Every day, it’s something.
My friend started a Google Doc to chronicle it all. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s to remind us that this isn’t normal. Or it might be something we’ll look back on ruefully when things get worse. Whatever the reason, I am adding to it.
A week. Has it only been seven days?
I wake up every day feeling despondent about my country, about the world. Hope exists, of course. The Women’s March on Washington was heartening, and so too was the news that another massive rally is coming April 15th. Scientists are putting one of their own together too. Across the country, there are flames: those who gatherered to protest outside a GOP retreat in Philly, New Yorkers responding spur of the moment to executive orders on immigration. A fiery state of the state address from the California governor.
But these people and others – my kindred spirits – are in the unenviable position of reacting, and as such, of being acted upon first. The media is chastised for daring to challenge so-called “alternative facts,” for asking follow-ups that might expose the emperor’s new clothes. Democratic senators raise alarms at the frightening lack of qualifications with numerous nominees, yet they stand helpless to prevent confirmation on their own. All of us sit, forced to wait until the bombast solidifies, forced to wait until rhetoric develops into law, before we can figure out how exactly to fight back.
Talk about liberal bubbles might not be completely off-base, but to engage in introspection now seems self-defeating as the other side proceeds gleefully with the cowardice of their conviction. A homogeneous group of white men smile and congratulate each other for moving to strip healthcare from nearly 30 million people without backup. The propaganda team in place has no qualms about spreading falsehoods, shouting down dissenters, controlling scientific research. Somehow, they have decided to prioritize the re-litigation of established law like Roe v. Wade and established reality like human-induced climate change.
Their hypocrisy is surprising only in its nakedness, and perhaps not even then. The Speaker of the House from the party of fiscal responsibility willingly fronts $8-14 billion for a wall against a threat that does not exist. The Senate Majority Leader complains about obstruction when he has held a vacant Supreme Court Justice spot hostage for nearly a year. While not illegal, the senior staff of the administration uses, yes, a private email server with no trace of irony, and the president himself represents a moving security risk with the unsecured Android he uses to spew his bile.
The overall lack of subtlety is a blessing and a curse, as the contours of the path towards the ominous future is revealed. Unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud will be the foundation for a voter suppression campaign more extensive than the one the GOP has already undertaken. Bans on refugees from countries deemed terrorist threats are the first move towards a comprehensive system of racial and religious profiling. The publication of a weekly list of criminal action committed by immigrants is the spark to undo everything this country stands for, to unlearn everything World War II taught us.
He has been everything we expected. He has been everything he promised. A beneficiary of foreign agents, an enabler of white supremacists, and a man likely beholden to business interests. A man-child, would-be king, and again, because somehow this wasn’t disqualifying in it of itself, a perpetrator of sexual assault – if you take his word for it. So this is where we stand. Today, tomorrow, and for as many as four years. Our institutions are being tested. Our principles, our very way of life.
(Photo by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, CC BY-SA 2.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)