But before I get into that, I wanted to say a couple things.
First, this will be my last post about Donald Trump before Wayne officially takes over that grueling four-year gig. To be honest, I don’t think my heart can take writing about him for the next four years—making fun of Dubya for eight straight years almost killed me back in the old Tastes Like Chicken days—and I’m much older, balder, and exhausted than I was back then. I’m glad to have Wayne back onboard and know he’ll do a bang-up job on taking Trump to task. Please welcome him to The Blarg with kind words and open arms.
Secondly, Trump’s win last November sparked a lot of things in me—anger, disgust, resentment… and, embarrassingly, even some pure hate—but the most important thing it did was kick me in the ass. I won’t be taking his presidency lying down; I will fight both it and him at every single turn.
Of course, there are a million ways to do that (and I know Wayne will be outlining many of those things in his posts), but the most important way to fight back is to be proactive in government, especially at local and state levels. Call your representatives. Hell, find out who your representatives are. I know a lot of people don’t even know who represent them in D.C., so start the fight by putting an end to that right now. Not caring about who represents you may have been okay pre-11/8 (my own personal 9/11), but not any more.
Now, we must:
Join an organization that shares your beliefs, or one that is at least working to fight against the atrocities that most certainly will come with a Trump presidency. Volunteer. Donate. But most importantly, be vigilant. Don’t ever let someone intimidate you or convince you into thinking that any of this is normal. Don’t become lazy or jaded; never shrug off the fact that an unqualified, lying, manipulative, racist, xenophobic, thin-skinned, misogynistic coward will soon hold the most influential and powerful position in the world. This is not a good thing, will never be a good thing, and it’s up to you to remind yourself (and others) of that every single day.
For me, part of being proactive meant joining the ACLU. I would encourage you to do the same. We also switched our Amazon account to an Amazon Smile account, which donates a portion of your purchases to a charity of your choice. And so, every time we buy something on Amazon a portion of that sale goes to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. This is a little thing, sure, but it’s something you can set up once (for free) and then continue to do without ever thinking about again. Again, I would encourage you to check it out.
Lastly, another way I’ll be fighting Trump and his cabinet of deplorables over the next four years is through donations. In the coming months, The Blarg is going to start selling merchandise (a first for us), specifically, t-shirts and stickers (at least to start). All of the money from the purchases of these items—seriously, 100%—will be donated to a charitable cause that is either helping push back on the incoming administration, or a group of people who are unjustly being disenfranchised and/or negatively affected by it.
I will gladly continue to take a loss on the production/shipping of these items as long as people are buying them so, please, bankrupt me. I beg of you. Each item of merch will be tied to a charity from the moment it goes on sale, so you’ll know exactly where your money is going before you make your purchase. Profits from the first item up for sale, a t-shirt, will go to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, a state I’m proud to be from, but ashamed to say is also the home of people like Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Reince Priebus. Look for the t-shirt here soon.
Now, with all that business out of the way, I’d like to end my thoughts on Donald Trump becoming president with this final post: Last year’s election has changed how I will raise our daughter.
Because it most certainly has.
Before I became a father in July 2015, I used to joke with friends that there were three things I’d be terrified to hear come out of my child’s mouth. They are, in order of least to most horrible, the following:
3. “Dad, I wanna play football.”
2. “Dad, I wanna go to church.”
1. “Dad, I just registered as a Republican.”
If you know me you know I’m a proud liberal atheist who, for whatever reason, has never had an appreciation or understanding of sports. Though I would frequently use those three lines as a joke it was never anything more than shtick; just a cheap, stupid attempt at getting a few laughs.
But the truth is, while I’m an opinionated loudmouth now, I haven’t always been that way. My parents—who are, for the most part, typically liberally minded but mostly apolitical—didn’t raise their children to have a political slant or bias. Because, you know, we were children. My family, in a larger, more extended sense, was mostly split into two halves. My mother’s side was mostly made up of Democrats, while my father’s side was mostly made up of Republicans. Still, the divide was never noticeable, at least growing up. Most of my family members aligned themselves with a certain party only by their votes, nothing more. There were never any arguments, at least none that I can remember, and I can’t honestly recall any of them, from either side, thinking of people from the opposing side as being “wrong.” It was just something they did—voted Democrat or Republican—not necessarily something they were. If anything, both sides of my family could agree on one thing: that most politicians, from either side of the aisle, are bums. Because of that approach, us kids were raised mostly oblivious to all things political.
I had no opinion of party for a long, long time. How long? Well, if I’m being honest, until 2001. Though I could’ve voted from 1994 on, I didn’t vote in a presidential election until 2004 when I cast my ballot for John Kerry. I didn’t vote for Clinton or Dole in 1996, or Gore or Bush in 2000 because, again, I simply didn’t care. That, and I didn’t see the parties as being all that different. But then 9/11 happened which, of course, was horrible and shocking; but it wasn’t that event that set my political beliefs in stone. Instead, it was how we as a nation reacted to those events. Seeing the Bush Administration—a group of people that, to this day, I will be ecstatic to see each member of finally shuffle off this mortal coil—drum up support for an unjust war against a country that had nothing to do with those events made me lose all faith in the GOP. Sure, a lot of Democrats were ignorant and weak enough to go along with Bush’s agenda (an agenda, I’d like to point out, that I believe equates to war crimes), but it was really the ridiculous, rah-rah rallying cry of the GOP that sent our country into an emotional spiral of us-against-them. And by “them” I mean “the rest of the world.”
For me, their reaction and actions decided it: I was a Democrat, not so much because I 100% agreed with everything they believed in—to this day, I don’t—but because the opposing view was so insane to me that I couldn’t in good faith be a part of something that awful.
Still, even through all of that, through eight years of Bush and his cronies pushing an unjust war that affected millions of innocent people, I still told myself that, like my parents, I would never push a specific political party or agenda onto my child.
See, I think political affiliation is a very personal and adult choice. Sure, I could dress my daughter in my favorite candidate’s onesie and take her to the park to show it off—and, to be clear, I’m not against people doing that if they think that’s important—but to me, I’m not sure what that accomplishes. It doesn’t mean she’s really for that candidate; she has no clue or concept what that even means. To me, all it would mean is that I’m using her as a way to express my own opinion and agenda.
This is also the reason I won’t push my daughter toward any one religion. I’m an atheist, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she is or wants to be. If someday she were to come to me and say she’s interested in a certain religion, of course I’d help her pursue and investigate that interest. I’d even take her to church if she asked… or at least I’d drop her off while I went to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts for a large coffee and a chocolate glazed.
My point is this: I’m going to assume that my daughter will most likely find her way to liberalism and atheism because that’s what the core beliefs of the household she’s growing up in are. I don’t feel like I necessarily have to push her in that direction. That said, if she finds herself interested in a different path, if she wakes up one morning with a thirst for knowledge of socialism or communism or Judaism or Hinduism or any other -ism, I will be there for her, and we’ll then venture down that path together.
This past election, however, has changed both my beliefs and my approach.
I will still refuse to push my daughter toward any one choice. I will never say that Democrats or liberals or progressives are right when it comes to politics, nor will I tell her that atheism is the best choice when it comes to religion. Or, more accurately I suppose, non-religion.
I won’t tell her what she should become, but I will tell her what she shouldn’t become. And the thing she is not to become is a Republican.
Because if I learned anything from this past election it is that the GOP is a party of exclusion, hatred, bigotry, prejudice, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. And I refuse to have my daughter become any of those things.
A lot of people say, “Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist.” I actually agree with that. However, Trump’s openly racist views didn’t stop those people from voting for him. To them, it wasn’t a deal-breaker. Nor was his misogyny. Nor was the fact that he openly bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, and then laughed about what is legally known as sexual assault. Nor was the fact that he made fun of handicapped people, or that he pushed a prejudiced and racist agenda against Muslims and Mexicans, or that he openly encouraged Russia to interfere in the election. And none of this even mentions the fact that he ran without any real policies, on no real platforms, and instead decided to talk/Tweet out of both sides of his mouth, babbling his way through vague promises and threats as he tried to figure out what the people in the room wanted to hear.
And still, for 62,979,879 people, none of the things listed above prevented them from voting for him. In doing so, by casting their vote, they validated these things; to these people, the platform of hate that he ran on wasn’t just okay, it was encouraged.
So, no, I don’t believe that the nearly 63 million people who voted for Trump are all racist. I do believe, however, that they’re okay with racism. And misogyny. And prejudice. And intolerance. And sexual assault. And on, and on, and on.
And all of that is fine. I think it’s terribly depressing—both for those people and for the human race as a whole—but it’s fine. But if that’s true, if those people are okay with those things, then I’m going to make sure they wear it like a badge of shame for the rest of their lives. Because they should be ashamed. I think that’s a big reason why the polls were so off this past election, because a lot of Trump voters were embarrassed to tell the truth about who they were voting for. Rightly so. Cowards thrive in the darkness and behind closed doors… or behind a keyboard. One only needs to look at Trump’s Twitter feed for proof of that.
The actions of the GOP as a whole are just as shameful. Sure, before the election some of them came out and shouted, “Even if he is from my party, I cannot stand behind a candidate who brags about sexually assaulting women!” Well, bravo for them. Unfortunately, as soon as Trump won they all lined up behind him like the puppets they are. But again, if that’s what they want to be then it’s up to us to hold them to it. They’ll wear that badge of shame into their graves.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If Trump had run as a Democrat against Rubio or Kasich or (I can’t believe I’m even typing this, but) Bush, I would’ve voted for the Republican candidate. Because, party loyalty or not, I never would have chosen to let a person like Trump define who I am as a human being. Unfortunately, for 63 million Americans, they were okay with it.
It’s true, I haven’t been a big fan of the GOP since 2001, but before November 8th, 2016 I never would’ve let my daughter hear me say that out loud. Now, I will instill that knowledge in her. Just as I will teach her that the Klu Klux Klan (who supported Trump) is an ignorant group of hatemongers, or that the Westboro Baptist Church is made up of some of the world’s worst human beings, or that the Nazis killed millions of innocent people because of blind prejudice and racism, so too will I teach her that the GOP is a party that got to where it is because they were either too cowardly to step away from a horrible man, or, worse yet, they secretly believed all of the horrible things that were coming out of his mouth.
Either way, they’re guilty.
Either way, they should be ashamed.
And either way, one day, when my daughter is old enough to understand politics, she will know that’s the case.
You can’t have her,