By D’Anne Witkowski | Guest Editorial
Hello there. Congratulations. If you’re reading this that means you lived through another year of President Donald Trump.
As I write this there are so many scandals and crimes unfolding that I honestly can’t keep them all straight. The Defense Secretary has resigned, Trump wants to take away food assistance from poor people, we’ve pulled out of Syria apparently without any kind of plan, Russian President Vladimir Putin is talking about nuclear war, Trump shut down the government because he didn’t get funding for his stupid border wall, Michael Cohen is going to jail, and Trump is clamoring to shut down the Russian investigation.
It’s amazing, and alarming, how numb we as a country have gotten to constant scandals and flagrant incompetence.
But no matter what happens, Trump’s supporters will stand by their man. They have found each other. It’s a love story like no other. But instead of running through a field in slow motion while violin music plays, it’s Trump on a golf cart puttering through a hell scape of burning crosses and swastikas toward a crowd of white people in Make America Great Again hats while a chorus of thousands of babies crying and begging for their families plays on a loop.
Ugh. I hate it so much. 2020 can’t come fast enough.
And yet. So much more damage will be done between now and then. No matter who becomes president next, there is going to be a lot of work to do.
The amount of damage Trump and his administration has done to LGBTQ people is huge. Transgender people have been their favorite target. Trump is trying to roll back every gain that trans folks made under President Barack Obama. We’ve seen direct attacks on transgender service members, transgender students, and even transgender prisoners.
You’ll recall that Trump attempted to tweet trans service members out of the military because he said the country just couldn’t afford all of these trans troops mooching off of Uncle Sam for their health care (and by health care Trump was likely only thinking “sex change operations” because he is callous and dumb).
But wanting to come between trans folk and health care wasn’t limited to the enlisted. The Trump administration also worked to roll back protections from discrimination by health care providers.
Then there was the scraping of rules put in place during Obama that allowed trans prisoners to be housed in facilities that aligned with their gender identity in order to protect them from sexual and physical assault.
And, of course, they also scrapped the Obama Administration’s guidance for schools about LGBTQ kids, guidance that was put in place to help a population of young people who are often the most vulnerable, especially in areas that lack a certain je ne sais quoi (a.k.a. diversity).
Perhaps Trump’s biggest kick to LGBTQ people was his appointment, and the Senate’s confirmation, of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, not to mention all of the lower courts that are being stacked with right-wing judges hostile to LGBTQ rights. This will shape how the law treats, and mistreats, LGBTQ people for at least a generation.
Which is, of course, the point. Reshaping the courts has always been the goal of right-wing conservatives. And to their credit they have never taken their eye off of that prize. Overturning Roe v. Wade and, more recently, unraveling marriage equality, is something they want done by any means necessary.
Which is why they have embraced the moral shit show that is Donald Trump, some even equating Trump with Jesus himself.
You can pay to have sex with porn stars, cheat on all of your wives, swindle people out of money, and lie constantly, but as long as you’re willing to make sure poor women can’t get abortions and gay guys can’t say “I do” after tongue kissing each other, then praise be hallelujah!
I know a lot of people are hoping that Robert Mueller will swoop in and save us from President Ignoramus. But that’s really wishful thinking. It’s dangerous thinking, too, because it inspires inaction and complacency. The truth is, the only person who can save us is us.
This means voting, but that’s the bare minimum. We need to put our time and money behind candidates who reject the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Republican agenda.
We saw some good things happen in 2018, like Democrats taking the U.S. House. But things will hardly be smooth sailing. I fully expect House Dems to give Trump hell, but Trump will no doubt lash back harder than ever before. If he’s going down he’ll take the whole country with him.
2019 is going to be a hell of a ride. Buckle up.
—D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.