Field Tripping By Kate Drabinski

Field Tripping: Boner Killing

It’s the sex issue, and I want to write a column to stay on theme and everything, but I have to say, the Trump administration is a serious boner killer. Nothing kills the mood—for me, anyway—like a guy with absolutely no experience getting an easy nod for HUD Secretary or a plagiarizer who had never had any contact with public schools in any way whatsoever becoming Secretary of Education. Add to that a steady stream of executive orders that seem intent on picking us off one by one and it’s pretty much a desert down there.

I’ve spent much of the last few months wringing my hands, rationalizing myself in and out of panic, and wondering how in the world things are so upside down that I am defending things I never thought I’d defend. Am I really calling elected officials to beg them to protect the insurance company cash grab called the Affordable Care Act? I love the ACA for knocking out pre-exisiting condition exclusions, bringing millions more health insurance, paying for a whole lot of birth control, and more, but let’s be real: We need health care, not just more health insurance. I’ll defend the ACA to the moon and back, but I really wish we were all calling to demand single-payer health care.

And am I really feeling nostalgic for the days when the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff were the ones making the calls on national security? That Bannon character is a terrible dude and this is terrifying, but that does that really mean I’m supposed to be nostalgic for the fucking CIA and the massive military apparatus behind it? This nation is a war-making machine, and no matter who the president is or who is on the National Security Council, we’re going to be at war.

It’s exhausting, the high-pitch alert we’re all on as we wait to see who is getting thrown under the bus next. Somebody floated a balloon suggesting Trump was going to roll back the very limited federal employment protections Obama instated in 2014. 2014. Let that sink in for a second. In 2014 Obama signed something that said if you are a contractor with the federal government, you can’t discriminate against employees on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. In 2014. In lots of places, discrimination is still totally legal.

And then Trump said he wouldn’t roll back those orders, and he bragged about being, like, totally pro-LGBTQ rights. Not today, motherfucker. I have been around too long to fall for the BS that uses supporting LGBT rights as an alibi while you strip rights from the rest of us. You will NOT pinkwash your next moves, whatever they are, NOT ON MY WATCH.

So yeah, maybe not in the mood for romance.

Or maybe I am. These past few weeks of bullshit have also been completely inspiring as folks have spilled off the internet and out into the streets to protest, and I know I’m not alone in finding collective direct action a total turn on. This week’s anti-Trump field trip took me out to BWI to join over a thousand other people to say, NOPE, NOT TODAY to the latest round of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-refugee policies to spill out from Washington, D.C.

My protest started with a shout from my new neighbor, Josh. "Want to hit up BWI?" he asked, and I happily took him up on the offer of a ride to the airport. I grabbed my cowbell, he grabbed his sign, and we were off to what will surely be the first of many neighborly jaunts to the next direct action. We swapped stories—he filled me in on the happenings at the meeting about the Maryland Avenue cycletrack with neighbors and the Department of Transportation, I told him all about our neighborhood association meeting and wondered how we might expand the conversation about “safety” beyond just more police. We talked about what levers are in our reach, and which ones seem most ripe for the pulling, and then we rolled into hourly parking.

We followed the crowd to International Arrivals, and we heard the chants before we saw the people. We reached the escalator and I peered over the edge and spotted my boss, my work wife, people I know from bicycling, from Occupy Baltimore, from friends of friends, and my twin sister’s ex-girlfriend from like over a decade ago, because this is a small world, and oh, it felt so good to be in it at that moment, even with all the ugly all over the place.

Because this is the truth: It feels good to be with other people who share with you the conviction that this just isn’t right. It feels good to raise your voice with other voices, all saying NOT ON MY WATCH/NOT IN MY NAME/ NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER. That feeling of collective power is contagious, and even if it hurts my back to stand still for two hours, even if I have to pee but don’t want to give up my spot, even if the sight of career politicians making a photo op of OUR moment pisses me off, I love that feeling. And once you feel it, you want more, and you are not willing to go back.

Or at least that’s my hope. I hope we are all learning in these moments the power of getting together, of seeing each other in all our fleshly selves, that we not only can be here for each other, but we have to be here for each other. The state abandoned many of us long ago, and it is in the process of abandoning the rest of us. We will survive only if we commit to being here for each other.

As we headed home, three new friends in tow for the carpool back to the city, I thought about the words of philosopher Michel Foucault. In an interview with the French magazine called Gai Pied back in 1981, he said what the homophobes really fear might be not that we fuck each other, but that we will love each other. I am hopeful that we can do both, no matter what.

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