Winter 2017 Reflections 

So what do we say in the aftermath of all these recent events? Will you accept this new world? Will you support him in whatever he does? We have to do better next time, right?

This is just the aftermath of the elections. It is still hard to believe that there are so many folks out there who got it so wrong. How did a man that espoused so much hate and bigotry end up being our 45th president? There were probably a number of things that went wrong on the D side of the aisle. Never underestimate the power of hate and division; it’s been working well for the last 100 years. 

On a local note, how has the election played out in our backyards? Well, when you see swastikas and references to Nazis and Trump in South Philly, you know that we are in for a real bumpy ride. I always knew that Philly wasn’t as blue as we all would like to think. Trump has opened the floodgates for those long-repressed racist feelings to bubble to the top. We will continue to see this. Not only did Trump win over ALL of Pennsylvania, he also did some damage here in the city and the near suburbs. 

Racists and separatists of all shapes and party affiliations came out of the woodwork and I can only speculate that religion, sexual orientation, environmental and other areas will be negatively affected. Way to go, Donald, you made America hate again. It is eye-opening that so many seemingly rational people just pulled the levers that are taking us back to the 1950s. It happened. So now what?

The people that the new POTUS is putting in place are even more dangerous than his ass. They are no friends of any marginalized community and if you are black, brown, gay, bi, trans, disabled, poor, Muslim or from a dark-skinned country, there will be a price to pay. To watch the so-called rational Republicans go bat-shit crazy over this man is LSD-mind-boggling. The new kiss-ass mentality is disgusting. 

So this is how you win elections in the 2010s and beyond? Lie to people (let’s count the backtracking of proposed things Donald was going to do), play on their racist and sexist fears and promise to dismantle things that have been in place for decades — and boom: You’re the prez. It has come to soundbites, GPS-mapping, Steve Kornacki and John King spouting “too close to call,” “too early to call.” Watching the results was extremely painful with this faster-than-lightning technology. Nate Silver and Rachel Maddow got it wrong and TV has become the decision-maker. Talk shit about women and groping them and don’t disclose your taxes and poo-poo the media (except Breitbart and Fox) and you are in, my friend! 

The time for reflection is short; after all, the midterms are just two years away. Action is what is needed now. But from whom and from where? We are a broken nation and it has been that way forever. What can other countries teach us? We need to look at what others are doing because obviously we are doing something very wrong.

Back to the local scene for a moment. I was out in the Gayborhood a few Saturdays ago after Thanksgiving and the bars were all pretty much hopping. I only visited Knock and U-Bar after a super-expensive meal at Little Nonna. Both bars were full of loud and talkative white men. As I drove past ICandy, I peeked in to see it too looked full and lively. The furor seems to have passed for now. They seemed to have a crowd in there and, yes, I saw people of color going in. Not a surprise. In today’s media-driven world (both social and on TV), one story takes on a new life and others die after a few weeks. Only time will tell if meetups and subgroups and new commissions will have any effect at all. I’m optimistic, but I always am, only to be disappointed. And don’t let me get started on the deaths of celebrities over the year — 2017, welcome!

Gary Hines is a community activist and political operative for Democratic causes. He belongs to Liberty City Democratic LGBT Political Action Committee, is on the advisory board of Philadelphia FIGHT, is a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on African American Males, a member of Men of All Colors Together and has sat on academic advisory boards at Drexel University as well as the Minority Business Development Commission under Gov. Ed Rendell. He lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.