Hey there. It's been a fucking week, right? Say it with me: It's been a fucking week. We thought—hoped—one thing was going to happen and then the exact opposite happened and we're sitting here devastated, just destroyed, and terrified for the future not only of our country but the world. (And if you aren't, you should be.)
Before Tuesday, I thought I would tell you a little bit about my recent travels. But since Tuesday, all I can do is question the women who voted for Trump (53 percent of white women: white women without a college degree by a two-to-one margin; 45 percent of white women with a college degree supported him. Women of color overwhelmingly supported Clinton). He is, by all accounts, abhorrent. He is incompetent. I've seen women tie themselves in knots to explain that they voted for the platform and not for him, and I hear that. I hear them saying that they want Roe v. Wade repealed more than they care about whether or not a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic dangerous bigot (is that redundant? It is, isn't it?) is in the White House. It takes a certain amount of privilege to either not see or—worse—ignore the bigotry, to assume that because it won't affect you directly, it doesn't matter. In fact, that might be the very definition of privilege. (It isn't, but the concept of immunity is involved.)
What I don't understand is that they claim to be Christian at the same time they're saying these things. And they have children. I am no longer religious, but I was raised in a Christian household and I know what that means. You cannot proclaim to love Jesus and not only make excuses for but elevate someone who so clearly represents "the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool." You cannot teach your children that bullying is wrong and that they should respect others and treat others the way they would want to be treated and then support the candidate whose behavior so flagrantly flies in the face of all notions of decency and respect.
Here is a very short list of only some of the racist graffiti and hate crimes that have occurred since Wednesday morning. Welcome to Trump's America.
In the weeks leading up to the election, Julianna Baggott and David Scott started a campaign called #DedicateYourNoTrumpVote, in which their fellow writers—but also friends and family members—wrote about why they were voting against Trump. By the end of the campaign, they had received contributions from a Pulitzer Prize winner, a National Book Award winner, New York Times best-selling novelists, critically acclaimed poets, teachers, social workers, and veterans (these things are not mutually exclusive). Today is Veterans' Day, and since I dedicated my No-Trump Vote to my father, a World War II vet, I thought I would share it with you.
My father will turn ninety-four this fall, less than two weeks after the election. Born in 1922, he was almost fifty-seven when I arrived. To say he had lived fully before me is an understatement. His mother—my grandmother—was Cherokee. When the Depression hit, they became sharecroppers in north Texas. Eventually, my grandfather worked for the WPA and they moved to Oklahoma. "Times were better" by then, my father says. He and his siblings would each get a new shirt and a pair of pants or overalls for Christmas.
In 1942, Uncle Sam spoke to him from a propagandizing poster that promised he would be stationed close to home and he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Two years later, he landed on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy Invasion.
My father has spent much of his life postwar reading about the war—military strategies and theories, philosophies of war, the tactics of Eisenhower and Hitler. In this, I sense a desire to understand, to make sense of the horrors he experienced in Europe, those things he is reluctant to talk about, even late at night, when the light is low and no one else is listening.
More than seven decades after he put his life on the line, this country faces a similar threat. Will we choose the higher ground, or will we allow ourselves to be overtaken by a groundswell of xenophobia, racism, misogyny, nativism, and stupidity? I dedicate my No-Trump Vote to my father, my hero, who has quietly shown me the way by virtue of his very existence.
1. I was well aware of the deep-seated misogyny in the US (and abroad), but Anne Helen Petersen's "This Is How Much America Hates Women" really underscored for me the internalized sexism we all carry with us. Patriarchy: the call is coming from inside the house (as my friend Jacqui says). Were you raised in a patriarchal culture? (Hint: yes.) You need to read this. Do you also wonder how so many straight white women—and educated women at that—could vote for such a despicable person? You need to read this. Learn what patriarchy is. Reject it. Fight it. (This goes for men, too. Maybe more so than women.)
2. That quote above about Trump being a fool, in the biblical sense? It's from this article in Christianity Today, "Speak Truth to Trump." It's about a month old now, but is no less relevant (which makes it even more frustrating given the evangelical nature of his base). As to those voters who bargained with themselves and chose him because of his influence over the Court: "Strategy becomes idolatry when we betray our deepest values in pursuit of earthly influence. And because such strategy requires capitulating to idols and princes and denying the true God, it ultimately always fails."
3. I almost opened with this but decided to close with it instead. In a lot of ways, it's the only thing that needs to be said. This is a Twitter thread that has been Storifyed. Read from top to bottom. Read all the way through. Sit with the words.
I might be back before too long with the standard book recommendations and a few brief stories from my travels this fall. This seemed more important today.
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