“Women and the Wall/The End” is the fourth and final installment in a long-form essay written in response to the election by Devonaire Ortiz. See the first three here: Never, History is a Weapon: The Vote, and History is a Weapon: Slavery Reincarnate/Familiarity.
More than simply building a wall along the border between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, the president-elect promises to build more walls between every person in this country and their agency. The wall would cost $25 billion. The president-elect’s agenda would run up an incalculable toll of suffering for women and the female-bodied.
In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, he promised to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protects the right to abortion. Aside from the unconscionable coercion to carry a pregnancy to term, this would mean an additional hindrance to socioeconomic mobility for those who would otherwise not complete an unplanned pregnancy and raise a child, a financial burden on the state to care for children who are given up for adoption, and again, incalculable suffering, this time for children who would likely move in and out of foster homes and be raised more so by necessity than by love.
The president-elect is also a symbol and self-described perpetrator of sexual assault. I will not quote him here, for his words are abhorrent, but national outrage ensued the month before the election after a video of him detailing his sexually abusive behavior emerged.
Several weeks later, this man emerged victorious in the race for the White House. He himself is a wall between every person who demands bodily autonomy and having that right respected. The already weak support the law provides for survivors of sexual assault will become even weaker over the next four years, and it is unlikely that policies that will emerge in that time will provide any hope for the years to follow.
There is much that I have not covered here; the current state of Indigenous life within these borders and how the incoming government that fundamentally threatens it would by itself require more space than I can possibly fill.
The racist and inherently classist War on Poverty waged by the right wing would take volumes to unpack. The roots of heteropatriarchy and its intentional restructuring of global society to permit colonialism and imperialism and how all of these things work to buoy the president-elect would, too. I must get there at another time.
For now, it will suffice to know that the fact that white support for the Republican Party in this election mirrors that of ones before it does not disprove the assertion that white supremacy is behind the president-elect’s victory. On the contrary, it supports a truth long known by those who identify with personhoods and backgrounds deemed divergent by the powers that be: The Republican party is one of once-covert bigotry, now on full display. The Democratic Party’s hands are not clean, either (see: Tough on Crime and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell circa 1992).
The president-elect is but the figurehead of a millions-strong movement built on white supremacy. Objectively speaking, they pose an undeniable threat to this planet, this country, its people, and those it has historically oppressed here and abroad. They evoke memories of violent and hateful forces of the past.
On the one hand, I wrote this to explain why so many people are angry and afraid so that none can say that they do not understand. On the other, I wrote this as a note of reminder and empowerment.
Know that for every privilege that protects you from the incoming government’s agenda, there is someone who lacks it and is therefore fearful—offer them support, fight with them, and fight for them. Your avenues to do so are wider and more numerous: protest, disrupt, organize, and reorganize.
Push back against bigotry when you encounter it, especially if you can do so from a position of privilege against those in similar positions.
I repeat that the constitution’s redeeming quality is that it can change; this must be done in favor of full enfranchisement, direct representation in every sector of government, and to repair for and prevent the perpetuation of oppression committed in its name. For every disruptor, there must be 10 people working to reconstruct the fundamentally flawed state to make real the more perfect union that this nation claims to be.
Again: The fundamentally flawed state must be reconstructed.
Apply pressure to power, call city, state, and national legislators. Run for office, theorize, march, fight, write, and work outside of the flawed system, as well. The only thing you should not do is sit in silence. I most certainly will not—I will not allow that half of the country to lay siege to my personhood. Nor should you.
Now and in the future, practice radical love of self and of others. Do not shy away from being unapologetically self-affirming, but take measures to protect yourself as needed.
I am Queer, I am Brown, I am Latino. I will only be more so tomorrow; this is part of my own love and resistance.
Black, Brown, Muslim, Trans, Queer, Disabled, Low-Income, Immigrant, and female-bodied people and those at every intersection therein: Though we feel unique pains, we must give to ourselves and each other the love that others would deny us. Allies, join us in doing so.
Do not be idle—