By the time of this reading, our country will have entered into a new era. Hold your loved ones close. I’m talking about Inauguration Day, or as my anti-Trump comrades would call it, The Day the Earth Stood Still. Or the opening ceremony for The Hunger Games. Or a lesser known title, Bury my Heart at Boo-Boo’s Big, Fat, Circus Jubilee. I kind of feel sorry for the guy whose job it was to pass out barf bags at the Inauguration: “What size do you need? Small, medium, or infinity?”
As if there aren’t enough examples to add to the carnival atmosphere as of late, the infamous 146-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced it’s drawing its curtains and dismantling its big top. Never fear however, there’s a new circus in town, the Trump administration. Send in the clowns.
Personally, I’m in a state of numb incredulity, when locked-in-a-fetal-position would be a more appropriate response. The incoming Trump administration shares much in common with horror movies and dystopian disaster films, and like horror movies and dystopian disaster films, it would be a lot easier to suspend my incredulity if the imperiled shit their pants and it was part of the dialog. But whatever your response, or lack of response may be—pants shitting, or fetal positioning, it’d be super if we could just fast-forward and montage the next four years into a series of brief clips where nobody gets hurt.
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Lately, there’s been no shortage of despair. I count myself among those who are mourning. It’s as if my spirit animal slayed and consumed my emotional support animal. Some folks say they’re going to pull a Johnny Cash and wear only black for the next four years as a sign of distress. I say stick to bright colors. We need them. Others have ramped up their wardrobe selections for the Inauguration. For those in disbelief and various stages of grief, here’s some fashion tips: choose accessories that will flatter your hysteria and go well with your non-stop screaming. Are you a Spring? If you’re shopping for shoes, go for ones that can transition from canvassing for human rights by day to post-inaugural non-stop sobbing by night. And if you’re looking for that perfect inaugural dress, go for something that matches your eyes, and the four horses of the Apocalypse. Avoid matchy-matchy, and choose colors that pop, like a handful of Wellbutrin.
Good things are happening in response to the incoming Trump administration. For instance, the Writers Resist, #WriteOurDemocracy movement. On January 15, Martin Luther King Day, over one-hundred reading events occurred in towns and cities across the country. Writers Resist is a national network of writers driven to defend the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democratic society. I know that stands for something important. I mean, I’ve read Orwell’s “1984,” and realize the strides the country has made in the last eight years, the advances for human rights and social justice. It would be beyond unconscionable to have those legislations and protections overturned, such as same-sex marriage, or the provisions in allowing tribes to prosecute abusers in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). White folks are getting woke. Let’s hope that even more people get woke.
Another event was the Women’s March on Washington, and adjoining Sister Marches that happened on the 21st of January, the day after the Inauguration. The Women’s March on Washington was a solidarity event to feature nationally recognized advocates, artists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. As of this writing there were Sister Marches happening in every state in the U.S. and additionally, in countries around the world—over 673 marches in all. The mission and vision of the Women’s March is as follows: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
An emblem of the Women’s March are DIY (Do It Yourself) knitted, pink “pussy” caps. Or as one friend said “it’s DIY politics, so I’m DIY down for the count.” Another friend said that stores have run out of pink yarn, so her friend knitted her a rose colored “pussy” hat instead. I wanted to know if anyone would be okay with my wearing a dead cat on my head, because I can’t knit.
There’s no end to the resistance paraphernalia it seems, be it safety pins, or “pussy” hats, or “nasty women” t-shirts and trucker hats, or Pantsuit Nation coffee table books. It’s all good, aside from the fact that women of color don’t really have the luxury to use the appellatives “pussy,” or “nasty.” They’re not transgressive rebukes against the patriarchy for someone like me. White feminism talks a lot about intersectionality and inclusion but when these resistance movements adopt particular emblems and terms that Native women and other women of color don’t have the privilege or the social capital to flout, it discourages access, and exposes our country’s caste system for what it is. That carefree embrace of “pussy” by white women stands as a liability for others. But I get it. I’ve seen The Vagina Monologues. I know how hard won just the articulation of certain words has been for the dominant classes. So I get that certain words are voiced with triumph.
When people talk about freedom and democracy I often wonder, who’s freedom? Who’s democracy? These are entitlements that came at a dear price to my own family, my people. Those rights and protections that so many Americans take for granted, came at the cost of dispossession, and at the lives of indigenous people. So even though I know that the current resistance movements are for the greater good, at the same time, I’m skeptical. Everything in this country is someone else’s stolen inheritance. Maybe the Women’s March can march on over to Standing Rock on their way home as a show of support. Just a suggestion.
It’s a well-known fact that when one loses their eyesight or hearing, the other senses will compensate to pick up the slack. This is 100 percent true! I’ve been noticing lately, that as my body deteriorates, my sense of moral outrage increases. Yep. Send in the clowns. Uh, don’t bother…they’re here.
Tiffany Midge is an assistant poetry editor at The Rumpus, and an award-winning author of “The Woman Who Married a Bear.” Her work is featured in McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Okey-Pankey, The Butter, Waxwing, and Moss. She is Hunkpapa Lakota. Follow her on Twitter @TiffanyMidge