100 days in to Trump’s presidency, it’s time to reflect back on the day he was elected. And to examine what already has and what possibly could happen under a reign as terrifying as this one.
We spent election night in a Brooklyn venue called House of Yes. Basically, it’s advertised as being a weird place for weird people. Born from the underground arts community, It started out a “circus theatre and creative events space” that hosted “aerial classes, creative events, and circus theatre.” The first venue burnt down because of a kitchen fire, and they were displaced from the second due to high costs of rent, but House of Yes survived all of this to find a new home in Bushwick off the Jefferson L stop. And they expanded to host everything from cultural events to fashion shows to, as was their original intent, spectacle type circus shows.
And, on election night, they had a party called “Hit the POLES! Erection Day Political Party.” That’s where we were. While some chose to stay in and watch the results roll in from the comfort of their a-political couch, we chose to go to a space in which we would likely be surrounded by a glitter fueled festival of left-leaning politics.
Here’s a full description of the event:
“Vote hard, come harder! Cast your ballot into our box! Join the POLITICAL “PARTY” Elect and erect to your heart’s delight. Hit the Poles.
In a world of lies and greed, where one option seems suspiciously promising and the worst option seems nightmarishly hilarious, there is only one thing we can really say… F*CK IT!
So, in the true House of Yes spirit, let us celebrate our last remaining bits of freedom and libido before anyone takes it away from us and F*ck everything we can, while we still can!
We invite you to HIT THE POLES and vote with your body rolls and undulating hips. We will be screening live election results, playing dirty funky hot jams, having some patriotic and cleverly themed drink specials, maybe having some pizza or something super american like that.”
100 days. It’s an important measurement because, often, presidents do the most in that span of time. It’s an indicator of how the rest of their term is going to go and what issues they’ll focus on. Trump’s presidency so far, while some may argue that he didn’t actually do that much, has undoubtedly been filled with fear and absurdity. He’s an incessant conspiracy theorist, a crude overgrown frat boy who spends more time golfing than he does engaging politically, a self-interested social media abuser, and a blatant racist.
While he may not have implemented many tangible changes to federal policy, he’s set the stage for what could potentially be a problematic future. The confirmation of Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch and his proposals for lower taxes and less regulation, the possible disintegration of civil rights and environmental policies, and the absolute fear he has instilled in anybody on the margins of society shouldn’t be dismissed as frivolous threats.
A woman and her daughter discuss the “Subway Therapy” sticky notes that lined the station walls post-election
When I think back to watching the election results roll in at House of Yes, I remember how wildly the mood in the room shifted when it became clear that this brute of a businessman was going to run the country. At first, I would describe the scene as amicable. People were drinking and talking and one particularly talented individual acrobatically danced on the pole right in front of the screen that showed the elections results. But soon, people shut down.
The man who had been dancing, along with other people in the bar, stopped and put tape over his mouth as the election results grew more daunting.
People went to various places to watch the election results. I know people who stayed home because they didn’t want to be in public if the results were to turn out the way they unfortunately did. Some people went to other friends’ houses to form a sort of network of support. Some people went to gay bars to seek solace at one of the few places they felt protected. Basically, people went where they would feel safe no matter the outcome. House of Yes served as a venue for this too.
But, I have to wonder what will happen if such places as these start disappearing? I think about where I was when this president was elected and wonder if such a place like it – a place dedicated to expression in an era in which expression could gradually become more and more dangerous – will always be available.
A sign inside of a shopping cart reading “Don’t vote 4 Trump. No Good.” This sign, made by someone evidently living out of a shopping cart, carries a lot of implications. For one, despite having minimal access to resources, this individual felt it was essential to convey a political message. While some stake signs in their yard, this person put one up in his or her shopping cart. Additionally, it’s those who are most vulnerable who will be most burdened by idiotic changes in policy and corporate minded ideologies that will inevitably make the poor poorer .
This entire blog is dedicated to how people utilize certain places, to the ways people congregate and the vital social formations that occur when they do. Will people still feel like they can socialize in public spaces if they fit one of the many groups that Trump has deemed unfit?
I don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know that as tension within this presidential term escalates, occupying space becomes all the more important. People immediately protested for precisely this reason – taking up space is a radical political act if you’re told you shouldn’t be allowed access to it.