San Francisco, The Evening
This election is difficult.
The entire city is still in mourning. It is subtle, now. We are can say polite pleasantries, but I feel like a traitor, every time. I am not OK. It is not fine. Today is only ‘fantastic’, because I am comparing it to last night, and that was bad, again. Are you fine? I can see that you are not. Your face fell when I lied that I was. Well, fuck. Now we are commiserating, but words are too cheap.
Somehow, I am still too foreign to know how to deal with this. I walk around in desperation and fear.
My favorite coffeeshop has a small jar full of safety pins, and I don’t know how other people feel about this. I took my pin off, because who cares? But, actually, personally, I appreciate the gesture.
The barista and I talk to each other sometimes. We were on good terms, before. Now, I guess, we are both LGBT immigrants, somewhat united. I have more privilege than they do. I wish I could do more to make that count.
One day, local high schoolers staged a walkout, the sort with drums and large protest signs. Many of the regulars came out in support. Maybe, someday, I will come up to that guy with the long blonde hair, and say ‘You came out to salute the protest on November 12th. You were the first to raise your fist in solidarity; I followed you.’ It is too awkward to say it now. Why didn’t I join immediately? I doubt that he remembers me.
Of all the places in the world, this one is still the best.
A digression — once, I lived in a New England city, ruled by propriety. It was diverse, in theory, but all my friends were very similar. (Also, the cool kids, were all, inexplicably, born in Wisconsin.) It was a calm society of warm non-alcoholic cider, potlucks and board game nights; I wanted drugs, bricks, a revolution.
In San Francisco, the world agreed. Away, with the friction around the corners of my personality! My anger faded; it felt beautiful. I fell into work and dancing and life.
That old rage comes daily now, mutating by evening. What will happen to San Francisco, when Trump comes to power? If all men were created equal, why is some vote in Ohio worth so much more than mine? Does anyone care? What will happen to us?
I don’t want to do this again.
A primer: Trump made some promises, and nobody knows which ones he will follow.
One of his promises for the first 100 days, is to begin his immigration crackdown by defunding all Sanctuary Cities.
San Francisco has had the Sanctuary Ordinance since 1989: city employees are prohibited from aiding in immigration arrests, unless required by law or warrant. There are a lot of unauthorized immigrants in San Francisco, so this is a practical matter. (Among other things, even a municipal government cannot function without consent of its people.) Of course, now that Trump has made mass deportations a crux of his policy, it is also the right thing to do.
Losing all Federal funding is going to be unpleasant. I would do it; and the mayor has sworn to stick by our people. However, among other things, San Francisco residents pay a lot more in taxes than we ever get back; getting back nothing would be… profoundly unfair.
This is an undercurrent that dominates a lot of thoughts. There has been a lot of protest; there hasn’t been a day that everyone hasn’t wasted chunks of their life on politics. Not since that Tuesday.
The worst hasn’t happened yet. It might. Today is just a shadow of the darkest clouds to come.
My parents voted for Trump, from a solid blue state. Their vote didn’t matter that much, and I shouldn’t rage at them. I wish that I felt calmer, but I am human, so I don’t.
I want to tell them — you, you broke my beautiful future into bleeding and jagged shards! They wouldn’t take well to a trite hyperbole; I would take the rejection personally. But, what else can there be? Emotions feed on themselves: the world is on fire, my parents helped cause it, there is nothing else to do.
When the Democrats win, we try to reach out across the aisle, soothe hurt feelings. When the Republicans win, we do the same. Why don’t they try to sympathize with us, for once? My must we be subordinate, again, to the greater will of American conservatism?
The point is, in the end, that my parents voted for Trump, and I already bought tickers home for Thanksgiving. It has been weeks since we have spoken. I don’t want to call them first.
A friend told me that we are not stuck in a nightmare; we are merely waking up from a dream. I am starting to see the spidery deltas of darkness in my old reality.
If the economy was doing all right, if we were stronger together, why is income inequality so rampant here? Why did all our sci-fi movies look like dystopias? When trolls swarmed all over Twitter, why did we think that they were alone — why did we miss that so much of America hates us? Why didn’t we see this coming? What could we have done?
But, I remember, there was so much brilliance, too.