First there was shock... and regret. And then the city of San Francisco – a place where so many one-time outsiders have found a home that welcomes them – rose up and marched. It was a moment where hope began again. But the road ahead will not be easy...
I read once that each person gets five “Where were you when...?” moments in their lifetime. “Where you when 9/11 happened?” is now a universal for anyone millennial-age or older. “Where you when the marriage equality referendum passed?” is a recent addiction for Irish people. (“Where were you when the Eighth was repealed?” will hopefully be another.)
“Where were you when Trump was elected?” is now one of those questions.
Or just “Where were you when you lost your sense of hope?”
I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I was in a room in a house filled with men I didn’t know. It was my flatmate’s boyfriend’s house, and his friends had been drinking and watching the election results unfold before I arrived.
I got there late. Late and largely apathetic about being there at all. Because I didn’t care. Sure, Hillary’s win was in the bag, I thought. I could roll up late, have a celebratory drink, hug a few randomers and be in bed by midnight, watching a much more exciting Leslie Knope campaign unfold on Netflix.
But when I arrived, ready to dispense wisecracks and fun-size chocolate bars left over from Halloween, the atmosphere in the room was sombre. Bristling. My flatmate, the one woman of colour in a room full of white men, looked at me, eyes wide.
“He’s winning. By a lot. I don’t think she can make it up.”
That’s the moment I’ll never forget. The moment of realization that we had all been terribly, terribly wrong.
The blame came first...
–It was Hillary’s fault, she had been too arrogant.
–More arrogant than Trump?
–Arrogant about beating Trump.
–We had ALL been arrogant about beating Trump!
Then the regret...
–I should have campaigned more for Hillary.
–But you voted Third Party.
–YOU VOTED THIRD PARTY?
–We live in California, it doesn’t matter, with the electoral collage, the state was always going to go to Hillary! But for the other states… I should have campaigned for her.
–We should have campaigned against the electoral collage.
–We say that every election, and we never do, why didn’t we do that?
–Why didn’t we do SOMETHING?
Then the realisations...
–We had just treated him like a joke, but he was gaining voters the whole time.
–And those voters didn’t tell pollsters they were Trump supporters, because they’re those “racist behind closed doors” types.
–All those trolls online talking about “libtards.”
–My crazy relatives who I muted on Facebook for saying “All Lives Matter.”
–My Dad said he was going to vote Trump, but he was joking. Right?
–We just ignored them. Didn’t try talk to them about it.
–Because they’re ridiculous.
–Just like he was supposed to be.
–He wasn’t supposed to WIN. He was never going to WIN.
My flatmates are women of colour. My professors run the Sexuality Studies and Ethnic Studies departments in one of the most underfunded colleges in a city with 26 billionaires. My classmates include men and women of colour, queer men and women and trans folks. My friends are feminists, activists, poets, writers, rape survivors, people with HIV, children of immigrants.
Many of them moved to San Francisco years ago, knowing that it has a history of embracing and supporting those who are oppressed elsewhere. LGBTQ people, kinky people, artsy people, homeless people, weird people and wonderful people all came to the city, where rent was cheap or the streets were safe, and hearts and minds were open.
That was before the latest tech bubble hit; before Twitter buildings and Google buses and start-ups filled the city with white male millionaires. Before rents skyrocketed and people were evicted and displaced, so that there’s now 7,000 homeless people in San Francisco. Before the drag bars and progressive bookstores and dingy diners that had been there for decades were replaced by Air BnBs and designer clothes stores.
On Tuesday, in what was once the most radical city in the world, ten percent of people living in San Francisco voted for Trump. The Twitter building hosted a Young Republicans party on election night, while a motion passed to ban the city’s homeless population from pitching tents on the sidewalks.
Within a day, the atmosphere of the entire city changed. The change that had been creeping over the city was no longer just a talking point, no longer just an annoyance, no longer just gentrification, no longer “just” anything. It was a real and present danger towards people of colour, LGBTQ people, women, people with disabilities, people who are already oppressed. It was a national mandate against them. It was a threat against all but the 1%.
It was Trump, a country full of people who supported him, and one person in ten in our glorious city who thinks that we are second-class citizens.
I say “we.” I can leave, of course. I know that I’m lucky.
In one night, Trump transformed a city that people turn to for sanctuary into a place they want to escape from.
Then came were the rallying cries...
–“Who is Donald Trump?” “Not My President!”
–“Misogynistic, racist, anti-gay!” “Donald Trump, Go Away!”
–“Black Lives Matter!”
–“Trans Lives Matter!”
–“Pussies Grab Back!”
– “Love Trumps Hate!”
I’ve never been to a Trump rally, but I can’t imagine they have placards with lovehearts on them. Or gay couples kissing lovingly. Or excited toddlers waving at rainbow flags. Or chants that evolve and transform so that everyone present feels accounted for, and supported, and loved. I can’t imagine that if people at a Trump rally get heckled, they shout back “We’ll still fight for you!”
That all happened on Wednesday night, not even 24 hours after the election, when thousands of people in San Francisco walked together, in protest and solidarity, peacefully letting it be known that Trump was not welcome, that he would not silence those who had fought so hard for a voice, that he would not strip rights away from people without a fight, that his divisive politics would promote unity amongst the people he hates the most.
His election had led us into shock, then grief. But now it was time for action, and spirit, and we had both in abundance.
We also had more humour, and empathy, and reason.
During Trump’s acceptance speech, someone yelled “Kill Obama!” and the crowd cheered. During San Francisco’s march against Trump, someone yelled “Fuck Trump!” and the crowd yelled “No Thank You!”
The march led thousands of protesters from Market Street to Mission, walking right through Castro.
The Castro is San Francisco’s gay neighourhood. Harvey Milk owned a store there, held rallies and marches there, fought for his rights and the rights of those who were oppressed, targeted, under attack. In 1978, Milk delivered a speech addressing the most vulnerable people in society, and the need for empathetic, representative leaders. He said to the crowd of people who had marched with him and for him, “you have to give them hope.”
That’s right, hope...
“Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone. So if there is a message I have to give, it is that I've found one overriding thing about my personal election, it's the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it's a green light. And you and you and you, you have to give people hope. Thank you very much.”
It’s going to be hard to hold onto hope while Trump is president. Sometimes, like election night, it will be out of sight. Sometimes, like Wednesday night, it will be pulled back by the people and shine. It won’t always stay close.
But San Francisco is a city built by, and for, those who travel, those who fight, and those who survive. We’ll find the hope eventually. We always have. We always will.
And we’ll always remember where we were when we did.
You couldn't make this up: the frontman of a British punk band has told how he was refused entry to the US this week after a furious emigration officer lambasted him for impersonating the US President during a live gig in German last year!Read More
Dozens of artists have used their music to express outrage throughout Trump's campaign and into his presidency, but now the US President has a pro-Trump tune he wants everyone to hear.Read More
The unpredictable US President is famous for his abrupt manners and even occasionally hanging up on other country's leaders during heated so-called diplomatic phone calls. But he was charm personified last night when chatting with our new Taoiseach... and he even took the time to pause mid-conversation to flirt with RTÉ’s Washington correspondent, who was invited into the Oval Office to film the historic phone call.Read More
American Idol star Adam Lambert has used a very strong expletive to heavily criticize the US President's first 100 days in the Oval Office.Read More
As the immigration issue rages across the U.S. even the world’s biggest music showcase isn’t immune.Read More
The comedian and former late night chat show host believes the US President is so "ignorant" that it's "insulting to America"!Read More
You couldn't make it up: the so-called Leader of the Free World, Donald Trump reckons that the mix-up in announcing the winner for Best Picture happened because the Hollywood elite were too focused on attacking him!Read More
Filmmaker Louis Theroux has revealed that he is now planning to make a documentary exploring Donald Trump's path to power.Read More
No bunnies were boiled, but otherwise it was full-on Fatal Attraction...Read More
Conor Dignam SC, Chairman of The Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee has criticised Trump, saying "President Trump's personal attacks on US judges for performing their duties has no place in a democracy based on the rule of law." He also believes that it a sinister trend, for which Trump should be condemned.Read More
He once played a boxing champ in Raging Bull, but now Hollywood actor Robert De Niro confesses that he’s like a bull in a china shop who would love to punch Donald Trump in order to teach him some manners! While action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger has also admitted that he too would like to take a pop at the US President and “smash his face into the table”!Read More
An Oscar-nominated film director from Iran has confirmed that he won’t be attending the prestigious Academy Awards ceremony in LA because of President Donald Trump’s controversial ban to stop Muslims from seven countries entering the US.Read More
The writer later apologised on Twitter, saying her actions were "inexcusable."Read More
There’s just been even more embarrassing news for President-elect Donald Trump – with a Bruce Springsteen cover band now also deciding to pull out of playing at the inauguration ball later this week.Read More
Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has made a dramatic u-turn and decided not to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s looming inauguration on 20 January.Read More
Senior US intelligence officials briefed both US President Obama and Donald Trump last week about claims that Russian spies have obtained compomrising personal and financial information about the President-elect, according to shock news reports that surfaced last night in the US media.Read More
Trump announced that the album sales of young singer Jackie Evancho have "skyrocketed" since it was announced she would be singing at his inauguration. As a fellow Hot Press journalist points out, there's also another way of looking at it.Read More
British singer Rebecca Ferguson has been asked to sing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on 20 January – but the 2010 X-Factor runner-up took to Twitter to say she will only “graciously accept” the invitation on condition that she’s allowed to perform Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’.Read More
An angry passenger had to be forcibly removed from a domestic US flight after going on rant when he spotted President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter on the same plane.Read More
President-elect Donald Trump took to twitter yesterday to attack Vanity Fair’s editor after the magazine gave one of his restaurants a negative review in their latest edition to just hit the newsstands.Read More
Some of the most influential figures in the music industry are urging President-elect Donald Trump to radically shake-up laws concerning intellectual property rights.Read More
Tina Fey has opened up about how she believes that Donald Trump’s negative presidential campaign and his shock victory has alarmingly fueled an increased level of misogyny in the US.Read More
“Do not deceive yourselves: Trump is no ordinary conservative Republican. He is the closest thing to Hitler Americans have ever seen.” That’s the stark warning from an Associate Professor of US History at Trinity College Dublin.Read More
Christmas may be coming - but in the wake of the most astonishing US Presidential election in living memory, the fear that a cadre of white supremacists may get their hands on the levers of power is growing. And it feels like uncharted territory...Read More
Bernie Sanders has confessed that he's left wondering "what if" if it was him instead of Hillary Clinton who ran against Donald Trump.Read More
The US's First Lady-elect is threatening YouTube with a major lawsuit over a video on its site that claims her son Barron is autistic.Read More
The USA might have had a very different President-elect right now – if it wasn’t for the fact that Donald Trump's grandfather was booted out of Germany, according to a legal decree that was recently discovered.Read More
The chairperson of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in the USA is urging the media to stop sensationalizing President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on immigration.Read More
US President-elect Donald Trump opened up about a wide-range of contentious issue – discussing everything from abortion, to same sex-marriage and immigration – on CBS’ iconic show 60 Minutes on Sunday night.Read More
More white women voted for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton. And as for white men? They were even worse. The questions is: why? And the answer? Trump’s victory is an endorsement of white racism...Read More
Discover classic book reviews of 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' and 'The Great Gatsby' through a Donald Trump filter.Read More
Celebrities tweeted up a storm during last night's debateRead More
The Republican candidate is damaging both himself and the US electoral system with his ever more absurd utterances.Read More
Saturday Night Live are also giving the American Mr. Pussy a hard timeRead More
The Trump campaign has been rocked by yet another controversy. It’s being claimed that there is a drove of controversial material of unaired footage from ‘The Apprentice’ show in which for the Republican presidential candidate makes unsuitable sexually comments about contestants and crew members. It’s claimed he even made comments on contestants breast size during breaks in filming the hugely popular show.Read More
The potential next American Presidential gave the late-night shows plenty to dissectRead More
The US presidential debate comes to the streets of KillarneyRead More
As part of MoveOn.org's "United Against Hate" campaignRead More
While there is something frighteningly familiar about the mass shooting that claimed 50 lives at Pulse nightclub, there are also signs of an even more disturbing trend within US society. Hot Press writer – and Florida native – Mackenzie Kees explains.Read More
The unthinkable has come to pass. A former reality television star and world-famous blowhard is the presumptive Republican Party candidate. But how did “The Donald” outflank party favourites to come within a hair’s breath of the most powerful office on earth? Here is a frontline report from our man in Washington DC.Read More
The hip-hop singer has assured Trump on Twitter that a "cease and desist" is coming his wayRead More
There's a new anthem for the times we live in!Read More
"Women, you have to treat them like shit"Read More
This is the second time since 2015 that the hacktivist group has targeted Trump's campaign – on this occasion declaring that it is 'hateful' and 'appalling'Read More
"Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he'll never stop trying"Read More
In a climate where anger Is plentiful but constructive solutions rarely offered, maybe we need the stability and clear-headedness of consensus politics...Read More
The Republican front-runner admits that he's full of it...Read More
Someone has superimposed Donald Trump's head into Game of Thrones and it is terrifying.Read More
Needless to say, Donald Trump is among them...Read More
"The trouble with Trump is that he is, by temperament, by experience, and by character, utterly unqualified to be president of the United States. He is a buffoon."Read More
Declaring the programme a job's scheme for foreign youngsters, Trump hopes to scrap the the initiative if he gets elected into officeRead More