21 days later : “Look, it’s raining”

The rain that’s pouring down now over New York seems to be the only thing I want to write about. With a note of humor, I said that there wouldn’t be any weather report on this website. The most boring conversation subject we can imagine, yet the one we can hardly escape. I’m there now, only because the weather is also a powerful source of metaphors. When I left Los Angeles about ten days ago, after Donald Trump was declared winner of the presidential elections, it was also raining. Raining like it rarely does, in the city of angels. This place where Charles Bukowski wrote the poem:

“It’s hard for me to imagine the people.
maybe they are feeling bad like this,
almost as bad as this.
I wonder what they do when they feel
bad?
they probably don’t mention it,
they say,
“look, it’s raining”.
that’s the best way.”

It’s called “The Weather Report” and that’s always been one of my favorites from Bukowski.

The election of Trump obviously has its toll for most progressive and politically sensitive people (even though it’s hard to self-identify as such because it might sound pretentious). In my life, it materialized in a weird way. First, on the road covering the elections on November 8th for the French daily Libération, I suddenly had a flat tire when the Republican nominee was said to have won the states that were crucial to get to the White House, Florida and Ohio.

Then, on another road trip to write a story about pro-Hillary America, it’s my phone that broke. Its screen in little pieces. Dead. Not to mention my heart, which like many other people I spent the night with at the bar Abbey, in West Hollywood, on election night, was also broken. It’s almost like my car and my phone had feelings too.

post-itnyc3-2The days have passed, and the gap in the popular vote between the two candidates kept increasing, in favor of Hillary Clinton. Her lead surpasses two million votes, now. A petition is circulating on Change.org to “make Hillary Clinton president on December 19”, the day the electoral college electors must cast their vote. It collected 4 666 697 signatures as of today.

While waiting to see what’s going to happen, there are also some good things to appreciate despite the outcome of this election. I’ve been touched by multiple actions of solidarity such as the huge march protest in L.A. or this wall in the New York subway where people posted thousands of anti-Trump post-its. I’ve particularly enjoyed all the discussions that sparkled with strangers, whether in a shared cab or around a Thanksgiving meal, creating new friendships (sometimes losing some).

post-itnyc2What I’m particularly thankful for, speaking of Thanksgiving, are the amazing stories told on the Facebook “secret” group Pantsuit Nation.  Its almost 4 million members, of all ages, genders, cities and towns across America, are united by the love of pantsuits (the outfit adopted a long time ago by Hillary Clinton) but mostly by a very inspiring will to personify progress and open-mindedness, and not get silenced.

Here’s the latest post on it (at the time I’m writing this), by Amy S., from Carter, Tennessee :

“Hubby and I were in a home improvement store. There was a young black man in front of us who purchased about $30 of stuff. He used his credit card.
Clerk: I’ll need your ID.
Just like that. No please, no apology, no “thank you for shopping.” Nothing.
The young man gave the clerk his ID, paid, and stood near, apparently waiting for the older black gentleman behind us in line. We laid out our stuff, purchasing over $200 in materials. My husband took out his credit card and swiped. Then he looked at the clerk expectantly.
Clerk: *crickets*
Hubby: Don’t you need my ID?
Clerk: No, sir. Thank you.
Hubby: *pointing to the young man who had been ahead of us* But you asked him for his ID, and he bought way less stuff than I did. So… you’re protecting him from credit card fraud but not offering me that same courtesy? …Or is there something else going on here?
Young Black Man and I look at each other and share a “ooh, he’s gettin’ it” smile.
Clerk: *having the good sense to at least blush* May I see your ID, sir?
Hubby: *handing over his ID* That’s more like it! And I ‘d like you to be polite and call the man behind me “sir,” too.
The man behind us muttered, “Thank you.” And my hubby got a smile and a fist bump on our way out.
Point is, be aware of not only the aggressions, but also the micro-aggressions. And speak out! We win the little battles.”

Yes, we will.

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