Very little truly shocks me these days, but the sight of Maga marauders scaling The Capitol, being practically invited in with their guns and their red hats and their Q-anon flags . . .
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like I wanted to literally vomit when I saw the selfie of the Pro-Trump seditionist sitting at Pelosi’s desk, grinning, self-satisfied, his apeman scrawl on one of her manilla envelopes . . .
Later, when I saw Donald John Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue invocation to violence, I once again felt nauseous.
There are really only three times in the past twelve months when information has made me want to puke:
1) Being re-diagnosed with cancer and
2) learning that school was closed indefinitely and
There was a palpably evil, sinister shine to the way the events played out — from the fascist rally Trump held ahead of the mayhem, to the way the protesters were basically invited into The Capitol (no tear gas, no rubber bullets for the white women & men).
Frankly, the latter detail reminds me of an anecdote I heard in a documentary about the Freedom Rides of the 60s. I think the late John Lewis was telling the story of how Bull Connor gave his police permission to “let the people of Birmingham have their way” with the peaceful student protesters.
After five minutes of beating the men and women on the bus, the mob vanished, as if on command, and the police slowly arrived on the scene.
The whole thing had been orchestrated, allowed to happen,
and for me, yesterday’s events felt a bit too orchestrated.
Because this wasn’t a madman reacting to a situation.
This was a madman executing a plan.
Trump and the repulsive human barnacles who have suctioned themselves to him, planned what happened yesterday. His most ardent cult members have been shit talking on social media for months about “what’s coming.” One needn’t be a member of the fucking FBI to have seen this on the horizon.
This was “plan B” should the Russians be unable to assist Trump in this election.
And so Trump and his pathetic sycophants staged a failed coup.
Trump is a loser in everything he has ever done.
As a businessman, as a president,
as a human being: an utter, abject, embarrassing failure not
just to the country, but to humanity; his very existence, like the existence of
despots before him, is an affront to the universe.
Am I being too obtuse about my feelings?
Today, during my lunch break, I drove down to the dispensary on 6th street. As I cruised down the empty, palm tree lined street, “Dreamweaver” came on the radio, and I chuckled to myself because what a stupid and perfect song for a trip to the weed store.
And then I was jarred into a memory.
A high school biology classroom in the 1990s.
I was seventeen.
My teacher played music before class.
“Dreamweaver” was in her regular song rotation.
For many years — and apparently even still —
I associated that song with this teacher.
She and I remained in casual contact over the years.
When Facebook came on the scene, we became “friends” on that platform. Sometimes she would send me PMs asking after my health or sharing a nature article she thought I might dig.
I was glad to still have her in my circle.
When I was a kid, she was one of the smartest people I’d ever known.
In retrospect, she was one of the teachers that made me want to go into classroom teaching — whether college level or secondary. For the year
I was in her class, the impossible happened: I FUCKING LOVED Biology.
Then Trump happened.
My former teacher and I never talked politics.
1) We didn’t have that kind of relationship and
2) I presumed I knew her politics: she was an innovative high school science teacher from NYC with a PhD who played 70s music for her students. She had won awards for excellence in teaching (deservedly so). She was a fierce environmentalist. Surely, she couldn’t be . . .
a Trumper. She was a Trumper now.
I didn’t realize it until voting day drew near and she began to share strange ALL CAPS POSTS about Biden and socialism and perpetuating strange conspiracy theories . . .
I didn’t engage.
I think I didn’t want to believe it.
This sane, rational, good, decent, smart, SCIENCE-MINDED, woman
was a Trump supporter? How?
I mean she had her PhD from an Ivy for Christ’s sake!
I noticed some former students commenting on her posts.
They were confused, as was I.
She never responded, instead she’d let her husband on her FB page to digitally swear and shout at any and all detractors — even if some had been her beloved students.
I unfriended her because my heart couldn’t take watching what she had become.
Now some might be thinking “what she had become” so melodramatic!
But the truth is, I could smell the evil wafting off of Donald Trump from the first time I saw his d-list ass in the 1980s.
I remember the first year I taught at my alma mater. I was not quite thirty yet, and one of my students was making conversation as we waiting for class to begin.
“Ever heard of Donald Trump?” he asked me, as a lead in to his fixation with the (then new) show The Apprentice.
I rolled my eyes. Everyone had heard of Donald Trump, and by then (2008ish) I thought of him as little more than a punchline or a relic from the sad remains of 1980s American pop culture. I was surprised he’d been given a television show. Even when I was a little girl, occasionally encountering his image on a People magazine in the grocery store, or on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” or as a cameo on some throwaway sitcom or another . . . even then, I knew he was no good.
I have never wavered.
When Clinton lost to him in 2016, I never second guessed my feelings about the man: I wouldn’t leave him alone in the room with my students (even on Zoom) much less ask him to govern my country.
Many of us have been calling him a psycho, a madman, long before the treasonous stunt he pulled yesterday.
Those in the halls of power who have continued to support him have been calling him a psycho and a madman, too, they just did so quietly, in private, away from the ears of the citizens they were swindling for personal gain by nursing at Trump’s withered udders. (What’s up, Ted Cruz? You sick fuck.)
Let these people own it.
Don’t rush to forgive.
Let Uncle Steve or your mom or your dad or your beloved former teacher sit with what they have done, what they have contributed to.
Let them stare into their hearts and souls and reckon with themselves, if they are capable.
And if they aren’t even capable of introspection, of a little concession on this matter, then they cannot be redeemed.
They will drag along behind the rest of the country,
pouting and shouting, contributing nothing, amounting
to nothing until their sad little lives meet their pointless
Meanwhile the country moves forward.
Today, the foreign exchange student, a bright, lovely young woman, told our class she could NEVER live in America. (I have told this student, on many occasions, she’s going to have one HELL of a story to tell when she gets back to Italy.) Another student, a senior, paced on Zoom as he critiqued Biden’s speech, “He said, ‘this is not who America is,’ but this IS who America is.”
And my student was right.
Maybe a better choice of words, for Biden, would have been
“this is not who we want to be.”
Maybe it’s totally good and right to start over and start with asking
“What do we NOT want to be?”
Yesterday, once the seditionists had breached The Capitol, I thought of the opening lines from Warsan Shire’s poem “home”: no one leaves home unless/home is the mouth of a shark
I don’t know that America was the mouth of a shark yesterday, but we definitely saw the glint of shark’s teeth.
When pressed, I will say I love my country.
I will say this because it is mine. It is the one where I was born, and
the only country I have ever known. I would probably love my country
had I been born in another country. Doesn’t everyone love their country,
at least a little, until the bombs drop, the mobs appear, a coup is staged?
Doesn’t everyone on earth hope that their country of origin becomes somehow better? I do not know Ireland, Germany, France, or England —
the places my ancestors came from. I can find them on a map, been to a couple, but they aren’t home. America is my home. I have to love it. I have
no choice, but as it is with people, when we love someone or something we sometimes have to tell it the truth. America is being told some harsh truths this year. There is no sugar coating. We’re chewing the bitter pill and swallowing sans water.
When I saw Donald John Trump’s face at his rally yesterday, I saw the face of evil. I saw the face of Columbus and Robert E. Lee and Bull Connor. I saw a man terminally sick with bigotry, deranged on his own ego, a man who shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car much less a country. If he were a dog,
this would be the point in the story where we’d put his rabid ass down.
I think, for a number of the fools who stormed The Capitol yesterday, Trump was a purpose.
I saw a video (I think it’s going viral) in which one of the rioters cries after being tear gassed and in her defeat sobs “we were staging a revolution.”
It was pathetic.
I have seen people share this for laughs, but what I saw in that video was an undereducated, economically poor person who has suffered greatly in this “great nation” and who was full of desperate rage.
I saw a person who has been played and played and played and duped and exploited by the Republican party for as far back as I can remember.
Those folks who stormed The Capitol are the children of the neo-conservative Republican Party.
Lindsay Graham can try to laugh it off all he likes . . .
These are THEIR people.
And then, unfortunately, these are also OUR people.
You know what makes a terrorist?
Lack of educational opportunities.
Lack of meaningful work.
(I tried, over the years, to explain this to Republican friends/family — of whom I have none anymore; in this way, the Trump Administration was it’s own kind of bloodless Civil War, tearing families and friendships asunder — I have tried to explain that terrorists in other nations are no different than terrorists in our own backyard and they grow, more or less, from the same socio-economic soil no matter where on the globe they are growing. Conservatives in this country simply cannot hear it.)
And this is why the Republican Party has played poor whites so hard all these years, right?
The Republican Party is just a bunch of rich, white bastards (yes, Democrats, too, but to a lesser degree, maybe?)
playing their less privileged white counterparts for votes.
They get rich by screwing their own base and they tell these poor white
citizens that the ONLY THING standing between them and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is Mexicans, or feminists, or queers, or teachers, or Muslims . . .
They lie to their base with absolute impunity.
And if you’re broke and all the education you’ve ever had has been shit
and your life feels bleak and meaningless and there’s a big mouth in the White House who pisses off all those people that are causing your suffering.
I’m not apologizing. I’m explaining.
And I know this is the profile of one TYPE of Trump supporter.
Trust me, wealthy white folks, like my former HS teacher, were NOT storming The Capitol.
They were maybe cheering them on from recliners in their air-conditioned town homes in gated communities in Florida or Arizona.
Or maybe they were reconsidering.
Maybe they realized they’d been duped.
How fucking miserably embarrassing.
Or maybe they felt a creeping sense of dread, but then drowned it in a new conspiracy theory about how all of those people were really Biden supporters . . .
America, you’re so fucking TEDIOUS.
Not everything is subjective.
Seriously. Both the right and left
need to fuck off with the “matter of perspective”
shit. There IS such a thing as TRUTH.
And sometimes the TRUTH is APPALLING.
And don’t I fucking know it.
Go in peace, readers. Contemplate what we can do, going forward, so that we aren’t building a country that produces thousands of citizens who are so desperate for meaning that they’ll risk their lives and freedom for a dimwitted conman.
(Also, young people, when possible, help your older relatives become media literate — especially where it concerns the internet. Help them think carefully and critically. That’s your homework for this year.)