November 9th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I started getting mocked for being gay in the second grade, before I even knew what “gay” was. To cope, I learned the power in selective listening. We need to rely upon the world to tell us about ourselves, and yet as early as 8 or 9, I knew I had to temper my credulity. And no matter how much hurt I might have felt when I was derided, I knew they were wrong. The wrongness of hating (or whatever sentiment you want to attach to routine mocking) someone for something innate was made clear to me at a young age, and it became a fundamental belief as true as gravity or the only certainties being death and taxes. I grew up in a place and time when Whitney Houston singing, “No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity!” was inescapable. Even if I didn’t know exactly what she was talking about, I knew what she meant.
…Last night, decades of idealism evaporated, as it became clear that the mean things that people say do matter, and in fact could help secure the presidency of the United States of America. The lack of reasoning behind bigotry, the capacity that people have for hatred, the gleeful embrace of ignorance as ideology is never not stunning, and yet it’s never been more stunning when its blatancy was juxtaposed with the hard proof, item after item after item, that Donald J. Trump was not fit for a job that he has been handed by the people of America. Gestures at social justice, like Melania Trump’s anti-bullying rhetoric, no matter how half-hearted and hypocritical seem to appease these followers. Love wins? Yeah right. Hate unites.
There are things about the current political climate that feel like inevitable consequences of the threat hegemony faces as disenfranchised people gain visibility and their voices amplify in culture. The idea that black lives matter shouldn’t be confrontational, but it is. The idea that a woman could run this country shouldn’t be hard to grasp, but it is. The idea that white males have occupied a disproportionate amount of cultural space and need to make room for others if we are to evolve as a species shouldn’t be considered a threat, but it is. There was always going to be a cultural standoff when white men felt like they were backed against the wall and had to abscond their supremacy, but my foolish optimism, that stupid pilot light shining deep down as the world turns dark, made me think that the other side that understands the fundamental truth of diversity was going to win out—that we’d come far enough along and were united sufficiently and right enough anyway to defeat Trump. Whoops.