This piece was originally accepted by the blog http://dedicateyournotrumpvote.blogspot.com/ , a project I love, support, and am proud to have been a part of, even peripherally. Unfortunately, they were so overrun with submissions (huzzah!), it’s not going to run, but I wanted it to get out in the world in even a small way. Here it is.
I started organizing against Donald Trump back in March, 2016, when I created the Facebook page “Atlantic Couty Citizens Against Donald Trump.” Then, I was still in denial he could win the nomination, much less the election, but it already seemed vitally important to speak up.
See, I still live in the town where I grew up—Atlantic City, New Jersey—a place uniquely aware of Trump’s disasters; still, in fact, suffering them.
Back then—March, 2016—a person I grew up with, whose mother and father had both lost their jobs as a result of Trump’s abysmal Atlantic City business deals, responded with dismay at my outspoken condemnation of Trump. I said that Trump was a racist, that I could never support a bigot. That my partner, Vincent, and his daughter, are partly African-American. He responded by sending me a picture of two young, Black kids holding a sign that says “Fuck Donald Trump.” He said, “That’s hatred, that’s racism.” The thing—the problem—is this is a person I like. It’s someone I know. I like his parents. I like his little son. Once, in the sixth grade, we kissed in my parents’ laundry room. He claims to love America—an America that, to me, feels refined, and sold, refined, and sold: a fat, sweet, sick lie like a horsefly about to die.
So, I made this picture of my partner, and myself, grinning up at the camera, newly in love, and captioned it “Fuck Donald Trump For Real.” I thought about the first time we kissed. We were both exclusively single parents of small children. It felt like a new Eden, a new earth, an America I had yet to witness, but hoped existed. I thought about my love for him, his face, his stretched earlobes, his inked, beautifully, brightly scarred body. How I love his daughter. How he loves my son. How I love his liminal spaces: not Black, not quite white, an Atlantic City street kid who comes from nothing, who makes me chicken nugget omelets when I’m sad, teaches our kids how to throw their farts at one another. Who spent his fifteenth year homeless, when his parents lost their house, in an Atlantic City decimated by Donald Trump, a man who has never met a liminal space. Who would build a wall inside one if he did: A monolith splitting the minotaur in half. Who believes this shit, that we’re all one thing, or all the other? Who kisses someone with the intent to own, not open?
I dedicate my no Trump vote to Vincent, at age 15, homeless, freezing, sleeping on the soccer field in March, watched over by no one, back lit by Donald Trump’s name, twenty feet tall in bright red lights, refusing him, and refusing him sleep.