When I first arrived in New York, I made friends with an older immigrant who had come to this country as a refugee from WWII Poland. He had traveled extensively in the US and the rest of the world, and he gave me one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard: “New York City is not America. I’ve seen America, and I am afraid.”
Back then, New York City was my fortress. New York City was an oasis from a repressive, patriarchal society. New York was the portal to the rest of the world. New York was where you could come out of the closet. New York was where you could get stoned and not get arrested for it. New York was a city of immigrants, built for everyone. Everyone was equal, or at least had an equal shot. There was racism and sexism, but we knew it was wrong and we could fight it, because we had allies. Our allies came from all over the US and all over the world, and they all lived in New York.
Back then, the rest of the country was violent and dangerous. This was ironic, since the rest of the country was petrified of going to New York — they hated and feared the very thought. But we who lived here knew that New York was a safe haven. In the rest of the country, people were being beaten and killed because they were gay. Women were asked questions during job interviews like “are you married, honey? Did you start a family yet?”, and that was the well-meaning bosses. The others just grabbed your pussy. Hooded mobs showed up at 3 a.m. to burn down houses and churches, and hang people from a tree. If you told the Sheriff to arrest them — surprise! The sheriff was the third hood from the right.
But not in New York City. There were gay wedding ceremonies decades before it became legal in the rest of the country. You could have friends and lovers from anywhere in the world, any color, any gender. You were in charge of your own life. You could live free. New York was strong, and we’re going to stay that way.
But. Our country has just elected the candidate of the KKK. A bragging, swaggering, lying racist is poised to take office in January. His followers think he’s going to bring great changes, or at least turn the clock back 40 or 50 years.
Talk is cheap, so let’s see how it goes. In the words of the my husband, Al, “Get ready for the biggest shit show on earth”. Watch for these highlights:
Starring…Reality Our new orange warthog can’t actually do the things he’s promised because they aren’t possible. He can’t turn the clock back to the 1950s, and although his Klan supporters might want him to, he isn’t that interested in their agenda. Although he can do a lot of damage to the economy, most voters will notice when prices go up and the promised factory jobs don’t return. Get ready to watch the race horse of Fantasy run into the granite wall of Reality. Spoiler alert: reality usually wins in the long run.
Plenty of Plot Twists, supplied by Unintended Consequences. We really don’t know what the consequences will be, but it’ll probably be a lot like letting a 5 year old drive the car. It MIGHT turn out OK, right? Keep your eyes peeled for the first big national crisis, the first scandal that might actually stick, or the first time America gets to see its President take the stand in his very own fraud and/or rape trial.
Exotic Location Shots. Trump will need to live in the new gold-plated White House for a few weeks each month between rallies. This will at least get him out of Manhattan; Washington’s loss is New York’s gain. There are already semi-permanent barricades around Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue due to ongoing protests, and I’m guessing they’ll be there for a while. Other exotic locations to keep your eye on will be Vancouver, Toronto, and Scotland, as these will all be on your list of possible new residencies.
Nail-biting Suspense as Trump stress-tests the constitution. Can Trump do real harm to our democracy? Yes. How much? You’ll have to stay for the whole show to find out.
Too Many Monologues You’ve seen those in the trailers already, so I won’t go into details.
Cameos by Everyone’s Favorites You’ve known them and loved them for years: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, David Duke – they’ll all be making an appearance. Who knows? You could see Bernie Madoff as Secretary of Finance!
No Script Fact-Checking The press has not exactly been driven by accuracy on either side of the political fence. Opinion counts more than evidence, because it gets better ratings. No one likes a nuanced, measured examination of the facts when you can just yell things like “lock her up”, right? After Trump, maybe it’s time to take journalism seriously again. Journalists, can you please check your damn facts?
Fast-Paced Action Scenes If Trump and his goons ever stop shouting and start acting, they may try to gut the constitution, eliminate the Supreme Court, muzzle freedom of speech and press, and use the power of the presidency to go after a list of enemies. That’s when we’ll need to take action. It might be time to leave the US for good, or it might be time to stay and fight for diversity, inclusivity, human rights, and personal freedom. All you Bernie Sanders supporters who voted for Trump, I’ll be looking for you to stay and fight when the shit show hits for real.
Quotes from the Critics Frankly, other people are handling this way better than I am. A friend and colleague writes :
The people who voted for Trump and third party candidates were voting for change. A big change. The kind of change that Bernie Sanders was talking about. They were not getting caught up in the details (Trump is racist and has no idea how to deliver this change). I think we have to figure out where our agendas overlap and start from there. Get money out of politics, the media, and education, and put people to work fixing the nation’s infrastructure, while guarding ferociously the rights of women, people of color, and the GBLTQ community. I am going to start today trying to figure out how I can support these changes and not have all of the good rolled back.
And here’s a great 10-step program that helped me.
Last and never least, Neil deGrasse Tyson takes the cosmic perspective.
Get ready, because the show is about to begin.