Like you, the Gozamos crew has been processing, discussing, and protesting the presidential election results. Here are reflections from some contributors:
“I can’t say that I’m surprised at the election results. The moment the Democratic Party became complacent was the moment that Trump had a real shot. Democrats became comfortable with the promises and minimal progress that was afforded by the Obama administration. And that someone that was so closed-minded could never win. That being said, I could not align myself with a candidate like Hillary, who was making those very same promises that many before her made. Empty promises. The only promise I believed would be kept would be that of keeping the status quo.
As an undocumented person who has benefited from DACA, I know what a t\Trump presidency means, I know of the current threat to my livelihood that I am facing. The threats that he has promised to carry out that could very well end up with me being separated from family and friends, but instead of mourning I say this to my fellow people: Remember that feeling when you found out Trump was elected—remember it well, and organize. Remember that feeling the next time there are local elections. The presidency is not an all-powerful position, and can be undermined in many ways.”
Although I saw the numbers starting to change at some point during the election broadcast, my nerves went from freaking out to painfully acknowledging that things weren’t going to be the way we had so hopefully thought they would. Had we been so naive? Are our fellow human beings so lacking in empathy and compassion that they willfully chose someone who has created so much strife and animosity across the world? And what about the others, those who chose not to vote? Being so apathetic about such a historic moment in their lives, one that will most likely affect those around them, speaks volumes on their life in general. Are they the type of people who don’t speak up, don’t defend and simply don’t engage because “I” is more important than “us”? Where does this desire to obliterate basic human rights stem from?
The pondering has been non-stop. But, despite all the questions, and the indignation I have at so many ego-based decisions, there’s an almost eerie calm I feel inside. It comes from knowing that there is so much more to do.
We need each other now more than ever. We – those who possess the ability to sympathize – need to support those who are being most affected by Tuesday’s decision. I’ve seen so many of my friends express their fears and frustrations because they are experiencing acts of aggression. For fk’s sake, the man isn’t even in office yet. Was not voting worth seeing your loved ones attacked? Ponder on that, pussies.
I repeat, we need each other now more than ever. We need to keep busy mobilizing, strategizing, educating, creating, organizing and building all the while UNITING. I encourage you to reach out to those who are most affected. Let’s get together more often than ever. Let’s call each other, share a meal, and talk this out.
And, hey, it’s perfectly fine to feel whatever you want to feel. FEEL! FEEL!The anger may not go away but the sense of fear and frustration will. I am here for you and so are those around me. If you need someone to talk to, if you’re scared, or feel alone, or just want to vent and punch a pillow, I/we are here.
I leave you with these words that fill my soul when it’s lacking fire:
The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
(CW: racial violence)
“I do not want to see a negro man walk to the polls and vote on who should handle my tax money, while I myself cannot vote at all…When there is not enough religion in the pulpit to organize a crusade against sin; nor justice in the court house to promptly punish crime; nor manhood enough in the nation to put a sheltering arm about innocence and virtue—-if it needs lynching to protect woman’s dearest possession from the ravening human beasts—-then I say lynch, a thousand times a week if necessary.”
– White suffragette Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton, the last former ‘owner’ of enslaved people to hold a public office, in a speech on August 11, 1897
On election day, I started writing an article about womxn who voted for Hillary Clinton putting their “I Voted” stickers on the grave of white suffragette Susan B. Anthony, whose suffrage work consisted of excluding womxn of color, demonizing black men as sexual super predators (reference to Hillary Clinton quote intentional), and fighting only for white women’s suffrage as a way to uphold white supremacy through voting. Anthony famously said, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ask for the ballot for the Negro and not for the woman.” This is the type of history many Hillary Clinton voters and people who think voting is the end-all-be-all of civic engagement conveniently ignore.
As it became clear that Trump was to be elected late on Tuesday night, this article fell by the wayside and I kind of shut down. I wasn’t surprised, but I felt a heavy dread in a way would not have if Hillary Clinton had won. The next day I was a zombie, but I went to the anti-Trump rally downtown that night and the next day was fortunate to be a part of a supportive group in an anti-oppressive workshop, which helped get me out of my funk.
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” -James Baldwin.
As stories of Trump-inspired harassment, abuse and hate crime against Muslims, LGBTQ folks, girls & womxn and black and latinx people pour in, it is more clear than ever that the election of KKK-endorsed Donald Trump and Mike Pence is a painful symptom and a crisis moment in the illnesses that are white supremacy and heteropatriarchy. Their over five centuries-long legacy had a moment with white suffragettes at the turn of the 20th century and continues today as a large majority of white women and men of all backgrounds as well as some racial minorities voted for Trump and Pence—a racist, rapist who used his privilege to make himself rich off destroying countless people, and a hateful man whose policies left god knows how many womxn and LGBT folks traumatized or dead. Still, even if these assholes had not been elected, we would not have been “safe” with a Hillary Clinton victory as many of us were not safe under President Obama; she has blood on her hands as well and the hordes of hateful, racist, violent people and politicians would still be among us, regardless of who became president.
The time has long past to pretend being a bystander exempts you from responsibility, for “waiting to see what will happen” in a Trump/Pence presidency, for failing to remember our history in all its complex ugliness, for ignoring our racist relatives and the racist and white supremacist ideas we ALL have ingested throughout our lives instead of addressing and doing anything beyond caring for just ourselves as long as we get ours. People have already been engaged in direct action, mobilization, organization, resistence and love to pull us out of the darkness, but maybe some people who were asleep will wake up and join the fight too.
Like many, I have been struggling since the long night of November 8 to define how to respond to the dark forces unleashed in the 2016 elections. The impulse to succumb to waves of dread and fear is nearly overpowering.
Just how did we come to make America hate again? So quick to call each other deplorable inhabitants from Dumbfuckistan, murderers, rapists, terrorists – rivers of verbal and physical hatred flowing fast, furious and ever so righteous from every possible side.
I’m reading the works of writers such as Angela Davis, visionaries who have survived dire epochs of this country’s past. They remind us that artists will always be at the vanguard of creating a new society, because we can imagine it all differently.
The time to imagine and create a different future has never been more urgent.
It could be, it can be, it will be. Let’s take that journey.
I have challenged myself to do one thing to work towards this future, no matter how small, every every every single day, sin prisa sin pausa – without hurrying, without stopping…
…taking cues from Michael Moore’s excellent list.
…and immediately, immediately, working to get outside our bubble. For those of us who work in the context of international music, our challenge is to share the joy of common humanity through the music outside of our geographic areas of comfort. How can we do this in the Rust Belt States? Florida? Missouri? And elsewhere in places where many if not most do not share our perspective on nearly anything?
I promise to share and listen to music that inspires and heals. I promise to find the poetry in this and every moment. I promise to light my candle against this darkness and support you as you light yours, whatever form your light may take.
We are here, we are in it together and we were made for these times.
-Catalina Maria Johnson