I say this not for the sake of hyperbole, nor dramatics. And it’s not a statement made in anger, but certainly one borne out of clear and irrefutable facts from this awful election season. These facts, which we learned about president-elect Donald Trump from his own words and actions, are:
- He is a bully, bigot, racist, and rampant misogynist.
- He is a serial adulterer with great pride in his ability to do so.
- He is a proponent of sexual assault, and the power over his victims it brings.
- He is ignorant of world affairs, and wears that ignorance as a badge of honor.
- He is a narcissistic personality type (and very likely a sociopath).
These are qualities that I would expect from either the leader of a “Banana Republic” (Noriega comes to mind), or even a street pimp. But these are certainly not the qualities I want in my President aka the leader of the Free World. I’d rather stick with the standard set by our current POTUS, Barack Obama. Hell, I’d rather stick with the “have a beer with” standard set by George W. Bush. He may not have been very smart, but was also not quite as reprehensible as Trump.
But if other people don’t mind their President embodying the qualities listed above, so be it. He can be their President. But he won’t ever be mine.
This leads to the second point. If there is an America people where people are so keen to overlook all of these personal flaws in order to get back a level of personal power and privilege that they feel has been lost as the country has grown more diverse, then they are not part of my America.
Additionally, if there is an America that rabidly supports a candidate who vows to take away the civil rights of other Americans, they are also not part of my America. And honestly, I was never a part of theirs.
I won’t substitute catchy misspellings like AmeriKKKa for America, because I don’t want to assert that much evil over an entire swath of the population. Yet I’m reminded of a line in the article ‘The Good, Racist People‘ by Ta-Nahisi Coates that lays bare the (often spoken) racial beliefs of that very same America:
“I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank.”
As recent as September 2015, 43% of Republicans still thought that Barack Obama was Muslim. And to be fair, the same can be said for 29% of Independents and even 15% of Democrats. Still, the horrific irony can’t be ignored that Barack Obama will be forced to hand over his position to the bigoted buffoon who forced him to “show his papers”.
Hillary is an awful “politician”, and was a similarly awful candidate in many ways. But she’s also a tireless public servant who genuinely wanted to help others, particularly children and women. As First Lady, she withstood both public scorn for trying to “work” in her husband’s administration, and public humiliation as a “cuckquean“.
She earned huge respect from New York constituents – and Senate colleagues – after initial concerns as a carpet-bagger, and world respect as our Secretary of State after our reputation on the world stage had been tarnished by the Dubya administration.
Hillary kept her head down and kept doing the dirty work of public policy, regardless of whether she was being vilified OR honored. She’s not perfect by any means, but what politician can claim that mantle?
Irredeemable “basket of deplorables” aside, she would have been a great President to all because that’s how she’s always viewed her public service work. More notably, she would have been great as MY President.
Trump ran a campaign based on racial division and ethnic finger-pointing in order to increase his personal power and fortune. As far as I’m concerned, he can crawl into the same hole where Saddam Hussein hid, and stay there for the next four years. #NotMyPresident
So what happens next? What do I do? Where do I, and the many others like me, go from here with our anger, fear and frustration?
For starters, I’m not going to be pressured into accepting this outcome, or easily forgiving the acrimony of the past 16 months. It’s absurd just how many people who, after having undermined President Obama for the past 8 years, want me to forget about that and accept this outcome; working with Trump for the good of the country.
After what he’s said to Mexicans, Muslims, women, the Blacks, and everyone else? Are you f**king kidding? Pigs aren’t flying, and I haven’t gotten any reports of snowballs in Hell. So to be clear, the answer is No.
Moreover, I find it extremely condescending and offensive to be asked to forgive someone who actively based his campaign on being an oppressor who would create public policy to hurt others, in order to assuage the white GOP masses.
I saw this tweet the other day and my jaw dropped:
Democrats, please: Do not respond by doubling down on identity politics. That is poison in a multi-ethnic democracy.
— Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) November 9, 2016
Jonathan Haidt is probably a nice enough guy, but he missed badly on this. The responses came quickly, with one of the more notable ones from Joy Reid, an MSNBC journalist who I greatly admire.
Is this a bad time to bring up the fact that Trump ran and won on ethnonationalism? https://t.co/0dAC2VOV2M
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 9, 2016
Here’s the thing about “forgiveness” that’s so often expected from victimized groups, especially Blacks, in the aftermath of a horrific event. We’re all supposed to act like Martin Luther King and go about our lives as though they haven’t been irreparably shattered. And that’s just not what any of us are feeling in this current reality.
After Dylann Roof went into that church and shot 9 people dead in order to help start a race war, something miraculous happened. Families of the victims, almost to a one, forgave him when given the chance to speak to him at his first court appearance. Sorry, but that wouldn’t have been me.
[Author’s note: I’m a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.]
Black protesters, even female protesters, were cursed at, spit at, shoved, and punched, often at his urging. Even when being led out by police, they were still assaulted AND sometimes set upon by the police, instead of the assailant. Trump even bragged that he would pay their legal fees if they were arrested.
Yeah…NO. I’m not that magnanimous. I can’t. At least not for the foreseeable future. And if someone has a problem with that, then I guess that’s on you. I’m very okay with my choice.
But there are other actions that I can take. Wednesday morning, Michael Moore came up with a ‘Day One’ To-Do List of things we can do right now to take back our Democratic Party and help it reckon with (I’m being kind) this horrific loss. I’m usually a conservative guy when it comes to stuff like this, but clearly we need to make dramatic changes if we want to see a different result; at the top of the ticket as well as in ALL of the down ballot races.
[FYI: Here’s Michael’s ‘Day Two’ To-Do List]
Also, I’m going to start writing again. I can’t write about tennis, but I can shed light on the many ways that social injustice still plague our daily lives, be it matters of race, sexism, or class. We’ve taken it for granted that we’re this great post-racial, enlightened society where all things are possible for everyone. And if you believe that, I’ve got a leaning tower in San Francisco to sell you.
More specifically, however, our basic assumption about the basic decency and fairness of this country was undermined on Election Night when we learned that those who felt most disenfranchised the past few years are the ones who’ve lost their privilege, and who now feel are being cheated their due.
Some of their concerns are valid. Then again, so are mine as a Black and Gay man. So are those of women, who still don’t earn equal pay for equal work. And so are those of our Muslim community that now faces the horror of state-sanctioned violence. Somebody’s got to shine a light on all of this. Right now, I guess that’s going to be me.