Many of my friends are finding it hard to laugh these days. The election of Donald Trump in the United States has left many good-hearted folks, gringo and non-gringo alike, wandering around like they just got kicked in the head by a horse. I understand that, to a point. It’s not every day that you wake up and discover fascists have taken over your democracy, and if you measure fascism by the ever-increasing incestuousness of government and corporate structures mixed with a healthy dose of authoritarian leadership and racist ideology, then, a’yup, they are fascists.
I get it. This really sucks. Yet, if we stop finding reasons to laugh, then the victory of the assholes is complete. As such, I offer this personally crafted joke to lighten the mood. I first told it over a year ago, hoping that I’d be able to retire it before two thousand seventeen. Alas . . .
Q: Hey! What do Guatemalans call it when a racist clown defeats a former First Lady who is hated by over half the country?
A: Two thousand fifteen!
Ama-right, guys? Ama-right? Guatemala is setting trends! What’s next? Trump in blackface?
To the uninitiated, last year Jimmy Morales, the current president of Guatemala, beat Sandra Colom, ex-wife of ex-presidente Alvaro Colom. Morales used to have a sketch-comedy show on national television. One of his characters, the Black Pitaya, was performed in actual blackface. His catchphrase was “Hey kids! Don’t be racist if the blackie is cute!”
Yeah, it’s all so blindingly terrible in the political world, that one reaction is stunned silence and tears. But I just can’t get behind that. As old Hunter S. sagaciously noted years ago, “When the going gets weird, the weird go pro,” so as far as I’m concerned, this is our cue. If we’re going to have a fighting chance against this much stupid and wrong, we’re gonna have to keep our wits about us and our senses of humor well-honed. The coming years will be long and dark. Resignation and petrified inaction will drive us all mad well before 2020. Hence, we here at La Cuadra Magazine intend to issue rallying calls throughout the foreseeable future for a positively jocular resistance. As Emma Goldman once said, “If I can’t make dick jokes, then it’s not my revolution.”
She actually said dance, but we know what she really meant, that randy, brilliant prole.
So, here’s my first few comedic cow-patties, hurled towards the gold-bedecked Trumps. Imagine the annoying Jerry Seinfeld voice if you’d like to enhance the experience.
“J’ever notice that Eric Trump and his brother Donald, Jr. actually look like date-rape?”
Here goes number two:
I can’t think of a better Secret Service code name for the incoming President than Grabberpussy; can you?
After Ivanka’s sixteenth birthday, Donald Trump changed the time for Trump Industries’ “Take Your Daughter To Work Day” and renamed it “Date Night.” You know, because he actually said that his OWN DAUGHTER is so hot that if she weren’t his OWN DAUGHTER, he’d “probably be dating her.”
Ack. Okay . . . This is going to be harder than I thought. Donald Trump is both the acme and the abyss of political history’s past four-hundred years. He is the pinnacle primate of capitalist evolution and the nadir of the Enlightenment belief in the inherent value of every individual. He believes in his right to your life, liberty and property and we just gave him the power to make war — and don’t get cute here with some sly comment about the Constitution enumerating that specific function to Congress or the ideological dangers of democratic socialism. Donald Trump thinks he has the right to grab your genitals or to con you out of twenty-grand in tuition so that he might buy another diamond toilet — and he’s the flipping President of the USA. Good God, he is very close to being the most horrible person in the world and humor will only take us so far. We’re gonna need self-initiated resistance and a whole lot of love. To that end, I’d like to relate a story of a recent dinner with friends.
On Thanksgiving of this year my orphans’ family gathered for a meal and the simple and encompassing grace of long-shared communality. After dinner, the party dispersed into several rooms and the backyard, but at the table remained a conclave of six and we turned to the weighty conversation of individual responsibilities in a time of crisis.
One of the brothers at the table — a brilliant, driven, ethical and conscientious man in his mid-twenties — asked of the greybeards in attendance, of which I was one, where he might properly choose to stand his ground. As a gringo, should he return stateside? As a citizen of the world, is it reasonable to work in a culture that isn’t your home? Should that work, wherever it is, be specifically dedicated to a cause, or can one’s connection to the betterment of humanity be ancillary, more a passive result than an intended outcome of one’s days and ways?
These are powerful questions.
My advice to him was to accept that the battle will never end. The world will always be broken. That evening I phrased it poorly when I said, “You’ve got to accept that we’ll never win.” More on point is to note that there will always be more battles than days in our lives. This war outlasts us by centuries, so who are we to complain that the array of cannon are not to our liking at present?
I strongly encouraged him, and I strongly encourage all of you, to begin thinking strategically rather than tactically. Hope for a better world alone is a terrible fuel for the long haul, though it is invaluable for the sprints. Still, we’ve recently entered a long, dark night and I believe it is imperative, if we are to see this thing out the other side, that we begin to thrive on the battle solely for the joy of the fight. I believe this as fundamentally as I believe in rain and magic. If you internalize the understanding that every day of your life is to be spent in an endless battle to right the world through wit, love and compassion, then it doesn’t matter where you are at the moment or even what you are doing. The world is a cruel place, so carry your wit like a sword and your joy as a salve. The whole world is your battlefield.
This would have been my advice had Hillary Clinton won the election or if the End of Days were truly upon us. It doesn’t matter who is in charge. Your job is to bring forth truth, beauty and light. Always has been. Trump doesn’t change that a whit.
Pass it on.
One thought on “Don’t Let the Fascists Get You Down”
I really like your notion of learning to love the fight, yes, for the fight brings us together, builds community, creates cohesion where it was not. The fight gives us a common enemy and unifies, it gives us a reason to look around, see a need, address it, feel the satisfaction it brings, and look for the next need. The fight wakes us the fuck up, like skydiving or barreling down a zip line when heights were never really your thing, they scared you, but you have to ride anyway, and suddenly, everything is more real, your senses are heightened, you feel alive, you are aware of new details and perspectives, it’s all new so you have to pay attention. The fight cultivates meaning.
That said, where we depart is when you say, “If you internalize the understanding that every day of your life is to be spent in an endless battle to right the world through wit, love and compassion, then it doesn’t matter where you are at the moment or even what you are doing.” I think this assertion is incomplete, and I think it DOES matter what you are doing, in part. I think this new situation requires a new, larger quorum of folks to ACT, act against the forces that are here and the ones that are coming. We do have agency beyond just being swell folks. As a person that is part of a targeted subculture, LGTBQ folks, who are being specifically targeted, in policies, legislation, and hate crimes, I am counting on that quorum of folks to ACT THE FUCK UP. And and all the other stuff you said. Love, Mer!