Thursday Thing

1. Just one thing today.

I can’t bring myself to come up with three trivial things to talk about today. I don’t know what I would’ve put in this post–maybe something about visiting Wrigley Field on Saturday, or starting PT, or going to Vegas this weekend–but none of it seems to matter.

I’m still processing Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I truly can’t remember the last time I cried as much as I cried on Wednesday. This feels like a horrible dream, but I won’t have the relief of waking up with a start and finding out it was all in my imagination. This is real.

My sister works for a nonprofit that assists those living in low-income housing. Her day-to-day work forces her to confront the reality–not the illusion, the reality–of the disenfranchisement that results from decades and decades and decades and centuries and centuries of discrimination and systematic racism. Last weekend, she attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after he was hit by a car, and you know what they said at that funeral? That the attendees should be happy because he won’t have to go through life on earth that would be full of disappointment and despair and heartbreak. And on Wednesday, when she walked with the moms who live in the housing where she works, that they talked about how they are terrified they’ll lose all of their support, but at the same time have resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll have to “keep dealing with this as we always have.”

That. Is. Not. Okay.

That. Will. NEVER. Be. Okay.

I have led a very privileged life. I have never once feared for my safety while practicing my religion. I have never once feared for my safety while practicing public displays of affection. I have never once feared that I will be denied the right to marry the person I love. I have never once been tailed in a store, or looked at suspiciously on public transportation, because no one has ever, once, assumed that I would steal or rob or otherwise engage in unlawfulness exclusively because of the color of my skin, or the color of my skin combined with my sex. I am acutely aware of the fact that all of those things make me unspeakably lucky, because that is the day-to-day reality of so many people in this country. If I had died when I was four years old, no one would have even thought to say I was lucky to not have to go through life with the deck permanently, systematically, inherently stacked against me.

I cried for so many people and so many reason on Wednesday. I cried for the people who live in my sister’s housing complexes, who will now have to answer to a president endorsed by the KKK, which exists because of hatred against the people who live in my sister’s housing complexes. I cried for my Muslim coworkers, who will not only continue to face judgment and prejudice, but will likely face it to an even worse degree than they did before. I cried for my Jewish former coworkers, who for the millionth time in history have been conveniently scapegoated. I cried for my brother, and my cousin, and well over half the population of my church, who already fight every single day to be accepted for who they are and who they love. I cried for every single person who depends on the marketplace for health insurance. I cried for every woman in this country, who will likely not only face additional hurdles to even obtaining contraception in the first place, but should their birth control fail, could very easily have limited, if any, say in what happens to her own body, and, beyond that, now has to confront even more than usual the fact that we have all known since we had the ability to comprehend discrimination: that no amount of qualification or experience can overcome the prejudice we face simply for being born with two x chromosomes.

I cried because hatred won.

I don’t know how we move forward from here. I just hope that that is the direction in which we move: forward. There is no making America great “again.” That greatness is a myth. That greatness never existed for the underprivileged, for the marginalized, for many, many, many people who form the fabric of this nation. America will never be great, now or any time in the future, until racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and all the other oozing masses of discrimination that permeate our entire culture are forced to sit down and shut up, are told there is no place for them at the table. Because greatness and hatred will not and cannot coexist. Ever.

In the mean time, if you want to do something tangible to work to increase greatness and decrease hatred, I recommend looking through this list to find dozens of organizations that are doing just that and now, perhaps more than ever, could use your support.

Kyrie eleison.

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6 thoughts on “Thursday Thing

  1. Exactly … yesterday was hard for me, and really hard for me to watch my two kids – both in college now – struggle with what to do. Older son is at NYU so he went to the protest there for a bit – but also had to go to class šŸ™‚

    The hardest thing is seeing that the republicans basically just had to have the same votes as in 2012 to win – there was no increase, no great pull or mandate – red voted red. The difference? democrats stayed home. 10 million fewer than in 2008, and 6 million fewer than in 2012. That is sad to think that … to use your phrase, that hate didn’t win so much as we failed to show up to make a stance that hate was unacceptable. And THAT is something that really bothers me.

    Sorry – this is a downer of a comment as well … but how about a fun story:

    On Tuesday we got a visit our next door neighbor’s dog, named “Punches”. Yesterday when I was heading home at lunch to meet my wife to vote, Punches got out of his enclosure and came to visit our house, and was inside playing with our dogs when I got home. Such an absolutely loveable and fun guy!

    We put him back, but he broke free by the time we voted and had lunch … and this is how we found him on our return. So after playing and loving him for a few minutes I realigned his enclosure and used bungee cords to make sure he was secure when we put him back. Then we chatted with the owner when she got home.

    • I know there are a lot of reasons that go into people not voting and that there are a LOT of access issues regarding voting (in Michigan, for example, you HAVE to vote at your polling place in person on Election Day unless you have a really good excuse to get an absentee ballot. There’s no voting by mail (unless you have a reason to vote absentee), no voting early, nothing like what we have in Illinois, where the only way they could make it easier to vote is if they came to your house and asked you who you wanted to vote for.), but it still boggles my mind how SO MANY people can just not show up on election day (or before then, if you’re allowed to vote early in your state). This is important! This is your right! There are people in my family who rarely vote because it just doesn’t feel important to them, and I simply can’t understand that.

  2. I know girl, I know. I can’t remember the last time I cried as hard as I did on Wednesday. I was sobbing to my mom on the phone, trying to explain the betrayal and fear I felt for our future. You know that moment when you learn that everyone you thought was your friend and liked/respected you has actually been talking sh*t about you the entire time? That’s almost how I felt when I saw so much of our country vote for Trump. Of course I realize that many of the voters aren’t racist, sexist, etc. but that’s not the problem. This election has long been not just about politics and policies. Trump made it personal, and here we are. The country is devastated because hatred won indeed.

    I guess that living in a big city made me a bit naive in thinking that our country was past white supremacy. I very well knew that this backwards mentality still existed in parts of the country, but I still believed that most people equally respected their fellow women/minority/immigrant/LGBT neighbors like everyone I know did. But Tuesday’s events really woke me up. I’m devastated that this country betrayed so many of its residents. It’s heartbreaking. Yesterday we mourned, today we continue fighting.

    • I know. I grew up in super-conservative West Michigan, and though I’ve pretty successfully purged my Facebook feed of people who are unabashedly racist/sexist/homophobic, etc., they still sneak through a lot in the comments, and it’s just so upsetting. I know it’s important to engage in dialogue with people who belief things other than you believe, but this election in particular was so divisive that that seems like a really, really hard thing to do. I just hope things shake out to be a lot less horrible than they could be :/

  3. This is SO well said, thank you for writing. I’ll never forget watching the results come in Tuesday night and that sinking feeling as I watched Florida tip to Trump and realized what was going to happen.

    The “silver lining”, if there is one, is that this was a big fat wake up call for me and apparently many others. It’s not enough to just say “well, I voted, my part’s done! Civic engagement – check that off the list!” I can’t be passive and silent anymore. I don’t yet know what the best path forward is, but I know I can’t just go on living in my bubble of not caring about anything outside my own life or anything that isn’t all happy talk and rainbows.

    But then again, the fact that I can say that just shows how privileged I am, too. For the groups of human beings that Trump has marginalized, and many of his voters feel entitled to hate, there is no “silver lining”.

    • Thanks ā¤ And yeah, I definitely agree. I've "supported" a lot of organizations that fight for those who don't enjoy all the privileges of a white, straight, Christian male, but by "supported" I mean "didn't active oppose, and agreed with what they did." This election definitely motivated me to put my money where my mouth is, and my time, if possible, to really fight for what I believe in instead.

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