I’ve asked our editorial team to share their thoughts with you on tomorrow’s election. To stay silent when we have a platform to speak out felt wrong. This election is critical. We are code-red. We might elect our first woman president, or we might elect a man who is at best dangerous and unqualified and at worst the end of democracy as we know it today. Problematic though that democracy might be, it is far better than Trump’s America.
Unsurprisingly, the editors do not all feel the same way about this election. But not one of them believes that we will be better off, be a stronger and safer country, if Donald Trump wins it.
If you subscribe to the Daily Rumpus, my own thoughts, below, will sound a little familiar, but I wanted to share them with all of our readers.
Through Election Day, we have been running selected #dedicateyournotrumpvote pieces each Monday—read them, today, if you haven’t yet. Each participant shares unique, meaningful reasons why we cannot allow Trump to win. You should also visit the Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote website—this whole project began when Julianna Baggott shared her own No-Trump Vote dedication and invited others to join her. The website notes that these dedications are “a hopeful act in a perilous time.” And indeed, there is hope to be found in these dedications. There is also fear, abuse, pain, and so much truth. But I promise, there is hope.
A year ago, I couldn’t believe Trump was a potential nominee. Now, the news feels like an episode of Mr. Robot and even prominent Republicans have begun to admit out loud what we already knew: this is not a man qualified to be President. This man lacks humanity. He is a racist, a sexist, an egomaniac. He is dangerous. He is a criminal.
He is also my father. Which is to say, there is a particular aspect of Donald Trump that I long avoided looking at directly, the way one avoids bright sunlight but knows what she is avoiding. The comments Trump has made in the past (and present) about his daughter Ivanka, the way he touches her, looks at her… It makes me physically ill. When you live for eighteen years with a man like that, when you grow up defending yourself from a man like that, you recognize “it” right away. That icky feeling in the pit of your stomach. That feeling that you are not safe.
It hurts me that such a man is even in the running for the highest elected office in our country. And I’m mostly healed from the pain of my past, so I can only imagine what this does to countless women who aren’t. Especially conservative women, the girls and women who have been told Trump is the only choice, that Hillary is the devil and that this man who would actually literally assault you and think it was okay should be the next leader of our country. Women and girls who don’t know that you can call the bad man a bad man. That you can fight back when it hurts.
I can no longer avoid staring at the sun, because I know its burn and I am still able to say these words to you: My father was an abuser and a racist and a bad man. He lived most of his adult life that way and died that way. When I look at Donald Trump, I see my father. Please do not elect a man like my father to be President of our country. He would destroy so much. Cause so much pain.
I am not a hopeful person, generally. But I hope that good will win out tomorrow. I hope you do, too.
– Marisa Siegel, Managing Editor
I’m under no delusion that defeating Donald Trump will somehow cure all of the ills of American society. The misogyny, racism, and xenophobia that he has spewed this election season are only symptomatic of the bigotry that has shaped (and continues to shape) America at large. On November 9, even if Trump loses, we will continue to find ourselves battling the cancerous hatred that threatens to eat us alive. No politician will ever save us from this; it is we, as individuals, ultimately, who must do the hard work within ourselves and within our communities.
Yet the persistence of hatred is not a reason to ignore the material consequences of Donald Trump winning the White House. It is no secret (nor should it be any surprise) that this election season has brought a rise in hate crimes. In 2016 alone, there have been 289 hate crimes against Muslims. This doesn’t include hate crimes against others, including this horrific act of violence against a homeless Latino in Boston, an incident that has personally haunted me since it occurred. It has gotten to the point where Donald Trump’s call for voter intimidation in Philadelphia has me, as a Latinx, personally afraid to vote. The sheer audacity with which Trump and his supporters proclaim their bigotries is terrifying, and it has very real, very dangerous consequences.
In short, Donald Trump is a racist piece of shit. For that reason, I dedicate my vote to the continual fight against fascism, racism, and bigotry. This election will not, by far, be the end of America’s problems, but Trump’s defeat will make me feel at least a little safer in my own skin.
– P.E. Garcia, Editorial Assistant
For anyone who says this presidential election is a choice between the lesser of two evils, let me tell you a story. In 1991, in my home state of Louisiana, the runoff for Governor was between Edwin Edwards, a three-time governor who had been repeatedly investigated for racketeering and bribery, and David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Edwards would win handily, thanks to unprecedented turnout from Louisiana’s black community, but that contest inspired a slogan that appeared on bumper stickers throughout the state: “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”
Edwards would later be convicted of extortion in 2001, while David Duke would be convicted of mail fraud and filing a false tax return in 2002, so in hindsight it might not be completely clear just who was the crook in that slogan, but at the time, there was no question. Better to have a crook in the governor’s mansion than an avowed racist. And voters agreed—Edwards won with over 61% of the vote.
Hillary Clinton, despite what her many detractors claim, is not a crook. She’s a lifelong politician, and if that’s synonymous with crook to you, well, I can’t completely fault you, given this country’s history. But fact-checkers have proven more than once that she’s more honest than your average politician, and every investigation into her finances has turned up nothing untoward. Donald Trump, though, is every bit the racist that David Duke is. He’s gotten official support from the Ku Klux Klan and what is now stupidly referred to as the “alt-right,” from anti-Semites and groups that target Latinxs and Asian-Americans. He’s called for banning Muslims from entry into the US and wants to make Stop-and-Frisk a national policy.
I understand if you don’t like Hillary Clinton as a candidate. I have major qualms about her foreign policy and her coziness both with big energy and big banks, and I supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries. But seriously, this isn’t a choice. Vote for Hillary: It’s Important.
– Brian Spears, Poetry Editor
I have probably been the Donald Trump in other people’s lives.
As a kid I could be a real shit. It’s bad enough to be a bully; it’s worse when you’re a straight, white, American male bully in a diverse neighborhood. I have sneered like Donald Trump. I have shrugged like Donald Trump. I have gloated and lied and hurt people. In Donald Trump I recognize the parts of myself that disgust me.
Please help me do whatever it takes to stop a nightmare version of our worst selves from running the world.
– Brian Hurley, Books Editor
Do not vote for Trump. Do not vote for Trump because when he says Make America Great Again, he is referencing a time of legal segregation, sexism, and discrimination. Don’t vote for Trump because he says you have to treat women like shit. Don’t vote for Trump because he brags about gawking at naked Miss America contestants while they change their clothing. Don’t vote for Trump because his ex-wife accused him of rape. Don’t vote for Trump because he thinks grabbing women’s genitals is something celebrities are allowed to do. Don’t vote for Trump because he doesn’t think it is possible for a husband to rape his wife. Don’t vote for Trump because he called Mexicans rapists, yet a woman has accused him of raping her when she was just thirteen years old. Don’t vote for Trump because he doesn’t like taco trucks. Don’t vote for Trump because he doesn’t see a problem with dropping nuclear bombs. Don’t vote for Trump because he claims he would get along great with Vladimir Putin. Don’t vote for Trump because FBI agents believe he might actually be a Russian agent.
Do not vote for Trump because he cheats on his taxes. Do not vote for Trump because while he pays his family-owned businesses with campaign funds, he still owes a pollster hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t vote for Trump because workers building Trump Tower were paid below minimum wage. Don’t vote for Trump because though he claims he wants to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, he is actually a union buster. Don’t vote for Trump because he refused to pay for pianos purchased for his casino. Don’t vote for Trump because his charity is a sham prohibited from raising money by New York’s Attorney General. Don’t vote for Trump because Chris Christie is campaigning on his behalf, and his Deputy Chief of Staff testified that Christie, having a hissy fit, threw a water bottle at her head. Don’t vote for Trump because Peter Thiel, a major campaign donor and outspoken supporter, believes suing independent publishers to censor them is his right as a wealthy person. Don’t vote for Trump because he hired Roger Ailes after twenty women at Fox News accused him of years of sexual harassment. Do not vote for Trump.
Do not vote for Trump because he won’t disavow white supremacists supporting him. Do not vote for Trump because the most prominent newspaper to endorse him is the KKK’s newsletter. Don’t vote for Trump because he keeps copies of Hitler’s speeches in a cabinet near his bed. Don’t vote for Trump because he’s inciting violence at his rallies. Don’t vote for Trump because he suggested gun-owning supporters should shoot his opponent. Don’t vote for Trump because he claims the election is rigged but is telling his supporters to vote twice. Don’t vote for Trump if you hope to ever vote again. Don’t vote for Trump. Don’t vote for Trump. Do not vote for Trump.
– Ian MacAllen, Interviews Editor
For every woman, girl, man, and boy who have been made into an object that exists for someone else’s physical pleasure and plunder.
For all the catcalled, cornered, grabbed, and groped. For the followed, assaulted, attacked, and raped.
For those killed because their predators had finished using their bodies. For those found, and for those never found.
For those who came forward with stories of sexual abuse, assault, intimidation, and harassment.
For those who were doubted, dismissed, silenced, fired, blacklisted, or vilified.
For those who never came forward, who kept quiet out of fear, bewilderment, resignation, or shame.
For anyone who’s ever been asked: What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Why were you walking alone?
For anyone who’s ever been told: Hey, lighten up! Take a joke! Boys will be boys. It’s just locker room talk.
For my friend who, at age fourteen, was told by a classmate’s father that when it comes to breast size “more than a mouthful’s a waste.”
For my friend who was cornered in a train compartment, groped by a stranger, and who later, having escaped and made it back home, was told by her father-in-law that these things happen, there’s nothing you can do, no use getting upset.
For my friend who was cornered at work by the CEO and told how to “advance” in the company.
For those raped by a friend. For those raped by a stranger. For those raped by the parish priest. By an uncle, a father, a friend of the family. By a whole group of rapists.
For my daughter, who just turned eleven, and who no doubt will be catcalled and ogled. Who will likely be followed, cornered, grabbed, and groped. Who has a one-in-five chance of being raped sometime in her life.
Because words have power.
Because words betray a mindset.
Because words turn into actions.
Because it’s never just locker room talk.
For every girl and woman who spends part of every day trying not to get catcalled, ogled, cornered, followed, grabbed, groped, sexually intimidated, assaulted, abducted, raped, or killed. That is to say, for every girl and woman.
For every victim of sexual predation in any form: I see you. I believe you. It’s not okay. And my hell no Trump vote is for you.
– Molly Spencer, Assistant Poetry Editor
– Brandon Hicks, Comics Editor
I voted for Hillary Clinton for president. I did it last week. I have a lot of friends who disapprove, some for reasons I agree with. I have other friends who enthusiastically approve, for reasons I disagree with.
I don’t get misty-eyed about the vote—I feel gratitude to the colonists, suffragettes, and civil rights protestors who organized, fought, and suffered so we could have this right. But you don’t need to look to the past to find injustice and corruption. The US electoral system is a stupid, messy, antiquated, blunt instrument that needs to be thrown out and replaced outright. For fuck’s sake: we vote on Tuesdays to allow farmers time to observe the Sabbath and then travel by horseback two days to a voting location. Our votes don’t even directly elect our representatives—they elect electors who elect our representatives. The Supreme Court decided the vote in 2000, with an asterisk saying, “please don’t let us do this again.” Like our economy, the franchise doesn’t work the way people think it does, and it doesn’t work the way people want it to—and in certain very real ways it doesn’t “work” at all.
And our elections are designed to create dichotomies. In local races this empowers parties, since most people just vote for the “R” or the “D.” At the national level of a presidential election, it means that our idiotic media culture can reach maximum moronitude, reducing everything to a grotesque all-or-nothing “reality” show, where the zinger of the day and the scandal of the week affect the fortunes of millions #peoplediewithouthealthcare #waristhemassmurderofchildren.
All of this is what we’d be talking about had this election not taken the almost-unbelievable historic turn it did, when the Republican Party nominated a probable rapist reality TV celebrity with manopausal mood swings and history of screwing people over in both business and personal affairs to an extent that is surely pathological. This turn created an existential threat that unified many cynics and skeptics, myself included, behind a typical establishment machine politician who is hawkish, cagey, and friendly with both Wall Street and dirty energy interests—at a time when we “smelly masses” want nothing more than massive change and popular empowerment. If this were a novel, it would be a very clever plot: the people want populist change? I’ll show you populist change! Here, have a completely incompetent, unstable, probably criminal, terrifying egomaniac TV personality! He “love[s] the poorly educated” (to quote him), and they love him. And what can the people say to that? It’s like the threat of slicing the baby in half—you love the baby, and so you let the other woman take it, because it’s better to see your child live in the arms of a woman you don’t entirely trust than see it dead in blood, torn in half.
The system is fucked, and this election is fucking it worse. And the literal and only way a vote can make it better is to be cast for Hillary Clinton.
Voting for a third party won’t help. Writing somebody in won’t help. It has to be a vote for Hillary Clinton.
I voted for Clinton because I didn’t lose sight of the fact that a typical machine politician with whom I disagree about Wall Street, energy policy, and the use of military force is not even comparable to the fascist racist misogynist probable-rapist who’s spent his entire life (and sadly my entire life) ripping people off and inflicting harm as a way to stoke his own ridiculous ego, and who, by the way, is a Kardashian with a comb over, a reality TV idiot who doesn’t even seem to know how anything actually works.
I live in a swing state. I don’t want that shit-show to win here.
I know I cast my vote the right way, but my feelings are complicated by my opposition to the system as it stands. Any vote in this system is a vote for the system. And yet not voting is abandoning what little power you’ve got. At some level I feel trapped: the rules of game make it improbable for anyone but these two people to win; one of them is depressingly status quo, but the other is an apocalyptic catastrophic bloodbath.
And in the end, I do trust Hillary Clinton with our baby. She will probably put it in clothes made by people earning exploitation wages, and she will drive it around in a car with a massive carbon footprint, and she might even try to use our love of our baby to justify dropping bombs on other babies, which we must not allow her to do. (We have to be a massive thorn in her side and stop her from doing all of this shit, actually.) But I want Hillary Clinton to win the election and get custody, because I want our baby to live, and the only other motherfucker this stupid dichotomous system allows us can’t be trusted with a goldfish.
– Amy Letter, Digital/Electronic/New Media Literature Editor
On Tuesday, November 8, I will vote against Donald Trump. I cast this vote for my body and for the bodies of friends, family, and total strangers, who have suffered at the hands of individuals like him. Individuals who imposed their will on us without our consent. Individuals who would seek to build walls, to border out others, but accept none for themselves. To be honest, I was voting against Donald Trump long before I knew his history as a sexual predator. His conduct and communication to the country provided a laundry list of reasons to do so. I will vote against Donald Trump because my body, like my vote, is wholly my own to give. Because the power to say no is mine on Election Day. I ask my fellow voters to consider my testimony in their decision.
I believe the body is a verb. I believe we are made most fully human by our actions.
On Tuesday, November 8, I am not voting for a perfect country or candidate. I am voting for all my verbs. To choose. To love. To be. I am voting for my life.
– Amy Sayre Baptista, Assistant Essays Editor
Arthur Szyk was a Jewish artist who immigrated to the United States from Poland during World War II. A master of manuscript illumination, Szyk was also a cartoonist famous for anti-Hitler propaganda art. I’m currently assisting on a book project about him. More than once, when I’ve told friends and family about Szyk, they’ve remarked that it couldn’t have been too eyebrow-raising to be anti-Hitler during World War II.
Because the US ultimately made what we now recognize as the moral choice in that conflict, it’s easy to look backward across history and think that everyone must have had the same awareness of, and intolerance for, the tyrannical things that Hitler was doing. But tyrants can’t wield this kind of power alone. They need the support of the people beneath them—at least, at first.
In Washington’s Rebuke to Bigotry, John L. Loeb, Jr., chairman of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, writes about a disturbing experience he had as a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy in America in 1945. He attended a movie night with the entire student body of his high school and saw a newsreel depicting German concentration camps, “disturbing images of the dead and near-dead,” and everyone at the school cheered. A peer told him, “Well, we don’t like Hitler, but at least he’s killed the Jews.”
These were young boys in the United States of America, 1945, not altogether endorsing this tyrant, but sneering, pleased that he had brought harm to people they didn’t like. The sentiment feels eerily of-the-moment.
Perhaps we all think we will recognize evil when we see it. I see it when I read about Donald Trump inciting violence against people of color, proposing a database of Syrian refugees—or perhaps all Muslims in America, and attacking the character of Mexican immigrants (not to mention bragging about sexual assault and being accused of child rape). Donald Trump appeals to weaknesses in our collective character: a scarcity mindset, the fear that everything we have and are can be taken away, anger at our impotence over the things we cannot control, the conviction that all of our misfortunes would vanish if only all of the people of an entire race, class, faith would just disappear, whether by building an absurd wall to keep them away, or turning an unsympathetic eye when they are killed.
To support Donald Trump in this election is to bet on the hope that his loose-cannon ways will always fire at Other People. This is not a wise bet. Right now he is weak because he needs something from us: our votes. Tyrants don’t come to power solely through the force of their will. We help put them there.
I know I should be happier about the idea that our country could finally catch up to many other nations in the world by electing a woman to our highest office, but my vote this year is really about things I don’t want to happen.
I don’t want a tyrant to do whatever he wants to people of color, non-Christians, women and gender non-conforming individuals, the poor. My no-Trump vote is for my Muslim friends, my Jewish friends, my LGBTQIA friends, and every woman I know. My no-Trump vote is for every person from Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, and India who in the past year has asked me fearfully whether I, an American, think he should be president. My No-Trump vote is also for those who disagree with me, because I don’t want you to be those sneering boys at that movie theater in 1945.
– Sarah Lyn Rogers, Fiction Editor
I’m not too happy with Obama since he dismissed what is happening at Standing Rock with, “I’m going to wait a few weeks to see how this plays out,” just one day after he made his official declaration for Native American Heritage Month. In addition, Secretary Clinton had nothing of import to say about the situation at Standing Rock. Despite her husband Bill Clinton claiming that he’s of Cherokee heritage, their attention to Native rights and issues is sorely lacking. I’m disillusioned, not that I needed to be disabused from any idyllic notions of the real world prior to the last couple of weeks, anyway. Thus, my reflections conclude with “bag of dicks” as an anthem of protest.
Bag of dicks? Try bag of vaginas!
Have you grown tired of the ho-hum slur eat a bag of dicks? If eat a bag of dicks has reached its expiration date and your insult arsenal seems lackluster, try using eat a bag of vaginas, instead!
Here we are on the cusp of a woman commander in chief, which is all the more reason to upgrade your aspersions to fem-centric, fem-friendly ones. There was a time that douchenozzel was the go-to shade-thrower, but I want my insults to pop, I’m looking for cutting edge, artisanal-crafted invectives. And no more privileging of male anatomical default settings for me! I’m going full Monty with the lady parts put-downs for the dawning of this new era!
Having a woman running the country gives me a renewed sense of hope. And that includes everything from women’s health care and women’s equal pay, to feeling assured that my days of slinging exclusively male-centered insults are over! Microphallus, you say? How about microgyno? Wooden dildo? You mean douche canoe, don’t you! From sausage wallet to Adolf Titler, the sky’s the limit! I for one am embracing this not so fresh milieu! Teehee, see what I did there?
– Tiffany Midge, Assistant Poetry Editor
Electoral politics is a cesspool, and no thinking person should expect anything resembling equity and justice to come from the Democrats or the Republicans. Gore Vidal said the United States has one political party, that it’s a bird with two right wings. This has been true in the past, and it is certainly true today. I know some people might think and feel that this kind of denunciation of Democrats might be harsh, that Democrats have historically been on the side of social progress, but an honest appraisal of our past and present leaves us laden with evidence to the contrary. This is a country build on settler colonialism, a country that continues that tradition in its unmitigated financial and military support for the Israeli state’s occupation of Palestinian territories, a country that throws a few scraps at the oppressed and congratulates itself for its progressivism.
Malcolm X on progress: “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, that’s not progress.”
I’ve been called angry, many times, more than I can count. I’ve noticed that the accusation has almost always been a way to discredit my criticisms. I’ve come to feel that this might be because the truth of our historical moment is so gnarled, so festering, that people cannot accept that this is where we are, and that these are the things being done in our name and with our complicity. The actual root causes of most of our society’s problems require more than signing an online petition or showing up with a sign one time.
I don’t mean to suggest that our situation is hopeless, or that we are intrinsically sick or evil, but as adults we should be able to face a complex and intractable reality with some courage and resolve. I think one very useful thing we can do toward this is to disavow ourselves of the notion that voting can be our participation in politics, or that we can enact our politics through our purchasing decisions, or modes of self-expression. We shouldn’t congratulate ourselves for voting against Donald Trump because that is the absolute bare minimum in terms of political action. On November 9 the deplorables will remain deplorable, and we will (hopefully) be facing the brutal reality of the other right wing in Hillary Clinton.
– José Orduña, Sunday Co-Editor
I write this from a McDonald’s in Pacific, Missouri, about five minutes from the prison where I teach every Thursday. I am between classes and bites of a McMuffin and I am listening to a lively exchange on whom to vote for next week. “Both are bad,” says a man behind the counter, in a voice that sounds as amused as anything. “But at least one doesn’t set out to kill his rivals.”
That this justification is uttered is far less shocking than the casual tone with which it’s expressed. “Hillary’s evil,” laughs his female coworker, the same young woman who every week extols my outfit as she hands me the receipt. I like this woman, and twenty years ago I could have been working beside her. Across the street is the theme park where I painted faces for two summers, at fourteen and fifteen, as eager to make a dollar as I was naïve about what that dollar meant.
I’ve never been a fan of Hillary, and the fact that the rapid expansion of the prison-industrial complex was practically cosigned by the Clinton administration is not lost on me. Neither are the valid reasons to be wary of a political dynasty, or to question imprudent email threads. Neither are the valid reasons that so many Americans feel angry and disenfranchised, rearing for change.
But voting for Trump invalidates the very reason for reason. No candidate in my lifetime has been less qualified for office. No candidate has consciously dismissed or attacked so many American communities. No candidate has behaved with such pompous, reckless abandon—as though debate is a splashy chicken fight, democracy a game of rhetorical beer-pong, sloppiest loser take all.
Beneath the autumnal foliage of my university campus twenty-five miles away, it can seem preposterous that anyone would vote for Trump. But those twenty-five miles might as well be galaxies from this booth at an empty McDonald’s. I dedicate my vote to the girl behind the counter—someone whom Trump’s policies would almost invariably hurt. I dedicate my vote to the male cashier spouting lies as a form of flirtation. And I dedicate my vote to the millions of incarcerated Americans who cannot vote at all.
– Eileen G’Sell, Film/Media/TV Editor
I’m with her, pragmatically. My vote is reluctant, and as limp and impotent as Clinton’s comments on the domestic terrorism Water Protectors face each day at Standing Rock. Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about Indigenous people. Not voting is dangerous, as dangerous as forgetting our history, and the Indigenous stewards of our earth. My people believe that everyone deserves a home and land. There is nothing more Indigenous than open borders, and it’s obstinate to disregard that the houses we own are built on Native Land and Mexican land: Indigenous land. Trump won’t honor my cultural affinity, or the sovereignty of Indigenous people. I hope that Hillary can.
– Terese Mailhot, Saturday Editor
Confession: A Trump presidency scares me. I’ll see on the news that a new poll shows him closing the gap in swing states, and I want to take to the streets and try to convince Trump supporters or potential Trump supporters that he is dangerous. That his rhetoric of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and all the other terrible things he says will set our country back decades. The progress we have made in equality already feels so tenuous.
On the eve of the 2003 Iraq War, Madonna was gearing up to release her American Life album. It is known as her political album. The video for the first single and title track was filmed, she has said, with the intention of trying to do something to stop that war. It was graphic in its depiction of war and violence. It made fun of then President George W. Bush. It was never officially released. Shelved because she “didn’t want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of the video” as a lack of support for the troops, the people who had been sent to war. She said her aim was not to “offend or incite, but to inspire.” It is, of course, unclear if the original video would have been able to stop a war. Probably not. But I appreciate, understand the impulse to use what tools you have available to you to try to stop such a thing.
I suppose this is my version of “American Life.” Unsure of what else to do, I write.
Confession: I would love for this to be a piece that could convince a Trump supporter to vote for Hillary Clinton. I doubt that is possible at this point. What feels more productive right now is to remind Hillary Clinton supporters to go out and vote. Don’t become complacent. Don’t think, The polls show she will get plenty of votes, so I’ll just stay home.
Vote. Vote. Vote.
Vote down the ticket, so that she can have some hope of accomplishing what she needs to accomplish without being blocked by a Republican-controlled House and/or Senate. And then we need to continue to show up for her and ourselves. We need to realize that our work doesn’t end once the election is decided. In many ways, the work is just beginning. We need to stay active in any way we can, calling and writing our local and federal representatives to let them know what we want over the course of the next four years, and beyond. Those of us who are artists, who create, need to not shy away from being political in our work. We can inspire too by what we put out into the world. Can one song, one poem or story make the world different? How will we know if we don’t try? Can one president? How will we know if we don’t give her a fighting chance?
– Brian Kornell, Assistant Essays Editor
For me, the crisis of this election brings into sharp, terrifying relief the fact that we have allowed our nation to become vulnerable. We have allowed huge swathes of our population to progress toward irrelevancy: to become forgotten as their ability to participate in the economy, in their own self-determination as contributing members of society, becomes bound to a path toward obsolescence. It is asking quite a bit to expect millions of people to rise above the tendency to become desperate, to need a concept or person to blame for the pain they experience. This is most especially true when that pain is handed down by invisible forces, is made manifest most clearly in an incomprehensible and relentless inability to succeed. It leaves them vulnerable to hate, to demagogues, to misdirected feelings of revenge.
Trump is only an opportunist; if we do not address this system-wide disinterest for the future of many of our country’s workers, then we will remain vulnerable to his ilk for many elections to come. Don’t hear me wrong; this is not an argument against the importance of voting on Tuesday. Fighting the approach of demagogues is always vital. My concern is that we need to see Trump’s popularity as what it is: a flare warning of a situation that will not be extinguished by his defeat.
– Liz Wood, Assistant Music Editor
This election cycle has been scary, to say the least. I was always somewhat aware that there were veins of the American population that would agree with the ideologies a candidate like Trump proposes. But I never knew that women, people of color, and marginalized groups had so few allies in high places that such ideologies could carry themselves right up to the White House without any real challenge.
It amazes me that Donald Trump got as far as he did without any real political experience while Barack Obama’s first campaign was constantly berated with accusations that he wasn’t experienced enough for office after serving as a senator for three terms. What has Trump done in politics to make him qualified to be President? What has he done besides create fake non-profits, insult women and immigrants, fire people on television, and build towers sourced from Chinese steel?
All of this public scandal is overshadowed by the toll this election cycle has taken on those of us who are not cis-gendered, white, Christian males. Psychiatrist Julie Holland found that anxiety in women increased in post-9/11 America, and doctors took this opportunity to prescribe an enormous amount of anti-depressants and other psychiatric medications. I would be interested to see if this era in American history reveals the same medical phenomenon in targeted groups. I, for one, have taken my personal psychological health seriously and made the choice not to watch too much of the debates, choosing only to review debate highlights the day after and keep up with election highlights via news organizations I trust. (Thank goodness I can make choices like that, along with the choice to have an abortion, and whether or not I would like a man to grab me in personal areas of my body.) I’ve considered the well-being of my country and my own psychological well-being, and I can accomplish the maintenance of both by not voting for Donald Trump tomorrow.
– Feliz Moreno, Assistant Interviews Editor
“If Trump wins, I want to leave and go back to New Zealand,” I said in a meeting recently.
“I wouldn’t feel safe here,” I thought of the racist, misogynist taunts and aggression frothing from the candidate and projectile barfing of his supporters.
“African-Americans have never felt safe,” my colleague replied.
I’ve thought about that since, how my friend Stan says, “when white people catch a cold, black people catch pneumonia.” People who say now that they live with precarity have often made the lives of others precarious. While some voters experience insecurity and dwindling access to power, others have long suffered mob attacks, police brutality, and poverty-encouraged violence. This is merely the first time I have witnessed unvarnished racism and sexism shift so shamelessly and publically into view, like the swivel of a Janus mask. Not new, but under a veneer of civility and ostensible progress. I recall staying with charming townspeople in the former Yugoslavia, and my shock at war and genocide that came after—they were [civilized] people just like us. It reminds me that I live in a town where white supremacists firebombed African-Americans’ homes, from the early 1900s to the 1950s. World-famous scientist Dr. Percy Julian endured death threats, arson attempts, and a dynamite attack when his young children were home. Currently, my town boasts of its diversity, attracting LGBTQ residents, a range of ethnicities and social groups, and it strives for greater power sharing. Most people favor gender equality and reproductive rights. Trump signs aren’t planted on any lawns I’ve seen. Our town doesn’t want America to be “great again” in the way of yesteryear.
On occasion since moving here from New Zealand, folks have told me I should remain silent—I’m a “guest” in this country. I’ve paid taxes for fifteen years, so I feel I have a stake in my country of residence, the country where I’ve raised my children. It’s hard to fathom what some Americans think they will gain by electing a self-interested businessman; a self-proclaimed woman abuser and tax evader; a peddler of racist stereotypes; a charlatan seller of fake university diplomas and purveyor mediocre neckties. As a woman of color, I am terrified to venture into Trump territories. As a global citizen, I am afraid of his explosive misreading of international relations, his willingness to befriend tyrants, and his denial of climate change.
A friend visited from Minnesota and gave me a chia pet as a host gift—an orange terracotta likeness of Donald Trump. We sprinkled his head with seed, watered it, and watched as he grew unruly strands of chia “hair.” By the third debate, he had grown moldy and smelly. I let him hang out on the kitchen counter for Halloween. Yesterday, I dumped him in the trash bin with clumps of dog hair and the dinner scrapings. If only, post-election, we could relegate white supremacy, misogyny, violence to Muslims and people of color, and other anachronistic viewpoints to the trash, too. Whatever the outcome, we have to walk and work among people, who in a different time may have burnt witches on pyres or tried to immolate our children. I dedicate my No-Trump vote to my children, the good people of my home town, Oak Park, Illinois, and our continuing march toward equality and a future worth sharing.
– Toni Nealie, Sunday Co-Editor
Photograph of Amy Letter by Norah Silva. Photograph of Sarah Lyn Rogers by Aly Schaefer. Photograph of Brian Spears by Steve Daubs.