For the next four years our only strategy on the national level can be to persistently say, “No!” And, “No!” And, “No!” No! to every single thing Trump does or that the Republicans propose — from Supreme Court candidates to financial reform and next season’s wars. Odds are we’ll still lose. But as bad as things seem, they’ll be worse if we sit at home with our mouths closed.
Of course, there are also proactive things we can do on the local level if we can just get out of bed. Many of the rights and privileges we’ve already seen stripped away can be restored or protected, at least in part, by the states. Let us then work in our hometowns for access to health care and education and jobs, for righteous police forces, immigrant rights, environmental protection, fair voting districts.
Not to mention gender and racial inequalities.
Really, seriously, don’t bother mentioning those at all.
We’ve known since before the election that Trump voters actually had a higher income than Clinton voters. And now that it’s over, studies confirm that having strongly bigoted ideas predicted Trump voters much more closely than income. But no, let’s continue to dissect the Democratic campaign and its “failure” to reach white working class voters.
Especially don’t contradict that large minority on the left still asserting that Sanders would have won “if the Dems hadn’t rigged, rigged, rigged the primary in favor of that horrible bitch.” They still believe everything Sanders said in his speeches. Nothing that Clinton did. Believe none of the criticism about their white-haired masculine savior. Believe every single attack on that girly-bitted, establishment cunt who dared talk about race or gender when it’s only class that matters. Especially the heart-breaking struggles of former factory workers and coal miners who just happened to be white. And male.
It’s almost funny to watch the contortions of the white, masculinized left as they try to hide their scorn for the really, truly, actually poor. Like, for instance, immigrant women of color trying to survive in service jobs, turning up as home aides even if they can barely walk themselves after years of caring for heavy bodies, and no time off or decent insurance to fix that back, that knee.
The French are no better. I was out with a friend at a bar when he suddenly became monstrous in his hardline lefty manliness explaining that poor people shouldn’t be polled on political issues because they weren’t educated, didn’t have time to be informed or the intellectual tools to think deeply about their conditions. And when I asked if he really meant that poor people couldn’t be trusted to serve as experts even on their own lives, he actually said yes.
That’s patriarchy. That’s paternalism. That’s my ticket to the nuthouse. All those men who won’t let poor women stand in their way as saviors of the working class. They are all just victims themselves. Losing ground in politics, in business. Even the arts. Take that cute little animation film “Alike,” by Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez, which has picked up zillions of prizes for its heartfelt observations about how society grounds out your creativity.
But in the midst of the sappy music and all the manipulated feelings, nobody seems to have noticed that every single one of the hundreds of carefully universal figures whose creativity has been — let’s say it — emasculated by society was male. For the entire seven minutes, females didn’t exist at all. Weren’t in the identical dead-end cubicles, weren’t staggering down the streets to gray jobs. Weren’t among the children learning how to be gray adults.
Perhaps the animators thought our bodies would have introduced a degree of difference that would have ruined the aesthetics of their metaphor, which also carefully made the men all blue-gray and “alike” in their white collars and ties, because race would also have distracted us from talking about what really matters: the freedom and happiness of those poor disappointed men of the ruling class who expected more out of life than all this horrible sameness — that they themselves willingly reproduce.
We’ve got plenty of similar men in the LGBTQ community. Some even think Trump’s not such a big deal. And maybe he’s not —for them. You’re not really a fag if you’re a white, straight-acting top, can put on a collar and tie. The one they’ll come for is the guy who swishes a little. Giggles. Or snickers and snipes. Maybe even has a few curves. Or wears colors outside the golf course. Or is of color. Or erodes the assumption that there’s something inherently “universal” or “superior” about being born with a dick. In short, challenges the idea of just what a man is or should be — an endeavor that is as worthy as calling your senator or rep. And taking to the streets one more time.
Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.