Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Week After: Post Election Let Down

This past year I found myself really involved with politics. Donald J. Tramp, my political puppet, was my nexus that lured me into this latest adventure. The concept came from the fact that Donald Trump is the ventriloquist puppet of the Republican Party, saying all the hateful rhetoric the career politicians wish they could say but wouldn’t because it would cost them elections. And a tramp in old times was a fool or a fop. I invented him when it became clear that he wasn’t going away.

Donald J. Tramp brought me to the RNC. He became the spokespuppet for STAT (Stand Together Against Trump). Along with the brave doctors, nurses (STAT is a medical term meaning right away) and other brave young activists we protested Trump’s candidacy. For days Mr. Tramp and I entertained in the square. Each day, we watched the trainwreck that was the Convention from Scott Baio to the stolen speech. And then we marched. I think I might have been the first ventriloquist on a protest. I dunno.

My protest puppet, Donald J. Tramp, and I in the Cleveland Dispatch

Either way, I met a lot of wonderful young people from all ideologies expressing their First Amendment Right. We were all peaceful. Several young Trumpkins clad in American flags wanted to rub Donald J. Tramp’s head for luck. It was fun. I let them. At the end of the day we are all people and this is America.

A still shot of us in between performances. We literally talked to 200 press people each day, and thousands of pedestrians.

My partner and I then found ourselves outside of Hofstra. Sans STAT, we were simply a ventriloquist and her dummy doing a good old fashioned street performance in the free speech zone. We were true agit prop theatre. Another man showed up with a giant Trump head, and an anti-Hillary supporter even sported a wig and a full body costume nominating HRC for prison.

I also got to see a dark side of the protest circuit. In Cleveland, and even at Hofstra the ones that scared me were never the Trump supporters. If anything, the ones I met in Cleveland were overweight, out of shape, and had their guns irresponsibly strapped to their backs. Or they were young white men who might have been supporting the Donald on a lark.
One of my faves of Donald and I from the march

Marching with STAT

However, the super liberal, third party people were the ones that scared me. In Cleveland, one tried to light a flag on fire. She failed and instead lit herself on fire. The policeman, trying not to break out laughing, screamed, “You idiot, you’re on fire!” Then after he put the fire out told her that she was done for the day and had to head home. Apparently someone in her crew assaulted a cop, and this same group of radicals tried to get a young man from Black Lives Matter to organize a march to the jail to free the prisoner. Needless to say, the constituent of STAT was sensible enough to refuse the invite.
The same held true at Hofstra. Jill Stein and her disciples came and many didn’t have a conversation, only yelled. They also made it clear that they showed up solely to get arrested. Their dreams came true, 26 of them did.

Free speech zone outside of Hofstra, it was colder that day. Oh and it was also my birthday. 

The climax of my adventures was Donald J. Tramp and I, both acting as correspondents, for the Clyde Fitch Report. My puppet partner and I both had official badges, mic flags, and hats. We saw Anderson Cooper napping on the back of a golf cart, and Wolf Blitzer trying to escape attention in a van. I was in the room when Donald Trump uttered the phrases “bad hombres” and “nasty woman.”
I was a part of history as it unfolded. In between Donald and I were on stage nightly in NYC, and also hit a few venues in Las Vegas. We met a lot of Trump people who dug the act. It’s good. A country that laughs together stays together.
On location, Las Vegas

I wish with all my heart the election turned out differently. The night the results came in, I got a ghastly stomach cramp. As HRC gave her concession speech I cried buckets, because the glass ceiling had not been broken. And just as she lost I felt I lost. Not just as an American, but as a woman who has experienced sexism. As a woman who is a domestic violence survivor. As a woman who knows what it’s like when a man torments you and no one believes you.
I was also saddened as I saw Trump supporters gloat, and frightened as my friends who were black, Latino, gay and trans feared losing their rights.
I then became angry at my own party. Angry at the disaffected Bernie people for either voting Stein, writing Bernie in, or not voting at all. Angry that they gave the election to Trump. Angry at my own candidate for her flaws, and angry at her for not understanding technology. Angry at my own candidate for not reaching across the aisle to the Bernie people. Angry at my own candidate for not making Bernie her VP. Angry at my own party for it’s apparent division and not realizing this until it was too late.
I became angry at the Trump people, even flaming out at several. But as I went outside and caught some air, I came to the realization we are all people. I am not angry at the Trump people for voting for Trump. They didn’t do what I wanted them to, but when it came time to vote they voted for who they thought suited their interests. And Trump somehow was able to get the disaffected Cruz people behind him, which is more than I can say for the Democrats. So again, they get an A on the assignment.

Tramp and his campaign manager May Wilson

I even spoke to several Trump people, none by the way who I felt were racist in the least bit. They felt HRC wasn’t trustworthy, and were tired of being screwed over by the government. Many were 2nd Amendment people who live in an area where a gun is required because cops live far away. Others saw their jobs disappear as a result of Bill Clinton’s legislation. Many, like my ex, were banged up Iraq War Vets who were angry that Obama had undid the work they did in the Middle East, and felt the government was too busy helping illegals and forgot about the vets.
Either way, Republicans in my experience always seek to pretend to help the common man only to get him to vote against their own best interests. Harry Truman said as much. This is no exception. So on November 9 we all lost.
On the other hand, it takes many opinions to make the world go round. Pence got booed at Hamilton and got challenged from the stage by the lead actor. Was it the time or place? Depends on who you ask. But I felt the plea was peaceful and kind. It was also a response to a man who’s positions and party are built on bigotry. The president elect had a meltdown, but Pence took it in stride explaining, “I told my daughters that is what freedom sounds like.”
Better than the president elect, screaming about defeating Isis but unable to defeat the theatre geeks.
As Donald Trump suggests a whole flock of cringeworthy, Southern Poverty Law Watch List alumns as his cabinet picks, like the rest of America, I pray and wait.
But life goes on. There is existence off of twitter and facebook. Thanksgiving is coming up. My sister and brother in law are frying a turkey. My dad also has a birthday tomorrow. He is going to be 64. There will be other elections. There will be other debates. I won’t have my dad forever.

My coverage of the election has brought us closer, and maybe we will discuss it on turkey day. While I have 4 more years worth of material, I need a week off. Actually, I think I would rather discuss football and Heisman picks, two things that have always made America great. 
Just me and my dad

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