Our America

BY KELLY COGSWELL | I was following my Twitter feed and channel surfing during the “debate” the other night when I heard a news anchor announce the police were looking for a serial groper. When I glanced up I really did expect to see Donald Trump’s pink butthole of a mouth and flabby sulking face, but it was a photo of a normal-looking white guy with ear buds in and a greenish gray T-shirt hanging over his skinny chest. Which is what most sexual predators look like. As ordinary as anything.

There is nothing particularly impressive about dictators either. In photos, Pinochet smiles like somebody’s affable grandfather. Hitler only looks peculiar to us because of his mustache. Evil doesn’t leave a trace. Even Putin looks ordinary with his slightly balding pate, though, like with Pinochet, the journalists, activists, or politicians who oppose him have a way of spending years in prison, meeting untimely ends, disappearing.

A DYKE ABROAD

All day, I’d hoped Clinton would simply refuse to go, quit normalizing Trump’s candidacy as all of America has done for the last year, imagining that this rapist, this tyrant, and Putin-loving demagogue would just go away. I’d add racist or bigot to the list, but the words seem too mild to describe how he intentionally enrages the rabble, attacking people of color, immigrants, women, Jews, Muslims. Words like nigger and kike are coming back into fashion as Trump and his anti-gay running mate Pence not only reveal America’s latent hatreds but fatten them every time they open their mouths.

cogswell-our-america-image-2-copyAnd yet, when nine o’clock struck, Clinton took the stage with Trump, and both smiled for the cameras, as if it were business as usual. Republicans versus Democrats. Later on, I even saw a few tweets by folks complaining that nobody was talking about the issues. Why wasn’t there a mention this time of police brutality? As if we could even hear what Clinton said while Trump furiously grabbed his chair, lurked behind her like a psycho killer. As if Trump would say something rational, not respond to questions with lies and obfuscations, offering a bizarre dismissal of his taped sexual assault brags as “just words… locker room talk, and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS.” Sniff!

Given the circus-like atmosphere of the election, I’m not sure that we have seriously considered the implications of Trump’s threat to unleash his Justice Department on Clinton if he is elected president, to send her to jail. It was the most naked assertion to date of his aspirations to rule without the rule of law, binning the basic protections every citizen is assured by our Constitution.

The response was enthusiastic applause from the back of the room. Because what so many Americans want is a strongman to take the cunt down. Take all the pussies down. Commenters across the board found this disturbing, chilling even, though this has been commonplace at Trump’s rallies for the eternity of this election season.

I can’t stand any of it. His red-faced lying, rapey hate. Everybody’s perpetual surprise. The GOP’s attempt to distance itself from the monster it created. The Democratic silence about its own treatment of Clinton for decades. The dykes who have repeatedly announced their hatred of her voice, her thighs, her hair. All those gay men feeling absolved by their gayness who call all women cunts and bitches every chance they get. Who exclude women from leadership positions. Fuck you. Then there are the lefties who will get behind every mediocre man of any color who promises the populist moon. No wonder Trump was applauding Sanders, Sanders, Sanders.

Through it all, Clinton remained pleasant and composed, even smiling as Trump did his best to intimidate her. And I watched as guys tweeted things like, “I don’t know how she does it.” “I’d be pulling my hair out.” “She should knee him in the nuts.” All the women were like, “Every female on earth has had to learn how to deal with this.” Because we have. With strangers in the street, or bosses, but more often from classmates, men at church, cousins, brothers, and fathers. All of them threatening us with their dicks, and asking, Just who do you think you are?

As @meganamram tweeted, “With this election we’re simultaneously breaking through the glass ceiling and the rock bottom. We got a really big room now.” And it’s not even over yet.

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Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.

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