Yes, I worked on “The Apprentice.” My colleagues and I catalogued footage for editing.
Yes, I personally catalogued countless of hours of footage, especially of the boardroom.
No, I did not see any footage of Donald Trump using derogatory sexual terms or racist hate speech.
Yes, I have been contacted by multiple reporters from major news outlets this week.
No, I wasn’t able to give them their big, badass, career-making scoop.
No, Mr. Trump is not a dummy.
Yes, he is an entitled, arrogant businessman-celebrity.
Yes, I’m willing to wager money that this week’s drama will be used to further Mr. Trump’s brand, no matter our personal feelings about him and his misogyny. I thought I was rid of him when I left reality TV, and look where we are now. Like cockroaches after nuclear war, or so the saying goes, right?
Speaking of nuclear war…Yes, I’m aware that this story is a distraction from some pretty hefty things going on in the world, some of which relate to nuclear power (which Hillary Clinton supports). Are you?
Yes, I did listen to the discussion about “no fly zones” and “ground troops” in Syria during the second presidential debate. Under a Clinton presidency, we’re going to war. Are you ready? Do you understand the ramifications? Proxy wars and nuclear weapons and, and, and? Yes, I am worried for your children, and for their children, and for my former high school students, some of whom have expressed to me their own worries and fears about this next useless war. The military industrial complex is alive and well, are you on board?
Yes, I have read “The Art of the Deal” and I understand “momentum.” Trump’s momentum is built on the art of entertainment and distraction through provocation. The political elites are using that to hypnotize the electorate. I wonder if there’s a future book chapter on “when momentum becomes monster” because I’m sure there will be readers ready to buy, buy, buy!
No, I’m not sure how this momentum is working out for either of the main presidential candidates at this point, but if you think Clinton in the White House will remove Trump and his provocations from our collective consciousness, I’m sorry to gently tell you that you’re wrong. His candidacy has merely scratched the surface, and the animosity he has contributed to (read: put a mirror to — we all have the capacity for this kind of internal violence) is real, and must be addressed. Yes, I understand that part of our outrage is in being asked to face our own dark side, which is in all of us. There’s room for great healing and growth here. The way the cards are stacked right now is completely rejecting that potential progress.
Yes, I worry that this momentum is not being utilized properly for any alternatives or revolutionary options. Yes, I am one of those “privileged” folk grappling with the apathy that comes with the exhaustion and distrust we are all feeling to varying degrees. It would be easier for me to just #ImWithHer it all away. But I can’t, don’t you see?
The Trump you see now is the Trump we saw then, in the boardroom and on our screens — and he still made his ascent to this position, so what does that say about all of us — rich and poor, powerful and overpowered? Follow the money, the privilege, and the connections. Politics is not complicated, but it can easily be obscured — if you refuse to look. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain while the Emerald City burns to the ground.
Yes, if Mr. Trump is accused of committing sexual harassment or assault, he absolutely must undergo legal proceedings, just as Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and almost everyone in politics must do for their own wrongdoings as well.
As a woman, I understand the need for more visibility when it comes to rape culture. At the same time, as a woman, I am disgusted by the way assault is now a catchphrase theme being exploited in this election. That’s the opposite of giving a voice and a platform to victims and survivors. Who is involved in this exploitation? Is it simply Mr. Trump? I’d venture a guess that we are all involved, sadly. And yes, I am grappling with the complicated nature of this particular issue.
Yes, power. It’s becoming clear that in order to get “there,” the key is crookery. Those in positions of power can pervert the course of justice and break every rule while those in the trenches are castigated for even the most minor offense — or for no offense whatsoever. Standing in place while being Black? Boom. Dead. Did all of this hoopla over Mr. Trump magically solve the police brutality issue in the US? How about the actual matter of sexual assault and rape culture, which the Trump story is billed as? Nope, we’re just being asked to get madder and madder and then being told that the answer is to vote for the other criminal on the ballot. And yes, she has committed criminal acts. Check out Kimberley Strassel’s piece in The Wall Street Journal (10/14/2016) to understand the way the media has shaped this situation for the masses.
Yes, I understand sexual harassment and assault too well, unfortunately. I am a survivor, and I stand in solidarity with my fellow survivors. I still don’t believe that means an immediate embrace of Hillary Clinton.
Yes, I am examining the predatory nature of too many involved in all of this. Just got a second call from a reporter this morning — straight to voicemail again. No, I am not a pawn.
Yes, I am infuriated by the ease with which my personal contact information was released to these reporters for a story that does not address the actual issues and distracts from other life-changing matters that the main candidates refuse to address.
No, I’m not voting for Donald Trump for President of the United States. I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton either. No, I’m not going to tell you if I will even vote for president. Why should I tell you? Further, why is there the need to proclaim #ImWithHer as if that excuses her criminal acts? We’re better than this, and we’re being asked to get even worse than this, every single day we get closer to this wretched election.
No, I will not accept bullying or asinine arguments about “wasted votes” after witnessing the circus that this election has become, and that we have swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
Yes, I do still believe there are choices and alternatives to the options we are being force-fed. There are alternatives. Are we willing to look?
No, I am not willing to overlook the timing of this story in relation to the multiple #WikiLeaks reveals, our escalating situations overseas, and multiple other matters (Flint? DAPL? Yemen? Syria? Saudi money? Why even make a list anymore?) that this distraction was designed for.
Yes, I wish I could ask every single one of my staunch pro-Clinton friends if they are pro-war, pro-fracking, pro-TPP, pro-DAPL, pro-Citizens United, pro-super PACs, pro-proxy wars, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-militarism as the primary tactic, pro-Military Industrial Complex, pro-$30+ billion in aid to our primary ally over the next 10 years, pro-denial, pro-public/private positions by candidates, pro-animosity, pro-shrugging your shoulders with a simple “These are our options, aw shucks” when lives are at stake. Your life is at stake. Think about it.
As employees, we offered a service — tape logging, interview transcribing, story editing, video editing, assistant editing — for which we were required to sign our lives away with million-dollar penalties in Non-Disclosure Agreements. Those of us who worked on the rudimentary nuts and bolts of the show — no, not the executive producers, not Mark Burnett, not even the editors, but the lowest on the totem pole, one step above the Production Assistants — are now being hounded by reporters and then criticized for not “speaking out” — for what exactly? Is anyone looking out for us? Besides Hillary Clinton Super PAC head David Brock who proclaimed he’d pay the legal fees for anyone willing to step forward with intel on Trump? If that last sentence doesn’t show you how violently political this entire thing is, then why are you even reading this right now?
Yes, I want to regain my faith in both politics and journalism. I don’t trust either anymore. Special thanks to the reporters trying to get their scoop for a big chunk of that. I am seeking alternatives, and I am interested in participating in those alternatives. (Further viewing: Watch “Amanda Knox” on Netflix — listen to the journalists talking about their story-building process)
No, I do not see things in binary terms with regard to this election. Not voting for Trump doesn’t necessarily mean one must vote for Clinton. “Trump = Bad” doesn’t automatically mean “Clinton = Good.” Sadly, most people seem to grasp onto this because it’s the easy way out. But tell that to those near and far who are suffering under the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama/Clinton legacy of war. And no, I know it’s not that simple and not only up to the president, don’t get it twisted. But if you want to twist it, look at the DNC, do you find any of those folks trustworthy and deserving of your support (and money) after this election process has revealed so much?
No, I don’t think it’s “the wrong time” for a Third Party vote. Now’s when it might be most necessary, because of this carnival of spectacles designed to keep voters misinformed and fighting each other.
Yes, of all the candidates, my political leanings are closest to those of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka.
Yes, I find it a shame that certain candidates have been locked out, not only of the debates, but of fair media coverage. It reveals a monopoly of power that I cannot support.
No, I am not Ken Bone. I am quite rooted in most of my decisions, actually. And yes, Ken Bone is a distraction as well. We are a culture of distractions. How sad.
Yes, I am actually grateful for my years at Mark Burnett Productions, for many reasons. I have fond memories of that time as it was a kind of calm in between many stormy years that preceded and followed it, and I learned a lot, both professionally and personally. I might not have decided to pursue a doctoral degree in Media Studies had it not been for my years in post-production on “Survivor” and “The Apprentice.”
Yes, I am grateful for a lot. I’m even grateful for the monsters that are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Thanks to them, I am realizing a lot — about myself, about privilege (which I always punish myself for having, but I barely skim the surface next to those two), about self-promotion in this 21st century world we’re living in, and about integrity.
Yes, this election is about integrity. Where’s the integrity?
Maybe this is just the beginning, with the rest still unwritten, and it’s up to us to navigate it with honor and with class. Whaddya say?