As last night’s elections results began to painfully reveal that Trump was going to be our next president, I, like all progressives, felt a sense of dread.
The impossible was about to happen, and I felt as if my world was about to end.
When I woke this morning with my husband, we watched with incredulity and a dawning horror as his supporters celebrated. We cried. We raged. We hugged.
It was all I could to let him walk out the door into that world today. I wanted him to stay home with me, draw the shades, and climb back into our safe bed.
What scared me more than the man was the tidal wave of White Supremacy that elected him. I wondered how any minority was going to deal with the empowerment that this election had given them. Were we going to be dragged through the streets and lynched? Who was going to be our advocate in a now all-red and radical state?
Then I realized that I had felt this same fear and had these same thoughts before. This wasn’t the first time in my life the political agenda was not on our side.
The first was ushered in with the election of Ronald Regan in 1980. I was 18 and in the initial stages of coming out.
As a teenager, I had been somewhat encouraged by Jimmy Carter’s administration. After all, his was the first to invite gay activists to the White House, at the height of the Anita Bryant fear-mongering no less. That was no small feat for a president at the birth of the modern LGBT movement, and it left a hopeful impact on me.
Then came eight years of Reagan’s horrific anti-gay, AIDS-ignorant administration. I knew we were in trouble when, during his campaign, he said, “Society cannot condone the alternative gay lifestyle.”
But I wasn’t prepared for the level of fear, anger and self-doubt I felt as his administration wantonly refused to address the HIV/AIDS as it cut a deep swath through the LGBTQ community.
After Clinton signed DOMA into law in 1996 (bad enough), Bush 2 called for a redundant constitutional amendment banning gay marriage forever. Even though the initiative failed, the vitriol of anti-gay rhetoric in the country again left me angry and marginalized.
Today, all those memories and emotions came back to me. After processing them, I realized that I am actually excited to be a long-time player in a massive social upheaval.
We are winning, folks. We already have many victories under our belt. But these seismic events don’t happen over night. They sometimes take lifetimes to resolve. And they are always fraught with danger and setbacks.
We are two countries. One is the new, the other is the old, and the clash between the two is far from over. We are rebelling against 300 years of the Straight White Male Religious Right rule of law in this country. And while I have always believed that the dragon is in its dying days, there’s still a lot of fight left in it.
I’m afraid I forgot that and became somewhat complacent during the Halcyon Days of Obama’s presidency. That’s why I felt so frightened this morning. It was shocking to wake up to the news that our fight continues.
This has happened before, and it will happen again. Each time, as we have done before, we must challenge the dragon until it is dead.