Here we are again.
People say that those who don’t learn their history are doomed to repeat it. Well, the rest of us have to watch them repeat it, too. So it seems. The thing about stories though, and history is a story, is that they’re never told the same way twice. Every time you read a book you catch something new, you read a voice in a slightly different inflection, or catch a joke you didn’t the first time. You might see a movie in a completely different frame of mind as the first time, and it looses all appeal. You might hear a song after a bad breakup and it goes forever on your hate list because it reminds you too much of them.
So here’s something else.
Yeah, we just elected a bigot. Which is perhaps the mildest way to put it. But he’s not just there because there are so many jerks in our country, this was an act of desperation. We elected a brick through the window of everyone ignoring the situation that led up to this, as if the poor, tired, and struggling masses of America got sick of it, looked at the people who have it easy and said, “Hey? You listening now?”
I have it easy. Relatively. I voted blue, as I tend to do. At first I was horrified, as many of us were and still are, but then I looked around. I looked at who was cheering, at who projected their hope – arguably misdirected – onto this figure with a slogan that they could relate to. It’s people who grew up working hard, struggling through life to get to where they are, distrusting the people in the fancy houses, with the fancy cars and the money. It’s Katniss vs. the Capital, and Hillary was the Capital. This was a vote of desperation, and while it’s also something of a signpost encouraging idiots to be more violent than usual, it’s also a cry for help.
Look around. Look outside the city if you live in one. I only have to drive five minutes to get to the nearest cow pasture, no joke, but I still live in “the city.” Even now, I can see where the people who voted for the 45th President Elect came from. We can’t get out, not really, but we can’t stay. There are no jobs here, all of them are in Denver, or Boulder, or Fort Collins. But we can’t afford to live there! Hell, I’m still living with my parents because I know minimum wage will get me nowhere. I have an opportunity that a lot of my peers don’t have, and that’s stability, if tentative. I have the option to create my own way, start a small business, write some books, figure out where I want to go. The people who voted for Trump don’t have that option. They’re desperate. They’re tired of people complaining about who gets to use what bathroom when there are roads to be paved, people to be housed and fed, and jobs to be created. Whether or not he’s an objectively terrible human being, our neighbors, friends, and fellow Americans just cried out desperately for help.
So here’s how the story changes. A lot of people are seeing World War II era Germany about to happen. That’s the fear, anyway. Some are seeing a massive step backwards in social rights, which might also happen. But you know what? We can change the narrative. Let the big-wigs in office do what they will, let’s get out there and help the people who just threw a brick through the window because they need food, or clothes, or shelter. Lets make America greater than anything Trump could have promised by making sure nobody is desperate enough to vote for someone like him ever again.
As a gay trans-man, I am terrified of what some of his less rational supporters might do. Not just to me but to my community. I remember Orlando. I still get scared to hold my boyfriend’s hand in public, whether I read as a man or not. Frankly, though, I think the argument over who gets to use what bathroom can wait. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together.
We must unite or die. We are stronger than our government.
Welcome back to the revolution.