I Have Not Forgotten How to Fight

I am not looking forward to going back to re-live the late 1960s. I was too young to vote, but old enough to see the televised anguish of anti-war protests and students at Kent State lying dead on the ground. My father was caught in a bottle and brick throwing anti-war protest on the campus of Columbia University. I was a personal witness to race riots in New York City.

I am not looking forward to going back to the 1970s, when The Bronx was burning down and no one did anything because they wanted the Blacks and Puerto Ricans out. I will not use the ugly slur names for I fear they will inspire a rebirth on the lips of those who are too young to recall.

I am not looking forward to arguing with anyone, particularly a Blue Cross/Blue Shield executive, who told a group of nurses starting a campus health clinic that “he” would not “pay for someone’s fling in a back seat.”

I am not looking forward to more watching national parks and national treasures, including the majestic wild animals that inhabit them, decimated, destroyed and driven to extinction by Trump and his “Black Coal Matters” movement.

I am not looking forward to the same anarchy and violence I witnessed when I had the unfortunate experience of being in the same Albuquerque Convention Center at a Donald Trump rally, and being intimidated by his “supporters” strutting about in menacing postures and following me, after I crossed the street to get away from them, believing that I was about to join the protesters who were assembling. There were bottles thrown that night, but rioters have now graduated to bullets shot from guns in the hands of trigger fingers empowered by Trump’s xenophobia, bigotry, misogyny and neo Nazi white supremacy, fueled by the National Rifle Association.

Those are ugly words and ugly accusations but Trump has been our “neighbor” in NYC and he is not a good one. There are “No Trump” zones in Brooklyn, and he better not drive though the South Bronx unless he’s in a bullet proof car. Not that he would scuff the bottoms of his expensive shoes on any of those sidewalks, preferring a more ornate, phallic style of architecture and being more at home as a barker in the carnival-like amusement parks and golf courses that bear his name. I will never consider Trump my president, never trust him, honor him, believe him. I will never respect him.

I am not a fearful person, and I have walked the streets in some of the worst neighborhoods in New York City during the worst times, when there were more abandoned buildings than inhabited ones, and more starving dogs and stray cats than people. But I am terrified right now. And I apologize for rambling. I’m tired, very tired, since I have not slept well for days.

The day after the election, some students from my daughter’s school boarded a NYC bus on the way home. They told a group of African American students from another school that now that Trump was president, they needed to go to the back of the bus. The incident escalated, and the distraught kids contacted their families. These students were stupid enough to do this in uniform and have disgraced the school. I hope they have been arrested for bias intimidation.

I am not looking forward to the first battle I have to wage, which is to go into the principal’s office to find out how the school plans to ensure that this will never happen again, in addition to what my daughter describes as a “two hour lecture over the PA system about respect.” He needs to know that my daughter, who is a naturalized citizen, is terrified that she will be seized and deported by Donald Trump and vigilantes like her fellow classmates who might target her because she was born in Central America.

I am not looking forward to taking care of immigrant children from the Middle East and Central America, who I have been seeing since they arrived, many emaciated, malnourished, fearful victims of violence and abuse, and who are now having panic attacks and PTSD flashbacks.

I would really rather be going about my business, secure in the knowledge that the country is in the hands of a sane, competent President whose only agenda is safeguarding the health, well being and safety of all citizens of the United States, regardless of their political party, gender, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity. A President who honors treaties with other nations, and sees that the United States lends a hand to those who need it because of war, natural disasters, or terrorism. A President who doesn’t lie, cheat, steal, shake down, and intimidate, rape and assault women, and evade paying taxes on his billions of dollars of income. A President who is intelligent enough to believe the science of climate change is real, and that without decisive action the Earth will not survive the continued onslaught of misuse, abuse, and overuse by greedy nations and corporations who damage, pollute, contaminate and destroy our resources in the name of “jobs” and profits for the 1%.

I am really not looking forward to fighting, and my family has been surprised to hear my 1970s militant tone. They are concerned that I might upset and alienate relatives and friends who voted for Trump and suggested that maybe I should be less “authoritarian.”

Sorry if I offend any “friends” and family members who voted for Trump. You know by now I always speak my mind, and if you don’t like it “unfriend” me, “block” me, and don’t send me any more Christmas cards. I assure you that I will be just as grateful to not have to hear your “whitesplaining” that it’s only about the “welfare cheats,” ” THE ILLEGALS” (your capitals, not mine),”the gays” and your parroting of grammatically incorrect and often unintelligible “Trumpisms.”

Your judgment in trying to force all that crap down my throat is suspect, since you are very aware of my political persuasions. But don’t worry, I won’t betray your trust and tell anyone about the abortions you, your sister, your girlfriend, or your wife had had because it was an agonizing choice you had the right to make, given the complexities of a situation. That’s why you talked to me about it, knowing I would understand and keep it in confidence. But know that your vote for Trump will mean that other men and women (yes, Mr. Blue Cross/Blue Shield whose name I really wish I could remember, it takes two “flingers”) who face that agonizing choice will find it harder or someday maybe impossible to choose and that they may die because of medical complications or a botch job in a back alley. Yeah, I saw a few of those working the gyn unit in the 1970s. I “REALLY” don’t want to go back there.

I have learned from experience that being “well behaved” invites victimization. I don’t go looking for trouble and, being street wise, cross to get out of the way if I sense danger. But I can’t this time. I am going back to the 1970s and 1980s and have not forgotten how to fight.

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