Day 1 — New world.
I am both hurt and afraid.
Yes, I remain hopeful that I’ve been wrong all this time and my Republican friends are right…BUT, I am still very afraid of the anger and intolerance that’s been unleashed.
There is the (pretty large) escapist part of me that dreams of moving to a small sea town in Nova Scotia (with healthcare). And then there is the angry (and maybe a little escapist) piece of me that thinks, “ok, guys, you got it all – the whole magilla. The world is in your hands now – warts and all. Go ahead. Fix it. I’ll be gardening and walking my dogs for the next four years. Let me know how it goes.”
And demanding (more than) equal due, there is the piece of me that has gotten me to my current place in life: my infernal, never-ending, god-damned resilience. I start imagining the things I can do to fix it; to contribute; to find the positive spin, until I realize how exhausted I am.
And then, as if that stupid bounce-backedness weren’t sufficiently annoying, my fierceness emerges. How dare you, America, put someone in charge who maligns me and my friends and family?
Not on my watch, baby.
I am one of the privileged. I’m white. Christian (by upbringing). I’m well educated. I was brought up to navigate the world’s avenues. I’ve chosen to leave NY professional life and make room for a “real” life – one that is not commandeered by my paycheck and the demands of those who give it to me. I walk my dogs during the week in the woods. Sometimes, that means I work on Sunday morning instead – tea, dogs, and Meet the Press keeping me company, but I’m good with that. Although, it sometimes means that my upbringing relates to the Whole Foods crowd while my bank account negotiates with the Cracker Barrel folks.
Other than my gender (which is no small issue), I am entirely privileged and not at the mercy of many of the forces unleashed during this past election cycle. But that doesn’t buy me a pass. It buys me a passport to travel in other’s worlds.
My social community, on the other hand, is, in large part, the community I’ve built around my dogs and the sports I play with them. A fair percentage of this community is lesbian. Over the past ten years, I have watched many friends blossom, throw off protective silence and emerge as the real, true, fully fleshed human beings they are when fear is not their guiding principle. The legal and social progress we’ve made over the course of the past administration has enabled people I love to fly their rainbow flag in public. And it’s beautiful.
I am so intertwined in this community – they are my chosen family – that, even though I have my straight-girl “Get Out of Jail Free” card, I am incapable of playing it. I feel I have become an invited guest of the LGBT community. And this election just threw down. Yes, I know, I know: blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants, the disabled: I do cry for us all – and it just magnifies the pain. I know people who, quite literally, would not be alive today were it not for the ACA. And I’m not young and I freelance, so my health depends on it too.
So, with all my fierceness going to the mat with my escapism – one hand researching work laws in Canada while the other Googles community programs I can participate in to protect at least my small piece of the world, that oh-so-pesky resilience and fight whispers (not so quietly) that it will win and we all know it.
Not me. Not my family.
And then, because WWIII is not enough to rip out my insides, possibly my very favorite Millennial (she ranks with those related to me by blood – and she practically is blood. I have known her since before her parents met), reaches out and messages this old and irrelevant lady:
And, with those two words, it’s game over.
Good-bye Nova Scotia. Garden, tend thyself.
I haven’t yet sorted out what form my fight will take. I suspect, like my mission to change the tone of the election we all may or may not have survived, it will demand truth, facts, research, opening minds and a path toward peace, tolerance, acceptance, love and dogs.
Don’t go away. We’re going to need you.