We Are Now Less Free

Our president-elect ripped fistfuls of hair out of his wife’s skull because his plastic surgery operation hurt. Then he raped her. He mocked her pain the next morning.

He will outsource most presidential duties to a man who thinks of me as a walking uterus. In his ecstasy about reducing me to my reproductive capacity, he shut down Indiana health care clinics and gave hundreds of people HIV.

His chief of staff believes that schoolchildren who are Jewish, like me, are ‘whiny brats.” That is his nicest description of Jews, as far as I can tell.

I am among the least threatened by this election. I’m white, straight, employed, not Muslim, and not an immigrant. I fear for my physical safety only a little bit more than usual. But that little bit.  And my dear friends, colleagues, and compatriots who are scared for their life: We are all less free now.

A sliver of people in a few states put these cartoons in power for three reasons:

  1. White people prefer white supremacy
  2. The media perpetuated a totalizing, sexist, counter-factual narrative about HRC as “unlikeable” and “untrustworthy”
  3. Our electoral system is a relic of our foundations in slavery, and like the ghost of Beloved, slavery has a hard time staying dead

Any analysis of a so-called “enthusiasm gap” must take into account the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and the 800+ polling sites subsequently shut down in the heart of Obama country. Any analysis of whether this is the backlashiest backlash ever to lash our backs must take into account that a million over two million  almost three million more Americans voted for HRC than for Donald Duck.

Our current reckoning with just how racist and sexist our country is reminds me of HRC’s quotation of Maya Angelou’s quotation about how when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Everyone’s lesbian crush Masha Gessen’s version of this sentiment has been making the rounds, for good reason. (If you click just one link in here, please click Gessen’s.)

We have no reason to believe that President Donald Duck will be anyone other than the miserable racist/rapist/ignoramus/bully that civilian Donald Duck’s been for 70 years: a dictator wannabe born into a democratic system he is now able to paralyze. He is burrowing himself into a nest filled with the radicals so radical that even the ultra-radicalized GOP wouldn’t want to grab a fry off their plate or share an elevator with them: they’re a little too squicky.

We are now in a hunkering. We strategize what balance of information and willful ignorance may keep us at something like affective equilibrium as freedoms so recently and tenuously secured may start dropping away. We fret about whether or not it is morally sound to try to stop crying daily in fear for our country and its people. We marvel at how different life was a week ago.

And for real: if we pull out of the Paris accords then parts of the US will get so hot in 85 years that our bodies will not be able to manufacture enough sweat to keep ourselves alive. A week in, the Donald Duck presidency is worse than it felt that first horrible night. He may render our country inhabitable by the time our kids are grandparents.

While I consider myself more or less atheist, I have been clinging to a particular Jewish prayer lately: “ufeross aleinu sukkat shelomekha.” Spread over us your peace-filled sukkah. Let’s shelter ourselves in peace, friends, and gather strength to continue our fight for justice.

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One thought on “We Are Now Less Free

  1. […] have turned me, of all people, into a jingoist tearing up at the thought of a free nation that will no longer be a beacon for the oppressed and will instead become a puppet Soviet […]

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