We break bones in homes. We rally defenses with our friends and coworkers. We wage war on sex. Our dialogues are surface level and blameful. We act like Muslims are terrorists when weird tall lanky white pale men shoot shit up all the damn time and are responsible for more acts of terrorism in this country by a landslide. Cops aren’t pulling over nerds for “driving while nerd.” We have dictators within ourselves. We turn away from dark spots. It’s been a week, and we’re still wondering how this happened.
I was asked the other day why I’m not angrier. My response to that is I’ve dealt with straight white bullies my entire life. Not a single one has ever been held accountable for anything. In fact, they’ve been promoted. They’ve gotten “better” jobs. They’ve gotten better grades. Their parents praised them blindly on the playground. And now one is our president. It goes back to birth, literally. Straight white men who are total assholes is nothing new. Now one is our president. What is so surprising about this?
My friends, who are generally very progressive people, have become divided. My Facebook feed is inundated with arguments and think pieces. My life has become an orgy of regurgitated articles and people disagreeing over semantics. My life is starting to feel like a microcosm of what is happening with every progressive group of family and friends in this country.
Society’s need for simplicity has divided progressives. We get nowhere when we specify one exact reason why Trump is our president. He won because he catered to lower working class individuals. He won because he catered to racists. He won because he catered to anti establishment. He won as a backlash to politically correct millennials. He won because the media portrayed Clinton as a stiff woman who wasn’t likable. He won because our electoral college is archaic. He won because racism, for the millionth time, isn’t just lynching black folks on a tree in your front yard. He won because he convinced the lowest white man he is still better than a man of color.
Everyone failed, all around. I don’t care if you’re black, white, a person of color, gay, straight, trans, queer, we’re all responsible for this on some level. We didn’t just fail last week. We’ve been failing as a generation for years.
I’m tired of everyone. I’m not only tired of straight white men. I’m tired of millennials who seem to be completely oblivious as to why this happened, like it’s your first bout of disappointment in life. You and your safety pins can fuck off. I don’t understand the safety pin. It’s like sending thoughts and prayers.
Look inward, if possible, and understand that your safe spaces on a grand scale mean absolutely nothing if you can’t provide a safe space for the people who are already in your life. Seriously, this is not rhetoric. If there is one thing you take away from reading this, literally pause at this very moment. Pause. Think about someone in your life. Not your best friend. That’s too easy. Not your family, also too easy. Not even necessarily a good friend. Think of an acquaintance. Better yet, someone you were friends with years ago. Someone who is out of your life. Maybe a former coworker. Someone you went to college with. Someone you haven’t seen in months, maybe years. Can you be a safe space to that person? If you cannot be a personal safe space for the people in your life, the people I just made you think about, you can’t be one for the Mexican immigrant about to get deported. You can’t be one for the black person afraid because Donald Trump is in bed with white nationalists. You just can’t. Period.
As a gay man, the people in my life are the only safe spaces I’ve ever known. A safe space can be everything.
Everything is related. Earlier this year when I found out about the shooting in Pulse night club, I looked at my boyfriend as we walked around Governor’s Island and said, “Democrats aren’t winning the White House again.” When Obama won his second term, I stood in a movie theater in Denver and predicted that in the next four years, black men would be hunted down and murdered at higher rates than we had ever seen. When friends I’ve had falling outs with and haven’t spoken to in months and years can’t respond to an olive branch in the form of a text because they can’t bring themselves to care, a man in Michigan decided to be careless with his vote. When I gave up on someone or something for any number of reasons, when that tide finally shifted in my life, the tide also shifted in Pennsylvania. The world got a little colder. We all gave up. We all became a little less safe, a little more frightened. So unless you are up for the challenge, unless you’re up for what that safe space really entails, back off.
But here’s something. I still love you because I know how to love despite your bullshit, despite your brokenness. Do you? I’m actually not scared, yet. I’m fucking fabulous and will continue to be. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; when people reject you, when they refuse to see your light, and darkness, for that matter, like Trump and his allies have done; your response to that should never be to wither away and die. Your response is to continue being more you. Be the very thing they hate. But be cautioned, because unless your anger and fighting eventually turns into some form of love, you will not only have lost the White House, you will have just lost.
So for now, continue fighting. Continue being you. Continue being queer as fuck. Continue being black. Continue being a person of color. Continue being you, in whatever form that is, however you see yourself. Continue to not apologize for profanity, the way I’m not apologizing for using the word “fuck” at least five times in this piece.
The bottom line is this: I’m not angry at Donald Trump. I’m angry at us for creating him. Our incessant need to blame others and to never look inward is what I’m angry about. That is why this happened. This was a perfect storm of institutions failing because it has become a perfect storm of people failing each other for years. We have become careless with each other. The very cold sad reality is we are a broken system because we are broken people.