There are already countless (and more eloquent) posts about what happened yesterday, but it also feels wrong not to acknowledge it in some way. Plus, what good is a blog if you can’t bang all your feelings out into the keyboard in a moment of national crisis?
I (naively, I guess) felt relief that Saturday after election day a few months ago. I knew inside that there was still so much work to do, that I could no longer feel right continuing to sit by and let the work of democracy happen (or not) around me while I went about my business and traipsed in to vote every two to four years. (I want to specifically own up to that because, until the past four years or so, that’s what I did. I thought that democracy just chugged along, and as a citizen, I just needed to make my contribution by voting. I think I see that that’s not true, now. I still don’t know exactly what form more active participation should take, but I do think that it is necessary. As evidenced by the deplorable actions we witnessed yesterday.)
Anyway. I did also think that we might now enjoy at least something of a reprieve from the madness that the past four years has wrought.
I guess even that was too optimistic. I feel sick and horrified that arguably one of our most sacred places, the building that houses the very foudnation of our precious democratic system, was so violated yesterday. I feel sick and ashamed that our country breeds the kind of people who take such pleasure in destruction, disrespect, and violence. I feel sick and just utterly shocked at the flagrant discrepancy between how the crowd at the capitol yesterday was treated and how other crowds of people of other skin colors have been treated on other occasions in these past four years. I just… how can it be that this crowd was allowed to bust into the capitol with minimal resistance, while if they had been black (or probably any other color), many of them would most certainly be dead. How can that be? I just… can’t express my horror at that fact strongly enough. And I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call it a fact. We’ve been shown many times over the past four years — and more, let’s face it — that there is no real price to pay for ending black lives. I think this might be one of the areas of our democracy where the most action and involvement on a personal level is needed, because I don’t see how we can go on merrily living our lives while this remains a truth around us.
On a related note… I have to admit to full ignorance about a few other things: we have nazis in America?! WTF?! What… century/world do people even live in?? I could go on for quite a while in this vein but I guess I don’t see the point. I think America is not what I grew up believing it was. And to think that one of my biggest hesitations over choosing a long term relationship with my partner and therefore setting up our life in Italy was that my potential future kids might be exposed to the racism that I see here, that they might not have the benefit of all the diversity and equality that I learned to value growing up in the US. Ha. I guess I very clearly grew up in some sort of weird idyllic bubble of not real-ness. It’s true that I had already learned this lesson on the morning after the orange narcissist was elected our president… but I guess I need to learn it a few more times, because I still find it shocking and heart-breaking how much hatred there is in our country.
So. Now what? Personally, I’m just terrified about what might happen on Inauguration Day. Will there even be one? All I know is that the grinding squeezing feeling of the past four years is back in the pit of my stomach. Awesome. I’m off to… I don’t even know. Take a walk or something? Whatever. Everything feels terrible.
Photo: Purposely using screenshot of this shining, immense-sigh-of-relief moment last November. I’m not saying the NYT is the arbiter of truth, but… closer to a source of truth than a band of crazed conspiracy theorists? Yes. I am saying that.