WORKING THROUGH IT: Much of my social media activity since Election Day — for my own benefit, and maybe yours too
It started Tuesday Morning, with this.
Next, I posted an update of my wife Anja’s #grabhimbytheballot photo project. She was trying to get as many of the last pics from our area and our weekend in Brooklyn out while polls were still open. So many women unexpectedly jumped on-board that she’s still finishing up today, 11/14.
At 12:43 AM, after Anja had gone to bed, I posted:
and had some Facebook conversations with distraught friends until about 3AM.
I was mute, the mania still charging up — all I could manage was a version of this map. But then I did start to argue with people who, thought on the same political side, had objections to it. To me it was a shred of hope.
I briefly got into the frenzy of attacking people on the same side:
On Weds evening I finally had something to say:
Justice isn’t easy. It is impermanent and ephemeral.
The pendulum swings. It will swing back.
Defeatism is privilege that we cannot afford, that I cannot afford.
Yes I feel defeated, horribly so.
Give yourself some time (telling myself and you) but then find something to do, to be inspired by and to inspire others with. You will. You know you will.
I’ve hated Donald Trump for more than 35-years. I moved to NYC in 1982. To me, from the get-go, he represented the worst of the worst rich kids from my high school — arrogant, vile, venal, amoral, entitled, oblivious — disgusting. He will do damage, and love himself while doing it, and we will have to watch. This is going to be torture.
But I can’t let it /him defeat me, if only for my own sake, let alone others’. I hope you feel the same.
My two cents at the end of a bad bad day.
Then Leonard Cohen died. I immediately hoped for his sake that he had been unconscious since before the election (and learned that indeed he had died a few days earlier but it hadn’t been public). He wouldn’t have liked it. My mother was a Leonard fan, gave me a book of his poems once for Christmas (more on my being a Christmas Jew below). My father never listened to much, having dubbed him “a bit cornball” long a go. My father loves but pretends to hate sentimentality and nostalgia, fights them with all his might. But that’s for another time. My friend Larry lived as a monk up on Mount Baldy for a couple of painful years. I texted him condolences. He texted back. It was good to be in touch.
I didn’t write about Leonard Cohen, but I posted a link to a lovely New Yorker audio piece, Cohen’s final interview, and this picture (sorry there’s no photo credit, I don’t remember where I got it):
I posted a video of David Souter warning of perils of an uninformed populous leading to the rise of exactly what we’re seeing now.
I posted a link to Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, which she has made a free download to help in these times. Her post about it included this:
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things you can know beforehand. You may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Later in the day, I must’ve been feeling a little better, or at least playful-ish, because I made this:
That night, my mania got the best of me and I lashed out at people on the same team, something I had promised myself I wouldn’t fall into the trap of doing — so many people were yelling at each other and it didn’t seem to be making any of them very happy. Still, I posted this:
I wasn’t going to post about anything disagreeing with people I am in sympathy with, about the election. But now i’m going to.
(Note, two days later: not taking this down, but I now think people should do whatever the fuck they want to especially if it helps to make them feel better now and stay active later, be it a protest, boycott, march, hashtag, a safety pin, whatever.)
Racists have said “not my president” about Obama for years. It made me happy because he sure as shit was theirs and they knew it and couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t true for them and it isn’t true for us. Donald Fucking J. Fucking Trump is our president (-elect, anyway), and it is petulant and takes power from us to scream otherwise. He is all of our responsibility and responsibility to fight. “Not my president” is a way to avoid, not confront, where/when/who/what we are.
I still believe it, but I also believe people should do whatever makes them feel better right now.
The morning was brisk and sunny sunny and I went out with the dogs:
“ The dogs and i just met up with a young woman with a shovel and a small cardboard box, walking barefoot into the woods to bury a friend.” Later I posted a picture of Mario basking:
The Barack & Joe
memes started appearing that day too, lightening our loads a little bit.
Later that day a Facebook glitch made many of us appear dead to friends who happened upon our profiles. The next day Facebook apologized in a note on our pages with a pretty flower on it.
Still later, I got angry again, and started tweeting this at every clearly-racist #MAGA moron I could find — they were very easy to find.
I also pointed out to some of them that their grandkids would likely be brown, brown as the baby Jesus. It pissed a couple of them off and that felt okay for a minute:
That night, Anja made a great presentation about her work as part of an “Art Salon” event at the Shea Theater. Many people approached her to praise her for #grabhimbytheballot, for her work, bravery, art. Such an odd mix of failure and elation at her getting that recognition. After, we went and waited for our late-night Chinese take-out.
Word started coming down about three rich middle-aged white men, sports coaches, Stan Van Gundy, Steve Kerr, and, of all people, Greg Popovich, who were expressing their disgust at the election. This felt good. This felt like progress. When I was a kid, none of them would have said a peep. And they’re all NBA coaches, the last sport I still watch. I wrote some words:
Powers Bless Stan Van Gundy, Steve Kerr, and Pop. Whodathunk NBA coaches would be the mensches in all this?
In my America, this, and Kaepernic and Barkley (even if he’s horrible half the time) and other jocks who aren’t mute is a huge huge positive change from the silent, stoic line-toeing athletes of my childhood (MJ, that’s you).
Also, when I was in high school a mere 30 years ago NO ONE was gay (by which i mean openly of course) let alone gay and dreaming realistically of being openly coupled, even married someday. (and being cheered on by athletes on TV — that’s the good Barkley).
There have been so many huge steps in 30 years toward progress. These steps in how most people view and accept and will speak in favor of difference won’t be undone, even if the Supreme Court nightmare scenario comes true. Laws can’t undo this good change.
The fear this change strikes in the last vestiges of hundreds of years of Christian white male dominance in America (and so much longer in Europe) is mortifying to desperate hangers-on, a desperation which is frightening to the rest of us (which may be part of why so many don’t vote right now, besides disenfranchisement etc.). But the hangers-on (aka #maga mob) are quite literally dying off by the day (see last post about American racial minority-majority by 2060).
Recent big big changes in who is “acceptable” here ARE good and ARE huge and ARE irrevocable and yes i do think these three rich middle-ages white jock guyswilling to speak are a testament to progress that will not be undone.
I posted a few things that were completely off the topic of the election, another sign of returning mental stability. Among them:
Guys: don’t accept “friend” requests from make-believe ladies in bikinis on facebook. It’s embarrassing for all of us when you do.
(Note, I did NOT suggest to neccesarily delete the friend request, or not look at the pictures, etc. . . . .)
I reposted this from Anja that day as well, a photo of her only clothed participant in her project, and why Hiba’s participation was important. Check out the pic and post — you’ll be happy you did.
Post on my first Jewish-persecution fears ever:
I am the most assimilated, non-religious, non-cultural Jew I know. A Christmas Jew, as I always called myself when I grew up as the only Jew in my class in grades 1–12. Well, there was one other kid, but he didn’t come until 11th grade, and he was Egyptian and dark-skinned, or something, so that didn’t count. After those years, in Albany, I moved to NYC, where everything and everyone feels “ethnic” so my non-Jewish Jewishness was pretty much invisible, or at least that’s how it felt. After 10 years in NYC, I moved to San Francisco, I felt more Jewish, singled out by non-Jews who’d ask me where I “was from” (and then asked factual questions I didn’t know the answers to) and by Jews who wanted me to come be a Jew and do Jewish things with them — I was a total impostor so I avoided them the best I could, although I did, in fact, attend my first Seder, at 27, out west. And now I’m back east again, living in a small New England town that’s on the upswing, somewhat, after decades of post-industrial decline. I do sometimes feel that I stand out as other to some people here, and I’ve even heard tell that one clever neighbor has called me the Rendez-jew (I co-own a bar/restaurant called the Rendezvous), which made me laugh because it was so unbelievable to me that anyone would have reason to bother to think that up.
***POINT IS***, at no time in any of those lives, none, have I ever thought that I was at the slightest risk of physical harm or persecution because of my cultural/religious heritage, and, in fact, I’ve been openly dismissive of those who have such fears. I am an American, plain and simple, I’ve always felt inherently — the rest is antiquated, faded hatred. Yes, I know, I know, other Jews in history felt similarly about their place in a nation’s society as well.
This week, just for a couple of moments, lingering over some tweet or article, I’ve felt tiny twinges of anxiety, of fear. It was one thing a week ago, when the MAGA mob was just desperate white men and women living at the fringes of the very end of a time when the US was anything like a white Christian nation. Their time is ending, fast. This is a fact, and a consolation. But now that desperation is in power, with a vain megalomaniac puppet who I have always felt has only two main personal agendas — to win at stuff and to get attention. The likes of Bannon, Giuliani, Gingritch, Coulter . . . will be standing behind him, pulling the strings, and the likes of David Duke, dogs in a pit, are slobbering for meat.
If I actually felt scared, even for a second, I can only imagine how it feels to people of color or LGBTQ or Muslims in America this week. Friends, I’m wearing the stupid safety pin. If you say you’re scared, I believe you. I haven’t been in a fight since 8th grade when Guy Gallucci decided he was going to kick my ass after school — he put me in a headlock until I started to cry — but I’ve jumped in the middle of a few to break them up, with pretty good success.
I’ll give it my best shot.
Then there was the moon:
11/15. One week later. Life not normal but calming. But still, this stands:
And, finally, to end and post this, for now, maybe adding things as time passes, this:
I mainly podcast, please stop by — http://15minutesjamieberger.com
Thank you. Good luck, good fight, good life . . . .