The First 100 Days

white-houseWith the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, the United States enters into uncertain times. This reality is specifically true as it relates to the future of progressive movements.  Some of us reassure ourselves that President Trump said certain things to get elected, and that he does not really believe them. We grow more anxious as we look at the selections for his cabinet, a collection of lascivious businessmen, Christian social conservatives, and neo-fascist populists. In today’s America, there is so much to fear, not from without, but from within our body politic. At the Psychoanalytic Activist, we would like to explore these myriad fears, and plan on doing so with several contributors sharing their concerns about the future. These will be conducted in brief format, largely jargon free to be as accessible as possible.

 

Day 1: A new media

By Matthew LeRoy

Editor-in-Chief

img_1708My fears feel infinite in this climate. Foremost of these is the fear that civil rights will be rolled back. These rights range from the right to marry, to end an unwanted pregnancy, to vote and have your vote count, a right to basic privacy including the right of Muslims to honor their religious traditions. All of these rights feel imperil. Perhaps the greatest fear I have is the fear that many citizens will be blind to violations of these basic rights. Particularly those citizens who are disengaged from the political process, or believe strongly that something has been lost in America, and to their credit, something has been lost. A type of shared reality has been lost, a reality where there are agreed upon facts. The solutions to our problems have always been different, but increasingly the very facts we believe are different. We live in postmodern times, where a sharing of subjectivities, or put psychoanalytically an intersubjective approach, feels impossible.

Of course this phenomenon is most evident in the news media. I do not believe a true intersubjective space is an easy one to create, and if created, I don’t think it would be one viewers would watch. People like the conflict inherent in pundits talking to themselves and treating differing views disdainfully. It’s entertaining. Currently, some media (e.g. CNN) feel the need to include the voices of the President’s supporters. How can this be done in a responsible way, without shifting to relativistic journalism? A relativistic journalism that questions if Jews are people is unacceptable. A relativistic journalism that in its “inclusion” of certain voices (e.g. the alt-right), actively silences others voices (e.g. minorities) is not intersubjective. It is bigotry designed to silence those most marginalized.

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 Day 4: Unpacking pain, anger and privilege

By Macy Wilson

Assistant Editor

macyOver the past month, my emotions about the election have fluctuated greatly. Initially, I was most affected by an overwhelming sense of grief that was compounded by feelings of fear, betrayal, and anger. As the weeks have passed, what remains is anger, disgust, fear, and simultaneous motivation.

The notion of a president who disrespects women, minorities, those who are mentally unstable or physically disabled, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, and immigrants (to name a few) is incredibly disheartening and frightening. A man with this mentality who condones violence for the sake of his name is not a man whom I can respect. As someone who identifies as a biracial (Black and Chicana), queer, cisgender, Christian woman, I can’t help but feel that he does not/will not respect me or have my best interests at heart. When thinking about the people I know who voted for this man, I also wondered if they respected me and had my best interests at heart. I currently work at a juvenile correctional facility as a therapist, and on the day after the election, I called in because I knew that I could not be emotionally present and supportive for my clients who were experiencing similar fears and reactions as me. There have been moments when I questioned my faith as a Christian because I believed that the compassionate God I serve would not allow a man with such horrific values to lead God’s children. I’ve experienced moments of angst that were only partially-resolved through lamenting about this cruel reality. This election has truly been a lesson in self-care and reaching out, because I know it is not possible to effectively show up for others when I’m personally experiencing so much distress.

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Day 7: Elections on the Couch

By Orna Guralnik

Contributor

orna-guralnikAfter the elections I headed to the office, relieved to spend the day with fellow citizens. Nothing prepared me for the profound collective breakdown awaiting me. Patient after patient was derealized, crying, insomniac, panicking, and confused as to how to continue their lives… With no exception and very little variation, people were deeply shaken as if by a very terrible event that was happening to them personally. Collectively, reactions were similar if not worse than in New York City following the 9/11 attacks. The threat represented by the rise of a new politics now came from the inside, and it was terrifying.

Four weeks later and the tumult had not subsided. Instead: colds and flus that will not get better, irritable bowels, a general parade of restless legs and agitated bodies on the couch, have become the new reality. Miriam, who had never shed a tear throughout eight years of treatment, was now sobbing, “Everything I believed in is now gone! My entire upbringing, the high-school I went to, my college, my profession (she is a physician), the way we raise our kids -, its all been centered around the core values of human rights, tolerance and respect for others.  It’s gone to shit! I am totally devastated.  I had no idea this even mattered to me so much.  I just took it for granted all these years.   Turns out these values are not shared by all of us, a horrible realization”.

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Day 10: Days of Anxiety

By Ann D’Ercole

Contributor

ann-dercoleThe days before and since the election have unquestionably been days of anxiety. In my world, anxious worry for the future of the country and for democracy itself dominates daily conversations as well as private thoughts. For friends, family, colleagues and for many of my patients, concerns for the well being of loved ones and for the people who are already disenfranchised casts a dark shadow on both days and nights. I listen while my patients talk about their fear that they or their neighbors will be threatened with legal sanctions because of their immigration status, or their speaking up against authority, or their skin color, or religion. Some are frightened that they will lose the hard fought for civil rights that could end their legal marriages. And, for those who have suffered sexual abuse these are days of trauma and flashbacks to earlier times when the exploits of an abuser went without condemnation or punishment.

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Day 13: A Golden Credit Card

By Nancy Burke

Contributor

I recently created a meme on Facebook.  It never went viral (sigh), but it did capture my take on the election:  “Donald Trump does not want to lead America; he wants to own America.  There’s a difference.”  In order to lead, one must be capable of 8d2af581-487c-4c99-a56d-56a736e50416concern, of encountering objects outside of oneself and making independent judgements as to what is best for them.  He does not have this capacity.  To imagine he does is to make a glaring category mistake. The only things outside of him, by his account, are bad things, damaged things, the things he has spit out.  Perhaps it seems like he has relationships, at least with women, but these are not object relationships, but rather encounters of ownership; of identification.

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Day 16: Fears and the Will to Speak

By Eva Blodgett

Contributor

eva-picAs I reflect on my feelings and fears at the current political climate, I cannot help but go back to May of 2016, the month when I became a newly minted citizen of the United States. I felt thrilled at the idea of finally being able to vote, particularly in what was shaping to be a very volatile and historic election. I followed the news, listened to podcasts, debated with friends and family, and felt proud to be politically active and engaged. Emigrating from a post Soviet country, I was also aware of the possibility that the party who supported civil rights, climate change, and overall progress may not win. Just like in Soviet days, I felt I could not fully trust the system and the leaders or the ideology that made claims that it was truly the people who elected the party leaders.In conversations with my spouse who kept assuring me that there was no way that the Republican nominee would win, I explained that my fear of reliving the authoritarian and dictatorial regime repeating itself was ongoing. I would also explain to him that, based on my experience with oppressive political regimes (I grew up in Lithuania who was occupied by Russia for 50 years), I did not quite trust that good will, intelligence, and noble intentions always win.

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Day 19: The Insanity of Narcissism

By Daniel Shaw

Contributor

daniel_shaw__038-web-1Mental health practitioners generally agree, since the Goldwater days, that it is not appropriate to offer psychoanalytic diagnoses of public figures we’ve never actually interviewed or treated. However, many of us, myself included, are champing at the bit these days. It’s especially tempting for me, since I’ve been writing and thinking about narcissism for quite a while, and narcissism seems more in evidence than ever, here in the USA.

Perhaps I could speak a bit about narcissism in general – especially about the kind of narcissistic person that seeks and attracts followers to form some kind of big religious or political movement, with him or her as its supreme leader.

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Day 23: Trouble

By Barbara Eisold

Writing Mentor

img_0397Blank Screen? No way! Not even close. I am told daily that my politics are writ too large on my face.

But, blessedly, I can still listen.

Immediately after the election, I HEAR: Panic!

A woman, Mid-West born, comes shivering to my office. In the subway a “crazy white man, took aim with his arms, threatening to shoot all the black people, screaming as he did so that they would die! Everyone, regardless of color slunk away, terrified,” she says. Then she gets up and puts her coat back on, freezing, although my office is oh-so-warm.

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Day 26: Indefensible

By Lama Z. Khouri

Contributor

lamaIn Arabic, “November 9” is written “9/11.” The day felt just as cataclysmic and tragic: the ripple effect might last for years to come, racism and Islamophobia are now virtues, and the planet might not survive humanity’s onslaught.

The morning following election night, I woke-up wishing I could ask the sun: “how did you have the strength to rise?” From my kitchen window, I wanted to shout at every pedestrian, every dog walker, every mother and father: “How can you go about your day as if nothing happened? Don’t you know? Don’t you care?”

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Day 28: In Search of a Long View

By Karen Rosica

Associate Editor

dscn0583“I feel as if I am moving in a bubble or a chipmunk running in one of those wheels. Nothing feels real.  There is no ground.  We tell our patients we will be there for them; but will we?” Thus began a session with a European therapist I see via Skype that took place shortly after the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, the explosion at the German Christmas market and the devastating reporting on Aleppo.

What is it she is trying to describe?  A feeling of nowhereness, directionlessness, surrealness?  I think she is trying to capture something about not being grounded, having no direction, some dream-like state of unreality with no foothold.  I think she is describing the loss of trust: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, capacity, or strength of someone or something.

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Day 31: On Happiness, Hope, and Looking for the Silver Lining in American Elections: Reflections on Colonization of Emotions and Minds

By Oksana Yakushko

Contributor

img_7991-copySocial critics such as Barbara Ehrenreich and Chris Hedges link the long standing promotion of personal self-control, happiness, and productivity in American society, and the rise of the positive psychology movement, to neoliberal oppressive forces that maintain the social status quo. I too wonder how emphases on individual happiness, internalized locusts of control, and internal attributions have led to the recent election of Donald Trump, who has promised America its “greatness.”Such positivity has been central to Trump as a businessman and now as a politician. His commitment to tenets of positive thinking have a long-standing history and profound impact on his apparent perception of himself and the world. He considered Norman Vincent Peale, a figure central to the positive thinking movement in the United States, his personal religious guru. In a 2009 interview with Psychology Today Trump stated that he uses Peale’s teachings to make himself “a firm believer in the power of being positive.” This connection between the positive thinking movement and the new president’s actions are gathering attention among journalists. A gap in this investigation is how the positive psychology movement and the political narratives that emphasize greatness and having a positive outlook continue to denigrate societal and individual suffering.

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Day 33: Why I March: Social Action, Ambivalence and Powerlessness

By Kristin Davisson

Contributor

fullsizerenderIn the weeks following the inauguration of Donald Trump, many of us have struggled to manage our feelings of shock, outrage and fear while engaging in efforts of resistance and social action. Demonstrating, participating in local organizing and calling our representatives is crucial in opposing a demagogic political regime, but social action serves us psychologically as well, combating feelings of fatigue, depression and complacency with solidarity, liberation and endurance. Because the act of demonstrating is a visible act of protest (and one that is often exposing and dangerous), psychological experiences around demonstrating vary and typically, those making themselves the most visible are also the most vulnerable and least insulated by social and economic privilege.

The Women’s Marches on January 21 marked a shift in the level of engagement from a wider and more socially and economically privileged segment of the public. For me personally, this brought up thoughts and feelings I continue to grapple with around social action, privilege, powerlessness and self-care.

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Day 37: We The People

By Donna Bassin

Contributor

donna-1
These images are part of work in progress, tentatively entitled, We the People.

I have been inviting people into my studio to engage in a mutual psychodrama creating fictional scenes that tell emotional truths.  We witness each other stories. We use art as a problem-solving strategy to mirror, amplify and respond.

Partially directed and partially left to the personal/cultural associations of each collaborative partner, these co-constructed tableaus or staged photographs riff off the turbulence, anxieties, and dread of the current Republican government in the sociopolitical environment. The tradition goes back to staged or posed portraits made by Claude Cahune and Marcel Duchamp in the 20’s and 30’s. The response contains despair as well theatrical resistance.

 

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Day 39: Vigilance for International Students

Hanna Suh

Assistant Editor

suh2When I first agreed to write a piece about how international students might be psychologically affected by the new administration, I had no idea how relevant this piece would become. It turns out, the last couple of weeks have been the epitome of how the lives of millions can be imperiled in the face of a new agenda. As I allow myself to reflect back on how tumultuous the past couple weeks have been, I feel a wide array of emotions. Sadness, despair, anger, hopelessness are present, but most importantly, hope.

The past two weeks have highlighted the life stories of international students and lawful residents more than I can remember since my arrival to the U.S. in 2011.

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Day 41: Denial Ain’t Just a River…

By Anna Nicholaides

Contributor

img_8603“That Didn’t Happen”

And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.

And if it was, that’s not a big deal.

And if it is, that’s not my fault.

And if it was, I didn’t mean it.

And if I did…

…you deserved it.”

-Author Unknown

I believe denial suffocates mental well-being. Trump’s narcissistic denial has given oxygen to a contingency of closed-minded thinkers, whose uprising poses a threat to our very democracy. It is my hope, however, that the majority of our nation will have their eyes further opened by this threat, which will breathe greater awareness and health into our nation.

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Day 43: Fear and Loathing @ the Borderlands: A Poem to Gloria

By Chakira M. Haddock-Lazala

Contributor

14611050_1760298417557380_6107584599755472682_n“The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta […] Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are it’s inhabitants.”

– Gloria Anzaldúa, 1982 (Borderlands/La Frontera-The New Mestiza, p.25)

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Day 44: Can Psychotherapy be a Political Act

By Jany Keat

Contributor

8d2af581-487c-4c99-a56d-56a736e50416Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” – Václav Havel

Since the election, I have been struggling to make sense of my role as a psychotherapist and future analyst in the new world order. How do I process this sociopolitical catastrophe with my patients? What, if anything, can I offer them in these disturbing times? In fact, how do I even keep working within a theoretical framework that has tended to repress the political and maintain the capitalist fantasy of the individual untethered from the social and political world? Whose emphasis on the individual within the family may collude with a social framework that wants and needs to keep people apolitical?

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Day 46: The P*ssy Missile has Launched

By Jill Gentile

Contributor

JG 1This year’s International Women’s Day (March 8), which calls for a general strike in the form of a grassroots display of economic solidarity and anticapitalist feminism, should be an interesting one. It follows on the heels of the largest single-day demonstration in the history of the United States: the Women’s March of January 21. While but a single day, the march has already spawned a legacy. It not only pushed women’s voices and bodies to the foreground of public consciousness, it also opened space for male bodies, transgendered bodies, racialized bodies. And it pollinated the public imagination with images of the female body—in particular, images of female genitalia.

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Day 49: Closing Time

By Craig Solomon

Contributor

Closing TimeWednesday morning, 2:30, long after the outcome was clear. Five or six of us still at the campaign office, a 30 minute drive to the house where I was staying. Mostly isolated country roads. A young black man, an organizer staying in the room next to mine, gathered his things. I asked if he needed a ride. “No, I have a car. But follow me back.” I thanked him saying I knew the way. “No — please follow me.”

We walked silently to our cars beneath the overly-bright halogens. Cones of light in the darkness. A nod, and we left the lot.

He led me slowly through still life Pennsylvania countryside, through small town squares, by strip malls, woods, the blackness of open fields. I stayed close. We were alone. Flags, campaign signs. Our passage.

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Day 52: Liberation Through Curiosity: An Examination of Language

By Nathaniel Amos

Contributor

NAmosFollowing the 2016 election, I noticed an uptick in folks seeking ‘understanding.’ Suddenly, we seemed very interested in understanding things like Trump qua Trump, his devotees, his cabinet choices, or whatever new source of incoherence announced itself in headlines. The pull often seemed to reach for Truth, suggesting a kind of conditional logic: if I only ‘just understood,’ I’d feel less afraid, less powerless, or less subject to violence. As I continue to labor in the reality that Trump does, in fact, appear to be president, I’ve become less hopeful that I will ever ‘understand’ in the complete sense of the word. As such, I’ve abandoned that project. Instead, I’ve adopted a practice of ‘attempting to understand.’ To put the practice in more analytic terms, I’d like to offer we, on every point along the political spectrum, begin to engage in a consistent practice of closing intersubjective space. Closing intersubjective space sidesteps the search for Truth, but, rather, begins by acknowledging we each experience the world differently (even if only minutely so). The practice, thereby, incentivizes curiosity in service of establishing shared meaning, which is our best defense against existential annihilation. We might experience the world differently, but, through some miracle, we all seem to experience the world coherently. The practice of developing shared meaning validates that, at the very least, we’re joined together in our attempt to carve out some sense of existential significance in an otherwise isolating and terrifying existence.

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Day 54: A Train Wreck / American Carnage

By Betsy Nettleton

Contributor

Betsy NettletonMy parents love the El train.  They come to visit, and my dad asks, “Can we ride the train?  It’s so much fun to ride the train!”  I sigh and we get on the Brown Line, the rich people train, as one friend dubbed it, and we ride around and look out the windows and my parents think they are getting to see Chicago.   It’s an amusement park ride.

I shouldn’t complain.  The train has been good to me.  There was a time when I read on the train.  I used to nap on the train.  I trusted humanity; I felt safe enough to sleep.  I met my now husband on the train.  I had seen him nearly every day, standing on the end of the platform.  It turned out we’d lived in the same apartment building for years and never knew.   One day, I saw him in our building elevator and I blurted out, “You’re the guy from the train!”   To smooth over my embarrassment, I regaled him with a train story.  “Can you believe,” I asked, “The things people do on the train?  One day, I swear, I saw a man throw up and act like nothing happened!  And then…”   We hit my floor and I was still talking as I walked out of the elevator.   It took him a while to figure out my name, the talkative but socially awkward girl from the train.

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Day 58: The Difficult Task of Overcoming Denial

By Nancy Hollander

Contributor

Nancy HollanderI thought I was inoculated. I was convinced that unlike everyone I knew, I would not suffer shock at the electoral outcome and its aftermath.   During the campaign, I had consistently argued that Trump would win, that the prior five decades has produced social and economic conditions that made this country ripe for an authoritarian leader/movement.  Even though I worked for Bernie, mourned his demise at the hands of a corrupt Democratic leadership and then went door to door for Hilary, I never believed she was going to win. Not with the power/s arrayed against her. Not with the damage that years of neoliberal policies had wrought on so many peoples’ lives and futures. The night of the election, those of us who’d gone to Nevada to canvass and take people to the polls watched the returns. And while others collapsed in stunned disbelief, my own fears were warded off by a compensatory reassuring idea that my analysis had been correct and that I had, indeed, seen this coming! So, I told myself that I would not be surprised at the inevitable assault on democratic process and institutions that Trump and his alt right buddies were going to wage. This, in retrospect, was a fleeting manic defense, comforting and protecting me from experiencing overwhelm at what the future was to bring.

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Day 61: Endangered Environments

By Meghan Sullivan

Contributor

MeghanRecently, it was 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit in Antarctica.

At a moment in our country’s political history when it seems there is no news that isn’t awfully alarming, it is the issuance of each news report reflecting evidence of climate change that evokes a deep dread in me as unprecedented as the peril in which our Earth now spins.

Our planet is encased now in an atmosphere that is made up of 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. By contrast, the atmospheric conditions most conducive to bringing forth life on Earth is 275 ppm, and the outermost limit in which life can be sustained and survive is 350 ppm. (www.350.org).

It could be that it is too late to recover from the damage done by human participation in life on the planet, which is marked by our unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels. We may be past the point of no return, and we may already have been there before November 8, 2016.

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Day 64: The Fetal Fetish: Playing with Time as a Form of Affect Regulation

By Katie Gentile

Contributor

Katie GPresident Trump just attempted, and failed, to negotiate the end of Planned Parenthood’s abortion services in exchange for PPH’s continued federal funding, even though no federal funds are used for PPH’s abortion services. This President has said pregnant women should face a criminal penalty for seeking out an abortion. Many states have passed such restrictive bureaucratic demands on abortion providers that at this point, thousands of women have to travel hundreds of miles to access the medical procedure, often then facing a mandatory waiting period. At least four states have considered criminalizing miscarriage and a number of women have already been arrested for “child endangerment” after miscarrying (Gentile, 2014). Currently 38 states have enacted fetal personhood or homicide laws. Although these laws were designed to address the danger intimate partner violence poses to fetuses (IPV is a leading cause of birth defects), and it was initially stated they not to be used against the mother, of course, they have been. Paltrow’s 2013 report demonstrates that the vast majority of criminal cases of fetal personhood have been against the mother, in particular, economically disadvantaged women of color.

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Day 69: Old Scars, New Wounds

By Milena Claudius

Contributor

MC_Foto-1History teaches us that democracies can be destroyed and these days I cannot help but sense reverberations of my culture’s traumatic and violent past. At the risk of oversimplifying a resemblance, I cannot help but notice parallels to the fragile democracy of the Weimar Republic. In those days, many people in Germany felt dissatisfied and angry with the establishment, while facing the aftermath of the Great Depression. When I hear about new immigration orders, I catch myself thinking: Is history repeating itself? Is this how my grandmother felt when she witnessed German Jews being loaded on to trucks in her city’s square and when she was told that people would be “relocated?” Is this how my grandfather felt when he opposed the growing Nationalist regime and shortly thereafter had to flee Germany?

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Day 74: Donald Trump and the Illusion of the American Dream and American Exceptionalism

By Allan Scholom

Contributor

ASPerhaps nowhere is the illusion of the American Dream and American Exceptionalism more evident than in the election of Donald Trump. “Make America Great Again” was his successful campaign slogan meant to arouse a fantasy that in essential socio-economic respects has been relentlessly and significantly disappearing since the 1970’s. The facts are that 92% of children born in the 1940’s made more money than their parents whereas only 50% born in the 1980’s did. Given the further declines in median income for families that we have seen since then and the increase in the income disparity between the 1% and the 99% we can safely conclude that the situation is getting far worse for recent generations.

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Day 77:Can Psychoanalysis Help Us To Overcome Paranoid Politics?

By Stephanie Heck

Contributor

IMG_6711It’s an understatement to say that America has been divided by the most recent presidential election.  I frequently see posts on social media that show people debating their side of the political divide, or pleading for people to come back together instead of bickering with each other online.  It’s becoming increasingly clear that the divisiveness of our political structure is not doing any of us any good.  We are less and less able to bear listening to each other’s perspectives, and this is contributing to extreme rifts among people.  Prior to the most recent presidential election, if I had a patient in my consulting room who was describing an ongoing pattern of relatedness characterized by rifts and splits between themselves and others, I would devote much of our work to helping this person come to a more complex, less victimized/victimizing way of interacting with the world.  That would be my top priority.  However, since the election, I find myself feeling inclined to join my patients in their rifts with others whose politics disagree with my patients’ and mine.  As I have become increasingly aware of this, it has become a red flag about what I am, and perhaps many of us therapists are, doing in the consulting room.

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Day 80:My American Dream, An Immigrants Ode

By Detelina Stoykova

Contributor

D.StoykovaI will hitchhike a ship-
Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria
Anyone who can take me–Mayday!
To get out of this island of fear
Toward which they once fearlessly sailed…
I will hitchhike a ship–
Apollo, Discovery, Voyager
9,8,…0
Take me off and away!
To get out of this land
Which does not take a stand…
Which once sent them with hope into space.

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Day 83: The Ethics of Big Data

By Maria Christoff

Assistant Editor

MChristDuring the 2016 primary election season journalists and mental health professionals indulged in armchair psychiatry with abandon (for example, here, here, and also a piece by personality researcher McAdams). How could they resist? The material Trump provided was explosive and rich. After November 9th, there was a lull. What use or fun was it to dissect his character when no amount of previous analysis had an effect? He won the election anyway. As a therapist and a citizen, I understand that Trump has supporters, and in both roles I strive to understand the perspectives of those who support him, despite my own concerns. After the initial shock of the election, Trump began his tenure as president, continuing to tweet, tweet, and to sign a number of executive orders, usually penned by Bannon. My concerns grew.

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Day 88: Kill Whitey

Stephen Sheehi

Contributor

DSC_0085 (1)Whitey is in the White House. Whitey is in Congress. Whitey is in law enforcement. Whitey is in ours churches, in our synagogues, and yes, in our mosques. Whitey is in the classrooms as readily as the board room. Whitey resides as easily in Newsweek than as in the National Review or Breitbart. Whitey is in New York and Los Angeles as frequently as he is in Scranton and Charleston. Look in the mirror because that is where Whitey is. You and me. We all conjured Whitey to power and now we have to fuckin’ kill Whitey*.  But, remember, Whitey does not die. You only kill him in perpetual deaths.

 

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Day 93:Finding What’s Hidden

By Batsirai Bvunzawabaya

Associate Editor

Batsi-3As someone with a Shona name living in the United States, I often feel fairly visible. Whether it is at work or ordering a pizza, I am usually having to explain how to pronounce my name and at times its origins. These moments are not always filled with awkwardness, there are moments of humor (e.g., whether to disappoint a “Betsy” who seems delighted that we share the same uncommon name); or great pride at sharing the significance it holds for me. I believe that part of what makes these experiences meaningful for me are when people demonstrate a genuine interest and curiosity; for that moment I feel connected to someone in a deeper way. I feel seen. That is what can feel powerful in therapy, the ability to connect with someone around a hidden part of themselves and (hopefully) they feel acknowledged and accepted. However, I started to feel fearful about being visible in a different way during the presidential campaign and after the result was clear. When I sat with the ways my privilege allowed me some safety, feelings of guilt and eventually shame surfaced; when confronted with my marginalized identities, I was afraid and helpless.

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Day 96: City People and Country People

Jan Haaken

Contributor

Jan and farmer copy.jpgSinging the blues of melancholic journalists in the days following the November election, Henry Grabar of Slate magazine offered this assessment: “There are many explanations for what happened on Election Day, but the simplest one is this: We now have a rural party and an urban party. The rural part won. The big coastal cities—those bastions of blue (now shades darker)—were overtaken by the brush fire of red voters that ultimately decided the election. Although this story of rural red and urban blue carries us some distance in explaining the current political crisis, I want to comment on what worries me about this seductively simple analysis.

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