Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Presidential Election

The Democrats: A Party Divided

my way or the highway.
Butting heads!

Today, we learned that Rick Perry didn’t know what the Secretary of Energy did when he accepted the job. He thought it meant he’d get to gloat about oil and gas all around the world. Why did Trump pick him for the position, anyway? Because Trump most likely didn’t know what the job entailed, either.* Yesterday, we learned that Betsy Devos, the nomination for the Education Secretary thinks we should allow guns in schools because you never know when you’re going to have to shoot a grizzly bear. We’ve also learned that Tom Price, the nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services says people will be fine without the ACA because they can get other insurance. Insurance that wasn’t there in the first place. We’ve learned more than that, of course, but I’m trying not to lose my goddamn mind over these picks, so I’m keeping it brief.

Right after the elections were over, Ian and I played a very morbid game of ‘Name the Worst Possible Candidate For Each Position’. We weren’t doing it to be unfeeling or flippant, but because we were in shock and needed to deal with the trauma somehow. We’re both sarcastic, mordant people, so this was our way of coping. Remember, this was a joke between us, not something to be taken seriously. We watched in horror as Trump either met or exceeded** all our joke picks. We knew it was going to be bad, but with every passing day, it got worse and worse. I avoided much of the news in the past two months, but I’ve been paying closer attention in the past week because I felt it would be cowardly of me to just put my head in the sand and pretend what’s about to happen isn’t happening.

I’m mortified by the new administration. I look at all the high quality people in President Obama’s administration,*** and I want to weep at the steep downgrade we’re making in each position. Call me an elitist, but I want the most qualified person in their area of expertise to head each department. What’s more, I want someone who’s not actively hostile to the department they’re being chosen to lead. That was part of the game Ian and I played. Who would be the person who’s the most disdainful of this position? For example, the EPA. We both were like, that climate change denier scientist duded. He’d be perfect for the position! Lo and behold, he’s the one who was chosen, and it just went downhill from there.

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You’re Not My Real Mom!

Don’t you fucking tell me what to do, was my immediate response when I saw this tweet. Someone had quoted it and added, “LOL NO” to the tweet, which I found amusing. I was just going to move on, but something about the tweet stuck with me, so I decided to check out his TL. I found that I agreed with much of what he said, but the bad taste from his initial tweet remained in my mouth. Since I thought the person was being earnest and arguing in good faith (and had some good ideas), I decided I’d make a post in response to it and to the general notion that it’s on PoC to reach out to working class white people.

One, the tweet assumes that this isn’t already happening. It is. Some of us live in cloistered Democratic bubbles*, but many Democrats live in heavily Republican areas and have to interact with working class white people on a regular basis. Two, we’ve come to believe this idea that all opinions are equally valid. They’re not. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that doesn’t mean their opinion is right. In addition, respect is earned. I can be civil to people who have loathsome (to me) ideas, but I don’t necessarily extend them respect.

More to the point, I’m tired of white dudes telling PoC what we have to do. If he had stopped after the first half, I would have been fine with the tweet, but it’s pretty galling for him to lecture PoC like that. There has been a lot of this going on, and I’m not here for it at all. I’m a big believer in everyone having a place at the table,** but I do think that if you’re in the majority, you should do more listening than talking. In addition, to put it bluntly, this is a white people’s problem. Yes, all of us have to deal with the ramifications of this white resentment, but the onus is on progressive white people to do something about it.
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When It All Falls Apart

I have never felt so hopeless in my life, and that’s saying something. This time, though, it’s not a question of feeling hopeless about my own life (though there is that), but of feeling hopeless about my nation’s life. Eight years of incremental progress* under PBO, and now, that’s going to be gone in a flash. The best case scenario is that the white nationalists and the establishment GOP constantly clash and progress grinds to a halt. Nothing moves forward, but more importantly, nothing moves backwards. The fact that this is the best I can hope for makes me exceedingly glum.

I’ve read tons of articles about what happened during the election and why, but at this point, I just don’t care. I feel removed from everything, as if it were happening outside of me. I may be able to intellectually comprehend what happened and why people voted for Trump, but I cannot grasp it in my heart. I know all the *woke* people are shaking their heads over us poor fools who actually feel shocked, surprised, and dismay, but whatever. It’s one thing to know about the deeply embedded hatred that threads through the fabric of our society; it’s quite another to have it smacked in your face.

I’m paralyzed with fear, though it’s more mental than anything else. I still go about my business, but there’s a part of my brain that’s just frozen. I felt this way during the election any time I thought about Trump becoming president, and I feel it every time I think of him as president. Abject terror.

In class on Saturday, we started talking about the practical applications of taiji. It was because my teacher had seen a video of a woman, presumably Muslim, teaching Muslim women what to do if their hijabs are grabbed from behind. I’d seen that video as well as others in the same vein, and my teacher was critiquing the good and the bad of the technique. Then, we segued into talking about self-defense from a taiji perspective, which is something I’ve always loved. It seems relevant now, even more than before. In the past, it was a theoretical love. I had no reason to believe I’d ever need it (except for the reasons that most women have. As a back-up plan), but now, it seems like a realistic possibility.


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Struggling to Grasp Our New Reality (Show)

munch munch munch
Get your popcorn ready!

If I look at what’s happening as a reality show, it’s hilarious. Trump’s transition team in disarray. Trump declaring that everything is fine and that only he knows who the finalists (for the cabinet positions) are. Many months ago, I suggested we declare him Trump of Trumponia, set in Scranton, where he can sit on a golden throne and rule over his Trumpettes with a golden scepter. People laughed, but I was being half-serious. I’ve known since almost the beginning that he doesn’t really want to be president because it’s a fucking tough job. The daily news that he wants this person for a position, then that person, then, oh no, that person declined, or, no, not that person is gobsmacking. They are the Keystone Kops of politics, and, as I said, if this were a reality show, I’d be laughing my flat yellow ass off.

However. This is reality, minus the show, and it’s horrifying. This is the team that’s going to take over the presidency? We’re going from PBO to THIS? I’ve been stuck in denial for the past several days because my brain simply refuses to believe this is actually happening. The last week has been surreal, and I desperately want it to be just a dream. A nightmare. And from which I’d like to wake up.

One thing I’d like to suggest is that we all slow our roll on the rumors of whom Trump is appointing to what position. Unless it’s already been officially stated, we don’t know what the hell he’s going to do because he doesn’t know what the hell he’s going to do. So, while it’s understandable to get riled up over possibilities such as Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State or AG, it’s not productive until he’s actually appointed. I’m not saying not to protest or start gathering our resources because we only have two months, but save the outrage for actual events–not just reports and rumors.

I have my doubts as to whether Trump will actually make it to the inauguration. He’s out of his depth, and I have a hunch that he realizes it. His defensive tweets show it. His staff doubling down on ‘everything’s fine’ shows it, too. Every time he opens his mouth, he shows his ignorance. PBO has realized it as well and is spending more time with Trump than a president usually does with his successor.

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Kumbaya Now, Damn It

My liberals, I love you, but we need to have a talk. I know any time we lose an election (and sometimes we’ve won one), we have to point fingers at each other and refuse to shoulder any of the blame, but can we please not do it this time? Pretty please? I’m seeing a lot of anger in response to the loss, and while some of it is reasonable, much of it is misplaced.

Look. We have a dark future ahead of us. I’m uncertain what’s actually going to happen (and I don’t trust anyone who says he knows for sure what Trump will do), but I’m pretty sure we’re fucked. The last thing we need right now is to point fingers at each other or rehash the primaries.

“Bernie would have won!” Maybe, but it’s not a sure thing. The strain of virulent anti-Semitism in this country is much stronger than I had imagined, Sanders is a cranky old Jewish socialist. Many of the same people who rejected Clinton certainly weren’t going to be comfortable voting for Sanders.

Look. I voted for Sanders in the caucus, but I wasn’t sure, even then, if he would be a good president. I appreciated him for moving Clinton to the left because her inclination is to turtle down and do what’s most politically expedient. I was never completely sold on Clinton, and we have to face that as well. The fact that she might not have been our strongest candidate, but we’ll never know because the DNC cleared the way for her fairly early on.

I’m not saying we aren’t in need of self-reflection. God knows we’ve fucked this up big time. What I’m saying, though, is that we need to do it without hurling accusations and without being defensive. Progressives are saying pragmatists sold out and offered up a corrupt candidate. Pragmatists are saying progressives are being childish and unrealistic, and have to prove themselves to the party once again. There is a grain of truth to both sides, but each side is being way too unflinching and tribal.

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Fear and Loathing in the USA

tattered freedom
Freedom for all?

I saw an American flag flying on a car while I was on my way to the grocery store and a thrill of fear ran down my spine. Same when I saw the American flag flying in front of a neighbor’s house the day after the election. Later on, I saw three American flags in the user name of a troll on Twitter, and that jolt of fear came again.

I had felt the same fear once before for a sustained period of time. It was after 9/11, when American flags started flying everywhere. To me, the flag had become a symbol of empty jingoism, rabid nationalism, and the opposite of patriotism. It was used to shut up dissenters, those who protested the invasion of Iraq. We were right, by the way, though many people prefer to retcon their memories of how they acted during that time. The flag was shorthand for, “Get out of this country, you traitor,” and since then, I have had an aversion to it.

This time, the flag is a replacement for the ‘don’t tread on me’ logo and the Confederate flag. It says, “Get out, Chink. You’re not welcome.” It’s not a coincident that they’ve sprung up in my very Democratic neighborhood as it’s a way to signal other like-minded people that a friend resides within. It’s meant to intimidate those who don’t feel the same or who are not of the majority, and in places where there are more who think like that than not, it will probably do the trick.

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There is No Happy Ending

I’m not a brave woman.

I am rabidly conflict-avoidant, and I’m always fearful. So, to see all the protests and people talking about resistance is very gratifying to me, but it also makes me feel ashamed.

I am always afraid. It’s a matter of extent, and it’s faded in time, but there’s always a nugget of fear in the back of my mind. I have to know the closest exit at all times, I will freak the fuck out if you touch me unexpectedly, and any time I’m in a tense situation, my PTSD kicks in.

I’ve heard more than one survivor of sexual assault talking about flashbacks and trigger warnings. Not about anything they read or see, but about the result of the election.

We talk about rape culture, and many people pooh-pooh that it exists. This is the clearest example that many people just don’t give a shit about sexual assault. Trump can be caught on tape saying he can grab any pussy he wants because he’s a star, and after the initial outrage, a collective yawn. “It’s just locker talk.” “He didn’t really mean it.” “All guys talk like that.”
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Uncomfortably Numb

all cried out
Frozen disbelief.

I’m still numb, in a state of disbelief. I’ve cried at random times, and there is fear beating in my heart.

I don’t love America; I never have. Why? Because America didn’t love me. I knew it growing up a yellow girl in a very white world. I knew it as a queer, fat, tattooed, agnostic woman in her twenties who most emphatically did not fit into the norm. I knew it as an unmarried, child-free old lady in her thirties who preferred the company of her cats to that of another person. When we elected PBO in 2008, I cried because for the first time, I finally felt that maybe, just maybe, my country didn’t hate me.

This was a lie. This was my stupidity. I was only being tolerated, and now, I know. A sizable portion of my country hates me. And I go back to being an outsider.

How did we get here?

How is that man going to be our president? After the best goddamn president of my lifetime?

A man who preached love and hope, and called upon us to aspire to our better selves. How do go from him to…
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Rage Into the Night

soothing for my soul
Therapy.

I am sorry there was no post this morning. I think many of you can understand why. I watched the returns last night, my heart sinking further and further as the night went on. I went to bed before the official declaration, but I knew by the time I tried to sleep, what the result would be.

I cried myself to sleep. Huddled in a small, tight ball, the blankets pulled up over my suddenly chilled body.

I knew. I knew a vast swathe of this country hated me because of my skin color, my sexuality, my gender, and a whole number of other things. I’m old. I’m tired. I’m cynical. I’m not stupid or naive.

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Time to Vote: Let’s Do This, Minnesota!

All right, folks. I have a holiday (election) poem for you. Strap it up. We’re doing this!

A Visit from President Obama

Twas the night before elections, and all through the house,
Everyone was panicking, causing me to grouse;
I had my laptop on my lap, typing with speed,
Hoping that America wouldn’t be consumed with greed;
I will offer links to help Minnesotans with voting;
Then sit, whimpering in a corner, overcome with not knowing;
My eyes are so heavy, and I’d really like to sleep,
But reading about the election is making me weep,
Suddenly, on the internet, there arose such a clatter,
I had to check Twitter to see what was the matter.
Away to my tabs, I raced with trepidation,
To see what had agitated the entire Twitter nation.
Ann Coulter, desperate to be relevant, opened her yap,
Spouting her usual hateful rhetoric and claptrap,
When what to my wondering eyes did I see done,
But President Obama stepping off Air Force One,
With Michelle by his side and a radiant smile,
He invited me to stay awhile (and listen). Continue Reading