Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote: Jay Baron Nicorvo

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DedicateYourNoTrumpVote.com is home to a growing collection of voters who are thinking beyond the individual and dedicating their votes as acts of hope for the future. This brand-new website includes a wide range of voices, from Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling novelists to a retired lieutenant colonel with the US Army Special Forces, teachers, social workers, and people from various walks of life. Feel free to #DedicateYourNoTrumpVote on Twitter, Facebook, or by submitting to the site.

–Julianna Baggott

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In 1981, our doorbell rang. My father wasn’t home. A tax audit and a criminal investigation had run him out of state. My mom answered with my youngest brother, Shawn, days old and jaundiced, in her arms. Dane and I flanked her. We were three and five years old. I’d recently been promoted to Man of the House, and the man at the door was an IRS agent near to retirement. He told us he was there to inventory the home furnishings before they auctioned everything off, including the house.

“You want to take everything we own?” my mom said, a familiar but infrequent meanness hissing from her. I’d been on the business end of those unquestioning questions, and I was anxious. “Fine,” she said. “Here. Start with this.” She shoved yellow Shawn into the man’s arms, demanding, “Take him,” and when he did as told, she yanked Dane and me out of the way and slammed the door in his wide-open face.

Shawn, shut on the far side, began crying. The IRS agent pleaded, “Mrs. Nicorvo? Mrs. Nicorvo?” He knocked. “Please, Mrs. Nicorvo, please be reasonable.”

The three of us shifted inside the door. Dane shrugged and smiled. Shawn’s screams drowned out the man’s solicitations. “Mom,” I said. Her scowl raised a cottony knot in my throat, and I tugged her hand. I don’t think she saw me—she saw my father, maybe; maybe saw me becoming him, how of we three boys, I bore the closest resemblance. I tugged. “Mom, Shawn.”

She opened the door. The man, red blotches and sweat in his smug suit, bounced ridiculously on the balls of his hard shoes, fumbling a screaming orange infant. He handed Shawn quickly over saying, “We’ll schedule another time,” and then he was gone. Dane and I were giddy—Mom had chased off the taxman! But it was only a stay.

When I try to recall that old IRS agent’s face, his facade of intimidation, it is ruddy, all blubber-bluster, and it wavers under a deflated soufflé of a comb-over. He’s partly why I dedicate my No-Trump Vote to that newly single mother yoked to a husband who paid no taxes for years. I also dedicate my No-Trump Vote to the Regan Republicans who couldn’t be bothered to crackdown on deadbeat dads until a Democrat—a Clinton and a son of a single mother—took office. And because it took America so damn long, my brothers and I spent our childhoods in poverty experiencing most—if not all—of the traumatic deprivations that accompany destitution.

But mostly, I dedicate my No-Trump Vote to jaundiced Shawn, my baby brother, a part of him still in that old man’s grubby hands come calling to collect. Shawn, a registered Republican, is planning on voting Trump in November. Shawn, whom I love, was hardest hit by our poverty; he was born straight into the bad teeth of it. He has worked his body harder than anyone—man or woman—should for what little he and his family possess. He doesn’t have the extra time, or the education, to spend fact-checking—using quality sources—the countless slips of Trump’s dumb tongue. So my No-Trump Vote is for all the grown kids of single mothers, in the hope that they come to value—before it’s too late—the person who more closely resembles our sacrificing moms than our dodgy deadbeat dads.


Jay Baron Nicorvo’s debut novel, The Standard Grand, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in April. He lives on an old farm outside of Battle Creek, MI, with his wife, Thisbe Nissen, their son, and a couple dozen vulnerable chickens. Find Jay at www.nicorvo.net. More from this author →