It’s a week and a half after Trump stole an election that was being fought on totally different axes, something that was hard to appreciate until the results were in. For those of us who voted for Clinton, the election was a chance to secure a better future for ourselves, our children, and the vulnerable people we know and love. Those vulnerables included white males but did not center them, which is what fueled the Trump Axis. People voting for Trump were told that this election was a Milgrim experiment, only with all the stereotypes they hate being the ones shocked. For a while now we’ve been watching a slow-moving white riot, with mass shootings, police shootings, and open hate speech creating the destabilizing conditions of lawlessness which give license to the subsequent act of violence. 25% of the country had enough resentment in their heart towards these scapegoats to use their vote as a way to hurt the real people whose demands for the bare respect necessary for a civilization to function were coded as “political correctness,” as if calling out racism was as great a slight as referring to another person with dehumanizing language.

News flash: all white folk are racist, as are many people of color (albeit not in the direction that many white folk seemed to think; anti-white racism in America is functionally impossible). Racism is the implicit bias and stereotyping on the basis of the largely constructed category of race, done by people with greater social capital to those with lesser social capital. That’s why you can be racist against Muslims, despite Islam not being a race. Every one of us was programmed by at least one adult over the course of our lifetimes; why would you think every piece of code they put into you would be pure as freshly fallen snow? We all got taught some awful beliefs over the years; as adults, it is incumbent upon us to decide whether we want to let the biases of older generations live within our hearts or if we want to become our own people, people with empathy and a willingness to hear the struggles of oppressed people.

But white America is struggling! Yes. We are all struggling. White America’s struggles aren’t unique, they’re just new to a people who had managed to stay isolated from the damage our country was doing to people of color and other assorted minorities over the course of its history. The heroin epidemic, for example, is suddenly a major issue now that it’s affecting large number of white folks. But instead of voting for the candidate who may have addressed that, instead of backing the needed solution, an end to a prohibition model of drug addiction and those funds shifted to harm reduction and treatment options, Trump shifted the blame to a category of “elites”, his branding of vulnerable peoples, and then gave a lot of disaffected folk the chance to do “morally” justified harm to that spectre.

Few can resist that temptation.

Some will seek to blame Clinton. This is folly, and for two reasons. First, we are in the middle of a political riot, stemming from the breakdown of political norms. It functions a lot like an avalanche. To blame Clinton, a pebble in this cascade, for the results is not only a glass-cliff mentality that reeks of victim blaming, but it’s also logically absurd. Sure, maybe if we had a slightly shinier, magic pebble we could have turned all these factors around. But that’s wishful thinking at best; pebbles don’t stop avalanches, and the right politician isn’t going to stop a political riot that’s been fed, organized, and radicalized by social media and a 24/7 propaganda channel. I believe she was the best damn candidate for the job, but if you think a different candidate would have kept the anger at bay you are assuming they’re playing by the same rules we were, and that’s been proven false.

Second, the fix was in before anyone voted. The 2000 and 2010 censuses both gerrymandered the states to such a degree as to make it functionally impossible to overcome the GOP’s foothold in the legislature and many state governments. Wisconsin, under this GOP control, was lost by fewer people than were disenfranchised by voter ID laws. The gutting of the VRA allowed dramatic and openly-targeted voter suppression efforts to take place. The FBI openly interfered with an election in clear violation of the Hatch Act, after coordination with Giuliani. Russia’s leadership was in contact with the Trump campaign during the election and timed and executed their dump of hacked documents at a point to do the maximum damage. The media stayed complicit through all this, refusing to take a position on the election of a man who has basically promised to take their industry to pieces, and presenting all situations as though there were two equally legitimate sides. And social media, between its algorithmic display nature and its unwillingness to stop the proliferation of fake news, amplified the radicalization.

Through all this, hope for a better tomorrow still won the popular vote for the presidency, the Senate, and the House. It was years of democratic rot which determined this election, the shattering of the political norms which had kept our country somewhat in check. Most of the people who voted chose progress, but by casting the election of the officials in our democracy as some sort of game the GOP and the media validated the idea that it’s not electoral theft to cast laws manipulating electoral outcomes even if the end result is a government that doesn’t reflect the will of the people.

In a mere week and a half since a win which was even a surprise to him, Trump has shown us that he plans to rule as a dictator. He’s refusal to divest his corporations, instead putting them in the hands of the children with whom he wants to share security briefings. He’s installing as his propagandist and chief advisor Steve Bannon, the man behind the degradation of Brietbart News from a very conservative but vaguely ethical news source into the open hive of white supremacists and neo-Nazis it’s become; a development which surprised even the American Nazi Party, if you think I’m being hyperbolic. Refusing to seriously speak out against the dramatic rise in hate crimes while he has campaign staff threatening Harry Reid with potential prosecution for daring to speak out. He is what he has promised to be, and what attracted 20% of the country to vote for him.

And every day brings fresh horrors, just like in his campaign.

The media is largely unwilling to call these things by their true names. Bannon, aforementioned white supremacist, was referred to as a “former Goldman Sachs employee,” which while correct is like calling Arnold Schwarzenegger a former bodybuilder. It’s technically true, but it’s not an accurate reflection of his abilities and achievements. And fascism thrives when people are unwilling to speak out openly against it. It is an incremental process of losing our rights and our defenses until it’s too late to fight back. Now is the time. We have all the proof we need; any demand for more is a demand for conciliation, and as Chamberlain learned that path just lets the fascists consolidate their power base.

The time has come for people to open their eyes and choose a side in the upcoming cultural battles. The fascists have the government, the tech industry, and the media on their side. They injected these institutions with fear and hatred, the mundane equivalent of Phyrexian oil, and the corruption has spread. Unless you want to back a party that’s perfectly happy using violence to compleat those people who they decide were made wrong, people like me, it’s time to join the Mirran resistance. We are all Koth now.

Here are the things we must do going forward, if we want to save our future from becoming an utterly dystopian hellscape of environmental collapse, social darwinism, and state-orchestrated violence against minority communities.

Speak out against hate.

Hate incidents, which had already been rising during the Trump campaign, have exploded in the aftermath of his election. Personally, I got called “fag” from a passing car for the first time in over a decade… only back then it was just in rural Maine where people felt comfortable expressing that sort of cowardice, and this was outside my home in Brooklyn. Another one of my Magic player friends got called a racial slur by a child. Another one had her partner spat upon after they were being physically affectionate. My graduate alma mater, coincidentally the school which Trump uses to burnish his intelligence credentials, had a major racist incident where all the black students were added to a lynching chat group. The high school in my hometown had several swastikas graffitied across its grounds. This shit is unacceptable, and letting it go without pushback is how these people become emboldened.

What do you do in these situations? First, be willing to take the risk of intervening and deescalating the situation when you see these incidents happening around you. There are many great guides out there on how to do so, but it basically boils down to doing two things: disengaging the vulnerable person from their aggressor (typically by ignoring the raging person, who is trying to provoke response), and then taking steps to make that vulnerable person feel safe. The specifics of how best to do that are going to vary wildly based on the circumstances, but don’t just sit back and let it happen. If you are scared to step in and help that person, imagine how scared they must be having to endure it.

Second, speak out against hate whenever you hear it. No more tolerance for racism. No more tolerance for queerphobia. No more tolerance for sexism. No more tolerance for “Christian” supremacy (as if Christ would side with this modern Herod). And if the person you are speaking out against whines about how you’re being intolerant and just politically correct or signaling virtue or whatever the current method is to dismiss a reminder of the basic humanity of the affected people, know that they are doing this because what they fear is that pushback. Bigotry is the defense of the bully, and bullies are overcompensating because they can’t handle their own fear. If you show them you will not be cowed into submission to their viral hatred, you will help minimize the degree to which it spreads.

Third, carry around a sharpie, not a safety pin. The whole safety pin movement is well meaning but insulting to the people it’s supposed to show solidarity with and has already been coopted by the white supremacist frogs who want to make sure people like me don’t feel safe anywhere. You want to pin something to your clothes to show your support? Wear a pin that shares a message. My current pin is a pink triangle that says equality. That sends a hell of a lot stronger message than a safety pin, and it puts me at moderate risk to do so. If you’re unwilling to even accept the risk that one of these fascists might mistake you for one of us undesirables, then you’re already submitting to them. Carrying around a black sharpie, on the other hand, isn’t about sending a message; it’s about eliminating their messages. In the coming days you will see more and more hate speech graffitied around bathrooms and public spaces. When you see it, you will have a choice. Do I let this hate stand, or do I cross it out? To do the latter, the far braver and more moral course, you’re going to need a tool.

The best symbols are ones with utility against our oppressors.

Protest when able.

The Nazis never won a majority election in Germany. They got a plurality, but the national majority of votes never went in their favor, let alone of those people who didn’t vote. Remember, the mandate that these fascists claim is based on losing the popular vote in an election with maybe 55% voter turnout of those who were eligible to vote. Those other 45% of this country, many of whom did not vote because of active voter suppression or a media that has done its best to insert political apathy into our public, and those ineligible to vote, perhaps due to issues with regards to their citizenship, still fucking live here. Most people are horrified with the direction this country is going, and when the so-called “decent” Republican voter comes to realize how much of a useful idiot* they’ve been for the neo-fascist, white supremacist right in this country, selling out their democratic principles for a promise of self-interest which will not be delivered and for a dignity their own side won’t allow them, the percentage of people who do not agree with the descent into fascism will rise. The fascists will try to make it seem like the whole country is with them, and with the active complicity of our corrupted corporate media they’ll have all the advantages to do so.

But they’ve overplayed their hand. Democracy requires the consent of the governed, and the greatest power a human has is the ability to say no and accept the consequences. Civil disobedience is going to be important going forward. It is how we make them see that the illusion of solidarity behind this tyrant is an ephemeral construct. They will do everything they can to scare us from mobilizing, and there may be plenty of legitimate reasons why you will not always be able to be out there standing on the front lines. I have crippling PTSD; I know it’s hard to protest, especially as the police state increases the violence of its crackdowns. But we have to say no to their normalization. Obey no unjust order, and if you are forced into compliance then do no more than the bare minimum of what they demand. Your resistance does not need to be screamed to the high heavens… it just needs to exist. Bravely.

Save as many as you can.

I am going to lose friends and loved ones in the coming years, and will likely die myself in some premature fashion. I have made more peace with the latter than the former. Even beyond the rise in hate crimes (2016 being the deadliest year yet to be trans in America), we will also begin seeing a rise in political prisoners. If you think I am exaggerating, let me inform you that it has already begun. In Pennsylvania, a state which just flipped to Trump, the Democratic Attorney General, the first woman to be elected to that position, was forced out, prosecuted, and then mandated to jail despite being a single mother who was perfectly suited for house arrest instead. She did a dumb thing, leaking some confidential court docs on her political opponent, but that type of leak is straight out of the GOP playbook (like head of FBI Comey violating the Hatch Act and having some goons leak to Giuliani), and not a single one of them has seen jail-time. No, it’s pretty clear that the reason this case was pursued beyond her being kicked out of office, and why she was sent to prison instead of being given a more humane alternative, is because now that the GOP holds most of the levers in our political system they are going to use them against people who stand in their way.

They mistake vengeance for strength, a sad side effect of a culture which has privileged Frank Miller’s Batman above the humanism of Superman’s What’s So Funny About the American Way? Man of Steel is far more memorable a cultural artifact than Superman vs the Elite (the animated version of the anti-Authority tale), and yet the latter expresses a humanism that the former abandoned.

What a better view of humanity than what was offered by Man of Steel or BvS.

What a better view of humanity than what was offered by Man of Steel or BvS.

All we can do is be there for each other. Video police interactions with the public which look to be going south. Donate to efforts to defend the unjustly prosecuted. Help trans folk and abused women change their documentation. Donate your time and money to food pantries. Babysit for a neighbor. Every social safety net we rely on for our society to function is about to get cut to some degree or another, and in a time where our country is incapable of maintaining full employment because there just aren’t enough jobs. People will go hungry in the richest nation in the world. So when you have an opportunity to make things better for someone, take it.


I don’t know how this works out. But I will tell you this. They want us to despair. They want us to feel unloved. They want us to feel alone in a hostile nation that has rejected us.

Fuck that.

You are loved, and you are capable of loving. You are unique and valuable and appreciated. In our darkest hour, the most radical things we can do is remember that things have not always been this way, and have hope that they will again be better. We may not see that better day, individually, but it will come, and members of our communities will be there to greet it.

Never give up. Never surrender. We are the forefront of a nonviolent cultural resistance, and it is our capacity to choose love over hate which will win the day. We shall overcome. Have faith, not in our institutions, but in each other.

And stay safe out there.

Jess Stirba is terrified of these fascists, for what it’s worth; fear is understandable, but we cannot let it lead us to ruin.



*Once when I used the term “useful idiot” I was accused of ad hominem. I use it in its technical sense. It’s apocryphal attribution was to Lenin, in reference to Polish nihilists who helped usher in the revolution; no matter its attribution, it has a historical connotation of well-meaning dupes who promote Russian interests under the guise of an incompatible political philosophy. It is entirely appropriate to use it here, when Russian intelligence has helped elect a man whose propagandist is an avowed Leninist who wants to destroy the American state. How much of that have you heard contextualized by CNN?

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