I recently watched Ivo van Hove’s “Kings of War” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a commentary on politics today through the use of three Shakespearean kings, Henry V, Henry VI, and Richard III. The show tracks how each king gains political power, many times involving manipulation, especially in Richard III’s case, who not only manipulates, but kills many to get to the throne and maintain it, including his brother and wife. At one point in the play the actor playing Richard III made his own political commentary by inserting a line of his own: During an argument with one of the royal women, she stormed off stage, and under his breath the actor said, “What a nasty woman.” The audience almost went into standing ovation.
So I thought to myself, “Yes.” Trump is the ultimate manipulator with a handle on rhetoric. He’s also entered the political game for nothing but self-interest. Forget the nation, it’s all about his greed. And given his hateful language and hateful perspectives on immigrants, women, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, and racial minorities, he clearly lacks any form of compassion or empathy for humanity in all its diverse and beautiful forms. The Richard III-Trump parallel was valid. The only thing that kept me from collapsing into tears at the show was the belief that this man couldn’t possibly be elected as President. He wouldn’t get the votes. America would be better than that.
Well, he got the votes, electorally at least, and here we are. And what’s more — 47% of the American people chose this man.
It’s a sad, sad day. It’s a sad day for human rights. It’s a sad day for those whose identities, lifestyles, and sense of security are being threatened by Trump and his administration. As a woman, I’m worried that this man has validated hate culture towards women, and that walking alone on the street has become that much more dangerous. What’s scariest is the fact that someone in one of the most powerful positions on the global stage condones hateful language and hateful action. His very encouragement of it legitimizes it. Pandora’s box has been opened.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve gone through the 5 stages of grief within 24 hours. I felt denial all of last night, anger this morning, bargaining, depression at around 1:30pm today, and only a few minutes ago, acceptance. But an acceptance that does not AT ALL mean surrendering. I accept that Donald Trump will be our President come January 20, but I CANNOT accept prejudice, racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia. I accept that the country I live in requires my actions towards the good more than ever before in my short life, and only just beginning adult life. I accept that I will have to dedicate whatever resources I have, whether it’s time, money (not quite yet), or skills and creativity to fight the ugliness. I ACCEPT THE CALL TO ARMS.