I was really exited to write this post today. I had planned on writing about Mardi Gras, about the experience of Fat Tuesday in the city of New Orleans. I wanted to talk about how it differs from the ridiculous stereotypes shown on TV. I wanted to share that overwhelming feeling of community that comes from dancing in the streets with your friends and neighbors. That’s what I wanted to do.
But I can’t. I can’t sit here and talk about cuddly throws and sparkly headbands and King Cake and dancing in the streets after that farce of a speech by President Trump.
I got home today after a long day at work, followed by babysitting. I was tired. I was cranky. I couldn’t decide if I was hungry or tired or both. I turned on the TV, and it happened to be on a major network channel, and we all know what that meant.
Once I saw it, I couldn’t look away. I could’t turn it off. I sat through all 60 minutes of that speech and you know what? I’m done.
I do not care that I am supposed to reach across the aisle. I do not care that I am supposed to empathize, sympathize, and accept the narrow minded, xenophobic, isolationist narrative of Trump’s America. I can’t do it.
I refuse to support an America grounded in hypocrisy. I refuse to support an America based on cruelty. I refuse to support an America built on the ruins of our environment. I refuse to support an America that breaks its promises to Native Americans for the hundredth (thousandth? Millionth?) time. I refuse to support an America that villainizes immigrants. I refuse to support an America based on systemic racism. I refuse to support an America that constantly glorifies law enforcement and consistently vilifies people of color. I refuse to support an America that gives a 3-minute standing ovation to the young, white-skinned, blonde wife of one veteran and disparages the middle-aged, brown-skinned, black-haired family of another. I refuse to support an America says that profit is more important than compassion. I refuse to support an America that thinks we’re the only nation that matters.
As I sat there, listening to the President outline his agenda for his America, I realized that his agenda will never align with mine. That’s not the America I want. That’s not the America I love.
I am sitting here watching Republican constituents wax poetic about this speech. I am watching them revel in Trump’s message of “America First.” I am sickened. I am sad. I am convinced, in a way I have been resisting for weeks, that the gap between us may never, ever be bridged.
I don’t know how to live in a world where “I” is always more important than “we.” I don’t want to.
As I watch pundits excitedly exclaim that this is the president being ‘presidential’ for the first time, I feel a rising tide of nausea I don’t think is going away. In the eyes of many, this is the Trump that they’ve been waiting for. To those people, I say the river may be too wide. I don’t know how to understand you. I’m not sure if I want to.
Day 58: February 28, 2017