web analytics

Sleeping with President Donald Trump


I am on my feet at the Thanksgiving table, and my fists are slamming into the linen napkins. Silverware is quaking, pottery is rattling. The force of a particularly hard blow to the tabletop sends a dinner roll catapulting from the bread basket.

My screams are borrowed from post-election protest marches. They are deafening and unending. Fight him. Reject hate. Protect ourselves.

Surrounding the table are members of my family, some red and some blue. They pay me no attention. They are chatting among themselves, unaware of my thunderous cries. Forks and spoons and now falling to the floor and cartwheeling away. A bowl of green bean casserole has rumbled to the edge of the table and any second now it will

I wake up. It is morning in America.

While eating my breakfast cereal I luxuriate in thoughts of assassination. Oh my God that’s awful, my husband tells me, don’t even think such a thing. So I search for it online. I enter the letters “T-r-u-m-p A-s-s” and my browser helpfully fills in the rest. Nobody told my laptop it can’t think that way. My dreadful topic is the first suggestion Google offers.

Hello, NSA. You must be very busy. I’m just a depressed liberal. Move along, nothing to see here.

HIV activists have fought presidents before. We protested while carrying urns filled with ashes. We had motivation and grief and outrage. We believed we could change the world and we did. We actually did.

I was a young man then. I have been glancing at those years in the rearview mirror ever since. I write about them often. It hadn’t occurred to me that we could face that level of ignorance and danger again in my lifetime. And trust me on this, the policies and positions of our new administration, on everything from LGBT rights to HIV education, will have a direct impact on the number of urns to be filled in years to come.

The past may be prologue, but that analogy doesn’t satisfy me. Our past is a monster we had beaten down. But then it faded behind us, beyond reach, and somewhere back there it grew strong and fearsome and has now leapt over us to become our immediate future.

My horror imagery comes from my dreams. I work hard not to think of these things, at least during my waking hours. I’ve turned away from television news, angrily, like a lover who bitterly betrayed me. But at night it can’t be helped.

Our new president is smirking at his inauguration. He is waving to all of those he has so cynically duped, and surrounding him are white men sneering so broadly they look reptilian. Our outgoing president and his wife are enduring the event bravely, but their very presence among this grotesquerie is so out of time their image might as well be a weathered tintype.

I wake up. It is another morning in America, and I struggle to decide whether or not to surrender myself to sleep again. I honestly cannot decipher the better of the two.





  1. Sue November 15, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I’m with you. I’ve been so depressed. It so hard to accept that this idiot is our president. He scares me. My Facebook is filled by postings from people to whom he will likely cause grave harm. How can this be?
    I was not a fan of Hillary, I loved Bernie, but I knew that I had to vote for Hillary to stop Trump.

  2. Bert November 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I’m still fighting depression. You are NOT alone in this. Im afraid for myself and all those who will suffer from the ripples of this election. I’m angry that Mr. Pence opposed gay marriage and signed into law a bill that made it legal for businesses discriminate against gay people. I’m afraid of the ignorance and intolerance of so many people who voted him in and If they even bothered to check his credentials. I believe in the separation of Church and State … I’m with Sue about Bernie.
    What can we do to unify the LGBT community to fight this?
    Is there hope when the Electoral College votes on December 19th ?

  3. oy vey November 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I’m glad Trump won. One will see if there will be any changes regarding HIV prevention and treatment. It could hardly get any worse with rising numbers of new infections except for maybe SF with its wide use of PrEP. Why should anyone be depressed just because Trump won? Rejoice that Hillary lost! 😉

  4. Kurt November 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I agree with Oy Vey. The country voted for a change in 08 and now another change in 16. There was a lot of “Danger Will Robinson” and arm waving then, I’m still alive and have learned that life goes on, especially with things I cannot change although we can express an opinion. React to things you can change not a pile of “what ifs”.

  5. Paula Kiger November 20, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I’ve sat here with the comment box blank for minutes, trying to think of something to say. My personal blog on this topic is simply blank because I can’t decide what to say (so props to you for sharing your dreams (nightmares)). Sending support your way. I know these times are unsettling (understatement). Closing w/a quote from one of the best pieces I have read since the election (via Alexandra Samuel): “It’s perfectly appropriate to be scared right now, because it might be that bad (or worse) and we might not actually be okay. Being told all the reasons you shouldn’t feel scared just makes the fear feel that much worse.” Full piece: https://medium.com/@awsamuel/dont-make-me-feel-better-d13fdb0e764d#.e4c3wwwkf

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.