bad mandates

The scent of coffee filled my nostrils as I called downstairs to Michael to give me the news.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” he said somberly, and I hoped that he was kidding.

The blow struck me hard, kind of knocked the air out of me like a punch in the solar plexus. The news was devastating; I’d been hoping and lobbying long and hard for an end to our nation's two-hundred-year patriarchal paradigm and for the election of a kind, brilliant, ridiculously experienced woman. I felt we were on the verge of making history, felt as if a great sea change was at our fingertips.

Downstairs, I opened my laptop and began typing, congratulating a couple of Trump supporters who I’d debated with on and off this past year. Then I read a personal message sent to me by another who had at times commented on some of my posts, someone I’d vaguely known since grade school. He wrote:

Any Well Wishes of Congratulations from Christy Shake or is she a sore Loser?

I thought to myself—before pointing out what a sore winner he'd been by gloating and badgering me—this is just the beginning.

All day long I worried that Trump’s election will serve as a mandate for atrocious behavior, a sanctioning of his own abhorrent attitudes and rhetoric about women, Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, immigrants and the Disabled. Silently, I fear for myself and for my friends:

Will gay marriage be overturned? What about Roe vs. Wade? Will women who seek abortions or who have "suspicious" spontaneous miscarriages be charged and imprisoned like in some other countries? Will our beloved immigrant families be ripped apart by deportation? Will the candidate of law and order endorse racial profiling, vigilante justice, increased capital murder? Will twenty-million people lose their health insurance? Will women be further subjugated and objectified, scapegoated, abused, wrongly maligned and mistrusted?

I thought back to a day nearly two decades ago when I lived in San Francisco. Feverish and slightly faint from strep, I left work around noon and began my walk to the bus. A man who had been following me suddenly rushed up from behind and brazenly hoisted my skirt high above my waist revealing my thong and bare buttocks. When I turned to the stranger and asked his name (in hindsight, I should have kneed him hard in the balls, for starters) he strutted alongside and smugly offered it to me. When I then asked to see his driver’s license, suddenly realizing my intent he attempted to bolt. I wonder if Trump’s election will embolden this kind of assault.

I then recalled a few years prior when I’d been laid off from a decent job, remaining woefully unemployed for the next nine months. As I worked full time looking for a job, I eventually spent what little savings I had on rent, and so began paying it, along with other bills, by way of advances on my credit card. In those nine months I racked up over ten-thousand dollars of debt. Once I got a job at Levi Strauss, I still didn't have health insurance since I'd been hired as a temp. During those few years I had to access a neighborhood women’s health clinic, likely run by Planned Parenthood, for my annual exams, birth control and medicine for strep. I wonder if the Trump administration will abolish access to healthcare for people who need it most.

In the hours since Trump’s election I’ve heard some sorry stories from friends and neighbors:

A red-faced man, mid-fifties, leaned out the passenger window, stabbing his hand at me with index and pinkie raised, screaming ‘TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!’ while glaring into my eyes ... My car has a Clinton sticker. And a slightly scared mom.


It's already begun. A friend was walking along here in NYC and someone driving a U-Haul yelled, "Hey, homo. So what do you think of president Donald Trum‎p?" The end is underway.

Today, I am worrying about Muslim women, while remembering the incidents from September when several of them were set on fire as they walked down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and hearing of the two Muslim students attacked by Trump supporters within hours of his victory.

Today, I am worrying about Jewish people, having read about the Nazi-related Trump graffiti and swastikas sprayed on storefront windows in Philadelphia.

Today, I am worrying about my African American and Latino friends who are more afraid now, perhaps than ever before, fearing a Trump mandate that inspires and emboldens White supremacists. I'm sorry for the Black woman whose white SUV was spray painted with the words, Trump Black Bitch.

Today, I am worrying about parents who have disabled, chronically ill children like my son Calvin, and others who are at risk of losing their health insurance. I'm worried that if Trump repeals Obamacare, they'll be buried in mounting healthcare bills and the burdensome prospect of being denied insurance because of preexisting conditions.

Today, I am dreading a Trump cabinet and a Supreme Court stacked with conservative White, Christian men who will decide the fate of so many women, immigrants, Muslims, People of Color and other minorities.

But I've always believed that fear should never be cause for inaction nor a motivation for silence. So I'll continue my campaign for justice in the face of these bad mandates.

As for the man who assaulted me in San Francisco? When he tried to bolt, I grabbed him by the collar and belt, detaining him as he struggled to escape. He tore away from me leaving behind pieces of plaid cotton shirt and a corduroy belt loop in my fist. In my high-heeled boots and skirt, I ran after him, and with the help of witnesses, I captured the louse. As he and I stood there on the sidewalk, face to face while waiting for the cops to arrive, I shoved him hard in the chest each time he tried to flee my grip. “You messed with the wrong chick,” I said.

As for being a sore loser? As a serious competitive swimmer much of my life, I learned early on never to be one. Moreover, Calvin has taught me one of life's hardest lessons about loss; I allow myself the space to collapse and grieve and breathe. Then I get back on my feet, chin up, and go back to fighting as hard as hell no matter the hurdle or foe. And if I am fortunate to taste victory, I hope to always do it with humility and grace.

P.S. I already miss seeing Hillary's smiling face.

Photo by Michael Kolster


  1. Couldn't agree more. Completely devestating. We now have to focus on getting the next president elected. Someone hopefully with experience and decency!

  2. I read that The Trumpet is already planning on de-listing marijuana as a federal crime. So, I can maybe smoke a bowl under my Burka?
    Go Calvin!

  3. Christy, you are the best!
    But then I have known that from day one.
    PS A mandate when he lost the popular vote? Give me a break.

  4. Your sore loser commentor has a lot to learn about decency and humanity.