My heart cries for the America I know. My soul bruises for the Americans I love. And my mind races for the world to come. “This is not America” sung the man whose passing started this most black and hateful of years. But this is also not 1935. The America I know still values acceptance, difference, knowledge, a hello and – yes – a disagreement. Donald J. Trump is seventy years old, not fifty. He will probably not get a second term. His locker room sporting life aside, he will be extremely lucky if his apparent corpulence, life vices and behaviour will get him through the first term. If Barack Obama is Dynasty, then this new term is The Colbys – an overly bling-ridden pantomime no-one asked for that will be cancelled by the networks soon enough. And Jeff and Miles Colby-Trump are far from being heir apparents. Let’s face it – none of the Trump family have the attention span, home in Martha’s Vineyard or sense of political self to be the new Kennedys.
Has Trump divided America? To this limey-assed Brit, America has always been a country made up of many conjoined countries that rub, pull against and work with each other like all relations. Trump and his ‘140 characters or less’ rhetoric will overlook that at his peril. Right now, the Britain of Brexit is a slightly gaping gash of cricket and jam racism, ‘they’ve got more sweets than me’ bombast and a dangerously thin understanding of the EU and our country’s political processes. It is chillingly similar to the Trump movement. And no less embarrassing. The real shock however is found in the brand new calcification of age old, often fictional paranoias. Is America or Britain really divided? I imagine in many an American city the gay Jewish girl is still working opposite her devout Muslim colleague. The Bernie supporter is still sharing an apartment stairwell with the Florida Republican. And the Syrian graduate is still car-pooling with his Russian neighbour’s son. More than any time in living memory a sense of division should not be created solely from headlines saying there is a sense of division. How things look and are reported is vital to the faux gold embossed likes of Trump. The autocrat needs you to fear what he says you should fear. The difference with Trump is he doesn’t know what he hates or likes other than raising his newest verbal flag and hoping it gets more salutes and Likes than before. Less an autocrat, more an autocue based on his own tweets.
Donald Trump cannot really be a dictator. There are too many processes in place that can question, kerb and halt that. We hope. The processes should not have let him anywhere near the Primaries. But if Barack Obama could not get everything through, do you think Donald Trump and his clearly short-fused resolve will understand enough to bother and try and do things differently? He is about the headline, not the process. And headlines that suggest division can be as dangerous as those minds who want to suppress people from just being people. That means we don’t let our guard down and surrender our freedoms and alliances for the good of a late show quip at the President’s expense. The worst that has happened so far with Donald Trump was that we got used to him.
We all have our platforms and our very public, very global discussion mechanisms. Every Trump administration statement will continue to be fact checked, every lie will be shared as such, every verbal or physical attack in the street will be condoned and every comedian, meme and sense of the absurd will mock and ridicule with the biggest spotlight. The likes of Mike Pence will no doubt wave his gay hate stick because coach didn’t really notice him all those bitter, sunken-eyed decades ago. But we know those people. We know where these hollowed-out vessels of anti-gay, anti-trans and anti-honest resentment really come from. And it ain’t a Bible featuring a hot Jesus on the dusk jacket. We’ve seen how Grindr explodes when loads of Republican men get together. The world is already an inadvertent and very reluctant expert on Donald J. Trump. We will question all questionable diktats. We will take photos and report all crimes, attacks and wrongdoings. We expose every closeted, hypocritical Jesus-wearing decision maker making anti LGBT decisions against us. For those that voted for Trump fearing what he told you about “globalisation” – get used to it. There is nothing more global right now than good people’s ability to share opinion and mobilise. And fast.
Complacency was always the LGBT community’s biggest enemy. It is very simple – we will not be complacent. The speed in which we pour comedy acid on a Drag Race decision is testament to our ability to not let things stand. Look at Trump as a fourth week All Stars interloper we’re already annoyed by. Look at Melania as the best Snatch Game challenge Katya has yet to do (“blink twice Melania honey if you need rescuing!“). We haven’t only progressed because of the freedoms and rights others have afforded us. We haven’t just progressed because President Obama said so or because David Cameron had a change of heart. We have progressed because it *is* right. When our fabulousness has a common goal, our value structures are sharper, stronger and louder. We’ve had decades to perfect them. The Matthew Shepards, Larry Kramers, Bayard Rustins, Harvey Milks, Sylvia Riveras and Marsha P Johnsons of this world prove we not only honor the fight and its poster boys and girls – we can continue it too if needs be. And more than anything we must also fight for everyone’s facts, for academia, for perspective, for truths, for long words, foreign words, clever words, crude words and all those garlic bulbs of unequivocal proof the Republican vampires hate. We will be the Charlie Chaplin, not The Great Dictator.
Like the ancient, small-handed dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, Trump and the vile contingent of his voters have a hatred that is based on movement. And the more times we make a poster, parody a song, gather together, get married, kiss on camera, rainbow our social media profiles, go to whichever bathrooms we damn please, clap at a quip, pull the speaker wire on a hate preacher’s microphone, save our local gay bar and hold our partner’s hand the more times our movement keeps moving.
Take care America.