"I can't stand being in this house. In the first place, it makes me terribly nervous. I'm scared to death of doors, locks, people roaming around in the background, under the trees, in the bushes, I'm absolutely terrified." - Little Edie Beale, Grey Gardens (1975)
I am currently writing the words I hoped against hope I'd never write. I've been sitting here for twenty minutes simply willing this to be a fever dream after a night of too many hot dogs. Yet the pit in my stomach isn't discarded animal parts in a tube, it's the pile of vomit "we" have chosen to govern over us.
I use the distinction of "we" because I didn't vote for Trump. I know that we are told from a young age that "even if you didn't vote for them, they'll be your president." The impetus behind that unwritten rule is the fact that, though you may disagree with the decision the country has made, the nation has chosen someone who is qualified and fit to lead us.
Trump will never be a president to me. Period. There is no "too bad!" or "that's just the way things go!" This choice should have been as easy as the fake answer every teacher puts on a test that gets chosen for nothing more than comic relief.
I will never call Trump my president because I now live in a country where I am the target.
Over the past eight years of Barack Obama, despite glaring opposition and unreal expectations, has championed social issues and made our country more safe for those of us who don't fit into the right's vision of a perfect America.
How can you live as a minority in a country that wants you to leave, while simply consoling you with "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out"? How can you live as a woman in a country where the president sees you as a piece of meat? How can you live as a member of the LGBTQ community when your leader wants to deny you the right to love?
It doesn't boil down to differences of economic or foreign policy; it's the fact that he wishes to strip whole races, genders, and creeds of their individual right to live the life they choose.
I'm a man who supports and nurtures minorities, is a member of the LGBTQ community, and is a passionate supporter of women of every shape, size, color, and creed. Where do I stand in Trump's eyes?
Am I still a person or am I a political degenerate? Am I "Steven, the writer" or "Steven, the pariah"? How can I speak my mind if there's a moratorium on intelligence?
If the first thing that crosses your mind when someone is elected president is the fact that you fear for your rights, the implications are devestating. If you fear for your right to make a rational decision based on your ideals because a conservative juggernaut has claimed it to be immoral, are you truly living at all?
I place my case at the feet of those who lifted Trump up from the cesspool he was gestated in. Those who support Trump support racism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-intellectualism, ableism, and hate.
I'm a person who has diagnosed depression and anxiety. I'm not saying that to be branded a "special snowflake", it's simply a fact. To now have a president who actively ridicules disabled reporters and kicks children with cerebral palsy out of his rallies wrenches my soul.
Without getting into the details, I am a member of the LGBTQ community in a huge way. Trump seeks to actively destroy the progress we've made, even though we still have a long way to go.
I'm a person who celebrates our differences of race and religion, because our hearts have the same capacity to love and live life with zest and zeal. Trump will now purge those whose skin doesn't line up with his measurements or whose religion is used by extremists to murder.
Yet, oddly, I've become inspired over the past few hours. The aforementioned groups have been chastised, beaten, and killed for decades, yet we still revel in the fact that we can be open and proud of who we are.
It will take more than one disgusting ideologue to silence millions.
I'm reminded of a song from Jerry Herman's musical La Cage aux Folles, in which the title character sings the immortal anthem "I am what I am":
This is the mantra we will repeat and repeat to destroy the hate Trump fosters, in a rousing chorus as we shout:
"I am what I am
I am my own special creation.
So come take a look,
Give me the hook or the ovation.
It's my world that I want to take a little pride in,
My world, and it's not a place I have to hide in.
Life's not worth a damn,
'Til you can say, 'Hey world, I am what I am!'"
I, and millions of others, will not sit out while our liberty is extinguished piece by piece. Every time they try to douse our flame, we'll have a million people standing in line with matches. Every time they silence us with taunts and hate speech, we'll raising our voices to drown out the din. Every time they attempt to destroy us, we'll form a single beating heart that will never die.
I was inspired to see so many of my friends on Facebook this morning who were just as upset as I was, yet still found hope that our democracy will hold our rights inviolate. It's calming to know that there are still intellectual people out there who will not take this injustice sitting down.
Trump may have "won" the presidency, but I can assure you the war has just begun.
And now, no matter where you are, what you're doing, or how idiotic you look, I want you to raise your voices in one exquisite shriek of protest:
"I AM WHAT I AM, MR. TRUMP!"