The Unofficial Story
I am a storyteller from a family of storytellers, and considered myself politically aware before the 2016 Election. But then the unthinkable happened. I found myself speechless, silent, as if Trump and his ferocious ugliness had taken my voice away. Like many, I briefly hoped someone else or some institution would save us. But they didn’t. I had thought that a majority of voters would never consider a thoroughly unqualified, unreconstructed racist like Trump for dog catcher, much less President. (They didn’t, but way too many did.) I fell into a moment of despair, thinking ‘I’m a writer. What can a writer possibly do? I’m not a spy. I’m not an elected official. I don’t have a gang of thugs, or money. I’m just a writer.’
On Trump’s first day in office, he repealed many Obama-era rules. I posted an article about that with the caption “Day 1, y’all. Day 1.” I meant it as commentary - that despite all the pundits claiming Trump would ‘pivot’, he was enacting his harmful agenda immediately. But the hits kept coming - the Muslim Ban, the destruction of the EPA and the State Department, rumors of the Steele Dossier (aka the pee tape), ICE, over 20 accusations of sexual assault and rape, attacking intelligence agencies, the Mexico City rule, Keystone XL, sanctuary cities, the voter fraud smear - all wrapped in sneers, distortions, and outright lies.
And that was only week 1.
I’d kept reading and posting, getting angrier and more frustrated by Trump’s continued disregard of our laws and customs, his belligerent ignorance, his promotion of division along religious, racial, gender, and economic lines, and his adoration of Russia. But again, I thought, ‘what can I do? I’m just a writer.’
And then I thought, ‘if there’s one skill a writer should have, it’s putting together a plot.’ I think of plot in novels as a series of events. In the early days of the Trump Administration, all of us were confounded by the sheer number of events, rumors, distortions, and lies. Our narrative of ourselves and our country frayed. So I began to conceive of a contribution I could make - I could string a plot together. I would look at multiple US and foreign news sources, polling firms, pundit sites like Politico and The Hill, emerging journalism like Teen Vogue and Buzzfeed, check the rumor mill on Twitter, blog sites, anything I could find, and then present a plot - a comprehensible series of events.
So that’s how the UNOFFICIAL blog started. It’s been over a year now, and the response has been amazing - far more than anything I would have imagined. I don’t have spies, but every now and then I do have a whistleblower. I’m not an elected official, but I’ve helped put some in office. I don’t have gangs of neo-Nazi thugs, but I have readers, activists, protestors, regular people who have said enough is enough. I don’t have money, but I have power. I plan to use it.
—A. Rafael Johnson, Feb 9, 2018