I'm really not sure how this journal is going to work.
I got the idea for this public journal a few weeks after the election night. But the idea wasn't fully formed. About all I knew for certain then--indeed, all I continue to know for certain--is that I wanted to keep a journal about living in Donald Trump's America, and that I wanted it to be public.
Forgive me for throwing up in my mouth when I typed the words "Donald Trump's America."
I expect I will use this space to vent, and to gather my courage for the continuing fight. I also want to share my experiences with you so that we can feel more connected, because I predict that the country's fractures are only going to deepen. Americans are an independent folk, and that generally serves us well, but it also works to enable an US vs. THEM mentality. The presidential campaign really ramped up that kind of rhetoric, and now that the Trump administration is installed in the White House our nation is getting a pretty clear picture of just what the government feels the official THEM look like. And how they worship. And how they vote. And who they love.
I do not intend for this journal to become a list of the horrible things that the Trump administration is doing, because there are much better sources for that kind of information. However, I do want to give you a little picture of where we are right now, in case you've been living under a rock or you're reading this from the future. (If you are reading this from the future, please tell me we make it out ok! What's it like? Do we finally get flying cars??)
Donald Trump has been president of the United States for 6 days now. Less than a week. And already things are changing. Already things are looking grim.
- Trump's administration immediately paved the way for the coming repeal of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which provides health insurance for some 20 million people
- Trump and his press secretary Sean Spicer made overt threats to the media, insinuating that they would cut off access to the White House if they receive unfavorable coverage
- Trump and his administration continue to tell obvious and needless lies to the media and the country about such things as the size of the inauguration crowd in DC
- Trump's administration put a gag order on many federal agencies, such as the USDA, the EPA, Department of Commerce and others that states they cannot talk to the press, cannot share any information with the public, cannot make public any scientific findings, etc.
- Trump's administration froze all funding for the EPA and ordered all employees to stop working and to make no communications with anyone until further notice
- On Twitter, Trump made a threat to the city of Chicago, saying that if they didn't get their gun violence and homicide rate under control he would "send in the feds"
- The GOP is pushing through a bill with the absolutely Orwellian name of First Amendment Defense Act that would make it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans on the basis of their sexuality
Remember, a WEEK AGO Barack Obama was president and America was leading the world in our efforts to combat climate change and fighting against discrimination of transgender Americans. This is nightmarish.
And this is just a teeny-tiny sample of what's going on right now. I could go on for hours. But this isn't a newspaper and you didn't come here to read a rundown of current events. This is a public journal designed to be...what?
I guess I want this to be a conversation. I want you to feel like I've taken you by the hand and am leading you through my day. Maybe we're sitting on the porch having a drink and bitching about work. I want this journal to not only give you an idea of what life looks like in Trump's America, but also what it feels like.
So let me tell you a little about me. My name is Shana Hammaker Roy. I'm a forty year old wife and mother. I live with my husband Brandon and my college-age daughter Meredith. I am a pharmacy technician but am looking to (finally) make the move into journalism. I have lived in Austin Texas for the past four and a half years, but was born and raised in California. In between, I spent varying amounts of time living in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee.
I'm a high school drop out with three college degrees. I owe more than I make in two years in college debt.
I've been around. I've met a lot of people. I feel like I have a unique perspective of our great nation.
And now, along with the rest of America, my life has been upended. I feel like I'm standing at the edge of a precipice and I can't see what's below me. Is it razor-sharp spikes? Is it a sea teaming with electric eels and hungry sharks? Is it sun-baked desert sand? Is it fluffy pillows?
It's probably not fluffy pillows.
Anyhow, welcome to my journey. If you're from a nation that has already struggled with autocracy and moved beyond it, please read my worries with a gentle heart. As you know, America is a young country. We're still figuring shit out. If you're in the future, I guess you know how this story ends, which is sort of weird to think about. Thanks for taking this ride with me anyway! I plan to add to this journal as often as I can, but at least twice a week. For now, see you soon and be safe!