That first morning I gave my 11 year old a pocket copy of the US Constitution. “Any president is just one person in a whole system of governance,” I said. I encouraged her to familiarize herself with the structure of government and the mutual rights and obligations that bind us together. I assured her that we will not rest in holding our government accountable to this founding document. Then I talked my 9 year old through her fear that after she went to school Trump would start WWIII and she would never get home to us. My extremely reassuring reply was, “He won’t be president for a couple of months.” Then on the way to work I has a good cry in the car as I thought of all the people who availed themselves of DACA (Obama’s program for undocumented immigrants) and as a result of their participation will be known to Trump. I cried for the impending devastation of our already strained planet. I cried for the millions who will lose their health insurance when the Affordable Care Act is repealed. I cried for all the people of color and Muslims who were not surprised by the depth of American racism and bigotry because they live that shit every day. I cried for myself and other women who learned again that, for all the progress we’ve made, assault is still acceptable and we will still be judged first by who we are to men.
But then, a calm, cold hardness took the place of that anger and fear and sadness. In truth, I was never a Clinton fan. I had prepared myself to value her presidency as the least terrible alternative. I was excited by the prospect of a woman president, but I didn’t believe her militaristic neo-liberalism was the right thing for the country. Suddenly I realized that I was freed from the charade of trying to fit my left-leaning self into the Clintonian pantsuit – of pretending to be satisfied with the so-called democratic party. Now, the situation is clear. Trump, apparently humbled by his own unexpected success, sounded contrite and meek in his acceptance speech. No matter, we have seen what else he is capable of. I hope I am not alone when I say that I will spend the next four years (because, make no mistake, there will be no second term) denouncing every caustic word, working against every hateful policy, and returning the democratic party to the people.
Let’s start today.
No more politics as usual. No more comfortable and moneyed coalitions left over from the politics of the past. We demand truly representative political leadership that, at all levels of government, embodies the race and ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, and age distributions of our country. We will work for universal healthcare, not a requirement that we give our money to insurance companies who seek to make a profit by denying us access to the very care we have paid for. We will demand free college tuition for everyone – all residents of the United States. We will have 18 months paid parental leave to be split by both parents (if applicable). We require high quality childcare and public schools that insure all children have the opportunity to realize their potential and follow their interests. We will be represented by a government that acknowledges that, in a world where computers and automation eliminate so much of the need for physical labor, the solution to inequality is not “good jobs.” Instead the largess of modern efficiency should be redistributed through shortened work weeks and a universal minimum income. We will work to the benefit of our societies and fulfill our desire to contribute, not out of fear and a pressing need to meet our basic needs.
I’m scrappy. I’m angry. I’m fired up. I’m ready to go.