This wasn’t the piece I had been planning for this week. It’s one I’m sorry I have to write, and it’s one I’m sorry you’re currently reading. I consistently weave my beliefs into my writing, and if you’re familiar with Thirsty Thursday, you know this includes those of the political variety. Still, I wondered if this was the proper platform for explicitly addressing a topic as hot button as this week’s US presidential election. I would never want anyone who visits us here on the Graveyard to feel alienated because they hold a different world view than I, or any of our other writers. But, I ultimately concluded that it would be irresponsible to contribute evergreen content instead of addressing the elephant in the room. Our readership, of course, extends across its place of inception, Canada, as well as Germany, where our European correspondent, Sarah, resides. It is my understanding that those outside of the US are scared for us Americans, and I want you to know that we’re scared for us, too.
In the fashion of Shawn of the Dead’s infamous line “go to the Winchester, have a pint, and wait for all of this to blow over,” that’s been recirculating, I had made the sojourn out to my old hood where I’m still registered to vote, grabbed a bottle of sangria from my old favorite package goods store, and bunkered in at my parents’ house. I figured if I was going to be stuck in front of a TV set for hours, I might as well do it in a place that would ensure me being properly fed. My mother, who teaches fourth grade, told the story of when her class wrote Obama a congratulatory letter when he was elected in 2008. The White House sent a reply with a signed photo, which she promptly hung next to the American flag in her classroom. While she said many of her students whispered among themselves in awe, there was a black student that the gesture especially made a mark on.
“He raised his hand and said ‘finally — a president who looks like me’. And I guess now, I can say there’s finally a president who looks like me.”
Her face was overcome with a brightness that begun to chip away at my aura of disgruntled long-time Bernie supporter. I had solely voted for the reptilian lady as a move against the orange Brock Turner (because when the person who robbed your dream candidate is still better than the alternative, you know you have dire circumstances on your hands), and thus did so without the same vigor of re-electing the first black president in my very first eligible election. But, in that moment, I was starting to understand the historical impact that Hill was having on women of my mother’s cohort. She was of the age of the double bind, when times were progressive enough for women to pursue careers, but reactionary enough to still expect them to tend to childcare and the home, leaving them with essentially two full-time jobs. For many women of color, this bind meant being forced to pursue the new low-wage service sector, while also being expected to tend to childcare and the home while their partners were systemically shipped off to jail.
Finally, a woman could assert herself as a leader first, with all other roles becoming secondary. Or at least that’s what we thought.
After three bowls of chili, two muffins, and a handful of pretzels, the situation grew dire. As more and more polls began to report, the race remained close, but still consistently in favor of Trump. My dad was in his chair shaking his head while my mother tried her best to reassure him. She insisted that god is good, that evil wouldn’t win.
By about 11:00, I had enough and returned home, polishing off that bottle of wine and getting into another before passing out in the chance that the morning might yield a miracle.
7:00 AM, and I could already hear the rain beating down on my front porch. The downtown skyline that lives outside my window was covered in a swirling fog. I pulled my phone off the charger and yanked down on my chrome tab. As the arrow took its circular laps, my heart slowed down until I thought it was going to reach a dead stop. But then it hit me with a debilitating pang. The red check was next to a picture of that horrific squinted smile.
All I could do was lay there and think about all of the foolishness I’ve put up with in the workplace; being sexually harassed, being reduced to a male distraction, being constantly condescended. I didn’t even care to tweak my rage by going over the mental details once more. At this point, it’s all just fact. I’ve been told to not let it affect me, but since it was by people who have never themselves been affected, they don’t seem to understand that it’s not a matter of letting. It does, and it will, because apparently the journey ends much where it begins, only magnified. The coup de grace; defeat by a xenophobic orangutan with half your experience. What’s the point of even getting out of bed if it only means being a disposable cog in a society that serves a bigoted populace? Unsure, I got up, accepting pointlessness.
Despite the weather, my drive to work was making record time. In a city where 85% went pantsuit, I suppose many had decided to just call it. My thoughts were still hanging on me while Howl Mockery at the Cross beat on, but my philosophizing shifted to practicality as I saw reality glowing stories-wide in front of me through the thickness of the smog. It was the ticker that runs outside the high rise a little ways down from my building. Donald Trump will be 45th President of the United States. Slowing for my first red light of the morning, the next snippet reported a Republican victory in congress. It all might as well have read have fun trying to get birth control with no Affordable Care Act or Planned Parenthood. Let’s make America coat hanger again. Ah, the ghost of the back alley abortionist. Yano, I saw a good episode of A Haunting on one of them once.
Before I got the green, I caught one last bite.
Clinton took popular vote, succumbed to Electoral College.
I wasn’t sure if I should feel better or worse.
By the time I got myself caffeinated and dry in the office, I felt brave enough to venture onto Facebook. To my pleasant surprise, I wasn’t alone in the hurt and confusion I was feeling, and even admired my friends who were extending open offers to speak privately with anyone too overcome or overwhelmed. One point of positivity I especially appreciated came from one of our great readers, Nat, as well a few old high school friends, who noted all of the great art that’s been inspired by troubled political and economic climates.
And so, that’s precisely what I would like this week to be an ode to. As always, I refuse to rant and rave without a purpose. After jumping to the Twitter accounts of the likes of Zack de la Rocha and Serj Tankian, I was saddened, but not surprised, to see silence. I know it’s hard to find the words, lord knows it took hours just for me to pen this piece of crap, but truly, we need you guys.
In the meantime, if we’re going to be thrust backwards into the past, we must as well stop and take a moment to appreciate its fruits:
Rage Against the Machine – 1992
What we have here is one of RATM’s first full sets, wedged right in the era of George Bush Sr. Say what you want about Rage — it won’t change the fact that they brought some pretty damn important issues, from NAFTA to Gitmo, to the faces of the masses via their own unique groove. Maybe it’s hypocritical that you could once buy their albums at corporate oligarchs like Target, but maybe that’s the price you pay for accessibility. Hijacking the capitalist system to get your message out? Okay to me. Privatized liberalism is for light roast espresso-drinking pricks.
Capitalist Causalities – 1996
You know how long I’ve been listening to these guys? Too damn long. Nevertheless, I still love them to death. Having always resided at the heart of my “I don’t always listen to hardcore but when I do” moods, Capitalist Casualties are a very crusty reminder that money and submission can seep into every fiber of our culture, if we let it. Stay woke, kids (and have some fun doing it).
System of a Down – 2002
I used to spend hours watching live SOAD videos during the advent of YouTube, and I don’t care who knows. And you know what? Neither should you, because they were one of the few bands to come out of the POD age that wasn’t a turd sandwich. Smarter and more self-aware, SOAD could pull of Youth of a Nation-type of themes in a way that was seamless and poetic instead of trite and cliché. As I find myself walking through piss-smelling, dime bag-covered downtown every morning, paraplegic homeless doted randomly for good measure, I’m still trying to figure out how you can, indeed, own disorder.
A Global Threat – 2002
You know, one of those bands that looks like the Casualties but they’re not the Casualties (they’re better). Let it be known that I don’t want to let ol’ Hill off too easy, now. Her foreign policy is pretty deplorable, but I think it’s pretty damn safe to say that given his rhetoric, Trump’s will be equally, if not more, trigger-happy. And of course, on the ground-level, Trump’s perpetuating of hate speech is only the seeds for perpetuating hate crime. So, here’s an important reminder brought to you by your local spud:
Take care of yourselves, y’all. It’s a crazy world.