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Badlands

11 November 2016

Last weekend, tUMD men swept in St. Cloud, Team USA won the Four Nations Cup, I had a great weekend with my family (including a surprise visit from my uncle!), and I was galvanized by the near-certain prospect that a qualified, brilliant, resilient woman would be president.

Instead, I am sitting here on gameday wondering if I’ll ever enjoy hockey again.

I’m sure that’ll just be dismissed as crybaby libtard tears. That’s fine, no matter how many times I say I’m not actually a liberal, people seem to think they know my mind better than I do. I know it’s hard for some people to wrap their heads around it, especially since so many spineless conservatives panicked and gave their support to an appalling tyrant who treats women and minorities like they are disposable subhumans, but this isn’t actually a Republican vs. Democrat issue, or even about political issues at all. It’s about human rights. And I didn’t sit around calculating how I should feel. The deep and powerful grief I felt starting Tuesday night is not by choice. How I feel is how I feel, no matter how many alt-right sociopaths tell you I’m a soft, pampered millennial who just wants a participation trophy, a cookie, and a pacifier.

I’m devastated by what this election says about the American people. This revealed the ugly truths about Americans that lurked below the surface to white people, lulling us into believing we lived in a utopian society because everyone can use the same water fountains and women can wear pants and there’s a press 2 for Spanish option. Those who tried to warn us that racism, sexism, homophobia, all kinds of bigotry and systematic oppression were still alive and kicking were shouted down as coddled, “social justice warriors” from “generation outrage.”

Wake up, America. A vote for the monster who has become President-Elect was a vote for a man openly campaigning on a platform of systematic oppression of American people. A man who came to Minnesota two days before the election and said terrible things about Somali people. A man who admitted to sexually assaulting women. A man who believes a woman should be punished for exercising her right to autonomy over her own body. A man whose running mate believes in electro-shock conversion therapy for queer people. A man who believes in jailing his political opponents. Tens of millions of Americans are either fully on board with this or decided eh, lower taxes and magically reappearing highly paid manufacturing jobs for low-skilled workers are worth the fundamental rights of hundreds of millions.

I can’t tell you how wrong that is, and I’m not here to absolve anyone of their culpability. You voted for Trump? You voted for all that. Your ballot didn’t have a section where you ticked off the policies you found acceptable. If you didn’t mean that, if you believe you’re not a racist, then you’d damn well better find a way to let him know that is unacceptable, and to protect the people he’s about to trample on.

What does this have to do with hockey?

A lot. Ok, some. It has more to do with my relationship with hockey.

First off, some of what I feel about the election mirrors what I feel about women’s hockey and women’s sports in general. This election was just another reminder that no matter how hard a woman works, no matter what she accomplishes, she’ll never be as good as a man. The most qualified candidate for president, ever, lost the presidency to a man who has no qualifications, no empathy, no respect for others, no diplomatic skills, no humility, no plans, nothing.

Not only that, but people will believe anything negative said about a woman, and excuse the same things in a man. People who have not even watched a single period of women’s hockey will say it’s terrible, not really hockey, the players have no skill, and the vast majority of hockey fans accept that and ignore the sport, or worse, they perpetuate the myths. One only has to look at the way people sneered at Shannon Miller because she dared to call Scott Sandelin her peer and expect to be paid based on her success and her longevity.

People sneered at Hillary Clinton the same way; I sat in a meeting on Wednesday while two men and a woman gleefully mocked her concession speech and sniggered when she said “And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.” The same words that brought me to tears when I finally watched the speech in my hotel room that evening.

That’s not why I’m struggling to get excited for tonight’s game. I’m struggling to get excited for the game because I know some of our players voted for Trump. I don’t know how many, and I hope not many, but the only ones I know for sure didn’t are the Canadians. For all I know, members of our women’s team voted for him, too. I don’t know why they did, though it doesn’t really matter why. Like I said, a vote for Trump was a normalization of racism, sexism, homophobia – all kinds of systematic oppression, problems hockey, a sport dominated by straight white males, already struggles with. I’m truly having a hard time looking at people who have voted Trump and respecting them, because of what I’ve already said. How do you vote for someone who has not made any effort to hide the fact that he’s a sexual predator and a monster, because taxes, because nebulous change, because ‘Murica?

If this wasn’t Veteran’s Day, I’d probably be sitting for the national anthem. But I fear for our servicewomen and servicemen now, too, and I’m not going to sit for the Star Spangled Banner on a day that explicitly honors these women and men. I fear that the ones currently deployed will be put into danger because someone with no diplomatic experience, a megalomaniac with a fragile ego who will melt down over even the smallest perceived slight, will be in charge of the military and will be responsible for our relationship with our allies and for negotiating for peace.  I fear that more will be put into harm’s way if Trump throws a tantrum and pisses off a hostile nation once and for all, throwing the country into a war that could have been avoided if our president hadn’t been so petty, insecure, and volatile.

So, how do I enjoy hockey once again? How do I get past the fact that many of these players, on tUMD and in college hockey  and in the NHL, are super excited that a monster is going to be president?

BC Interruption to the rescue: they started a pledge drive to raise money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. I decided to join them, and will pledge $5/tUMD women’s goal and $3.50 for every tUMD men’s goal this weekend (70 cents on the dollar, yo) to the Women’s Health Center in downtown Duluth. You may see the lovely old ladies outside it every day, expressing their scorn for women who exercise their Constitutional right to autonomy over their own bodies. It’s a small thing, but I’m going to do as many small things as I can to stop the assault on human rights that the new president and Congress are about to unleash, come January. Now I can cheer for our goals again, even if a Trump-lover scores, because I’ll know something good will result.

P.S., if you voted for Trump, this would be a great opportunity for you to demonstrate with your actions that you don’t support his oppressive attitudes toward women.

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