I wrote the following a few days after the inauguration. I did not post it at the time, but have decided to now since the sentiments are still valid. Given that it has only been one month since the inauguration, for those of us who are concerned with social justice and feel a general sense of compassion for living beings, it feels like eternity.
This is how I feel and have been feeling about the unknown political landscape. I had tried to stay away from NPR, I do not have cable so I do not watch news, I get my news from feminist sites on social media which I have also been avoiding. I have tried to isolate myself from the changes that are stirring in our country and all over the globe, but I still find myself overwhelmed with fear.
I think about our feminist foremothers and what they must have endured for basic human dignity and how easily that can and very well may be taken away from women. On a personal level, I think about what I endured for basic human dignity and I refuse to live as I did before. I will not do it.
Consequently, I find myself plagued with anticipation about what might come. Because the future is unknown, I do not find it particularly beneficial to consume myself with what may or may not happen, but the future comes on its own and the future is nearly here bringing in the next leader of our country.
I am very fearful of the time of conservatism we are about to enter into with Donald fucking Trump as our new president.
I saw on the TV at the gym that congress voted to begin the repeal of Obamacare – ostensibly, they will not get rid of Obamacare without a replacement, but it is frightening to think that things might be the same or worse than they were before.
My mom was sick with cancer for many years, and I think about how much she had to pay for treatment and how difficult and stressful it was when she was already sick and had to deal with doctors, insurance companies, state insurance, copays, deductibles, “pre-existing conditions” stipulations.
It’s so horrible to think about how it was before and to think that I may end up going through the same. My only hope is that this era of conservatism will propel us into a time of social justice/activism/change and that Trump will only be in office for four years. That is not to say that activism is not happening now, but hopefully the people who are complacent in their idleness and ignorance right now will be moved to take action in the near future.
Trump has had so much support and has built a team of people around him who will bring us into a fascist state. Stating these facts is not just a tactic to build fear. The fear is real and increasing in those of us who are marginalized in society.
NPR reported that Trump’s approval rating is only at 37%. Do these polls matter? What matters more is who is in that 37%. Who has the social power to make someone with such low approval ratings secure the most powerful leadership position in the world?
In a class last semester, someone discussed in their presentation about a culture of “non-truths”. This is how politics will manifest moving forward. We will just have to assume that anything communicated to us from the president or anyone he has approved to hold office is likely making statements that are in no way evidence-based.
As a woman, I am fearful that I may have no more reproductive rights. I am fearful that men will see that our President, a global world leader, sexually assaulted women and will get away with it — and that is only what we know of, which it is likely he has probably done much worse.
As women, we are not safe in public and we definitely also are not safe at home. Where, then, should we go to feel safe and have a minute of peace of mind?
I am fearful that I will have to live the way I did before — hating everyone and everything because I may be suppressed in every aspect of my life — the life I thought I had escaped from.
I am fearful that if I were to get married, maybe my husband would feel entitled to me and my body and my children’s bodies — since society gives him that entitlement — maybe I will have no way to escape.
I do not think these are unreasonable or unrealistic fears. This is what has been and continues to be and now we have a world leader saying it is ok to treat human beings poorly — that women are ornaments and sex toys and replaceable/disposable — that violence is how we demonstrate power and dominance over others. This can apply to people and/or nations — doesn’t really matter.
I hear about how much we will expand our military — how many lives will this destroy? How many lives should we feel ok about destroying “over there” and here at home?
I see vets and they are fucked in the head. Many are people who had hard lives or needed ways “out” of their living situation and the military offered that to them (although, the military also targeted them). Then the resocialization process of the military fucks them in the head in new ways.
It’s so painful to see these people’s lives destroyed — and that’s just here where some vets can at least get an education and have homes. How much more pain do we cause to the people “over there”?
All of the “others” we literally blow to pieces — we destroy their homes and families and any sense of security they may still be clinging on to.
How horrible that people want to do more of this? and cheer and chant and clap their hands in support of murder on a mass scale.
Even if we don’t “kill” these “others” until they are actually physically dead, we destroy their lives and spirits and then hate them for it. We confine them to refugee camps and let them suffer and we can see that they suffer but instead of seeing “them” as humans, we want them to suffer. We say they deserve it.
I have two students from Iran. We held an info session with an immigration attorney to talk about CPT/OPT paperwork. They were advised not to leave this country. They started our program late because Iran would not let them out, and now there are trapped in. They do not know the next time they will see their families. I started crying and went to the restroom because I was overwhelmed by their obvious worry. I kept looking at my students and they are not terrorists, they are not bad human beings at all. One of them cares more about his skinny jeans and hipster hair more than anything. The other student from Iran caught me on the way out and asked if I was ok. I started crying again and told her how sorry I was that she had to experience this. I saw how hard it was for my family to be divided. For seven years, my uncle, his wife, and his daughter were in three different countries — only one example among many I saw, and one example that turned out well since they were reunited, many others never have that opportunity. How horrible is it that we divide up land and people and families over invisible lines that were created by men. My student told me that Iran was in a good place until “that crazy president came in” (Ahmadinejad), and that their country never bounced back after that. That is the trajectory we are on here in the US.
I feel saddened and do not feel that there is any comforting way to address what is and will be happening in our country.