Thursday, November 10, 2016

Quick Note From the Gutted Half

Half of America feels gutted right now. The other half doesn’t get it. They are either crowing ‘I told you so’ or urging us to ‘get over it.’ They say that this was what they felt like when Obama was elected.

I beg to differ.

The last 24 hours have been rough. One of the worst days of my life. And in just that short time, the lives of my friends have already been hit, hard.  A mom who watched as someone yelled “They’re shipping you out of here” to her brown-skinned girls a few blocks from their school.  A Latina woman who spent yesterday morning sobbing because she had to face cleaning up after the very vocal Trump-supporting white male bosses. My friend who is a black American doctor working in Australia – very solid sort, is now in uncharted waters and so broken. She said, among other things, that she doesn’t know her own skin. Her husband, an Aussie, broke into sobbing twice yesterday.

These are not news items. Again, these are my friends.

We are lost right now. We don’t recognize our country. We fear for the world.  You may have disliked Obama, but you didn’t fear for nuclear war. He didn’t show eagerness for that. His election didn’t cause worldwide panic. Didn’t crash the stock markets.  If you can’t be objective about that, then ... how can we ever find common ground?

Be kind to others.  We’re still Americans. We’re still human beings, at any rate.

And to those who feel despair, hold on. Light can drive out hate and divisiveness. It destroys darkness. It’s the only thing that ever could.

Be there for each other and – because I am at heart a practical optimist – if you see someone being threatened or bullied in this Dark New America – be their advocate! Don’t stand silently by when someone is being victimized. If you cannot confront the abuser, console the victim. A stranger standing by a victim, engaging them in conversation shows them that they are not alone. By being silent, we are complicit in their abuse.

If all we have is one another – that is going to be enough. Stay strong. Take care of yourself. Shine your light. We need it now more than ever.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Where politics melts my head

How did this happen?
For the last few weeks, I’ve been a teary mess. And it's over something on the news. Why do I let it get to me? Because sometimes it's not just the news, but it's a mirror - showing us what the world is really like. This time the mirror is showing me Donald Trump.
Why would this … schoolyard bully reduce me to this? We've all had a bully in our lives, some more than others. My personal bully was my cousin, and he made my life a living hell. In a way it strengthened me, but I wouldn’t wish that baptism of fire on anyone. It warped me – that kind of heat melted my metal and shaped me into a new thing.  When I hear Donald mocking, appealing to our baser nature, suddenly, I’m 14 again and the tormentor is back, roaming the hallways with no monitors in sight. Worse than that – my classmates are screaming encouragement in his ear.
When my cousin turned 19 he apologized, for what it’s worth. He grew to know better. Do I think this the Trump Trend is capable of that?  I do not.
The real upsetting thing to me isn’t that someone like Donald Trump exists.  There will always be that sort of cruel bully in the world.  It’s the fact that he’s so popular. That so god-damned many of my countrymen want this guy to lead our country. Who celebrate this man who mocks disabled people, who encourages hate. Who want to marginalize all the 'thems' in this world.
I am humbled. And broken – that my fellow Americans embrace this ignorance and hate.  I thought we were so much better than this.
They break my heart.  And if they knew, they’d mock me for that.  Fuck that. Mock away.  I know that hate, ridicule, fear – they will always lose – given enough time.
But so many suffer while we keep learning the same fucking lessons.
Be better than this, America.