Denial is not a river in Egypt

Today, November 9, 2016, a quintessential asshole became the president of the United States. I mean, seriously, is there any other word more apropos to describe this man who thinks that kissing women and grabbing their private parts without their consent “comes with the territory of being a star”? And now, he is the most powerful man in the land: a Megastar! More like a Death Star, really, a black hole sucking everything that gets in its path. There is now no doubt in my mind that this country is not the liberal progressive nation it is pretending to be. We went from class to crass overnight. For a long time, ever since a black man was elected president of the United States, this country has been in denial. We thought that things could only get better for people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, people with disability, veterans, and women! Meanwhile, cops everywhere are getting off easily for killing black people, and funding for essential social services is being cut with alarming regularity. Today seals it and proves that we are a long way from living in an egalitarian society.

I am blogging from Djerassi Artist Resident Program, in the redwood-laden mountains of northern California. I heard that Hillary Clinton used to come here, as the Djerassis are a family friend. There’s even a bench named after her, overlooking the mesmerizing mountains and the distant ocean. It is said that it was upon this bench that she had sat to contemplate the vicissitudes of life in the political arena (and other more personal dilemmas). This morning we thought we would celebrate the first woman president of the United States, and I could confidently tell my daughter that “See, girls can be presidents, too. And bullies never win.” Instead, she called at 5 AM to report with alarm that Trump had won the election.

“Are we moving to Canada now?” she asked, her girly voice quaking. For a little black girl, Mr. Trump is the ultimate boogeyman. I should have told her no. We are not leaving. We are wrestling this country back. Whatever it takes. Instead, I reassured her that everything would be all right, with fingers crossed.

If anything, this may galvanize people into action. We have been complacently going about our lives, thinking things couldn’t get any worse. Maybe, this is a wake-up call, particularly for people of color, to unite or at least, start caring more about each other.


About filinthegap

Lani T. Montreal is an educator, writer, performer, and community activist. Her writings have been published and produced in Canada, the U.S., the Philippines and in cyberspace. Among her plays are: Nanay, Panther in the Sky, Gift of Tongue, Looking for Darna, Alien Citizen, Grandmother and I, and her most-toured comedy drama about gender and immigration, titled Sister OutLaw. She is the recipient of the 2016 3Arts Djerassi Residency Fellowship for Playwriting, 2009 3Arts Ragdale Residency Fellowship, the 2001 Samuel Ostrowsky Award for her memoir “Summer Rain,” and was finalist for the 1995 JVO Philippine Award for Excellence in Journalism for her environmental expose “Poison in the River.” Lani holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University. She teaches writing at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago and writes a blog called “Fil-in-the-gap”. ( She lives (and loves) in Albany Park, Chicago with her multi-species, multi-cultural family.
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