I’m sitting on my couch wrapped in a soft blanket listening to a Spotify playlist (not sponsored—unless they want to be—call me) called “Saddest Break-Up Songs” while I drink bourbon. I’m definitely not crying—you’re crying! Okay, I might be crying. And it’s the ugly, snot-dripping, lips shaking, inaudible words between big hyperventilating breaths, type of crying. My dog has astutely sensed that something is very wrong and has jumped up on the couch (on which she is not usually allowed) to comfort me with big gross dog kisses.
Now, you might think this is a scene of me post break-up with the love of my life, and you’d be wrong. But not far off. This is me immediately after President Obama’s farewell speech. I’m a mess because I am mourning the exit of an intelligent, intellectually curious, ethical, and humble President who led our country for eight years with class, love, and hope. I’m a mess because at the exact same time I am wrought with fear and anxiety about our incoming President who has bullied, threatened, and lied his way to the White House and has shown no signs that he will try to lead this country in a way that remotely represents us all as equals.
I know that talking politics on first dates is supposed to be taboo, and that politics seem to be this off limit topic in the dating sphere because…actually I don’t know why. For me dating is political, because there are people out there (including our incoming President, Vice President and administration) who have decided a significant part of my identity and who I am is up for political debate. So politics can’t be off the table in my dating conversations and I won’t allow them to be.
In fact, I’ve used who someone voted for as a dating filter. In both my online dating profiles (OkCupid and Tinder—also not sponsors) I state “If you voted for Trump, do not contact me/do not swipe right.” I’m just saving us both wasted time and energy. I’m a pro-choice, anti-racist, LGBT rights advocating, feminist-identifying, pro-immigration reform, anti-gun violence, anti-death penalty, progress seeking, trans man who plans on fighting against everything a Trump Administration has claimed to stand for with every part of my being who seeks someone who has the same convictions. There is just no amount of chemistry or connection that could redeem the losses. The one positive is that this has added more depth to what is usually a very superficial practice of swiping left and right in this app based dating world.
President Obama was the first President to say transgender, lesbian, and bisexual in a state of the union address. I received letters and holiday cards from the White House during Obama’s two terms because he included LGBT leaders on whatever mailing list the POTUS uses. He sent me copies of proclamations honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance and Pride Month. These were intentional acts of inclusion. This was our President saying “LGBT Americans are people and deserve equal protection under the laws of this great nation.” These are not small potatoes (can someone explain where this saying stems from?) coming from the President of the United States. I will not forget these last eight years, where a President recognized in both words and actions that LGBTQ+ citizens are just as American as straight and cisgender citizens.
It is because of all that and more that I am now shoveling spoonfuls directly from a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (nope, not a sponsor, either) Chocolate Fudge Brownie to try and cope with the exit of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. I haven’t experienced a heart-wrenching break-up since 2010 so the memory of the details are fuzzy, but a friend said that what I’m experiencing currently is very close. His memory and presidential essence will linger for years. I’ll box up those letters and holiday cards and the framed picture of him in a shoebox labeled “Obama+Jay=<3 forever” and store it under my bed. Every once and awhile I’ll thumb through our eight years of amazing memories. I’ll never let go Obama, I’ll never let go.
I have to go fix this leak from my face holes. So I’ll leave you with a rewritten Sam Smith song:
(to the tune of “Stay With Me”)
Guess it’s true, I’m not good with just a two term gig
We all still need hope ’cause we’re just people
These votes never seem to go to plan
We don’t want you to leave, will you take a stand?
Oh, won’t you stay with us?
‘Cause you’re all we need.
Third terms aren’t legal, you know
But Barry, stay with us?
Why are we so emotional?
No it’s not a good look, gain some self-control
And deep down we know this never works
It’s up to us to carry on this work.
But, can’t you stay with us?
‘Cause you’re still what we need
Eight years can’t be done so quick
Oh Barry, stay with us.
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