I gotta admit: It’s been a rough week here in Texas.
Sure, those of us in Big D are far removed from the actual physical dangers of Hurricane Harvey. But that doesn’t disclude us from its impact. Most of us have friends and family in Houston, Corpus Christi, Rockport, or the other cities that have been affected by the storm.
I know for me it’s been hard to go about my week — drinking wine and screaming at the TV while my wife and I watch the Game of Thrones season finale; attending my friend Israel Luna’s premiere of Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus — even writing this piece — while other people’s lives are so desperately disheveled and on the line.
But you know what makes it even harder? Having to deal with Donald Trump as our president during this catastrophe.
Because in a time when we should all be embracing empathy and letting down our guards to help one another, we’re having to arm and shield ourselves from a man who has no one’s best interests at heart but his own.
While we were grieving our Texas neighbors, he kept border patrol stations open while evacuees of Hurricane Harvey fled, pardoned one of the most racists sheriffs in our current history, and signed a directive banning trans people from serving in the U.S. military.
I was worried under George W. Bush, but now?
Now, I’m genuinely scared.
Not of Trump, but of our complacency.
On Tuesday, I posted a link to a CNN news story about how while we were still rallying to help Texas, Trump rolled back the military gear ban for local police. Social media interaction? One share, seven likes.
Why does that matter? Because when a picture of Kim Kardashian as “America’s New First Lady” for the cover of Interview magazine gets more likes and shares than a real story that is going to have real repercussions in this day and age of racial hate, then we have a problem.
The problem is we are not paying close enough attention to what’s REALLY going on in our world. And our ability to stop injustice and inequality is only as strong as our ability to see, digest and understand the connections of everything that is happening around us. We need to stay woke — or wake the fuck up before it’s too late!
Its like Offred said in The Handmaid’s Tale:
“Now I’m awake to the world. I was asleep before. That’s how we let it happen. When they slaughtered Congress, we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up then either. They said it would be temporary. Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”
And the fact of the matter is, we are in a gradually heating bathtub. But most of us would rather post selfies of ourselves getting shit-faced with our friends than have to think about the water that is slowly boiling up all around us.
Let’s not fool ourselves, we are being submerged.
And what scares me the most is that people would rather see, share and respond to fluff and nonsense on social media then things that have a direct impact on all our lives. People would rather bitch and moan that “Facebook is getting too political” or they’re “so sick and tired of seeing political posts” in their feed than actually use the space they occupy as an agent of change.
Yes, we’ve come together for the people of Houston and the other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. But where was our unified rallying call before then, and where is our “united front” going to be after?
And for all those claiming that posting on social media is not “real” activism, just look at what hundreds of thousands of tweets can do to multimillionaire televangelist Joel Osteen and his stance on opening up his mega church to the Houston flood victims of Harvey.
In our attempt to be a one-size-fits-all PC society, we have become fearful of using our god-given voices — the same radical voices that got us the rights we have today.
And here’s the real tea: We are all going to need to be more like transgender activist and Wear Your Voice magazine’s editor-in-chief, Ashlee Marie Preston, who publicly called out Caitlyn Jenner for being a fraud at a L.A. Trans Chorus fundraiser, than those individuals all around her too disconnected and too involved with the celebrity and party of it all — dancing, taking selfies with Jenner — to care.
Otherwise, we in danger, girl!
Brandi Amara Skyy is an award winning writer and drag artist who writes, creates, and says things that either piss people off or inspire them to rise. You can find out more about her and her projects at brandiamaraskyy.com.