Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Presidential Election

A big sigh of relief

I’ve been struggling with a migraine all last week. I woke up Saturday morning (afternoon, really, but why quibble?) and it was 90% better. I went about my morning routine then checked the news. I caught my breath and tears filled my eyes as I read that Biden was projected to win the election. No jubilation. No excitement. Just a deep and abiding relief.

Four years ago, I believed the pundits and watched the incoming results of the election with a sense of dread, despair, and surrealness. I was thrown into a deep depression in part because I was not prepared for it. This time, I wanted to believe and trust the pundits, but I just couldn’t. The memory of 2016 was still too vivid. Also, I went numb on Election Day night because I couldn’t handle it, but under the numbness was…a deep fear. I couldn’t live with another four years of this president. I didn’t think our country could survive. He’s already did so much damage and if he were in a lame-duck situation, imagine how much worse he would have gotten.

I joked on the social mediums that my migraine went away because I was psychic, but it’s partly true. Stress is a big trigger of migraines and this whole week has been stressful. I don’t think I was psychic because I truly was not suspecting that the election would be called Saturday. I talked to my BFF, Kat, later that day and she said the same thing. We both thought it would be at least Monday.

The one thruway I’ve seen/heard is relief. Everyone I talked to about it said that was their initial response. Most of that was followed by the clarification that everything was not roses and champagne, but at least the country wasn’t going to spontaneously implode.

That’s the thing. All the jubilation and elation really didn’t have anything to do with Biden. Personally, I don’t like him. I was not enthused about him. He’s too centrist, too handsy (and possibly more than just handsy), and too ‘aw, shucks, I’m Uncle Joe’ for me. Although that probably was to his advantage because he could appeal to some of the same demos as did the current president. Harris was my candidate and let’s talk about her for a minute.

We cannot understate the fact that we now have Vice President-Elect who is a woman, South Asian American, and African American. I would have preferred if she was the president, but that may still happen in the next four years. Joe’s old is what I’m saying. Anyway, she’s warm, caring, intelligent, and she means so much to me. I don’t agree with everything she’s done (she was a  prosecutor in the past), but she’s head and shoulders better than–I don’t even need to go down that road. She’s quality is what I’m saying.

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NaNo rebel coming in hot

I’m writing this on Election Day and I’m stridently ignoring that tidbit until later tonight. I already voted a few weeks ago by mail so I don’t have to do anything today. Four years ago, I was pretty sure that Clinton would win so I watched with eagerness. My excitement turned to dread as the returns came in. Ian was with me and we both were stunned. I sunk into a deep depression when I realized the results and it was doubly terrible because I had been so sure Clinton would win.

Fast-forward to this year. Most of the predictions including Nate Silver (the one who called it for the president and got pilloried for it. I am ashamed to admit I was one who decried him for fearmongering for clickbait) are overwhelmingly pro-Biden, but I am not going to let that happen to me again. I’m hopeful it’s going to be Biden-Harris (though I have no love for Biden), but I have the growing dread that the president will somehow manage to get away with it. I don’t know what it means, but that it’ll be four more years.

So let’s not talk about it. Let’s talk about NaNoWriMo instead. Or NaNo Rebel. Or whatever. In two days, I’ve written 8,000 words. To be fair, I started at midnight on the 1st, which I count as the 31st of October in my brain (day doesn’t start until I get up), but it feels good to have almost 10,000 under my belt. It’s me writing a thousand words at a time–sometimes forcing myself. I had been trying to be kind and allowing myself to take breaks whenever I wanted. That led to me writing for five minutes, breaking for ten minutes, taking a smoke break, then back to writing for five minutes. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Now, I’ve told myself firmly that I have to write a thousand words before I can do anything else. Then, I take a small break and do a thousand more. It’s not been easy, but it’s been invigorating. It really has changed my writing habit and drastically. In addition, I feel better about this project than I did when I was babying myself.

To be clear–I’m not putting down self-care. I think it’s important to  know your limits and to honor the fact that it’s a really difficult time right now. There are days when you simply cannot (this seems to be one of them for me), but at least for me, it’s time to be a bit more strict with myself and only myself.

In addition, I set the goal of writing 100,000 words this month. I’m still sticking to it, but I’m toying with a few twists to my goal. For one thing, I want to do a short bio of each of the main characters. Or rather, a backstory for each. Especially each sister and the aunt because they are so important. Like a snapshot of each. It wouldn’t be included in the novel, but it would be a good addendum to the trilogy.

Nothing big. Just 5,000 word snippets of each character. There probably wouldn’t be one for the main character because all three novels have snippets of her life. Plus, a few of the besties. Maybe seven in total? That’s an extra 35,000 words. If I do that, then I really won’t finish by the end of the year. But it intrigues me. Therefore, I may do it. One of my issues is being very rigid in my thinking and once I get something in my head, I have a hard time bending from what I said I was going to do.

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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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