One of my first childhood memories was a cold grey December morning.
I was 5 years old.
Normal Tuesday morning routine, I was in the kitchen with my mother, she turned the radio on and heard that John Lennon had been shot and she broke down. I don’t think I had seen her cry before, not like that. Weeping from her core.
I have a feeling that had I been home Wednesday morning, in my mother’s house, bleary-eyed in my pajamas when she turned on the news, her reaction wouldn’t have been much different.
I remember the Challenger blowing up. We were all in the gymnasium in school watching, it was a Tuesday too.
I remember where I was when the first Desert Storm happened, I was home sick from school on the couch crying, watching the missiles fly.
I remember 9/11, getting a phone call Tuesday morning from a hysterical friend telling me to turn on the news that “they” were blowing up America.
I felt the same way when I woke up November 9th 2016.
My girl posted yesterday that she woke up in a bad dream.
It is a bad dream.
November 8th I went to bed around 11pm. I had to get off Facebook, the panic was palpable.
I posted that I hoped to wake up to the first woman POTUS.
The polls were making me jittery so I watched an old HBO series called Carnivale about America during the dust bowl years. Woke up to that America come back to life. The last time the GOP was in full power like this = the Great Depression.
I remember Bill Clinton getting elected and how happy my folks were, I vaguely remember him being impeached. There was a lot going on with high ranking men and mistresses and most of what I knew about politics I learned from Saturday Night Live.
I think that might have been part of my problem. I wasn’t paying attention. I was listening to Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah. My Facebook feed is 98% liberal. My friends are poets.
I am seeing my 98% going through the stages of grief.
My parents were born and raised in Michigan, they moved up here in the 70’s after my dad got back from Vietnam, bought a farm and raised 3 girls. Our house was liberal, and not just tolerant, but accepting of everyone. We didn’t use the n word, we didn’t look down on the poor, women are equal, and immigration is necessary and diversity welcomed. I never knew the reality outside of this. I mean I saw it when I visited rural Georgia, there was rampant racism. I was hanging out with a bunch of straight white men that worked factory jobs. One of them had married a girl who has a biracial daughter, so to me it seemed like more ‘shit talk’ than action.
I spent summers and holidays stateside until I was 15. My parents kept their citizenship and live here as landed immigrants. The only people I’m related to that are NOT American are my 2 sisters, my son and my nephew.
I have always identified as the child of American parents, raised in the Canadian school system so I add extra vowels and think in Celsius in the winter, but the States is where my heart is and where I am happy. Every good moment I had as a child was on my Nana’s porch in Lansing, or my Aunt’s cottage in Houghton Lake.
My entire family, blood and otherwise are there.
I am in Canada right now watching my childhood home burn down and I don’t know how to stop it.
I was out with a girlfriend November 9th. Just a random visit, haven’t seen her in a couple years.
I walked into the coffee shop around noon, she was sitting on a bar stool sipping a beer, we looked at each other and instantly welled up with tears.
It was nice to be out with someone who understands why this is bad. To have the comfort of another human being feeling the same gambit of emotions.
I realized in speaking to her, that I was raised in a Democratic bubble.
I was blind.
I hear a lot of talk about him just being a figurehead with no real power. That is not the truth.
People are rioting in the streets. People are committing hate crimes because they feel like they can.
Half of America hates the other half and they have been gagged from being public about it with the concept of political correctness. The muzzle is off now, a sexist, racist, xenophobic man who ran on a platform of hate has been elected the president of the United States of America.
I sat back and watched, giggling sometimes as Democrats called Republicans stupid, uneducated…
It took this monumental disaster of an election for me to realize how is that different from the slurs they throw at everyone else?
It isn’t. We (the people) looked down on them, chastised them for being different instead of realizing that pretty much every human being on the planet has the same basic goals in life, food, shelter, happiness and a safe place to raise their kids.
It’s time to realize that to be open minded, you have to make room for them too. Or none of this works.
I think I am a fairly sympathetic person, educated, knowledgeable, caring etc…but I did this too.