Well, it happened, and now here we are, facing generations worth of ramifications of electing an ignorant, incompetent, pro-rape, anti-woman, criminal, terrifyingly racist, white nationalist scrap of bloated pleather hyperbole to the most powerful office on the planet. I am confused, and devastated, and deeply, deeply angry. For reasons that wonderful writers all over the internet have stated more eloquently than I can in my current state of raw, emotional undress.
I have been on Facebook and have seen what everyone is saying, and I have to respond that it’s time for ALL OF US to shut up and listen. I get it, sitting back and being quiet isn’t going to solve our problems, and you’re right. But unless you’re Howard Zinn or Ta-Nehisi Coates, you need to stop talking about what you think we should do, and start listening to those that actually have the experience, sensitivity, and depth of knowledge to formulate a plan. We lament our culture’s lack of truly great leaders, and it is because we fancy ourselves the leaders we desire, but we lack the time, the will or the dedication to commit our lives, thoroughly and completely, to our causes. It is a very rare gift to be a true leader. I’ve worked with leaders of all kinds, and those that live it, through and through, they are successful in their fights. But many leaders are reluctant or resentful of their burdens, and they crumble under their weight. I actually suspect we may see something similar happen with Rotting Salmon Von Pussygrabber III, but we’ll see.
Posting an opinion on Facebook is not the equivalent of standing in front of a loaded gun held by a police officer and protecting your fellow citizens. It is not the same as being in the streets, fighting an actual civil war. And instead of going out onto the front lines and finding out the horrors of the things we wish to put to an end, we assume that we know about it, and we post our opinions, and then other people post their opinions, nobody listens, nobody learns anything, and everyone feels smug and right and good and correct as they eat Cheez-Its on the fucking couch and watch goddam Adult Swim and cruise around Reddit or whatever the fuck it is people do WHILE THE FUCKING WORLD BURNS DOWN.
We have no idea what’s to come. We have no idea how horrible it will be, or what shape it will take. We HAVE TO listen. We have to see the signs, learn to recognize them. We didn’t do that with this election. We were complacent. Everyone thought Hillary would be elected and we were like, “great! I get to check out for another 4 years while my planet and civil rights are systematically stripped to the bones!”. But this is how we let Donald Trump get elected. I don’t blame you or anyone else. I’m guilty of it too. We wanted Hillary so we let ourselves believe we’d get Hillary.
But I honestly think we have too many uninformed opinions. We are as far from an age of reason as we’ve ever been. I know almost nobody who will admit they don't know something. That lovely thing, where a person humbly admits they know nothing about something but would like to learn, where is it? I miss it. And despite Zuck’s denials, Facebook ABSOLUTELY played a role in the dissemination of bogus info during this election. My crazy cousin who is as out of touch in his world view as a cur hound is with high British table manners should not be passing around info. He has no idea how to spot a fake internet story, and he lacks the skills to vet such a story, even if he had suspicions. You know who does have that skill? Journalists. I agree that journalism got real skeezy there for a while in the early aughts. Felt like we really couldn’t trust the media, didn’t it. Everything became clickbait. But I have to say, the moment I see someone post an article linking to EliteDaily or BeingLiberal or SFGate or BusinessInsider or any of these hack web sites, I know that they’re being manipulated by heavily skewed information designed to fit a particular agenda. And frankly, I want my New York Times back (the one that DOESN'T publish apologist editorials about our racist shit for brains president. Fuck you, don't tell me to "buck up."). We need drily delivered facts back, and we need to re-learn the skills necessary to make informed decisions based on those facts.
My maternal family including my mother came to this country as refugees who were forced from their homes because their home country declared them enemies of the state. The people living in that area at the time were either sent to concentration camps, tortured or just simply shot and forgotten. I’m proud of my heritage as the child of survivors and fighters, and I am sickened thinking that my country, my fellow citizens, voted to enact what amounts to essentially the same thing, only this time with Less Murder!™ I lived with women who suffered that trauma, and it changes you. It changes families. You don’t just flee a country under duress and land somewhere foreign to you and it’s fine. Your very DNA changes. You are a refugee forever. That trauma lives in your bones. It lives in the bones of your children and your grandchildren. It lives in the earth itself. We truly are all connected, every living thing. If you don’t really think that’s true, if you think science hasn’t proved that time and time again, here’s a good place to start educating yourself on our fascinating, mystical-yet-concrete, biological connections:
So please, put your ears to the ground and let us become a culture of vigilance and heightened awareness. Let’s become those woke people the kids are talking about on twitter. I want to believe that when our true leaders begin to emerge, we will see them and we will play our roles in the coming war/struggle/fight/dawning of the age of Aquarius/nuclear winter/thing we don't know about yet.
Well, anyway, it doesn’t feel good to talk about partying and all that shit right now, but music and dance and rebellious expression have always been a part of oppressed communities’ coping mechanisms. All of the music you love and the dances that move yer booty were likely born from oppressed people’s creative expression as a coping mechanism for the horrendous things rich white European people (in most cases) were doing to them. You know, slavery, racism, ethnic cleansing, systematic, bureaucratized oppression, genocide, poverty, all the stuff us white people are known for throughout history.
Music and movement can be an outlet for stress right now. I urge you to find a community with whom to find some joy this weekend. I myself will be celebrating my birthday at SPACE Gallery at the New York Night Train Soul Clap and Dance Off on Saturday night, and if you have the groove in your heart, I’d love to see you there.
Just hold on, guys. We have the power to do what we need to do, I promise. The forces of evil in control have no idea what we’re capable of when we put it together right.
In the meantime:
Friday November 11
I suggest going to go dance it out at Friday Night Stomp. Swing, Lindy, Balboa, all that stuff came out of Harlem dance halls at the turn of the century, and while the cultural and political implications are not something I can speak to because I wasn't there and I'm neither black nor an expert on the subject, I can tell you that swing dancing, even when you're doing it for the first time, feels really good. Your mind goes to just moving along with the music, it's jazz so the beat is a little bit lazy and it makes you feel cool, and moving around with other people and just even touching other people in a friendly way is a really nice thing. There's a lot of joy in it.
Check the calendar for the rest of the stuff.
Saturday November 12
Dance it out with me, at this. No, it's not local but it's affordable and it's unique and the serious dose of fun that we need to take a break right now.
Also, though, Scissorfight, Pigboat and Eldemur Krimm are at Empire, and you should probably go to that as well. I still think Krimm is one of the best hard rock bands here in Portland, and if you like to take it a little harder than that, Scissorfight and Pigboat are what you want.