACP is communist inspired and anti-American and once referred to an African American prosecutor as “boy.” And while we’re at it how about that time he was rejected by the majority Republican Senate Judiciary Committee to be a federal judge in the 1980s, back when we used to disallow racists from holding high posts in the judiciary. He also doesn’t like the Voting Rights Act which makes sense if you think about it, because his chances of re-election most likely decline with every person of color that has access to the ballot box. Oh how far we have fallen.

And then there’s Mike Pompeo. So for those of us who find President Obama and Hillary Clinton too hawkish, we should be pretty upset about Mike Pompeo. And for those of us sick of hearing BENGHAZI screamed over and over and over and over again as some sort of sick rallying call against Obama, Clinton and the entire current administration, we should be prepared for a new uptick because, despite hours of hearings and a panel that found no new evidence of wrong-doing by the Obama Administration, Mike Pompeo and Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio are still convinced there was a cover-up. Much like the email fiasco, it seems as though evidence doesn’t hold quite as much weight as a hunch does with some of these guys. And they are all being assigned top posts in the government. It makes me feel as though the next four years are going to be much more about evening a score and much less about the effective governing of a multi-cultural, multi-racial nation that is in the midst of a serious crisis.

But I guess I already knew that.

So through all of this I keep thinking about Hillary’s concession speech and how she said,

We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle [that] we are all equal in rights and dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.

On Wednesday the 9th when I watched this speech in utter disbelief, it seemed like the right thing for her to do. I was impressed by how well-rested she looked; how prepared to do the unthinkable; how poised and eloquent she was in the face of a result that must have been even more shocking to her and her team than it was to a lot of us watching from home. (Except for maybe those people who called a Trump win weeks or months ago and are bragging about it. It’s like, great, you were right, but you still have to live here in the shit with the rest of us so shut up.) In that moment, while watching her encourage us to demonstrate the democracy we want to live in, I thought to myself

FUCK! This is exactly why she should be our goddamn President!

But now that over a week has passed and we have Donald Trump and Mike Pence and Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo and a whole host of other angry white men who just won’t fucking go away I am starting to think that maybe that speech wasn’t all that I thought it was. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to say. I mean, I still think she should be our President, that remains unchanged (duh!), but the speech? I don’t know.

Here’s the thing. I totally agree that one of the hallmarks of a democracy is the insistence on a peaceful transition of power. It is one of the things that makes our country great. I mean, just look at this letter that George HW Bush left for Bill Clinton when the former was bested in his re-election campaign. It exemplifies true class and is a perfect definition of a democracy in action. But I think that one of the important things about a peaceful transition is that it must be peaceful on both sides, and that simply has not been the case. I am not talking about how Donald Trump essentially said he would not accept the winner of the election unless that winner was him. In an alternate, superior universe in which the popular vote fucking mattered and Hillary was our commander-in-chief we would all be prepared for some long, drawn-out bullshit legal charade that Trump would have used to jumpstart his media empire. No, what I am talking about is that there is nothing peaceful about the appointments that Donald Trump has made so far. There is nothing peaceful about appointing documented bigots to some of the most important posts in our federal government. There is nothing peaceful about a man who believes in conversion therapy; there is nothing peaceful about someone who publicly declared that he didn’t want his children going to school with Jews; there is nothing peaceful about someone who jokes about the Ku Klux Klan by saying that he thought they were “okay until he learned that they smoke marijuana;” there is nothing peaceful about someone who has ties to the Koch Brothers.

So I don’t know exactly what I am proposing here. I feel like living in the United States over the past week has been this incredible process of emotions. It’s like, every day there is a new absolutely terrifying thing to accept, a new asshole to read about, a new way that so many of us are realizing we are going to be governed by people who hate us. Because it isn’t just that I don’t like them, it’s that they don’t like anyone who doesn’t look and sound like they do. Anyone with a different skin tone, a different accent, different genitalia, different abilities, a different religion, or different ideas about romantic partners. It’s that they are not going to try to Make America Great Again. They are going to try to Remake America in their own image. And that image is repressive and violent. Because repression is violence.

So, no. Maybe on Wednesday November 9th when there was still a dying hope that all the bigotry and hate that Trump spewed during his campaign was smoke and mirrors and he was really not as bad as we all thought, maybe at that point we owed him an open mind. Although I am reluctant to say that after all the hate he stirred up he was owed anything good from us. But now, on November 19th that time has passed. We tried and he made us look a fool. There is nothing peaceful about this transition and it is about time that more Democrats in power, and that more private citizens, start making that point. We are not a country at peace, we are a country in complete and total turmoil; a country in which people feel afraid to be themselves.

As far as I am concerned we owe Trump nothing but what we owe ourselves: a fight.*

 

*And to stop reading his fucking Twitter feed. Seriously. How can we expect his staff to do fucking anything if they can’t stop him from making a fool of himself on Twitter every goddamn day like a giant, orange-colored toddler in tasteless neck ties.

The World is Fucked.

24 Aug

Alright so here’s the thing.  I have not one but two degrees in International Affairs.  I don’t say this to brag, especially given that I was bartending before my second degree and I am bartending after so when it all comes down to it I am just an over-educated drink-slinger, as many of us are it seems.  I say this because considering that I have two degrees in International Affairs you would think that I would be up on the news.  On any normal day you would be correct.  I like to read the news, I like to listen to the news, I like to talk about the news, I like to laugh about the news, but more than anything else I like to get angry and sad about the news.  That is because on any normal day the news is mostly really upsetting.  I long ago lost track of how many days I started crying about a third of the way through catching up on the news because goddamnit people are assholes.  Really big assholes.

These last few weeks, though, I have been mostly avoiding the news altogether.  It’s just like, too much.  The other day I woke up to a text from a friend that read “I just watched the beheading” and it’s like, of course you did.  You know why?  Because the world is totally fucked.  The world is so fucked that my friend watched a video that was made available on the internet of an innocent journalist being beheaded in the name of god, or that was the reason given by ISIS by what I can tell.  The world is so fucked that the family of this journalist has to go through life knowing that millions of people saw their son beheaded and my friend has to go through life having seen the last gruesome moments of a man’s death documented and uploaded.  It’s just…I don’t even have words.  I just decided to read an article on the beheading to make sure that I am not making shit up and found this little gem:

“Earlier this year, (Abdel-Majed Abdel) Bary posted on Twitter a photograph of himself holding a severed head with the comment, “Chillin’ with my homie or what’s left of him.” But (Raffaello) Pantucci said that he appeared to have simply picked up and posed with one of many severed heads after a mass beheading by ISIS in the Syrian town of Raqqa. Posing with a severed head is common enough among ISIS fighters, he said, that the Twitter post alone does not point to any connection to Mr. Foley’s later execution.”

Can we just, you know, reflect on this for a second?  This dude, a 24-year-old rapper who just moved home to Syria from the UK, simply picked a severed head up off the ground because there were so many of them lying around where he was with the other ISIS guys and then he posed with it.  Like, yea, this looks like a good severed fucking head.  I think this goddamn severed head I found just sitting in the dirt here will really get my point across.  Seriously.  What the ever living fuck?  It’s like, our 20-somethings take selfies with their dogs and ISIS 20-somethings take selfies with severed heads.  I shouldn’t generalize.  That’s not nice or smart or any of the things I try to be but like, what. the. FUCK?!

Just as an aside, this is not me mocking or making light of anything.  This shit is really serious and really, debilitatingly upsetting.  This is just me writing my internal dialogue.  This is what utter sadness/confusion/disbelief/anger/disgust looks like when I take out the majority of swear words and throw it on a page.  This is the only way that I can express where my brain has been at the last few weeks.  It’s been like white noise in there because I just cannot deal with how completely and totally fucked everything is.  I am experiencing total shutdown of my capabilities to comprehend what is happening.  Shall we continue?  Okay.

So, Ferguson.  The other day I ran into my friend Ashlie on the train and we were talking about Serious Things which is something we always do.  And so we started talking about Ferguson.  And I said that I have been having a hard time reading about it, that I had been largely avoiding it, because I just didn’t think I could actually go about my day productively if I started reading about it.  And she said one of the most poignant and accurate things she has ever said, and she says a lot of them because she is insanely smart.  She said “maybe we shouldn’t be able to go about our day productively.”

That is exactly right.  We shouldn’t.  What happened in Ferguson was appalling.  Mike Brown woke up on Saturday morning, August 9th, thinking he was just going to have a normal day and he ended up dead.  For no goddamn reason.  And then his body was left for 4 hours in the middle of the street in the middle of the day in front of friends, families, neighbors, and community members while blood flowed out of his head and through the street.  Four hours.  There is literally no excuse for that.  None whatsoever.  And then to see images of police officers with assault rifles pointed at protestors?  Assault rifles.  Tear gas.  Riot gear.  As a result of Ferguson there has been movement in Washington to address the degree to which local police forces are armed in preparation for a terrorist attack, even though terrorist attacks on US soil are incredibly rare.  In response, Republican Representative Peter T. King of New York, who is on both the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees (oh, great news!), said basically that there was no evidence that giving this sort of heavy weaponry to police officers worsened the situation in Ferguson or elsewhere.  He then continued by saying that he disagreed with anyone who might say “that somehow the police are the cause of what’s wrong.”

He disagreed that the police are the cause of what’s wrong.  I am a girl in Brooklyn who has been avoiding the news because my brain cannot handle the injustice and the sadness and the hopelessness and the evil that seems to be fucking everywhere.  Representative King is a man in Washington with access to information and yet he somehow thinks that the police are not at all the cause of what’s wrong?  Who is the cause?!  Who is the fucking cause in this case?!  Tell me!  I am dying to fucking know and understand who the fuck is the cause of a police officer shooting yet another young, unarmed, black man if it isn’t the police officer!  And I am dying to know who is the cause of leaving that body on the street for all those hours?  And who is the cause of local police forces having military grade weaponry when they don’t get military grade training?  And who is the cause of men and women in uniform, fingers on triggers, pointing assault rifles at protestors?  Who?!  I just cannot fucking handle it.

Cry break.

And then there’s Eric Garner.  And the Ebola outbreak.  And methane seeping from sea floors all along the east coast.  And Ray fucking Rice and the stupid NFL.  And INS detainment centers.  And Israel.  And Gaza.  And the Ukraine.  You guys it is just too much and I am angry and confused and it doesn’t actually even seem right that it’s beautiful outside.

Why do we keep doing this to each other?  It is just so totally fucked.