These signs have been appearing all over town. I love that they are there and hate that they are necessary. Some of the businesses that hang them are clustered around a square where fanatics sometimes assemble to remind us of our inevitable damnation. M asks why the men are so angry and I don't know what to tell him. He asks if the angry men are good guys and I say no, because they turn people against each other, the same answer I gave during the campaign, about Trump. It's the simplest way I can explain our opposition to what is taking shape. M might, someday soon, ask how our opposition is different than theirs, whether we are also turning people against each other.
I'm writing part of this on Thanksgiving. This morning, over the phone, my mom relayed news stories of people opting out of family gatherings, to avoid election fallout. We set our plans to celebrate alone long before we had to seriously contend with the possibility of losing. I can't say I regret that decision now, knowing how deep under my skin even offhand comments land. I can't decide if the deliberately controversial remarks are worse than those that assume consensus. Do I prefer to be challenged head-on or completely disregarded as a someone whose position matters at all? More significantly: does that preemptive anger, that resentment felt in advance, in my imagination, make me a self-righteous fanatic on the town square, obliterating conversation in favor of a verse, a dogma?
Turning against each other is different than dragging oppositions out into the light. The truth doesn't care if you believe in it, and certainly doesn't care if you acknowledge it in plain language. Division and difference are not one and the same: you sow one with slogans and campaign promises and a general strategy of substituting human targets for systemic, institutional brutality. You celebrate the other, joining hands with those same human targets; perhaps you become a target, perhaps you already are a target. What can be done under the crosshairs? What can be done precisely because of their sudden presence or newfound awful legibility?
Thank You Campaign...
...was a website I built to document my total freakout at the 2016 US presidential election. I've collected the "offerings" section here: short essays, each with an associated image I'd found or a picture I'd taken, documenting a small set of awakenings and a small rising up.