Thank You, Donald Trump

When Donald Trump was elected, I decided it was time to be the political commentator I’d wanted to be when I was sixteen. I’ll get a spot on Medium, I thought, and just tear the bastard up with my laser analysis and searing prose.

But within weeks, the guy became too disgusting for words. Every day, there was some horrible, gross, ignorant assault on our customs, values, law, civility, what we used to agree constituted basic decency, a man basically relieving himself on the country’s fine china.

So I turned my attention to people and things that knew how to act in polite company like me, for instance, and my dogs. But walking today, it came to me that Donald Trump, the sloppy, rude jerk that he is, had actually made me a better person and a better American. Here’s how.

First, I pay attention like I never have before. I read the news, I watch the news. I can tell you what happened five minutes ago in the Mueller Investigation. I’m not obsessed as much as I am on it, God damn it, because this reprobate is messing up my country. So I don’t miss a trick, as my Dad would say. All day, every day. So there is no chance, zero, none, zilch, that I will ever be an uninformed voter.

Second, I am not afraid to act up and act out. Who is this chick? I am so rule-compliant, it’s sick. If there’s a No Trespassing sign, I don’t. If the sidewalk has a barricade, I walk on the other side of the street. I always whisper in movie theaters and I always turn my phone completely off. Nope, no more. I go to demonstrations and I yell. I chant. I carry my sign up and down the street and shout at passing cars. My job now that I’m 70? It’s to yell, “This is what democracy looks like!”

Third, everything in America is more valuable to me. I’ve always been more patriotic than has been stylish among my friends and colleagues. But now, I’m wrapped in the flag. This land is my land. And yes, it’s yours, too. But I am worried about my land right now and I’m digging in my heels and pulling on that big rope and I am determined to win the tug of war with people who, though they are still Americans, have lost their minds and their sense of justice and fair play. So I will fight for everything – health care, immigration rights, reproductive freedom, voting rights, the environment, equal opportunity – call me, I’ll show up.

Fourth, I understand so much more about power and human nature. That power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely was a mainstay in my political science classes but the phrase was an abstraction. The Trump Administration’s behavior and the complicity of the Republican Congress has explained to me after fifty years of questioning how the Holocaust occurred in a country with an educated and cultured population. How did it happen? Here’s how. Power corrupts and the juice of corrupted power attracts the worst among us. They flock to the poison. We can’t be dumb about that. Or surprised.

Fifth, I am in league with others. There is joy and courage in linking arms with others. I remember this from doing abortion clinic defense years ago. When you link arms with others, physically put your arms in the arms of comrades, you become invincible. I never thought I would have that feeling again, the overwhelming sense of solidarity and determination but I have it now. There wasn’t a group that spoke to us as progressive older adults so we created one. Look us up at League of Progressive Seniors.

Would I have rather had a different outcome in the 2016 election? Absolutely. I could have learned these lessons another way or not learned them at all. But Donald Trump is what we have – dangerous, shallow, arrogant, crude, and stupid Donald Trump. We are all elevated by contrast. We are all on a higher road by default. Time we got to marching on it, crowding it with traffic, and claiming our wonderful country.

Good Things That Could Happen Because of Trump

I’ve been overwhelmed with the catastrophe that is Donald Trump. The past month has been an elaborate and never-ending progression of fun house mirrors. Every day, there’s some more grotesque consequence, new ways that civil rights, sensibilities, and American traditions are stretched and distorted beyond recognition. What was never okay is now somehow okay. The adjustment is warping.

I work on finding the bright side.

The bright side. So naive. So foolish. But so necessary if we want to live the next four years without weeping constantly with our heads in our hands. What good could happen because of Trump?

Consciousness-raising: This was a thing in the sixties and seventies but it hasn’t been a thing since then.  Political circumstances have allowed us to deal in nuances, tiny cuts that hurt no one, rather than in slashes, which could make many people bleed. Over the past few decades, we could pick and choose. If we were intent on avoidance, nothing could force us to confront racism and sexism. We might choose to deal with those things but we didn’t have to. That’s changed with Trump. The luxury of choice has evaporated. That’s a good thing. No one benefits by pretending that racism and sexism don’t exist. We are in for it now, but it’s about time.

Toughening Up: My husband and I are assessing the various threats and marshaling our resources. We take the yammering about Social Security and Medicare seriously and the anti-Semitic rhetoric more seriously. At a time in our lives when we thought we could relax, we are on guard. We are thinking of working longer, saving more, and making a Plan B. We consider the ‘what ifs’ in conversations that a year ago would make us laugh. No more. Now we have to be smart and resourceful, trust each other, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. It sounds dire but it’s strength-building. At 68, I was ready to start knitting. No more. Whatever I do, I want it to build muscle, not complacency.

Radicalizing: I’ve talked to young women about contraception and abortion in the years before Roe v. Wade. My stories sound quaint to them, so contrary to what they know to be true. Contraception now is cheap and available. Abortion is safe and legal. Politicians who have advocated insane restrictions on both have seemed to be marginal characters, radically right wing, out of the mainstream. No more. Now they’ll be in the White House. What was history will become current events. It will take women’s breath away. And it will make them angrier than they ever imagined they could be. What is coming next from American women will be fierce and beautiful. They will be determined and powerful. I can’t wait.

These can be extraordinary, revolutionary times. This incredible, terrible turn of electoral events could be the catapult the country needs to break from its racist, sexist past. It could be the change that politicizes everyone, not just the top 1%. It will be ugly and it will be hard but the results could be extraordinary. We could end up being the country we have always pretended to be.

News Flash for Mr. Trump

Anybody who is surprised and indignant today because Donald Trump was caught on tape talking about grabbing somebody’s pussy is a queen-size fool.

What did y’all think? That he was blustery and offensive in public but polite and respectful in private? That he was just saying that crude stuff about women to giant audiences to get a rise out of them? That it was just for fun? For entertainment?

This shit is real, folks. Donald Trump doesn’t even remotely consider women as equal. Oh, he’s got a bit of exceptionalism going with his very smart and apparently very attractive (to him) daughter, Ivanka. She might be considered his equal. But she’s clearly, in his view, an exceptional person, not like other women. Not like us.

We’re either pussy or we’re not. Very simple dichotomy for Mr. Trump. Worth grabbing or not worth grabbing.

His sexism isn’t just a foible, an unpleasant artifact of his generation, a function of his (newly found) conservatism. It isn’t something he thinks about, nothing that he ponders; he doesn’t consider the pros and cons of the notion of women being equal. They just aren’t equal in his view and they never will be. His extreme sexism might not be genetic but, at this point, it’s written into every cell in his body.

The guy has no use for women except for the parts he can grab.

It’s unbelievable, I guess. Which is why people seem to be flapping their arms in alarm and disbelief. Oh my God! He was talking about pussy with Billy Bush on a bus! What astonishing news!

Ah, maybe. But here’s news we should all remember, especially the darling Mr. Trump.

Pussy votes.

Minnie and BowWow Discuss Voter Registration

BowWow: Did you hear that? The man called me Donald J. BowWow.

Minnie: Oh really? Why do you think he’d do that. He’s ordinarily so careful about your feelings.

BowWow: I have no fucking idea. Just trying to polarize things, I think. Turn you and me against each other.

Minnie: Maybe he heard you barking at me while I was sleeping on the dog pillow.

BowWow: Yeah. So what?. Dogs bark at dogs. It’s what we do. Woof!

Minnie: Well, I’ve noticed over the years that whenever I’m someplace really comfortable, you want me to move so you can have it. So you stand there and bark until I get fed up and move.

BowWow: Get out of town! I do that? Well, did you ever think that maybe I deserve the comfy spot? I’m an older dog. I’ve worked hard all these years. I should get the big pillow. You can go over to the girl pillow.

Minnie: The girl pillow? The girl pillow. Okay. Whatever. What did you think of the debate? Don’t you think Hillary was swell? She’s such a nice lady. I bet she takes great care of her dogs. Or has someone do that. You know. She’s so busy campaigning and all. I love her.

BowWow: Oh Jesus. You would. I heard on talk radio that her dogs are all really fat and she doesn’t do a damn thing about it. Just lets them pile on the old pounds. It’s disgusting. Fat pigs.

Minnie: I heard the other guy, the one with the yellow hair hat, I heard he doesn’t like fat things like people. He called that girl with the crown Miss Piggy. That wasn’t nice.

BowWow: Forget about that. Nobody cares. Stupid shit anyway. So when do we vote?

Minnie: Dogs can’t vote, BowWow. You have to be a person to vote.

Bowwow: What the fuck! I have ID. The first lady who had me gave the papers to this lady. It’s all fair and square, totally legit as we say in the voter registration world.

Minnie: Oh my goodness, BowWow! You can’t use the papers from the puppy mill to vote in a Presidential election. You have to be an actual person with ID.

BowWow: That, my friend, is exactly what’s wrong with this fucking country. Too much stupid regulation. And nobody looking out for the little guy. Dogs could vote if America was great again. With proper ID, of course. Not just, you know, running into the place where they do that voting thing. Wherever that is. Where is that? Have we been there?

Minnie: You’re rambling, BowWow. Why don’t you go nap on the big pillow for a while?

Minnie and BowWow Talk about Sarah Palin

Minnie and BowWow

BowWow: You gotta love Sarah Palin. She’s the shit.

Minnie: I see you’re back to swearing again. I knew it wouldn’t last.

BowWow: Yeah. Fuck that. I went from New Year’s to now. So that’s a big fucking deal in my book. You know, it’s like that day in the spring when you stop paying the man and start making your own money, right?

Minnie: I don’t know. Whatever. So about Sarah Palin. She strikes me as a little needy and kind of limited, you know, brain wise. Why should I love her?

BowWow: Because DT is gonna pick her to be VP. You can just feel it. She’s angling, he’s trolling, somebody’s gonna get snagged. She got new glasses for it. Did you see? She looks completely different. Very smart.

Minnie: It takes more than glasses to make a person smart.

BowWow: Bullshit. It’s all blue smoke and mirrors. Isn’t that what the lady used to say when she was going off to snow some poor client?

Minnie: That’s not nice. She feeds us, remember?

BowWow: I don’t care. I want to be free of the oppression of handouts.

Minnie: What?

BowWow: Charity. It’s crippling. It saps your independence, makes you a stupid lap dog, a little licker.

Minnie: We went from Sarah Palin to talking about charity?

BowWow: Not charity, Minnie. I’m talking about the fucking welfare state. We don’t earn that kibble. She just gives it to us because we are D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T.

Minnie: Good grief, BowWow. Are you gearing up to be a Republican?

BowWow: I’m not anything. I’m an INdependent which you see is the opposite of DEpendent. I want to be IN and not DE.

Minnie: So if you support Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, you will be IN and not DE. Am I getting this right?

BowWow: Yes! Plus I heard that Donald Trump is getting glasses, too. Pretty fucking cool, hey? So then they’ll both have glasses!

Minnie: Ah. Yes. Mensa.

Dear Woman Married to a Man Who Likes Donald Trump Because He Speaks His Mind

Photo: Sue Ogracki, AP
Photo: Sue Ogracki, AP

There are nice words for it. Some say Donald Trump’s message resonates with working class white men. Some say Donald Trump is speaking to that group’s economic woes, giving voice to their frustration, shining a light on a neglected demographic – white men who get no respect.

To posit that Trump supporters are acting out of their economic interests is ridiculous. If they were, they’d be advocating for raising the minimum wage and reducing barriers to education and training. But that’s not their deal. Their deal is road rage.

A few weeks ago, on our narrow residential street, I slowed to let an oncoming car through but I didn’t do it fast enough. He sped up, jammed on the brakes when he came up next to me, rolled down his window and yelled at me. I had bothered him, disrespected him, didn’t defer quick enough, got in the way, cost him valuable time, so he felt justified yelling at me. Heaven forbid I’d cut him off in a lane change. I’d probably be dead now.

So this grossly disproportionate reaction to my momentary hesitation in ceding the road to this man came from where? And why does he think it’s okay to get so mad and so rude to a woman driving a car that happened to ‘get in his way?’

Because anger is his thing. It’s his man evidence. He’s not going to let some ‘lesser-than’ like me disrespect him. He’s not going to allow my hesitation to stand because it shows that I was debating whether to let him go first and I shouldn’t have had to debate the question. Of course, he should go first. He’s the man, after all.

Women whose men like Donald Trump because he speaks his mind need to be careful. Because it’s not possible to endorse Donald Trump without endorsing his fundamental philosophy. Women are inferior.

There is no way to pretty it up or explain it away. No amount of apology will work. Donald Trump’s extraordinary sexism is in a class so extreme that a word has yet to be developed to describe it properly.  So when your man smiles at the TV and says, “Yeah, that guy is really saying what needs to be said,” you need to start considering your life options because where you are is not safe for children or other living creatures. There is a very short hop between disdain for women and their abuse. Sorry, but it’s true.

So what do you do if you’re a woman married to a man who likes Donald Trump because he speaks his mind (and by this, I mean both Donald Trump’s and your husband’s)?

After you’re done being careful, you decide to get honest with yourself. It’s not okay that your partner agrees with a guy who seems to think all women are cunts. It’s not funny or cute, nor is it something to tolerate in light of the ‘bigger message,’ as if there actually is one. It’s not a side issue because trade with China or building a wall and making Mexico pay for it are bigger issues. Oh, gee, it’s okay that Trump hates women as long as he’ll make a better ‘deal’ with China. Don’t buy that junk. It’s crazy. If you do, you’re the idiot Trump thinks you are. Sorry. Truth.

So if your man is headed to the polls to pull the lever for Donald Trump. Follow him. And vote for anyone else. X out his vote. Cancel him and his misogynist vote. You never have to say a word about it. Just stay alert, have a bag packed and keep one eye on the door.






Q & A with a Pissed Off Lady

Q: What’s your deal? Why are you so pissed off?

A: Politics.

Q: Politics? Want to be anymore specific?

A: Sure. The incredible proliferation of assholes. Like mildew on a wet shirt left on the basement floor. Every time you turn around, there’s another little dot. Like fucking cancer.

Q: You seem pretty irritated.

A: Is that a therapeutic thing you learned somewhere? Actually, what you’re supposed to say, or at least what I was taught was, “what I hear you saying is that you feel there is a proliferation of assholes.” If you’re going to placate me, at least do it by the book.

Q: Okay. I apologize for that.

A. Great. A quick apology is always appreciated. But it would be better if you could bleed on the page a little bit, confess to using drugs or having a blackout, jazz it up a little bit. You can’t just make a mistake and say you’re sorry. No go, Mr. Blow.

Q: You are really touchy. What’s the biggest thing bothering you, realizing that there seems to be a pretty long list.

A: Truth?

Q: Truth.

A: That no one is calling Donald Trump a fucking madman.

Q: And who should be doing that?

A: Seriously? Everyone.

Q: Everyone?

A: Yes. The other Republican candidates are talking about him like he belched at the dining room table. Oh dear. Trump’s created an environment where everyone thinks it’s okay to belch at the dining room table. He’s a fucking madman. People need to start saying that.

Q: I think the other candidates might be trying to hedge their bets.

A: Really? That’s your analysis? Here’s my analysis. They’re idiots.

Q: What do you think that Cruz and Rubio and Kasich should do?

A: Go apeshit. Try to get Trump charged with disturbing the peace. Sue the networks for equal time. Turn their backs on him at the next debate or group photo op. Accuse him of consorting with sheep. I don’t care. No, that’s not right. I do care. They need to be madder.

Q: You’re pretty steamed. Are you going to be able to sleep tonight?

A: I don’t know. Maybe I’ll count Trump’s sheep.