We landed in Washington D.C. yesterday, a gaggle of activist students, their queer polis-sci professor and me, afro flying my flag of blackness above my airplane seat. The airports, the streets are awash with pink pussy hats and red white and blue patriotic chic. The air contains just a hint of pep rally. The grim reality gives off a scent more like that Aztec ballgame where the losers are decapitated.
In just six hours, a few miles from here Donald J Trump and his creep squad cabinet will take over the country that I have lived in and loved my whole life. He has promised to enact policies that will hurt the people I love and care about, including each of the students with us on this trip. The pink hats are so cute (thanks, Aunt Kathie!) but make no mistake this is a fight.
Scene: Interior, day before the inauguration, hotel lobby. Beneath the altar of CNN on the big screen a bunch of liberals from Boston–identifiable by our Boston swag and the girls’ Olivia Pope outfits, and in that corner three women painted in stars and stripes. The hotel staff watch the action like tourists on safari.
Hotel manager: Ha ha, hope there’s not going to be a rumble!
Trumpette: grumbling loud enough for all to hear. I wouldn’t mind seeing that.
Me: Ha, ha…You don’t want to catch these hands.
Trumpette: Let’s be peaceful….(to her cronies.) I hope they remember to be peaceful on Saturday [for the anticipated Women’s March]
Me: (to students) Saturday you’ll get to see the amazing tradition of nonviolent protest that is such an important part of our country.
Would I have rumbled with an older lady in the hotel lobby? In the rarefied air of the inauguration, the hate and division are real and palpable as my anger hurt and fear over this election and the 4 years to come. yesterday evening I replayed the scene in my mind–how easy it was for me and a stranger to escalate to threats lightly veiled in laughter in just seconds. These past few years have required me to swallow more than a little anger and hurt. I had to admit that it is too easy to slide into the playground taunting. But in a quiet moment, I remembered that I’m not about that, no matter how much they spoil for a fight. In the land of the walking dead, its is key to remember that you are not them.
So, old lady, you may not catch these hands, but I am coming for you with the full force of resistance and that really packs a punch. And the fight is just about to start.