Personal Response: Surviving 2017 in the Trump Era

Back in November, I made a brief announcement post that I was planning on writing my personal response to ‘Surviving 2017 in the Trump Era’ and the reoccurring theory that college students are being brainwashed into becoming liberals. This is exactly that.

NOTE: This is my own reflection. I am not assuming a voice for all those opposed to Trump. Anyone has the right to disagree or agree with what I am saying but do realize this is my own personal response. I am not looking for battles or arguments. I think it is beneficial for people to reflect on an entire year like this one, in one form or another to help them gain insight into themselves and the changing world around them. 


 

The results of the election last year were devastating. Not only had Trump won but suddenly the surreal feeling of living in a twilight zone-like reality began. Watching Trump’s inaugural speech on January 20th on TV, the strange and gloomy streets as he paraded in Washington D.C. Suddenly, it felt like something had dramatically changed. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it but now I think I’ve realized what it was that I felt. This was the beginning of a new time, a new block of time that would have to be sectioned off, highlighted, and analytically picked apart day by day in the future. It has been termed an Era: The Era of Trump. I think this term is correct because now it is apparent 2017 is the start of another chapter in U.S. history.

The Women’s March, protests, petitions, and rumors of impeachment have all added to the growing feeling of tension and unrest in the U.S. Two sides were emerging; in support of POTUS and vehemently against. This divide has become stronger and more resolute as news coverage, tweets, and speeches which all contribute to the obvious reality that the POTUS may be extremely irrational and dangerous. There is little room to breathe when his ego is threatened when his words are analyzed and questioned when his behavior is criticized as being inappropriate and extremely insensitive. But the division between pro and anti-Trump supporters is creating unsafe spaces full of animosity and possibly dangerous eruptions.

After the first month, sleepless and admittedly paranoid, it felt like everything suddenly went into full gear. Every week on the news, every day, Trump words and actions have become a horrifying reality show in that his actions have actual repercussions throughout the U.S. and the World. I have come to terms with the fact that now I have to spend the next three years watching this man puff up and prance his way through international relations. That his arrogance now puts Americans at risk and that his agenda, selective and suspicious, is equally threatening to minorities in America. It has become more and more apparent that Trump’s ideologies may be reflecting in his actions as POTUS.But it hasn’t only been Trump’s behavior that has made the first year of this Era disturbing and shocking but its been his reactions to the horrible and tragic events throughout the year including protests, shootings, and hurricane devastation.

Charlottesville was a turning point. The protest turned violent and deadly, the POTUS fumbled and went back and forth on his own response to the events. The ‘Unite the Right’ rally featured white supremacists, who try to camouflage their hate and identity with terms such as ‘white nationalist’, protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Counter protestors were present and violence quickly ensued. Finally, counter-protestor Heather D. Heyer was killed when a white nationalist plowed his car into the crowd.

Trump’s response was inappropriate and strange. I think his words will be highlighted and remembered forever as he said there was blame “…on many sides.” This did not make sense, it still doesn’t. Suddenly people who do not believe in hate, racism, and bigotry were equated with white supremacists? Both parties were somehow guilty? This is when I think America finally began to understand where the POTUS stood in terms of hate, racism, and bigotry if they hadn’t already clued in with his behavior before the presidency. It was so apparent when his quick on the draw tweets and responses were delayed…possibly for once a response was being thought over by Trump himself before coming out of his mouth.

Personally, I was not surprised by Trump’s response but I was devastated by the violence and death. I have been conducting research since then on white supremacist groups. My findings are horrifying and I am now more aware than ever that America may have to again fight against racism (a never-ending fight) on a publically large-scale level similar to that of the civil rights movements of the 1960’s. (Oftentimes I found that white supremacist groups say they are not racists but just have certain beliefs regarding who should be a recognized citizen, including who should have rights, which for them means only specific people of white European-descent. Their definition of what an ‘American’ is, rests solely on their beliefs of race) Not only have I realized this but as a college student, I have been approached by multiple people who tell me I am being brainwashed to become a liberal.

After some research on this theory, I learned that the infamous Ben Shapiro has written a book on this ‘brainwashed liberal’ concept among many other self-proclaimed conservatives. Ben Shapiro actually came to my University this year and gave a talk, it was highly protested and at the same time, his supporters (fellow students) were large in numbers which is unsettling and disturbing. I recognize now that since this event my campus has felt completely different. I have also noticed how Salt Lake City’s local news appears to have their own biases about events such as this. This is not new and it has become harder and harder to find a reasonably unbiased news source that will tell the truth and report what happened without taking their own spin on stuff. This little theory (liberals are brainwashed) is not new but has been present for a very long time. But this is the first year ever, in the six years I have been a college student that anyone has told me this. Now I am left feeling confused and offended. I have worked my ass off to graduate next spring. I have had to save my own money, pay my own tuition, and just this year take out two small loans so I can graduate. To be told that somehow my education is brainwashing me is humorous and ridiculous.

If being taught that diversity and unity among all peoples regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and religion (to name a few) is wrong, this belief only tells me that people opposed to a higher education don’t believe that our society can function if it is diverse. I am assuming here that being deemed a ‘brainwashed liberal’ means that I am being brainwashed to believe in equality and rights for everyone; brainwashed to believe it is possible that one day people will be judged on the quality of their character not the color of their skin, sexual orientation, gender, or religious or cultural background.

Higher education isn’t available to everyone and is treated as more of a commodity than anything else and I can understand how this commodity can be manipulated to indoctrinate young adults into particular beliefs and ideologies both pro-diversity and against. But it does not makes sense to me that a higher education means I am being brainwashed. If anything I have been taught to read carefully, analyze, extrapolate, and critique everything that is available to me. After all of this, I am encouraged to give my own response, pull from own experience and education, and ultimately think. It should be noted that at my own university there are Ben Shapiro and Trump supporters and possibly even white nationalists. I am never forced to believe anything, I am given the opportunity to choose, as I think most people do. I am taught to think critically. I am also continuously taught to question my own education, including my university. If being brainwashed means to question everything, think critically, and believe in possibility then fine. I would rather be deemed a brainwashed liberal just because I have a higher education than believe everything on the news, believe the words of our POTUS, believe conspiracy theories in circulation and believe in the fear of change. I never proclaimed myself a liberal but have been labeled one from the very beginning. If this is what I am recognized as by those labeling me then so be it.

Also, If having Trump as POTUS is what it takes for the U.S. to wake up and realize we need to address specific issues that have continued to be swept under the rug or falsely believed to be ‘solved’ then so be it. This is the time for change to happen. This is not a time to be silent and pretend that something isn’t already happening in our country. The political turmoil, the continual protests on “both sides”, the issue of sexual harassment, these events are crucial in understanding that right now is not the time to stick our heads in the sand. We must be vocal and supportive and uphold the rights that we have worked so long and so hard to gain as Americans. If a diverse society cannot be, or cannot function, if a belief in rights and equality for all people in this country is not possible then our country would be exactly the same as it was in previous centuries. If it is not possible then why did change happen in the past?

Ultimately with everything that has happened this year and my own personal experiences, I have come to the conclusion that there it is no survival but endurance.

This is already a long post, and if you’ve read this far I want to thank you for your time. It has been difficult trying to put my thoughts into words and try to come to some kind of conclusion. If I do not stop now I could go on for pages about these two topics forever. How I feel now versus at the beginning of the year has changed that’s true but I find myself instilled with even more passion than before. I have more courage now to write.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing. I hope you will return in the future.

To my regular readers and loyal followers Thank you so much for your support.

-Alina

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Las Vegas Massacre

Why?

This is too much. All the violence, the pain, the death.

Why?

Does this happen?

Why?

Do people do these horrible acts of violence?

Why?


 

There is an overwhelming amount shock and sadness today that America is working through. I am appalled and horrified that someone would do such a horrendous act of violence. My condolences to all the victims and families affected by this tragedy.

-Alina

DONATE TO HELP THE VICTIMS OF THE LAS VEGAS MASSACRE

Puerto Rico Relief

Here is some info on how to help and give relief to Puerto Rico right now in its time of crisis.

HOW YOU CAN HELP HURRICANE VICTIMS IN PUERTO RICO

Also here is some info about what is going on in relation to the discussion of helping Puerto Rico. It is an extremely stressful discussion and there is frustration on both sides (that either argue Puerto Rico has enough help already or that they need more help).

SAN JUAN MAYOR ASKS FOR HELP, TRUMPS RESPONSE

PRESIDENT TRUMPS RESPONSE TO PLEA FOR HELP FROM MAYOR IN PUERTO RICO

I have been recently posting a few reflections or poems on current political/crisis issues lately. I feel it is necessary right now to acknowledge specific events that are happening in the U.S.  I do not feel it is appropriate to just go about my business and post my usual stuff (poems, stories, etc.) without acknowledging on my blog or other social media that this particular time is climacteric for the U.S. I feel that spreading information or contributing in this small way to the conversation is crucial right now.

I want to say thank you to all my regular readers for reading my posts and keeping up with my blog. I really appreciate the attention and time that you give to my work and my efforts.

-Alina

Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun Album

Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album “Hiss Spun” was released on September 22nd of this year. “Hiss Spun” is her fifth album and features a synthesis of her trademark gloom-folk rock * that echoes with her uniquely haunting voice. The complexities within each song on the album are to be admired; mixing heavy guitar and pulsing drums that bring a feel of the darkly ritualistic. Notable tracks on this album (that stand out to me) include 16 Psyche, Vex, and Offering.

Chelsea Wolfe’s music offers (no pun intended on track ‘Offering’) an essence of the dark spirit that resides within us all. Her voice feels as if it echoes from a dimension within our minds and the human experience that is primal and yearning. To embrace her music is to expand your mind to the possibilities of the spirit and at the same time acknowledge your own quiet inner voice that echoes with Chelsea’s.

This is a short review and is more of a personal opinion than a complete deconstruction of the elements within this album. My goal is to queue the interest of readers so that they may want to listen to her music and see what they think for themselves.

Thank you!

-Alina


* Chelsea Wolfe, Spotify page ‘about’ describes her music as “doom-drenched electric folk”

Featured Image photo source: www.instagram.com/cchelseawwolfe

 

Hurricane Harvey

The last couple of weeks have been hard: watching the news and constantly reading up on the current conditions of Southern Texas after Hurricane Harvey, how people act and react in situations like this is both amazing and appalling.

I’ve been conflicted writing a response poem to this event because I do not want to distance the event further from myself and others nor do I want to just write about my own reaction to this event (which is extremely complicated and a debatable thing to do). But being left to watch so much happen throughout the different medias in our society and world has left me with nothing but my poetry and hope.

Here is some general information about Hurricane Harvey. There are multiple ways to give your donations and countless people have come together to help Corpus Christi to Houston in this dire time of need.


 

Watching the surreal scenes broadcasted

the waters flooding cities, neighborhoods, homes,

and leaving nothing but desolation. Watching

politicians and public figures scramble to help or stand still.

I am watching, waiting, lump in my throat

and ache in my heart.

 


 

If you’re reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing.

-Alina

Announcement: What to expect this month and next…

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about doing during September,

  • One to three short stories (expect Horror and Mystery, Halloween is upon us!).
  • Short reviews/reflections of a handful of newly released movies (right now I am thinking, Ingrid Goes West)
  • A compilation list of my favorite Halloween movies!
  • A review/reflection of a select Musician.

Basically through September and all of October Halloween and related themes (Horror, Mystery, Thrillers, select Sci-Fi) will be the main subject of my posts. Halloween is my favorite holiday out of the entire year and I would love to take this opportunity as the first Halloween with my blog to show my love for it.

Any suggestions, and/or comments are welcome!

-Alina

 

Featured Image is Original Artwork by Drazen Kozjan

Writers Resist Info

Writers Resist Logo

http://www.writersresist.com/about/

This is belated but I have done more research on Writers Resist. The website (about page) link above gives plentiful information about this movement that is taking form as publications featuring various forms of art and writing that focuses on fighting for human rights. It is more important than ever that we unite against hate, bigotry, and racism in America.

Here is some quick info about Writers Resist,

“Writers Resist is a national literary collective born of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. We publish creative expressions of resistance by diverse writers and artists, and we’re dedicated to challenging all things that diminish our nation’s quest for equality, freedom, justice and a healthy planet for all—while having a bit of fun.”

Information about how work is credited and shared on Writers Resist,

“We publish with the intent that the works will be shared far and wide—in keeping with the Creative Commons guidelines for proper attribution of the author and Writers Resist, non-commercial use, and no derivatives. So share with abandon—but please do acknowledge the author and Writers Resist.”

And lastly, a flyer which can be downloaded that helps to spread the word about Writers Resist,

“Last and not at all least: Help spread the word to writers, artists and readers: Download a Writers Resist flyer here. Carry it with you, hand it out at readings, drop it in cafés, because spreading the word about resistance is a spiffy little act of resistance.”

The Writers Resist website also gives information regarding organizations that function to fight for various human rights, this information can be found on the Action Page There is also contact information for writersresist.com, subscription information, and donations to keep Writers Resist going.

If your interested in submitting work to Writers Resist, info and link is here.

Works that are published (featured online) are found on the Contents page.

The most recent works include “Going to Ground” by Sarah Einstein (August 10th, 2017) and “Clarion Reminder” by Laura Grace Weldon (August 10th, 2017).

This is a good place to find works that express the tension and turmoils taking place in America presently. So far, 2017 has become an even more turbulent year for Americans that struggle with the Trump Administration and President Trump himself. The recent events at Charlottesville, VA were horrific and have left many Americans feeling scared and in fear of violence after President Trump’s response.

 


 

I hope this information helps fellow writers and artists out there that seek a platform for their work!

Thank you for reading my posts!

-Alina