I almost wish I lived in a red state.
Almost, being the operative word here, but the problem is impact, right? I mean, there have been a lot of calls to action to get on the phone to your congress reps to tell them to denounce Steve Bannon. I plan to do that, but it's not going to have a lot sway when it comes from Minnesota, which is not only very blue, but also represented by the likes of Al Franken. Also, I'm not sure what we can actually get done there beyond symbolic statements. Of course, I'm not saying we shouldn't try. I sincerely feel every effort is worth doing.
I wonder if another thing I could do is write or call various media outlets and demand they stop using the term 'alt-right' and start saying Neo-Nazi or white supremacist, which is, in point of fact, accurate. Maybe I will see if anyone is organizing that sort of thing. If not, maybe I should just start planning a lot of letters to the editor. I am a writer, after all, this is one skill I can loan to the revolution.
Speaking of feeling like a drop in the bucket (while also feeling extremely proud of my city and state), when I went to sign-up for new volunteer orientation at Planned Parenthood, I discovered that the entire month of December is already booked. They do two orientations a month and have space for 50 people. 50! That means that, locally, over a hundred NEW people have committed to volunteering for PP. This is where I wish they could bus us into states where more help is needed. Although, maybe, they will send us out to rural spots--those of us who can and will travel. I certainly could do that.
I've been talking to people about how *do* we go forward from here, how *do* we talk to people who might have voted for Trump, and I don't know the answer to that one at all. Most people in my life are very much taking the stance of 'never surrender' and no compromise. I think that's absolutely appropriate. I really loved (though was also harrowed by) the article by Masha Gessen, "Autocracy: Rules for Survival,"
which makes a very compelling case for never normalizing any of the hate or craziness of this new regime we're facing. I really think, too, that if people close to you, like family, voted for Trump it's absolutely appropriate to say no to Thanksgiving with them. I think people who voted for hate need to disavow it in some real and concrete way (like, not just words; I want to see your donation to the ACLU or hear about how you called your congress person to repudiate bigotry) before I make any step towards them. They need to be the ones coming to us to bridge the gap, not the other way around.
But, like, how do you chat with the bus driver on the way to work? I think it is important to continue to make connections. Maybe now more than ever. I took a chance saying 'stay safe' to a white neighbor and discovered that he was gay, like me. This is one way in which I feel like the safety pins can be more than a hollow gesture. If I see someone else wearing one, maybe we can get to talking, maybe we find some common ground, maybe I make a colleague, a friend. And maybe our talking about this stuff on the bus/in a public space gets overheard by someone who needs to hear it, someone who needs to wake up to it or who maybe had been feeling lost and alone.
But the ways in which we might need to be there for each other might not come with the obvious, righteous sound of the horn of Gondor. We might just have to hold each other's hand as we pick our way through Mirkwood, and try to stay on the path.
All the while, we also have to remember to save energy for the daily protests. I just found this wonderful group that's pledging to give us something to DO every day that Trump is president. It's called Project 1460
and you can sign up to get daily emails with calls to action.
Meanwhile, life goes on. Last night was Mason's student conferences. In a surprise to no one, Mason is more than passing all his classes. Washington does this very odd thing where they have the students give reports to their parents. This is sort of self-defeating, in a way. The good students prepare and do a good presentation. I have no idea if the kids who are failing even show up, you know? I suppose that's true, no matter what, and maybe the idea is to get the middle of the road students to feel some kind of shame in having to face their parents and tell them that their grades are NOT awesome. Maybe the idea is to get a dialogue going about what kids are feeling and what parents can do to actually help. I don't know, but it's kind of an odd practice and feels somewhat useless for us when Mason is just reading a script. On the other hand, we FINALLY got to meet his 8th grade math teacher, whom we've been trying to connect with since Mason took 8th grade math in 6th grade. Mr. K kind of cracked us up because he made a point to say that of all the advanced students he's ever had in his classes Mason was the "most well socialized." I took full credit for that, jokingly.
The other Mason news is that we went for his once-every-few-years check-up on his hydronephrosis and got... cautious news. We've been expecting Mason's doctor to sign off and say that the major problems have been cleared up with gravity and growing older, but the kidney is not improving as fast as they'd hoped. We're back on a more frequent watch. Not good news, but not panic-enducing yet either. Mason's kidneys continue to grow and the hydronephrosis affects his left kidney far more severely. Everything is still working, but we were very bummed not to get the sign-off/all-clear we were hoping for.
One day at a time. One day at a time.