I thought I was mentally prepared for a Trump victory, but I was wrong. I knew the odds. I knew he had a chance. I’m glad he didn’t win by a landslide. I’m glad he didn’t win the popular vote. I can’t believe he won the election.
I’m trying not to pin the blame on anyone. I don’t find comfort in saying if only Bernie Sanders had run, or if only James Comey hadn’t sent the letter about the emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer. I have a deep anger at everyone who voted for Trump, everyone who stayed home, and all the people who tell me “Don’t worry it won’t be as bad as you think.”
I can’t gauge how bad it will be. It looks like all the worst aspects of American history wrapped up in one administration. I look at Pence, Giuliani, Bannon, and Gingrich and I think about the Comstock Laws, the Palmer Raids, Executive Order 9066, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, COINTELPRO (FBI Counter Intelligence Program), and the Patriot Act. I think about the Justice Department ignoring burning crosses and lynchings, ignoring the police shooting at “rioters”, ignoring the murder of trans women.
There is a good chance that Trump’s appointees will define being butch, queer, transgender, or gender non-conforming as “un-American”. Deviant. Degenerate. Perverted. It happened in Russia under Putin. It could happen here. I am expecting to hear a lot more right-wing Christian propaganda. I am ready to fight against FADA (First Amendment Defense Act).
I studied American History in high school. The only criticism of the United States was when we studied about slavery and the Civil War (1865). I learned about WWII without hearing about the internment of the Japanese, the segregated Armed Forces, or the turning back of the St. Louis. My education was completely white-washed.
I read on my own. I read about Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933, and the 400 laws/decrees restricting Jewish public and private life. I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler, I’m trying to understand how demagogues turn into autocrats. I’m paying attention to the warning signs and to the propaganda.
Most Jews I know, including myself, have wondered what they would have done in Berlin in 1933. When do you fight, when do you resist or refuse to cooperate, when do you go into hiding, when do you flee, where do you go, whom do you leave behind?
I don’t know what I would have done. I’m concerned that I would have stayed and been part of the resistance. I don’t think I would have had the sense to leave early. I don’t like to give up.
I’ve protested against every administration since Nixon’s second term in office (1972). I protested against Obama’s continuation of the war in Iraq, against my tax dollars being spent on the military instead of infrastructure, education, health care, and housing. I said before the election that I’d rather protest against Clinton than against Trump, but I’d be protesting either way. There is a lot that needs to be changed in this country.
Trump will tell us that honest law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear; nothing bad will happen to us as long as we are not blatant. That we need to get rid of the bad guys, give his programs a chance, and accept that things are going to be different. I can not do that. I will non-violently resist the Trump/Pence administration and their policies, and I will not be silenced.
Notes: I’ve reread Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail every day since the election to keep up my faith and to remind myself that this is an on going struggle. I also read Masha Gessen’s Autocracy: Rules for Survival, in The New York Review of Books. It should be required reading for everyone, no matter who they voted for, and especially for those who stayed home.