On the Necessity of Resistance to Submissive Grief

January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day: On the Necessity of Resistance to Submissive Grief

Part One

On the Martin Luther King’s holiday weekend, I reflected once again on how much his assassination changed the course of American history. First, though, consider that if Bobby Kennedy had not also been assassinated, he would most likely have defeated Richard Nixon in 1968; the Vietnam War would then have found its way to a cease-fire of some sorts that allowed American troops to withdraw and for the tragedy of that civil war to resolve itself without dragging Cambodia into its vortex. After Bobby Kennedy’s terms as president, the next obvious candidate to succeed him would have been Martin Luther King, Jr.; Jimmy Carter would have made a great vice-president.

It’s possible, and even likely, that this nation would have experienced a conservative backlash against twelve years of Kennedy and King, but I doubt that trail would have led to the debacle of two terms of George W. Bush as President and Donald J. Trump’s inauguration today as the current President. Let us never forget how much the liberal side of American politics suffered as a result of the targeted executions of some of our most inspiring public figures.

As for the new president, I intent to “honor” his official embrace of power in my first day of classes for the Spring semester (on Monday, January 23) with a reading of Robert Lowell’s poem, “Inauguration Day, 1953” as a reminder of how this nation has been through similar disheartening moments. Whether we will survive Trump’s presidency as well as the nation managed to emerge from Ike’s eight years is a strenuously doubtful conjecture.

“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.” – Groucho Marx

Part Two

I want to thank the poets and fiction writers who showed up at Beyond Baroque on Sunday afternoon, January 15, to participate in a public reading of protest against the oncoming disaster of Trump’s reign. These individuals included William Archila, Aimee Bender, Ron Carlson, Geoff Dyer, Amy Gerstler, Doug Kearney, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Alicia Partnoy, Mona Simpson, Lynne Thompson, David Ulin, Vanessa Villarreal, and Amy Wilentz. (source: https://refusefascism.org/event/writers-resist-los-angeles-public-reading/ )

No doubt these individuals represent the same kind of “professional protesters, incited by the media” as those who denounced the “victory” of a candidate who lost the popular vote by more than two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand votes. The margin of Trump’s “defeat” and his self-satisfied presumption of his right to power remain one of the most profound contradictions in recent American history.

In case you are wondering what a margin of almost 3,000,000 votes means, imagine, if you will, a tie vote between Clinton and Trump, but with the votes from one state still completely uncounted. Dressed as formally as if it were Academy Awards night, two people come out and stand in front of a podium. They are going to reveal the results of the final state, one that is as large as Colorado, Indiana, or Arizona. A man hands a woman an envelope that contains the results of that one state’s vote. EVERY VOTE IN THAT STATE WAS FOR HILLARY CLINTON. The margin of “defeat” for Hillary Clinton is the equivalent of an entire state the size of Colorado or Indiana or Arizona giving every one of its votes to her. It’s still hard to believe that such a significant margin could not result in a triumphant election to the Presidency.

The 2016 general election for the presidency was decided by professional spies and espionage agents. Unpaid protesters are unfortunately no match for the arsenal at their disposal; the fate of the planet has never been more tenuous.