We’re so Trumped

What do you do when your country loses its footing? You dig in

President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech as his wife Melania Trump, right, and their son Barron Trump follow him during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher)

I guess the first thing to say is “congratulations.” Congratulations to president-elect Donald Trump, and also to Mike Pence, who by Trump’s own words will probably be doing most of the real work. Congratulations to the people who elected Trump, who never stopped believing that his competitor was guilty of something, even if they could never pinpoint exactly what. And congratulations, I guess, to the unvarnished racists and misogynists who can finally hitch their wagons to a star. It always feels better to belong.

Guess what? I didn’t support Trump in the election, and I don’t intend to begin now. His election is a stunt, a Very Special Episode of Jackass in which he’ll try to jump the country over a flaming line of garbage trucks packed to overflowing with minorities and feminists. It’s not that I believe his claim to the office is illegitimate; I believe Trump himself is illegitimate. He’s a con man, a blowhard, a mook. But he’s an American mook, one who just pulled off the greatest prank in our history. I mean, holy sh*t: We just elected a reality TV star who told us next to nothing about himself or his principles.

But I’m not pulling a Hollywood Liberal and moving to Canada over this. Trump and I belong to the same democracy, one he fought his way to lead; I couldn’t call myself an American if I didn’t stick around and fight to get him out in four years’ time. And the funny thing is, unlike many, I’d like to go on calling myself an American, because there are things about this country that are worthwhile, from its art to its stunning geography to its people. Even the dogged stubbornness that got Trump elected is, in its way, worth celebrating.

At this point, all I can do is gently implore the man who’s currently revving up the Harley for our death-defying jump. President Trump, please strive to do this job the right way. Try to remember that you’re not in this for yourself alone, and that there’s no “winning” at the modern presidency. You will need to make compromises even on the smallest things. You’ll have to deal with a global community that, given the circumstances, can outspend us, outthink us or even blow us up. Our problems, domestic and international, won’t vanish simply because you build a wall in front of them.

I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I guess I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing—trying to be a source of comfort, strength and support to my family, friends and community, as they have been for me. I’ll huddle up with my chosen family of gays, women, blacks, Asians and Latinos and commiserate, maybe call Trump some nasty names and worry a bit about the heavily armed militias he poked on the way up. I’ll write angry editorials about his blunders; I’ll march in the occasional protest; I’ll support those politicians who fight to keep Trump’s base impulses in check. In other words, I’ll be an American, the best one I can be.

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