Greetings fellow Americans,
Three weeks ago we all received a shocking and historical blow. While the election is over, many fellow citizens are bemoaning the fact that this actually happened and "the Donald" pulled this off. It is time we stopped being shocked and instead start moving towards some action.
Here are my ten ways to survive in our new world order.
1. Stop bitching-Start a Revolution. I saw this on a bumper sticker some years ago and never forgot it. Probably because it's true. The time for belly aching is over. What we need are powerful people to build powerful coalitions and fight like hell to make sure we don't regress as humans. We also need powerful people who can actually listen to and be with people and their pain.
2. Make sure that all of your finances are in order. Moving beyond just paying bills and living paycheck to paycheck, it is important that we invest, understand what money can and can't do and plan for our future. So many of us are waiting for the government to save us/ bail us out and yet we turn a blind eye to their stellar record of handling money. No folks, we have to make sure all life insurance policies, wills, trusts and power of attorney paperwork is filed.
3. Pull your loved ones in closer and begin to work towards creating new and stronger alliances with people who are vastly different than you. For example, watch the great film , Lorenzo's Oil. In it the white female middle class mom unties with poor people of color in an effort to create and sustain change. When the world gets crazy, it is imperative that we get more sane.
4. Start obsessively reading and watching the fine print. Whether a written piece or a ridiculous talking head, task yourself to question, scrutinize and challenge. In the past 18 months, I've seen more tom foolery and hijinks than ever. Television interviews and news sources just love a good comeuppance and my god have we had our share of it this last year. Fine print in the written word is somewhat easier to spot. Incidentally, feel free to use this time to bone up on your vocabulary because mark my word, we are getting ready to see a whole lot of name changing, i.e. high falutin' code switching designed to confuse and immobilize many of our citizens.
5. Get all travel documents in order. For those of us who have done international traveling, make sure those passports are current. As a black gay man, I know that understanding and acceptance can be eliminated in a blink of an eye with awful repercussions. While it is wonderful and brave to stay and fight, let's not be the idiot refusing to cover all bases as opposed to hoping that good people will stand up when it counts and that humans eventually do the right thing.
6. Do you speak one language? Two? Three? As Americans, myself included, we are notoriously arrogant in our refusal to learn about other cultures and languages. With this new world order, it is wise to start learning Spanish, a language spoken by more than a third of the world's population. As comrades in struggle, we must join forces with a community that has largely been dismissed and overlooked. By joining with our Latino brothers and sisters we have the opportunity to harness the same power that made a Trump victory possible. We organize around people whose voices have been systematically squelched. Scared, voiceless people in serious pain can be a scary and misguided group. Scared, voiceless people who are self directed with a united voice can move mountains.
7. Figure out what the hell the Electoral College is so that we can either improve or eliminate it. I have no idea what it is, how it works or why in the entire hell it only seems to elect Republicans. It requires further examination and a firm commitment to making sure things work for everyone (all Americans).
8. Pray. Pray for courage and wisdom. The wisdom to know what to do and the courage to actually do it. It is easy to hand wring and fret. Be bold and take the right action.
9. Get a sense of humor and know that every loudmouth idiot has his day. Keep in mind that anybody over 40 has seen these type of shenanigans before. There are those of us who've lived through not one but two Bush Administrations and of course the one who promised to save us (Clinton Administration); he served us with Don't Ask Don't Tell and a failed war on crime/drugs with the lovely and highly effective "Three Strikes Rule". Humor helps with all this crazy shit. I live in the great state of California and when I arrived in 2008, the governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was our governor. Personally, I've always felt many folks liked him being in office because they could mispronounce his name Schwarzenigger and get away with it. Californians had no problem allowing a man with no previous knowledge or political experience to run our state. An out of work actor decides to throw his hat in the political ring and no one objects. I can't be held responsible. It happened before I arrived. The big question remains- what the frig are we gonna do now? Do you resist with angst riddled protests and demands for justice that quickly burn us out? Or do we say this shit is f#$@ and let's find something comedic that joins us as a nation and provides a way out of this mess?
10. Strive for personal and professional excellence. In a world of mediocrity and feeble minded individuals, it is time to buck up and smarten up. We're going to need everyone of us in this battle and no excuses.
What has happened to us in the United States?
When I was a kid I was told the key to success is hard work and a good education.
My mother took me to the library.
She took me on field trips to learn about the Moravians at Old Salem or we went to see the Woolworth store in Greensboro where the four A&T students kicked off the civil Rights Movement in North Carolina with a sit-in.
When I was a child we had commercials that talked about science.
When I was a child and an expert came on television people listened.
Now it's all about showboating and how you look and the tone that you use.
We have crossed over into some kind of anti-intellectual Twilight Zone where blubbering, bloviating buffoons with bloated egos shuffle around speaking in sentences that are barely above a 4th grade reading level.
We have elevated these people to the status of leaders of our political parties.
We no longer argue and debate on how to fix things like the economy or the climate or racism; we now argue over if they are real or not.
Everyday I see folderol pass for political discourse.
I see spin and hackery supplant data and analysis.
There was a time when we voted for politicians because of their intelligence and Bona Fides.
Because they displayed some acumen or knowledge of the complex interlocking mechanisms of economies and culture.
They knew how to be grand in their oratory and small in their humility.
They wanted to work together for the good of all people and not just be Leninist and destroy the system completely.
Now we vote for the candidate who we'd most like to share a beer with and yap about the winner of Dancing with Stars.
We want to be told pretty lies about how our lives would be better if that other group would not be around to screw things up for us.
We live in a world of Googled facts where anybody can upload a poorly edited website and have it cited alongside our nation's greatest and most venerated news organizations.
We are not boldly going where no one has gone before.
We are sliding into an inert future with brooding, slobbering hordes screaming over which team will get the dog skull on the pike first.
Our sense of exceptionalism has become inverted.
We now call a man and a woman who came from modest means and worked hard as they were told; went to top schools and prepared for the most important job of their lives -elitist while a brooding, preening, petulant billionaire born into money is seen as a man of the people simply because he is willing to be nastier and more of a blowhard than anybody else.
Idiocracy is not our future.
It is our present.
In a world that gives so much credence and attention to Brangelina, Sandra Bullock, and every celebrity that takes in a baby of color, where is all the glory and paparazzi for black dads who are raising their children?
I write this response to highlight and draw attention to the most sublime television I have seen in over a decade.
First off, I want to say that I love this show. Every scene between Kurt and his dad is kind, hopeful, thoughtful, loving and insightful. If any of us had ever had an adult this supportive and nonoppressive, things would be quite different. However, I want to address the concept of duality or, more appropriately, living with and managing our own contradictions.
I hereby declare a moratorium on technological advances.
In the sometimes witty and always stylized series Sex and the City, Carrie gets dumped via a Post-It note. I found this both hysterical and troubling at the same time.
I have been laughing my ass off for weeks now.
I am currently doing research for a series of screwball comedies that I plan to write, shoot and direct. My research includes one episode of "I Love Lucy" a day.
"Didn't need no welfare states, everybody pulled his weight, you knew who you were then, gurls were gurls and men were men. Those were the days".
In the brilliant and way-ahead-of-its-time show, All in the Family, a bigot, is forced to deal with a world that is constantly changing.