Ed Wolf's journal of the Trump years for August: keep moving!

Published 09, Aug, 2017
Author // Ed Wolf

Longtime activist Ed Wolf with 14 things to do as Twitnit comes into power.

Ed Wolf's journal of the Trump years for August: keep moving!

Student with a backpack   photo found on the internet . . .

Day 66. The worrying mind

Sixty-six days since the election and my worrying mind won’t leave me alone. Today it’s our health care and Planned Parenthood, yesterday a photo of a polar bear swimming in an iceless sea, tomorrow the Muslim Registry and nuclear codes; it’s all too much.

Long ago I told a young man he was HIV positive. When I’d met with him at the clinic two weeks before, he’d described going to an infamous Folsom Street bookstore here in San Francisco and moving from the magazine rack at the front of the store to the booth in the back; now he wasn’t feeling well. 

He returned to the clinic for his result wearing his high school uniform. When I told him the test was positive he took his backpack off and leaned forward. He lived with his parents, wasn’t out as a gay man to anyone, had chosen to test anonymously so no one would know; when he left my office all the well-intentioned referrals I’d given him still lay on the desk.

I thought of him for weeks, for months, so hoping he was well. One day, riding on a crowded bus, I saw him standing with another student; they were both laughing. He saw me, looked down, and then back. He nodded his head, a faint smile; he seemed okay. I stopped worrying about him and started to believe instead that he found his way to the support he needed and, ultimately, the HIV meds that would save his life.

Kirk and Ed at march   Photo taken by a fellow marcher

Day 68. Move along!

A difficult week approaches as the Obamas prepare to move out and the Trumps move in. But there will be the Women’s Marches too; it will feel great to be in the streets with you. I remember the massive protests after 9/11, thousands of us out on Market Street. I’d just met Kirk and it was our first march. We’d stopped for just a moment to have this photo taken (our first together) when a cop started yelling at us. “Keep moving,” he called out. “Move along!” It was such good advice; it’s served us well over the years. Whatever happens this week and the weeks and months ahead, we all need to keep calling out to each other: “Keep moving!”

 Guerneville flood    Photo taken by Ed

Day 71. 14 things to do as Twitnit comes into power:

1. Know how to contact your senator and congressperson. Remember that face-to-face has more impact than a phone call, phone call is better than letter, letter better than text, etc. However you do it, be courteous, be brief (get to the point!), be specific, be calm.

2. Be calm.

3. Tell your comrades and loved ones how you’re dealing with the disbelief, disappointment, anger and fear about what’s happening and ask they how they are. Extra points if you can do this with a Trump voter.

4. Flashlights, batteries, first aid kit. (This is mostly in case of earthquake, flood or hurricane, but always good to be prepared.)

5. Stay informed. Read up on the latest stories and strategies about the most effective way to resist. There are many ways to use your voice, your money and your energy. Be selective and do what works for you.

6. Stay hopeful. Easy to say, I know. Sometimes the best I can do is to remind myself that this too will pass, as has every other challenging period in my lifetime.

7. Remember: brevity with impact. Nuff said.

8. Use humor. So good, so healthy, so important to laugh it out!

9. Be calm.

10. There used to be a poster that hung in all the public buildings in San Francisco. It was called “10 Things to do in a Disaster.” It depicted a series of stick figure drawings of what to do in case of catastrophe. The first one showed two stick figures, one standing, one kneeling, both tending to a stick figure laying on the ground. The caption underneath was, “Comfort the dying.” I appreciated the thought (and funding) that went into that kind of messaging. Let’s remember, first and foremost, to be comforting to one another.

11. If all the worst case scenarios you can imagine about the Twitnit and his cronies come through: read the following poem. But first ,

12. Be calm.

13. In Case Of Holocaust Open This Poem
You stand aboard the Titanic.
The boats have filled and pulled away.
The cries and running past,
a still night and no memories.

There is time for tea, a bit of honey,
a seat by the open porthole,
the evening air. —— Eric Kolvig

14. Stay calm.

 Obama with a match . . .   Photo  from the internet

Day 72. On this day!

On this day, as Obama’s presidency officially ends, we begin. On this day, our own inauguration. On this day, we mark the beginning of working together. On this day, we know we are part of communities who see each other with fresh eyes. On this day, we celebrate our common values and commit to creating new stories together. On this day, we acknowledge we won’t totally heal from the hurt and disappointment of Trump’s election. On this day, we proclaim that remembering this wound is how we will go about expressing our love and commitment to each other. On this day, we begin anew. 

About the Author

Ed Wolf

Ed Wolf

Ed Wolf, a native of New York City, moved to San Francisco in 1976. He’s been working in the HIV field since 1983, as chronicled in the award-winning documentary, “We Were Here”. He worked as a Shanti counselor on Ward 5-A at San Francisco General Hospital, the first designated AIDS unit in the world. He’s developed HIV-related curriculum and provided training and technical support for a large number of national and international organizations and institutions, including the California State Office of AIDS, the UCSF AIDS Health Project in San Francisco and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. Other projects include classroom training and technical assistance in South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe to increase the effectiveness of adherence counseling in MTN (Microbicide Treatment Network) Clinical Trials. He has also been the lead content developer of an e-learning training in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as delivering adherence counseling trainings and technical assistance for staff in the iPrEx Clinical Trails in both North and South America. Ed is currently providing the Personalized Cognitive Counseling Training for HIV counselors through the San Francisco Department of Public Health. He was the first HIV Content Expert Writer for Answers.com, one of the world’s largest internet-based information websites. Ed has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was awarded the HIV National Educator of Year Award from the body.com. You can find out more about him at EdWolf.net.