Sunday, November 1, 2020

From the Dread of Knowing to the Hope of Being

 Daylight savings time. November 1st. Just days away. And I still have the dread of knowing that the last four years were not a dream but a lived reality we all endured. Many lives lost and many still tone deaf, like the Girl Scouts, of the impact of decisions made by this administration. They "celebrated" what many of us cringe in knowing. Then, I remembered, 53% of them voted for their caste, their race kind and not gender kind, they screwed the rest of us over and over 225,000 Americans have paid the price since March. So, last week, while in a meeting, just seven days before the election, we received news, in the dark of night.

Like many of my friends, friends with daughters, I woke up the morning after with a dread in my gut. A sinking feeling. A weight. Not too much unlike the darkest moment of my life thirty-eight years ago. The feeling was heavy, sinking, suffocating.

Last week, while on a panel for the screening of Rigged, someone posted in the Zoom chat that the Republican Senate rushed through the vote and confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.  The next message I received was from my sixteen-year-old daughter,  "I'm scared." I felt as if something died. I couldn't tell her that I was scared, also. I wanted to have hope.

Honestly, though, I have this sense of doom that I felt a bit after midnight when my seminary classmate called me. We had been at a watch party at the university and as the hours went on, decided to call it a night. It was a bit chilly and we had an 8:30am class. I had been an Election Judge, up since 4am, so I was pretty exhausted.

The short drive from the university to my home, 20 minutes, no traffic, it was almost 1am. And she Called me. I was still in my car.

"No! You're lying, right?" 

When I went in the house, I fell into my husband's arms. 

He had been home a couple hours, my same daughter told him at around 10pm, "I want to go home, I don't feel well." She and a classmate had been tracking the election results on a map. She knew. The rest of us were in denial, "surely they couldn't, wouldn't,  vote in that dude." We kept on eating, dancing, being entertained by college students at their first Presidential watch party. None of us expected that.

Fast forward to now.

This election season has been every scaryracistsexistmisognisticxenophobichorror anyone could have imagined.  I'm a woman who grew up in the 70s so put together Jaws-TexasChainSawMassacre-Halloween-FreddyKruger-Fridaythe13th. Throw in a bit of early college of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, all the Ghosts and Goblins that roamed the last night night on Halloween, except these were not children playing dress up, they were real demons breathing air, and well and you get the feeling.

Barely was the news out about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg when the gooseneck racist, Senator Mitch McConnell, was salivating over a Supreme Court pick. We all knew, but were holding out.  He plucked that skinny white woman he had been grooming since her law school days, a true Handmaid, really. Amy Coney Barrett.

No one doubts she is brilliant and has a razor sharp memory.

What we doubt is her ability to be fair and impartial. We doubt her sincerity. We doubt her experience.

She is a Catholic. Ok, so is almost all of my Creole family, I am named for a nun, have priests and nuns in my family, had a devout Grandmother who took me to Mass every day when I visited her in the summer.  No, it is not about her faith, John F. Kennedy was a Catholic.

It is about the rest of it. Her membership in a sect, nee, cult, that believes a woman's only purpose is to pop out as many babies as she can. How they let this one out to be an attorney is probably because she was in law school when she met her husband and they decided they could use her for their ends since folks are tired of white men. Who knows?

She has five. Not an issue, I had six, have five living children and have been mom to twice that many.

That is not the issue. Not even, in part, that she has adopted two children from my ancestral homeland.

It is that she is vacuous. Submissive to her husband in a way that will make her biased in her decisions. Maybe he is the Judge and she is just the puppet. Who knows.

But the sense of dread and doom is real because of all that she represents. Like that woman, Serena Joy, in the book, who worked so hard to be a leader of women, to advance her husband's career, to move up the ranks, only to have her finger cut off when she asserted anything like equality.

What will become of us? Of our daughters?

It is All Saints Day. A moment we pause to remember those who have gone on. This year, we have so many who will not be able to vote because their lives were taken away by the callous acts of others. Like my infant son, like my eldest sister, like my sorority sister's father, like my seminary sister's sister, like countless ones who succumbed to a deadly virus that was allowed to spread like wildfire because the many in the White House refused to do anything. So many since Memorial Day because of the evil tide of this police state in existence since the Slave Patrols, decided the kneeling on a man's neck was ok. So many since then, even last week in a battleground state and we wonder what will happen to the rest of us if there isn't a tsunami of change on Tuesday.

Now, the preacher-teacher in me, the one with the M.Div, holds onto hope and assurance. After all, God did create the whole world in only six days and rested on the seventh. He had folks march around a wall for seven days against a similar feeling of impending doom. She who is all and whispers in all, shifted the universe in seven days and marked it as completion. A lot can happen.

What is already happening is that they will not win.

I have to believe that.

There are record lines of early voting, despite all their attempts since 2008 to impede the franchise from Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic, young, and poor voters. They know they can not win on ideals and fairness, so they cheat. Again, watch the documentary, Rigged.

From St. Louis to Boston to Houston to Dallas to Atlanta to Raleigh to Detroit to Philadelphia to New York, people in every town, Burroughs, suburb, and city have registered in record numbers and have stood out in the heat, the cold, the rain, and the snow. Some had danced, some drove up 100+ year olds, so many have pushed past the fear mongering of a dwindling loudmouthed few to reach into the soul of the greater many, and have put aside complacency for community, all across this country.

So, I'm putting aside the dread of knowing for the hope of being. I want to be in a country that affirms girls to be more than mothers before their time or before their choosing. I want to be in a country that believes those twice kissed by God's sun are not inferior or subhuman or dangerous simply because melanin covers them like the suntanning machines they run to get what is natural in others. I want to be in a country where immigrants of every hue are welcomed and who learn to be without emulating the oppressive natures of the dominate caste. I want to be in a country where that dominate caste is no longer strangling life out of everyone else with redlining, and redistricting, and reducing education, housing, or healthcare for the rest of the country. I have hope, I have hope, I have hope.

This Sunday, today, as we roll back clocked and prepare to settle in for winter, let's roll to the polls. Roll to the polls with enthusiasm for what we can do, the collective we for the best of us is in us.

Take your notes, check out the judges, the state officials, read your ballot, tell a friend, get a mask, get sanitizer, bring a jacket and blanket, grab some water, snacks, book, music, your smile. Go vote. And if you already did, bring those things for those who are standing in line. Join together, all of us, we can restore hope, joy, and smiles. 

I want to wake up on Wednesday with a feeling of wonder and possibilities and being. What will you do to make it possible that there isn't another stolen seat on the Supreme Court?That there isn't another old white man ruling with an iron fist the Senate and pushing through a hate-filled judiciary at the expense of people's lives who have suffered unspeakably since March. I want to flip the states that think they are still in Jim and Jane Crow America. I want my home state to vote out that unelected bumbling CovidMO downstate sheriff and embrace the bright choice of a woman with ideals. I want this same energy to be here in March and April in. municipal elections, in 2022 with midterms, and in 2024 when there is another national election that will feel more "normal" without the suppressive tactics seen since 2008. I want an America for my daughters and sons and grandsons where their existence is not as marked humans because of their skin or gender, but as thriving young people filled with dreams and talents yet to explore. I want to open my doors again and breathe freely. 

Everywhere I traveled this past week, in towns outside Boston, from Waltham to Newton to Wellesley, I saw Black Lives Matter signs. From houses to an enormous one outside the village church. I saw declarations for our shared humanity affirming women, non binary, old, young, me. It made me smile, as I drove around town. Even when I went into Boston to see my son, coming down the highway, an enormous declaration was on the side of the stadium that simply made me laugh out loud. Something is happening, and it is a good thing.

We can be.

We can be hope restored. Life renewed. Joy unleashed. Love abounding.

We can. 

We must.

We will.

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