Trump: The Small-Handed Gorilla

Terese Mailhot

“Be quiet. The Gorilla is on TV again,” and, “Can you get me a margarita,” have been common utterances as of late, and I ain’t sorry.

The only thing I’m really sorry about is that the novelty of the Harambe’s tragic death has faded and now we’re back to the election. He’s been downright cringe worthy, especially when he referred to a black Trump supporter as, “… my African American,” and complimented the man for his ability to “behave.” Trump is the Gorilla in our midst, and we’ve fallen into an enclosure of capitalistic white supremacy within the zoo of politics as we know it.

In this metaphor we’re the children being dragged by the limbs. Not to insult Gorillas, but there are parallels. Trump’s unpredictable. He has a primate’s temperament, makes threat displays often, and, if he’s given any amount of trust, who’s to say he won’t pull society limb from limb with his dangerous, albeit small, hands?

Nobody blamed the child who willfully crawled into the enclosure. Haven’t we been willfully ignorant? Yes, some of us saw the danger in him, but so many never thought he’d make it this far. We all thought we could sit back and laugh from a safe distance, while he did cute or disgusting things for the audience.

Some of us blame the zoo. Why does is it even exist? To preserve some semblance of a conservation effort for democracy? In truth the enclosure, the zoo, politics as we know it, have run amok. The proof: Trump is a candidate. The zoo should be abolished. It doesn’t work for us anymore. Democracy, or, American democracy, has never worked in favor of Native Americans. We only have to look to our currency to see how Indian killers are lauded as “forefathers.”

The good guys? People like Elizabeth Warren, who reduces Natives to romantic imagery: high cheekbones and antiquated stories. People like Hillary Clinton, who uses racist phrases like, “off the reservation,” to describe her opponent. Would it kill these people to acknowledge a minority among minorities? Wouldn’t that be progressive? The foundation of democracy was built on the exploitation of people of color.

Many people blame the child’s fall on the mother. Should we blame the generation before us for what we’ve become? I think that’s silly. In reality, as the child of a grassroots activist, I can say my mother did everything in her power to prevent the likes of Trump. Really, the force of white supremacy pervades our society. We keep trying to grapple with the animal and trying to get it up to speed with the reality that there won’t be any place for white supremacy to roam in as little as fifty years. Eventually, the animal will be extinct, unless of course a man like Trump takes the reigns and finishes what America started.

It’s time to do something with the animal, metaphorically, I mean. It’s Trump, and it’s the zoo, and it’s not our mother’s burden. It’s ours. We were ignorant at first, but now we know something has to be done, and we aren’t babes in the woods anymore. If we don’t put the animal out of its misery now, it’s going to crush us in its tiny, insecure, scared, dangerous hands.

I’m not saying voting is futile. We all know the Indigenous voices concerning murdered and missing women, land claims, and sovereignty have impacted the election in Canada. Lifting each other’s voices up, fighting against oppression, and bearing witness and reporting unlawful racist acts can impact our world as we know it. None of it is futile and everything we do counts.

Terese Marie Mailhot graduated from IAIA with an MFA in Creative Writing. Her work can be featured in Carve, The Offing, Yellow Medicine Review, and Burrow Press Review. 

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