Pink pussyhats bob in the sea of people standing around in Denver’s Civic Center Park. There’s a march happening on the streets surrounding it.
And while this is a moment, it seems too docile, too tame, too authorized to make an impact. At least to me, brash, aggressive, hot-tempered, wearing all black, the same “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” T-shirt I wore the night before shooting Jameson to the tune of yelling, screaming, pushing and shoving.
Protesting, even 100,000 strong, feels (forgive me) fake. Fabricated. Manufactured. And it was. We were given permission to walk around in this playpen. As the authority that gave us that permission sits inside a multi-million dollar house, looks across to his wife and says, “How cute.”
Friends have recounted similar feelings of falseness. And similar feelings of anarchy, such as when Rage Against the Machine gave a surprise performance for the anti-war protestors on the streets outside the Denver Coliseum during the Democratic National Convention in 2008. The “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” chanting band then led the protest march through streets that were not on the parade… Shit, I mean protest… route.
This isn’t a fucking parade.
We have power over the authority, the power to get out of step, to stop traffic, to break things and yell at people, to be angry and hostile, depressed and inconsolable.
“We’re honored to be here on this shitty, fucking, awful day,” says Cheap Perfume’s lead singer, Stephanie, wearing an oversized shirt that gives us a peak at her ass cheeks underneath when she jumps up and down. It’s the night before at a multiple-band event labeled Punk Against Trump.
One TV at Denver’s Summit Music Hall plays news. Donald J. Trump, just sworn in as the pussy-grabbing leader of the free world. From President-Elect to President in too few days. How did we get to January 20, 2017?
My nose wrinkles. Not the smell of punk rockers. No, I’ve learned to appreciate that bouquet of passion, anger and resistance.
A scene of the protests in DC, white hands exposed under a costume of all black. Black Bloc.
I think myself a pacifist. But breaking windows and burning limos makes my heart race. “Violence doesn’t end violence,” is an excuse I’ve used, but in seeing where we’ve come, I’m not sure I can actually say it’s worked.
“We don’t necessarily achieve more with property damage than a larger, more subdued rally achieves. In every case, the standard of achievement depends on the aims of the action, and all of us are far from creating the rupture we want to see in the world. One broken window, or a hundred, is not victory. But nor is over half a million people rallying on the National Mall. Both gain potency only if they are perceived as a threat by those in and around power,” says Natasha Lennard, a member of the Inauguration Day black bloc, in The Nation.
“And neither action will appear threatening unless followed up again and again with unrelenting force, in a multitude of directions. You don’t have to choose between pink hat and black mask; each of us can wear both. You don’t have to fight neo-Nazis in the street, but you should support those who do,” she continues.
So I’ll support both the non-violent opposition and the violent counteraction.
“Kill fascists,” someone onstage at the Punk Against Trump show says, the night before. And I cringed. Please don’t fucking kill anyone. Breaking out bank windows is a sign of our grievances with capitalism, the cages it puts us in, hands tied, moving for the man because there’s no other choice.
But killing seems a little much. Yet has the other side not pushed us to that point, burning lynched effigies of Barack Obama and electing a man with the immorality to support war crimes and sexual assault?
I guess it does no good to point fingers, to try and figure out which came first, the red chicken or the blue egg.
“Dear Don. Dear Do-o-o-o-on.”
The chorus of a Cheap Perfume song written about and before Trump got elected. The last time they’ll be performing the tune. Not the last time the audience will be singing it I’m sure. It’s stuck in my head as I walk around the park grounds.
This shitty, fucking awful day. Is this how conservatives felt when Barack Obama won?
Coming back from an election party, my mother recounted to my father that some other person there was excited, must be a Democrat. And my mother had to walk away, in disgust. And wonders whether she’ll be able to be friends with that person anymore. Because ewww…
I remember rolling my eyes. And walking away quietly.
Is it awful when an African American man that stands for hope gets elected to the presidency? When someone that stands for open-mindedness and inclusion takes over as leader of the free world? When love finds it’s way into office? When a married couple and their two children go eight years without a goddamn scandal in a show of classiness we haven’t seen in decades?
God damn, who wouldn’t be pissed?
I wouldn’t. Not about those things. Although, I’m not proud of the number of bombs Obama dropped on the most disenfranchised regions of the world. But I’ve had very few interactions with Republicans that share that specific complaint. I mean in light of my many a Republican I’ve heard say, “We should bomb the entire Middle East out of existence,” I suppose that would seem hypocritical. But at least a valid complaint.
They just want a racist, sexist, prejudiced, supposed businessman in office that lacks any real sign of empathy or compassion. They want someone that stands for the squeezing of rights (except theirs). Persecution based on any set of characteristics he deems valid. Hate.
Basically everything the United States of America doesn’t stand for.
Or maybe it does? Maybe it will? Who says we have to continue on the path our forefathers laid out?
Make America Great Again!!
Thank you Trump voters for the dumpster fire now burning out of control. This is The New America. My America, whether I like it or not.
I will not hold a sign that says, “Not My President.”
I will not pretend that that fluffy-headed imbecile is not my chief executive. Because he most definitely is.
Just like Obama was when I first saw that slogan start to appear, plastered on car bumpers and stuck to fridges, windows, anything that faced outwards.
Obama was your president you assholes. And Trump is our president now you bunch of loons.
Using Republican’s logic against them only works when their logic was solid in the first place. Just like the Republicans in 2008, Democrats created their own problem here to a certain extent. I’m going to go ahead and say, we (including myself) were part of the problem.
Because we’ve spent eight years turning our backs, ignoring snide remarks at family dinners, using the “well, we can agree to disagree” excuse, creating social media accounts that are echo chambers for our own beliefs where we berate the other side without discussion.
“The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.” -Thomas Jefferson
While we’ve been demanding a better public education system (a noble request), we could also have been looking inward, at baby steps, at things each of us could be doing to educate not only others but ourselves. Civil discussions, even heated debates.
But we turned our backs, on our own people, that maybe just didn’t understand, and we just didn’t understand them. And as we kept going, our ten steps in the other direction, both sides got to 10 and turned around with guns out.
People of all colors, sexes and ages hold signs as guns in the park.
“Healthcare is a human right.”
“Girls just want to have fun-damental human rights.”
People draped in rainbow flags carry ones that state, “Love has no gender.”
“Stand up for Religious Freedom.”
“Climate Change is Real.”
“Science is Real.”
“Yes, all lives matter, but we’re focused on black ones right now, OK? Because it is very apparent that our judicial system doesn’t know that.”
“We are all immigrants.”
The last one held up by a tan-skinned child standing on a couple concrete boxes, no smile, just a look, shy but determined to stand there all day holding that sign, to not go quietly back to wherever he’s from, and that’s probably right down the street. I hold back tears.
An ornery older lady holds a sign reading: “I cannot believe I still have to protest this shit,” as Fawn Germer, a best-selling author and inspirational speaker gets on stage to say, “Sometimes you build roads you don’t get to drive on.”
Maybe that white-haired lady won’t get to see it, but she’s fighting so that that little boy can. And that’s beautiful.
Really it’s all very beautiful.
And something one of the bands said last night comes to mind.
“They don’t control us and that’s what they’re scared of.”
Cliche. But true. Isn’t it? Because that’s really the only thing that could explain opposing many of the issues these people (including me) are standing for.
Let’s take same-sex marriage…
It seems kinda silly to be scared of this strawberry-blonde human (maybe a woman, maybe a man, maybe trans, does it matter?) with a rainbow bandana, hula hoop in an open area as music plays over the loudspeaker, especially for a group of people who hold tight to their guns and toughness (no liberal snowflakes there). Are you telling me they’re scared of this pale-skinned nymph frolicking around in tight pants and a fanny pack?
Maybe it’s not the person? But what that person represents?
Homosexuality that might rub off on me? If this beautiful creature just touched me, maybe I’d start eating muff and then, dear God no, go to hell.
First, if I’m persuaded to become a lesbian that easily, maybe I’m just a lesbian. Second, if heaven is anything like this non-diverse, comme il faut existence Republicans seem to want, I’ll take my chances with hell.
“So the challenge for the truly liberal section of the elite is – as in the 1930s – what to do. If you work for a bank, a law firm, an Ivy League university or a Silicon Valley giant, and your employer is systematically accommodating the new, post-factual reality, you are – even now, just weeks into the Trump era – living a double life,” says my favorite harper on post-capitalism, Paul Mason in The Guardian.
Which means I’ll also take my chances with small scale dumpster fires to oppose the out of control one we’re currently led by.