How I Became Defiant
The year was 2016…
…before we all learned how EASY it was to watch an insane, lying, racist, pussy-grabbing criminal invade our White House. I was not yet a part of The Resistance, because there was nothing to resist yet.
After the Hollywood Extra tape came out, it seemed like a done deal. Nobody in their right minds thought that America would elect a draft-dodging, disabled-person-mocking, GoldStar family-dissing sexual assaulter. Nobody.
Even as we watched a treasure trove of questionable Podesta emails dumped by WikiLeaks, some of us were a bit shaken, but we were still feeling pretty confident that Hillary Clinton had this thing in the bag. I mean, after all, she demolished the sniffling simpleton in 3 straight debates, and she was clearly more experienced, intelligent, and capable.
At the time, I was just getting my feet settled in Twitter. Until 2016, I had only used it for complaining to companies like Citibank over their excessive service fees, newspapers like the NY Daily News for raising their cover price (I stopped buying their rag long ago), and posting blistering reviews about TV shows lacking consistency: How is it that The Flash, a superhero who can outrun bullets and even run faster than light, can get punched in the face by a mere, slow-mo mortal? Ah, but I digress.
When the GOP learned that trump was the raging dumpster fire their voters wanted, I sat up and took notice. I had always been a political junkie, going back to the 70’s, when Jimmy Carter was President. During the 80’s, I used to stay late after school to play a presidential computer game in which I ran a campaign to be President. Back then, our computers had green screens with a flashing green rectangle where your text would appear — no graphics, no pictures, no email…that was the Wild Frontier of the internet.
In college, I wrote an article about why I was voting for Ross Perot as a 3rd Party candidate, as I wasn’t really crazy about Bill Clinton or Bob Dole. And I thought that MY vote would make a difference, helping to establish a much-needed, viable 3rd party that would help keep BOTH main parties “honest.” Ahhh, the naiveté of my youth.
Years later, I watched in horror as the bumbling oaf known as George W. Bush was “elected,” despite having lost the popular vote to a superior candidate (sound familiar?) This was my FIRST taste of political internet rage, as I bounced around on comment posts ALL CAPS SHOUTING at nameless, faceless strangers who were telling me how much I suck, and “We won. You lost. Get over it, cuck.” Really, trolls have NOT gotten all that clever over the years.
Fast forward to June of 2016, and the horror of the 2000 Bush election seemed washed over in the gauzy haze of my best childhood days by comparison. HOW COULD THEY NOT SEE how absolutely putrid this guy was, to the most objective observer? High-profile GOP Senators like Lindsey Graham declared “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed… and we will deserve it.” He has since forgotten those days.
In any case, I was enraged enough by these developments, I put my TV rants on hold, and began to use “my voice,” shouting into what I believed was surely the void of the internet. Much to my surprise, folks started to listen, and agree with the stuff I was saying. I mean, it wasn’t tough: most reasonable people believed that a burning diaper filled with diarrhea would be a better President than trump.
And it wasn’t just that. It was that everything he represented was a repudiation of what we knew to be decent, and honorable, and caring. And, as aghast as we were at his rise, his rabid supporters were swept up in the “fuck your feelings” frenzy of a guy you wouldn’t trust to watch your unlocked bike outside, let alone entrust him with the awesome power of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
At the time, folks knew me on Twitter as “BrooklynDad4Hillary,” and because I was very active (often spending the wee hours clapping back at Twitter trolls), I was invited to quite a few DM groups, where folks would strategize their next tweet storms to push hashtags, or discuss the latest news developments, or to try to prop up Congresspeople in tough election districts.
I was fascinated by all this, and I tried to absorb as much information as I could, all the while pressing folks who had been at it much longer for how I could get better at Twitter. There really did seem to be something about these folks and their online presence, and I respected them because they were so willing to share tips and tricks with me, and didn’t make me feel like a noob for asking the most basic questions (NARRATOR: He still asks basic questions.)
November 8th came…
…and the house of confident cards came tumbling down like a ton of bricks on a cardboard box. Minute by minute, hour by hour, we checked the election results, and none of us could believe what we were seeing. There was very little to cheer about that night, as it seemed most of us were curled into the fetal position. HOW could this be happening??? How could all of the polls have gotten it so WRONG?
This may have been the night when that screaming person in glasses with the green jacket was born, a favorite meme of trump trolls when they want to remind us how trump is going to be in office another 5, or 15, or eleventy-hundred years. When I checked those DM groups, folks were already pulling their heads into turtle shells, packing up their tents and scramming. “Oh, those trolls are going to be out in full force. I’m going to hide,” some would say. “No, it’s all over, I can’t even deal,” others said.
And this made me FURIOUS.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t yet accept what had just occurred (I couldn’t, not really), or that I was in denial (wait, isn’t that the same thing?). It was just the whole rolling-over-and-showing-their-bellies thing. It was just the giving up thing. THAT I could not accept. I could accept losing; I could NOT accept giving up – there is a BIG difference. When you fall, you get your ass right back up and stop crying about it.
That was when I changed my profile name to BrooklynDad_DEFIANT! And, for a week or so, I changed my profile picture to one of Obama flipping the bird at the camera…yes, it was Photoshopped, of course, but it said EXACTLY what I wanted to say to my fellow DEMs, to those God-forsaken trolls, and to anyone else who cared to get in my face about it.
After that, though, I changed my profile picture BACK to the one that was originally my son Malik and I, standing back to back in the parking lot of the Sheepshead Bay movie theater. We were both going for “badass,” but Malik let his smirk slip in as the picture was taken. He’s such a kind, good-natured young man, that picture is his essence. And my glare at the camera was pretty close to my angry, fighting mood after the election.
And I found that being angry was…
well, it was a lot more therapeutic and productive than retreating into a shell of remorse, mourning and defeat. And then I found a whole lot more folks who felt the same way, who were not ready to retreat into their shells; they wanted to FIGHT. And we fight today, as members of The Resistance.
We have had some small victories along the way, but we’ve also had our unfair share of bullshit decisions, like Bill Barr trump-washing the Mueller Report, and the whole “no witnesses or documents in the impeachment trial” stance by GOP Senators. But I believe, as a party, we have come a long way thus far, and have grown battle-smart.
We won a MASSIVE victory in 2018, and we weren’t as rabidly fed-up then as we are now. Folks are saying clever things like “Any Functioning Adult,” and a shit-covered rock is still more popular than trump and his Stockholm-syndrome Senators. More importantly, we know that 2020 is THE most important election any of us have ever seen. And, despite the fractured camps of MY candidate vs MY candidate, I believe we will all come together when it counts.