Good afternoon, SHEROS. I hope everyone is well and feeling some much needed relief from the last few days, including Biden’s signatory hand, which must be exhausted. I am experiencing something that I wanted to quickly discuss, because I think many of us are struggling and not sure why. If you are doing well and all of your hope has been restored, bravo — keep the faith and keep on truckin’. But, if you are having this odd feeling that you are living two lives at the same time and are experiencing enormous fatigue as a result: this is for you.
I can honestly say that I have run the full gambit on human emotion, with every level of intensity, over the last four plus years of complete madness we have experienced as a country, thanks to Donald L. Trump. (I have changed his middle initial out of personal necessity to denote his new, SHERO given middle name, which is now “Loser.”)
I have also dealt with the Trump phenomenon of rapidly cycling emotions that is typically brought on by a news cycle that is so fast that I am not sure how to feel, so I move through many, very extreme reactions, within a short time span and am left feeling like The Joker. To be clear, it’s Jack Nicholson’s version, not Heath Ledger’s, because instead of going completely psychotic, I just feel incredibly wacky and sideways with those pin-wheel cartoon eyes.
My point here, is that I have gained expertise in managing a myriad of emotions, shifting gears quickly and changing many times throughout the day, all while I am trying to communicate a rational and hopeful take on what is really happening. I think we have all learned how to do this in our lives thanks to Trump, and now the pandemic. I’m sure this is a skill that any parent already has developed and has mastered well.
I expected the exhaustion from last week’s relief of Biden’s seamless inauguration to lift this week. So when it didn’t, I just assumed I was extremely tired from not sleeping for the last four years. So I have rested and eaten too much ice cream and just allowed myself to try and wind down.
But, this does not feel like fatigue, because I can’t get any of that “rested” feeling — a high that I now chase like a drug after experiencing it a lot last week. It is time to admit that a teensy bit of physical depression has crept in, thanks to the antics of that Marjorie Taylor Greene yokel, and how she has been pushed into the forefront of the QAnon movement. I swear, that lady is like a Karen at a Black Friday sale, and now I realize just how far from over this thing really is.
To be clear, MTG isn’t what is really upsetting me — she’s small potatoes and just another desperate woman who is willing to be used by men to fulfill their agenda. What concerns me is the ongoing pull Donald Trump continues to have over Republicans. There is an obvious opportunity to cut him loose and put him down, so that he can’t bite anyone else, but so many conservatives have lost their backbones and are already operating on a morality deficit.
People like Kevin McCarthy, who publicly condemned the actions of Trump a few weeks ago (see video in tweet below), who stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and said “the president bears responsibility” for the Capitol attack, have done yet another about face. This indicates that many Republicans took the temperatures of their base, and realized everyone still had a raging Trump fever.
Women of color in Congress, themselves fairly newly elected, have been vocal about how they feel their lives are still in danger; and they are absolutely right. It was bad enough finding out that Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) was targeted by the Trump loyalists who overtook the US Capitol — I struggle still with thinking about what might have happened to her had she been captured. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told us that she “had a very close encounter, where [she] thought she was going to die,” and she was well aware of QAnon members of Congress tweeting out clues on her position for the mob. You can watch her describe her full experience in the video below:
The most infuriating aspect of all of this is the lack of condemnation and the ‘business as usual’ approach to the credible allegations against QAnon Congresspeople that seem to be happening right now. Many Congresswomen have expressed they thought their lives were in danger, that they know they were specifically targeted by the Trump mob. We saw the noose that was set up especially for the occasion, outside of the US Capitol on the day the building was overtaken.
Now, MTG and her thug army — that consists not only of villagers wielding torches, but also the former President of the United States and elected national leaders — have gone a step further by harassing their Democratic colleagues in the halls of Congress.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) had to actually propose legislation to combat the harassment in Congress from her colleagues. Now Taylor Green has just posted another video in retaliation, that further attacks Bush and other Congressional minorities by slandering Bush’s credibility. The violence and hate that Trump has encouraged in cowards, who are consumed by fear to wield hate as a weapon, is far from over. It won’t stop until everyone, including all leadership, mandates a no-tolerance policy; something many of us believed was handled under existing law.
So little has been done about the wholly inappropriate behavior of these members of Congress, including a complete investigation of their level of criminal culpability for the Capitol insurrection, that I am left feeling…well, much more tired than usual. Then I found this video of Corey R. Forrester on Twitter and a little bit of light peeked through. Watch here (also, explicit language warning):
Here is a man with a burgeoning career, a thick accent and a lot to lose, who has put himself on the public record because he can no longer stand to watch what is happening and not speak out. An accent like Corey’s has recently become associated with hate, and he lives in a rural Georgia community where it would not be hard to find him. He has put everything on the line to remind people that we can’t keep stereotyping each other, and we can’t hide behind our white privilege any more by keeping quiet and staying out of it.
We have allowed this to happen by looking away from racism when it didn’t directly affect us. Now, we have a duty to set it right, even if that means risking our lives, and finally understanding a small aspect of what minorities in this country live through every day. I sent Corey a message and, in the great southern tradition, thanked him for the much needed kick in the ass that has pulled me out of this zombie state.
Thanks to Corey screaming at me for over a minute with a thick accent, I was able to channel my beloved Mimi, who I miss every day. She would become so enraged that she would kick into what I called an “Ozarks state of mind” and use her twang and temper to scare the daylights out of everyone and get them to “straighten up and fly right.”
I remember when I realized for the first time how powerful she was when her intention was righteous and aligned with her heart, and her fury took over to properly communicate a powerful sentiment. I also remember the day it stopped scaring me — my fear vanished and instead I was comforted by the fury she was projecting. She was so proud when she saw me smiling and unafraid, knowing that I had learned the full power of her life lesson.
I will take this opportunity now to remind you that you never know where your next dose of inspiration will come from, so be on the lookout. I want to re-assure you that anything you are feeling now, after basically being held hostage and living in a state of constant fear for four years, is normal. If you are at all like me, you are being too hard on yourself right now, so I will be exactly like my Mimi and tell you, “sugar, you got to stop that right now cause you’re only hurting yourself.”
The best way to combat ‘Post-Trump, Ongoing Racist Asshat Malaise,’ is to keep your eyes open for any light — even the smallest smidgen of inspiration can shake you free from this feeling. Trust me, Corey just shook the dickens out of me and knocked me clean into next Tuesday, and I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel.
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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