Stay Woke, My New Year’s Resolution

By Damon Lee

Who will I become in Trump’s America? Is it possible to remain my authentic self in Trump’s America?

I do not yet know.

However, I’m writing this to make sure that I STAY WOKE in 2017.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who voted for Trump. He truly feels that the NY Times is a horrible newspaper. He believes the liberal media is a bunch of liars and full of fake news. He thinks that the problem with food stamps is an example of the way that African Americans were let down by Obama. You may not have friends that feel this way, or you don’t know anyone that would say these things — I do. And, this may be a bit heavy handed, but you may find that over the next few years, you know more of them than you realize. Please think of this story as a cautionary tale.

By the end of the conversation I was frustrated and found myself rambling on and on about Fox News and a documentary called The Brainwashing of my Dad.

After about 10 minutes I yelled, “I don’t care about food stamps!”

My friend smiled and said, “So, you don’t care about black people?”

Wait, what?

I, Damon Lee, got “shook”.

I took on too much. In order to make my point, I had to think through too many false assumptions, and Fox Facts. By the time I got to my point I was angry, frustrated and nonsensical.

I have many friends that could have broken things down quickly and to the point…

A,B,C — done.

That ain’t me. Right now, “me” is angry, tired, depressed.

My friend Maggie Sennish gave me some great advice on staying woke in 2017:

Own your own shadow. Have compassion for it. By taking stock in who we really are we will be better suited to be our best selves.

In the next months and years the Trump Administration, with their not-so micro-aggressions, will quietly seep into our bodies like a cancer-causing artificial sweetener. When Trump slows down his tweets, allows others to govern, we will enter the most dangerous period in the history of American politics.

My goal, my resolve, is to stay AWARE of how the Trump Effect is eating away at the basic facts of my life, my values, better yet, our rights, our ethics, morals, and religious freedoms on a daily basis, without allowing one’s self to be overwhelmed by it all.

Is it possible to remain or become our authentic self in Trump’s America?

Liberal elites, of which it can be argued I am one, assume that our PC politics give us some sort of immunity from the human condition of self-absorption, hate, envy, jealousy, and lust for privilege. We liberal elite, read books that tell us we can do just about anything. Perhaps this is true.

However, in my opinion, political beliefs come from a visceral part of our psyche. Left unchecked, without admitting that these feelings are overwhelming and can’t be taken on all at once, we will allow the same anger and resentment to bubble to the surface as we saw at the Trump events. Case in point, the guy that lost his mind on Ivanka Trump on the Jet Blue plane and had to be ejected became the left’s version of a Trump deplorable.

Bottom line, no matter how many green juices, cleanses and meditation classes we attend, the Trump Effect will get under our skin.

Allow yourself to yell,

“Go away, Crazy Orange Clown!”

Be aware that some of Trump’s changes just might feel good to you and your family. Recognize that the RESTORATION OF ELITE PRIVILEGE will not be reserved for Republicans Only.

On Saturday Night Live Dave Chappelle joked that all of his black friends called him after the election and said they were leaving the country. Dave jokingly replied, “Nah I think I am going to stay here, get this tax break. See how it works out.”

We must be careful not to allow the Trump Effect to take back the progress we made.

A couple of months ago I saw a meme of Michelle Obama on Facebook:

There she was with a big beautiful smile and her beautiful brown skin.

The meme read:

Michelle Obama 2020!

Unless you have been living under a rock, we all know her qualifications — capable, smart and qualified.

I said to myself, “no way America is going to elect a black woman”. I would not have said that to myself a year ago. The Trump Effect has turned my racial reality, hopes and expectations back at least 8 years.

I must fight these thoughts. I must stay aware of the shift in my philosophical ideology as well as the paradoxical reality of being black, liberal, and PC in Trump’s America.

Right now my shadow is angry, stunted, depressed, frustrated and I am doing everything I can to stay woke. I am trying to learn from my mistakes, regressions etc..

I believe that if I come to terms with how susceptible I am to Trump’s America

MAYBE,

just maybe, I will be able to hold on to my authentic self.

How we fight back. How effectively we react to Trump’s America will depend on whether we accept that we are going to fail, lash out, make compromises that we are not proud of. By accepting these shortcomings, we will actually be able to focus on the big picture — our AUTHENTIC SELF. Then we will know whether or not to take action, rage, pause, or meditate. In these moments throughout the next few years — fingers crossed, we will know that our actions to Trump’s America are true and everything else is FALSE.

Stay Woke is my call to action in 2017. Please join me.