I felt like I was watching a tank run over my little backyard garden.
I knew Trump was going to be bad, but during the first week of his Presidency he made so many horrible executive orders that he seemed completely unstoppable. We protested and called, but each day there were more and more horrible things happening that we couldn’t stop. No one seemed to be able to do anything at all. The House and the Senate and even a Supreme Court nominee–they were so powerful, and we didn’t have a leg to stand on.
They kept doing unprecedented things, nightmarish things, so quickly we couldn’t keep up. They smashed the environment and healthcare, they hired actual Nazis, they threatened LGBTQ equality, and they halted immigration. People have already died because of their reckless first week.
It seemed like the beginning of dystopia. I felt like any moment I’d hear about them sending the army in to “disappear” people, and there wasn’t a thing anyone could do. We were doomed.
But then the lawyers came. Not the kind who wear expensive suits and who find loopholes for corporations, but the kind that I know, the kind I saw work through law school wearing glasses and fleece sweaters and slouching from staying up too late reading. They came to the protests. They came to the airports. They sat on the ground, hunched over on their laptops, working feverishly when we most needed them, to make sure that the people who were being unjustly victimized by an insane autocrat could continue with their travel plans and come inside our country.
And they won! I couldn’t believe it. There was actually a tiny sliver of hope in this insane political climate. The nerds who geeked out over boring legal details actually got the travel ban lifted–they were our sweet tiny David to Trump’s monstrous Goliath. They threw a pebble at the giant machine and crammed its gears enough to give us a moment of hope.
The political horrors have continued. Trump is still banning people from coming in the country, still talking about building a wall, still fighting lawyers and the press and everything else that is beautiful and good in this life. But we can fight back. We will stuffer a lot of losses, but we can gain small victories that will help us remain strong together.
Those lawyers saved people’s lives, and they showed us that there ARE things we can do that will make a difference. They rescued our hope, and for that I will forever be grateful.
I’m donating all the money I get from my latest artistic endeavor to the ACLU. The title of the show is “Get Woke, Stay Woke,” and it’s on display at Ula in Jamaica Plain until the first week of March. I’m suggesting about $20 for each piece, but really, it’s a pay-what-you-can situation. Make me an offer! I’ll take it, and give you whatever piece(s) of art you request. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Trump can take away funding for the arts and the humanities, but he will never take away art itself.