Dear Daughter, This Is What It Was Like To Witness Our Country’s Demise
My Sweet Love —
Some day, far into the future, when I perhaps am not around to explain, or too old to remember, you may wonder what life was like under President Trump.
You may wonder, what were people doing as our civil liberties were being steadily taken from us. You may wonder how people reacted to watching a foreign government hijack our Democracy with the unfettered support of our Commander In Chief. How did people respond to an overtly corrupt and unscrupulous demagogical president blatantly working to dismantle accessible healthcare, the free press, the educational system, and the judicial system? What did people think of a U.S. president who worked to promote racism, sexism, and xenophobia. What did they think of a president who left millions to die in natural disasters, and flushed tax dollars down the toilet as he spent weekends golfing at his private resorts?
How did people react to being lied to day in and day out by the president, and having every supposed safeguard for this sort of thing be trampled on by a complicit GOP? And how did women react to the systematic retraction of every protection that has been put into place so far safeguarding our reproductive choice / equal civil liberties?
Let me attempt to explain.
There is, of course, a percentage of people who did vote for Him. They are the Trump Supporters who (have been brainwashed to) believe that what is happening now is just “shaking it up”: that this he is just a rogue politician who is taking a jackhammer to the establishment. These supporters are willing to overlook his record of sexual assault, failed businesses, countless lawsuits, acceptance of emoluments, and connections to Russia in order to “restore this country to its former glory”: a vast smokescreen which will be revealed eventually when it is unfortunately too late.
And, on the other side, there are those of us who are yelling words of warning from the proverbial rooftops; journalists, news publications, TV hosts, stand-up comedians, actors, actresses, politicians, and average Americans: The Resistors.
Every day, we call our senators. We post on social media. We create and signal boost hashtags on Twitter. We organize, we march, we create daily actions and post them on Facebook for others to follow. We donate money that we don’t have to help those in hurricane ravaged places like Puerto Rico. We donate money to Planned Parenthood.
We strategize. We have mini breakdowns, followed by mini social media support threads. We take a break from #resisting, then we come back and #resist some more.
The White Resistors try every day to be more #woke. The POC Resistors are justifiably frustrated, but often remarkably patient.
We stumble, we make mistakes. We realize we made said mistakes, and we constantly try to do better.
It’s the first thing we think about in the morning, and the last thing we think about at night. It’s exhausting. It’s consuming. It takes time away from our friends and families, our other work, and our dreams and goals.
And then, lastly, there is Everybody Else.
The “Everybody Elses” don’t like Trump, but they don’t march. They support us, but not enough to stick out their necks and make a fuss. They are disgusted, but not enough to cut off family members or friends who think that sexual assault or racism is not a deal breaker for a president.
They don’t want to cause a stir. They don’t want to ruffle feathers. The Everybody Elses aren’t joining The Resistance.
They are letting The Resistors do the work. They are maybe thinking “tyranny could never happen in the USA”, or “Mueller will save us”. They read an occasional news article, glance at an occasional Russia story, and say things like “I’m so tired of politics”. They still have their iPhone 8s and their new car lease and their bluetooth gadgets, and they’re convinced it’s all going to end up okay and they don’t have to do a thing about it. Someone else who is more “practiced in this stuff” will fix the problem.
And the Resistors wonder, “what will the Everybody Elses do when the stock market crashes?” Or, their immigrant friends and members of their community are put in “camps”? Or the only news station allowed to be broadcast is Fox propaganda?
How will they feel when their girlfriend dies because she tried to give herself an abortion? Or their child dies because they can’t afford the formerly-available ACA medical treatment? What are they going to think when there is literally no point in going to the polls on election day, because voting in the U.S. is a complete and utter farce?
When will enough be enough for the Everybody Elses??
Will the Everybody Elses regret not taking action now? Will they regret not speaking up when they had the chance?
Will there be any regrets??
So, we go through our days, The Resistors, The Trump Supporters, and The Everybody Elses slowly moving towards the end of the Free America we once knew and fought so hard for.
And that, My Love, is what it feels like. One big, surreal, march toward an oppressive, tyrannical state. Most Americans just keep marching.
Some of us though, are carrying signs and marching in the opposite direction.