So I have this T-shirt that I never wear.
I ordered it in the second week of November, 2016, and it’s bright pink. It’s got two very recognizable silhouettes on it–on of the twin towers before they went down, and a certain former president who, shall we say, was lacking in fitness and presentation.
The T-shirt was captioned, “The two worst days in American History were 9/11 and 11/9.” There was no mistaking the meaning.
I was angry–we were all SO ANGRY. Because we saw what he was. We knew. And we’d raged and campaigned and donated–and watched as the damned party argued and undercut and splintered. The United States had lost arguably the best candidate to ever run for head of state to misogyny, racism, and shitty messaging to undoubtedly the worst. Not just presidential candidate, but all around human being.
To quote John Mulaney, the horse was in the hospital, and God help us all.
I never actually wore that T-shirt.
In the beginning, I’d put it on, and Mate would look at it and say, “Mm… it just feels so disrespectful to those who died in 9/11. Could we, you know, maybe not? There are Trump supporters on the teams I coach–please? For me?”
And both those arguments moved me. He was right. Nobody had died yet–and wasn’t coaching those children more important than my animus?
Four years later I still can’t wear it. No soccer–not for my kids, because they’ve outgrown it, and not for Mate because the virus has robbed us of a lot of things and that’s one. But at this point, it feels disrespectful–not just to the people who died in a terrorist attack on our country led by Al Qaida but also to the people who died in a terrorist attack led by our Commander in Chief. It feels disrespectful to the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico–and Louisiana. To the people who were tear gassed during peaceful protests. To the people who were victims of hate crimes which police departments were no longer allowed to report. It feels disrespectful to the 420,000 victims–and counting–of a virus that is pernicious and deadly but is now–thanks to the Terrorist in Chief who was just ousted–going to be really hard to stop because he managed to politicize science, germs, and common fucking sense.
The human cost of the last four years has been staggering. Our new POTUS just got to the White House and realized that Operation Warp Speed wasn’t just badly managed–it didn’t exist. There wasn’t even a framework to fix. There was nothing. And getting enough people inoculated against the disease to make our world what it was is not going to be easy.
The spread of disinformation has been pernicious. Right now there’s some junior legislative graduate from the university of q who thinks she’s got the power to draw up Articles of Impeachment on our new POTUS. Do I know she doesn’t have a chance?
No. And that’s a problem. Because the last four years have LITERALLY made truth suspect and lies cachet. That’s going to be some hard damage to fix.
And today, 4000 more people died of a disease that could have been at least controlled back in May.
So part of me is relieved. I mean, as bad as it is, at least we have grownups in government who admit there’s stuff to fix. But part of me is going to wait in disbelief to see when ignorance and hysteria gain another toehold in our society and try to bring it down.
I think it will take me another couple of months to realize that truth and reason are not always under the clumsy deadly hooves of the horse in the hospital.
And I still don’t know what to do with the hideous pink T-shirt.
Right now, it’s just floating around my room. I’ll go, “Ooh, pink! Wait. Shit. No. Can’t wear that.” Maybe it’ll be there through another administration. Maybe someday I’ll be comfortable enough to rip it up and use it for rags. Right now, I’m just sort of grateful for the shock it gives me every time I look at it.
I don’t want to let my guard down and trust in goodness in my government that is not hard fought for, ever again.