The bile that rose in to my throat in the early morning hours of January 19th, 2017 came quickly and unexpectedly. I dashed to the bathroom and vomited in to the toilet. I thought about the foods I’d eaten recently. Then I thought about the fact that Trump’s inauguration was tomorrow and that seemed as likely a reason for my vomiting as any.
A lot of people I knew were sick that day and I don’t think the timing was coincidental. We’d feared that Trump’s inauguration was coming for a little over a year and we’d known it was coming for a little over two months. Although we knew it was very unlikely that the electoral college would vote against him, we signed the petitions and we hoped against hope. When on December 19th, 2016 the electoral college officially voted him in to office all hope seemed lost.
As we said goodbye to 2016, many deemed it to be a terrible year, mainly because a lot of celebrities died and Trump won the election. I wasn’t too affected by the celebrity deaths because I’d barely noticed that the celebrities that died in 2016 were alive in the first place and celebrities die every year. I was very affected by the election though. Never in my lifetime ( or in my parents or grandparents’ lifetimes for that matter) had our country elected a president quite like this and he wasn’t different from all the other presidents in a good way to say the least.
We cried as we watched Obama’s farewell speech. We were full of sadness at seeing him leave office and full of fear of what was to come as the next president took office. I think another blogger summed it up best when they said that in transitioning from Obama to Trump we were going from class to ass.
As what I had come to think of as doomsday approached my anxiety levels rose. I had a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication called in. What was really getting to me was the talk of how when Trump became president the world was going to end and we were all going to die. I asked my mom to stop saying things like that. She replied that it could very well be true. I told her that even if it was true saying it was not helpful to me.
One of my Facebook statuses on January 19th read “Don’t you just hate it when someone you care about is making a terrible decision that will have devastating consequences for themselves and everyone else but you’re powerless to stop them? By someone I mean the United States of America.”
It seemed like everyone with the least bit of sense knew that making Donald Trump president was a terrible idea, yet we were going ahead and doing it anyway. That made me feel so angry, helpless and frustrated.
My mother called me that day to say that my therapist appointment would have to be cancelled because she was working late and wouldn’t be able to take me. I called her back a few minutes later to see if my dad could take me because this was a day when I really needed therapy.
Kate and I spent most of my session talking about Trump. She tried to comfort me by saying that she didn’t think he would be able to do much damage because other government officials would stop him and America was set up in a way that prevented one evil person from having too much power. She told me that a lot of people were protesting against him, that several republicans in congress were boycotting his inauguration. I wished I could have as much faith in our government as she did and I wished I could find what she said comforting but it just sounded like “It can’t happen here” rhetoric to me. No one thinks it can happen here until it does happen here. Since I wrote my blog entitled “It Happened Here”, I’ve read the book “It Can’t Happen Here”. Although it’s a work of fiction, Berzelius Windrip bears an uncanny resemblance to Trump and the results of Windrip’s presidency were disastrous.
She also suggested getting involved in advocacy, protests and volunteer work, speaking out against Trump and making my voice heard. She said I’d already started to do that with my blog. I replied that I wasn’t sure I’d actually changed anyone’s mind with my blog. I felt that the people who disliked Trump to begin with agreed with what I wrote and continued to dislike Trump while the people who liked Trump to begin with disagreed with what I wrote and continued to like him. When Kate suggested arguing my points about Trump with my Trump supporting friends, I said I’d prefer not to do that because they were also unlikely to change their minds and arguing might damage our relationship. I know I’m sick to death of hearing my mother and grandfather argue about Trump. My grandfather is never going to change his mind and arguing will just aggravate his heart problems. Kate said that even if we’re unlikely to change anyone’s mind, we still have to try.
When I got home I told my mother that Kate had said that she thought the government would prevent Trump from doing serious damage. “Kate is Pollyanna-ish” she replied. A few minutes later she told me that Kate had been spreading fake news-it was only democrats, not republicans who were boycotting the inauguration.
The following day I guiltily watched the inauguration on TV. I knew I probably shouldn’t because I would be contributing to the ratings but I just couldn’t help myself. A few days earlier I’d watched a debate among reporters in which one reporter questioned Trump’s ability to be a good president based on the things he was tweeting. Another reporter replied that he wasn’t president yet and when he became president in 5 days he would communicate in a more mature, professional manner. I rolled my eyes at that statement but if I was at all inclined to believe it, that belief was shattered when I listened to his hateful, divisive, piece of shit inauguration speech.
The speech can basically be summed up as ” Rah, rah, rah, all the other presidents sucked but I’m going to achieve the impossible with my massive ego and make America great again by kicking out all the brown people!” He even included a fist pump. The facial expressions the Obamas had in reaction to that speech said it all.
That night my friend Delilah texted me a picture of herself in a pussy hat. When I saw the picture I thought it was just a funny hat. Then I Googled the term “pussy hat” and saw that it had a deeper significance. Those pussy hats symbolized the fight for women’s rights, rights that were being threatened by the Trump administration. They were to be worn by the women who were attending the women’s marches the next day.
I’d heard about those women’s marches. I’d also heard that there was a certain man who was threatening to harm those who attended them. I figured that would deter people from attending them and that not that many people planned to attend them in the first place. I figured that maybe one or two of my Facebook friends would attend a march. Boy was I wrong.
On January 21st my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures of my friends attending marches. Some of these friends weren’t even women and some of them weren’t even U.S. citizens. I was shocked by the turnout for those marches and I think it was the first time I was shocked in a good way about anything regarding this election. The spirit of the marchers was so strong and infectious that I found myself wishing I’d attended a march.
That night my Facebook status read: “I have liked so many things on Facebook today and every one of those likes was well deserved. I was feeling bleak and hopeless yesterday. I was expecting more of the same today but thanks to my friends from New Jersey to Canada who marched in protests, who donned pussy hats, who stood up for their beliefs, who fought for their rights and the rights of their fellow world citizens, who refused to back down from or be intimidated by the evil bully who calls himself our president, I have a new sense of hope.”
Of course the coming days gave me plenty of reasons to feel discouraged. The environmental protection and LGBTQ pages were removed from the White House website as was the disability rights page, other than to tell disabled people how they can access The White House. A group of men signed bills regulating women’s reproductive rights. Trump spewed lies and misinformation about the size of his inauguration crowd, supposed illegal voting, global warming and various other matters. The phrase “alternative facts” became a thing as someone in the Trump administration used it in earnest.
The endangered species act was targeted because it hinders drilling. Funding for the arts is being cut. Obamacare is being scaled back. Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education knows nothing about education and his pick for secretary of health is an anti-vaxxer. When the National Parks Service tweeted aerial view pictures comparing Trump’s inauguration to Obama’s, their Twitter account was suspended. A media blackout was ordered on the Environmental Protection Agency. As I was writing this blog, executive orders were signed to build a wall at the Mexican border and to put an end to sanctuary cities. All of that isn’t even the half of it.
Sales of the book 1984 are way up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great novel and I’d be happy to see it achieve best seller status again but I’d prefer the reason for its bestseller status not to be that we are now entering in to a society that resembles the society it portrays.
So far Trump’s presidency is even worse than I imagined it would be. I knew it would be awful but I didn’t think it would be this awful this fast. As I said on Facebook last night,”If Trump has managed to generate this much WTF-ery in the 4 days he’s been president, imagine what he’ll do in the next 4 years!”
There are still reasons to have hope though. People are still fighting, protesting, marching, holding up their signs, voicing their anger, calling out the lies and the hypocrisy, writing letters to their representatives, saying they will not stand for this. In defiance of the gag order, Badlands National Park tweeted a series of actual facts about environmental destruction (although the tweets have since been deleted.) Betsy DeVos’s hearing was delayed as an ethics committee investigated her and a second hearing was requested (although that hearing was denied.) Some hilarious satirical articles, memes and videos making fun of Trump have been released. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine and sometimes comedy is the best way of reaching people.
As for me, I’m still not sure if I want to get in to it anymore with Trump supporters who are good friends of mine or who are related to me but his presidency has rekindled my passion for arguing with idiots on the internet. The other day I was arguing with a woman who claimed that it was fine for Trump to talk about grabbing women by the pussies because it was just typical locker room talk that all men engage in and that Planned Parenthood should be defunded because women should just make proper decisions about sex and if they got pregnant pay for their own abortions. The argument ended when she said there was no point in debating it anymore because I just had my liberal views while she had her normal views. If her views are normal, I will proudly call myself abnormal.
Then there was the guy who posted a meme saying that if your child needs grief counseling over the election, you have failed as a parent. I replied that I wasn’t in to blaming parents for the actions of their adult children but having a child that voted for Trump is more of an indicator of having failed as a parent than having a child who needed grief counseling over the election is. I was unfriended. It was no great loss to me.
I donated blood yesterday. It’s not directly related to any protest of Trump or his administration but it’s a way of doing some good in a world that seems to be going to hell. Maybe later I will get involved in some volunteering or advocacy that is directly anti-Trump. I fear what the repercussions might be for me as the Trump administration and its supporters gain more power and go to greater lengths to silence those who oppose them but I fear the consequences of not speaking out may be even worse.
As for the title of this blog, I don’t need anyone pointing out to me that I am a U.S. citizen and Donald Trump is president of the United States,so therefore he is my president. I’m prone to literal thinking but even I immediately knew what people meant when they started saying “not my president.”
I also don’t need to be told that I’m being unpatriotic or disrespectful by speaking negatively of the president of this country. Although he is the president of my country, he does not represent my values and he does not represent the values my country was founded on. He is a threat to freedom, equality and democracy. Standing up for freedom, equality and democracy is very patriotic.