It’s Going To Be Okay

by Penny Robo

It has been utterly exhausting existing in this constant state of low level panic, a state often interrupted only by moments of shock/disgust/terror/disbelief. Some have been in this state since Trump’s nomination, others since his win, yet more with every policy proposal or bafflingly braggadocious admittance of total ignorance.

But recent events appear to have not only resuscitated an increasingly weary pushback, emboldening the resistance, but have also rejuvenated it. More voices, louder voices, and more eyes opened wider than before. Issues written off as little more than posturing partisanship are being reexamined by, well, everyone.

And a single policy managed to shatter that heretofore largely successful push for normalization of this brand of extremism. He claimed it was a law (it was a policy) and that the democrats were responsible (it was proposed and executed by his own administration) and that only the democrats could change it (republicans are the ones in control) and that it couldn’t be fixed by an executive order (he ended the policy by executive order). Nearly every card in Trump’s arsenal of blame-shifting and deflection was played, and they all failed in one of the flashiest and credibility-destroying displays in years.

Just imagine what the response would have been if Obama had do be something like this in ‘09. Fox News would still be bringing it up at least once a week.

While Trump has been under a microscope since he announced his run for president, something has just changed in a very big way. Many, many more are looking into the microscope for themselves when just a few short months ago they’d have refused to acknowledge the microscope as anything other than a diversionary tool. Soon, his constant praise of dictators while lambasting our allies (starting a fight with Canada? Seriously?) will be seen even by his own base not as some advanced three-dimensional chess game, but as genuine declarations of what he desires and aspires to.

This is important.  This has put a dent in the armor of blind loyalty he’s so far gleefully and vocally enjoyed. This is a source of hope.

But so far he’s steered clear of certain groups. A “movement” like his is typically keen to paint any other as an enemy, and the LGBT community was the go-to other for a very long time. But reality prevailed. As more and more people came out, as social media grew, the average American realized that gay people weren’t some mystifying and destructive force, but their friends and neighbors and co-workers and children. While still facing injustice, we’ve largely succeeded in making ourselves viewed as human beings deserving of rights, and stripped away the political power of the kind of obtuse and ham-fisted rhetoric Trump is so fond of.

And that’s why I’m so worried by news of Kennedy’s retirement. Because as stupid as Trump is, he’s historically surrounded himself with people who have some idea of what they’re doing; do you really think he’s the one who figured out how to unload his personal debt onto his casino? Right now he’s surrounded by people with agendas, and no qualms about violating any sense of morality they may hold to achieve it. With a new Trump-appointee on the Supreme Court, the old guard would be able to do enormous damage to decades of gains. Abortion laws, same-sex marriage, voter rights… all would be up for dissolution.

Despite the push and promise to get a new justice sworn in before the midterms, when the possibility of major democratic wins could stall confirmation (hey, remember when they stopped Obama from nominating a justice because reasons?) there’s still hope. The family separation policy has done major damage, enough to possibly encourage republicans seeking to distance themselves from Trump to join democrats in blocking a nomination before the elections. Democrats could take a page from the Republican playbook and set aside performative civility long enough to point out that a president currently under investigation by our own government to conspire with a foreign one shouldn’t be able to make lifetime appointments. Especially when Mueller still has time to drop a bombshell, where Trump may find his presidential powers being dictated by this group.

I’m not saying these are great hopes. But fuck, at least we still have hopes. And I’ll be clinging to them for as long as I can.

Because I’m sick of being so very scared. 

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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender healthcare, public health, psychiatry, and history of medicine, integrating these many perspectives and guided by the lived experiences of trans people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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