It’s Day Eleven of the new world. We’re still here. It still snows and we are all delighted. There’s still music and food and the river and Joe Biden memes and friends. We are scared and our fears are more than justified. There have been at least 71 documented hate crimes in these past eleven days and it’s fair to call that an epidemic. For now, we can still say whatever we want and here are some things I want to say.
To paraphrase the late Dennis Green, Trump and Pence are who we thought they were. We weren’t mistaken. They weren’t bluffing. They are going to attempt to do all the most horrible things they said they would. They will most likely invent some new ones in the next four years we haven’t thought of yet.
There is no need to treat these men with deference. There is no need to give them the benefit of the doubt. Nothing about the way we normally treat a presidency applies here. This is not normal and we absolutely have to keep reminding ourselves of that. Every day like a mantra—THIS. IS. NOT. NORMAL.
We should be outraged, but we should not be shocked, simply because it wastes our energy, and our energy is precious now. Yes, Trump’s behavior for the next four years is going to be deplorable and disgusting. That’s a given. That we think his behavior is disgusting and deplorable doesn’t matter to him or his posse of thugs. He doesn’t care. Our disgust doesn’t affect him. He will go on being disgusting. We need to accept that and move on. We need to ask ourselves, so what now?
I still don’t have all the answers to that question. I know we all have to learn how to live in this world and our answers won’t all be the same. But we have to go on living. Even before Election Day, I found myself wondering about the effects on our collective mental health. This presidency is a leaden lump in the pit of my stomach. It is finding it hard to concentrate. It is waking up every morning into a world that’s a little harder to be in. We have to figure out how to be strong without destroying ourselves. They want us debilitated. We have to find a way not to be.
We have to find humor and hope. We have to gather together with people we love and who love us. We have to remember that most of the country didn’t want this. We have to find comfort in art and stories. We have to keep speaking through our art and stories.
For the next four years, we have to do our best to form a shield around the most vulnerable among us. If Muslim-Americans have to register, we must all be Muslims. If illegal immigrants are deported, we must all be illegal. If the rights of the LGBT community are taken away, we must all be LGBT. We must all be women and black and disabled. We were asleep but now we are awake. We must become a new giant.