I don’t want to add to the noise this week post-election but responses have been so visceral — I am in Seattle this month, holding sobbing sales girls and defeated baristas who refuse to believe that the sun will rise again. I myself have not read the paper. I am media-ed out if that is a word, after having followed everything, everywhere every waking minute for the last year and a half. I have even written and published desperate, amateur prose poetry at three in the morning.
On November 9th I sent my Aunt an email asking, “How will we survive this?” Her father Thomas Minor Pelly represented the First Congressional District of Washington State as a Republican from 1953-1973. She has met a few Presidents in her time. Good ones and bad ones.
She responded, “My father always said the American people always seem to elect the person needed at the time.”
Well, I didn’t like that answer. Then I thought about that. Maybe we did need to wake up to what the middle of the country really thought. Maybe they thought we needed to wake up on both coasts: finally pay attention to the sheer numbers of dissatisfied people. Hello. Here we are. We are the red squares.
Nothing makes me sit up and fight more than seeing the impending loss of what I hold dear. Did I make assumptions that laws in place would stay that way, that same-sex marriage laws were solid, that women had begun to finally regain control of our bodies, that birth control was our right and that all the gains for the environment could not be reversed?
Thanks to the Republicans in a matter of days — not my party any longer I am happy to say — an entire generation or two or three have been affected for the rest of their voting lifetime. Did we need to be so challenged by this Republican President? Maybe. From here on in, those same generations will never, ever assume their candidate will win or cast their vote without making sure it counted. They will never be complacent. They will have healthy and realistic skepticism about polls and news reports. They will fight earlier and harder. They will say remember when. They will say go vote it is vitally important.
Afraid has evolved to pissed off for me. I wear a safety pin, my white girl way of communicating I am paying attention and I don’t care who thinks this is weak. There is work to be done; to repair the tears in our country and make safe all those rights I hold dear for myself and others.
“The wound is the place where the light enters,” says Rumi. Very definitely this is the hard way to become aware and active, to see politics for what it can be. But as the cabinet is being chosen this week, we are under siege — our rights to love, breathe clean air, make decisions about our health and remain equal. I have a pocket full of safety pins now. I hand them out to strangers.
See you January 21st. My sign will read, “Too Old For This Shit? Change it.”