A New Pledge of Allegiance...
I am having a hard time finding words about what happened yesterday. I never thought that I would live to see the day where armed, angry white people stormed The Capitol and overtook it. I never, ever thought I would see the day.
Yet it happened and now a woman is dead. Shot while coming through a window in our Nation’s Capitol. Blood spilled. But this is not the first blood spilled, nor will it be the last. Lots of blood has been spilled but because she was white, a big deal will be made of her death. It will likely be ignored that she was violating the law. It will likely be ignored that she was acting in furtherance of a coup. It will likely be ignored that she was acting at the behest of a man so mentally ill that his callous and reckless mindset resulted in her death.
Why are we so afraid to see the truth? Why are we so fearful to look at what is going on? Why can’t we hear each other?
I do not know. I can only speak for myself. My son is a Trumper. I do not understand it but I have to live under the same roof with it. Most of the time, he just keeps his opinions to himself and I can ignore the parroting of rhetoric. I have tried to have intelligent conversations with him about why he believes what he believes. I have tried to talk to him. But I am met with emotional facts, anger and the kind of emotional response one might receive from a four year old “I am know I am but what are you?” All of my points get summarily dismissed over soundbytes he has picked up that are easily digestible and spewable. It is alarming, terrifying and frustrating. I will be the first to admit it makes me irrational.
What is even more frightening is that his views are held by many. How many I do not know. I believe that some of the right have just had to follow along because they didn’t have a choice, well hopefully yesterday’s riot was enough to help them break away from a leader who has no familiarity with truth, justice and the American way.
I was alarmed and horrified at the MAGA agenda...Make America Great Again? For who? By what means? I think if we took a poll, that many of our citizen would still be waiting in the line for America to be that great for them now...forget about the past!
There is so much hatred. There is so much anger. There is so much lack of presence. There is so much misunderstanding. When did we all stop listening? When did judgment and lack of concern for our fellow human beings become the way? Why are we standing for this government? When did the President of the United States come to love white supremacy and racists? When did these people come to be special? When did angry mobs become something to encourage and incite to action?
I know that most black people were not surprised by the events of yesterday. They have seen it coming for a very long time. They, in fact, see what happened yesterday every day in their own communities. It, to some degree, has always been this way. An awful and pervasive fear that someone in power will make decisions and take action that will result in bloodshed...almost always theirs. An so very often without consequence. It was only yesterday that some of the officers that shot and killed Breonna Taylor were fired from their jobs. 9 months after her senseless and tragic death.
I was horrified by what I saw yesterday. The police backing down and being overwhelmed, literally running away from the riotous throngs. Why? Perhaps, because many of them knew what the black community has known for a very long time...that a mob of angry, weaponized white people always results in bloodshed...and it will almost always be their blood and go forward without consequence. Running, being the only thing to do if you want to survive the day.
I am trying very hard to stay in compassion. For all of us in this country suffering. We can no longer hold the belief that things are ok. We can no longer say that this is being handled. We need to take our country back and do the hard work it is to heal. And, what I know about healing from trauma is that it takes a lot of fucking work. And ignoring people’s experience of trauma, especially historic propagation of trauma, only creates more trauma not less.
I have to find a way to deal with my anger. My indignation. My mistrust and my fear. I have to find a way to not accept what is going on and work for change. So far, from where I sit, there has to be upheaval for there to be change. It is just so very frightening to witness. And I worry every day for those in harm’s way on both sides of the political divide. I want to understand so that I can heal. I want to listen so that I can stop being part of the problem and begin to live in the solution.
I want more than anything to not live in a country where the supreme leader of the land, who by all accounts is severely and gravely mentally ill, is allowed to remain in power and disrupt the country’s historic tradition of the peaceful transition of power. He lost. And you have the right to debate that, to believe that it was “stolen” and perhaps this provides you a forum to stop for a second and think about how Stacey Abrams felt. About how there are others like her who have had things much more precious than an election taken from them. How there are so many people in the country who are no longer here because they happen to have the wrong color skin and live on the other side of the color line. When are we going to stop hating different and see that this country was founded on different. Our revolution successful because of the new idea and concept of liberty. That even though the words rang hollow for women, people who were not white...we still have the history that revolutions take place here and we go forward better than before. I think today is a new day, a day of reckoning. We cannot go on as we have before. People have been dying in their homes and communities because we are too afraid to talk about it and too afraid to find our own part in the current dystopic fucktangle. But I think it is time. The time is now.
I believe that a revolution of kindness must happen that allows for the expression of anger and resentment. Perhaps we all could use the tools of the Twelve Step world to heal that which is rotten in each of us. Perhaps if we inventory our own conduct and behavior we can see where we have been selfish, self centered and childish. We all have a part and that is the best news. Because we also have a part in the solution.
Can we have a summit? Can we come together as ambassadors of the human race and listen to each other and strive to love and help each other? Where is that tradition? Where are the leaders that are going to show us how to do this? Where can truth and justice triumph over hatred, bigotry and prejudice?
I want to hear. And yesterday, even though I found it incredibly difficult, I had to listen to my own son about why he believes the way he does. I had to try to find compassion for him and separate the love I feel for him with my very contrary feelings about why he thinks the way he does. I have to find a way where I can hear him and he can hear me. And if I can’t do this with a person I love more than anything, how can we as a country make any real progress?
Yesterday I struggled to clear a path of my own self righteousness. I was so unabashedly enraged while being deeply saddened by what I saw. The level of callousness toward all that is good and decent and yet, I had to own that I too felt it in my own home toward my own flesh. And I have to deal with that. I have to find a way to reach him and listen to what he says without becoming enraged by the spewing of crazy talk. Factual recitations that are not factual at all. Emotional facts that have been manufactured and propagated to push forward an agenda that reeks of racism, hated, intolerance, vitriol and greed. I am pretty sure I have to find those things in my own heart and deal with them there before I am ever going to have a prayer to do anything outside my own home. Perhaps, if I can find a way through my own trauma and shit, I might be able to help someone else.
But if there is one thing that I know is absolutely true, you cannot give away something you haven’t got. And yesterday showed me, exactly what I haven’t got. And that was compassion for all that was incited and decided yesterday. And I do not want to be that person. I do not want to hate. I do want to see my own part in all of this. I want to be better and do better. I want to be brave enough to hear and see that which I find abhorrent. And I believe that yesterday, what I learned is that I have to first see those things in myself to ever have a prayer of being able to forgive them in others. Hate breeds hate...every single time, it matters not who the hater is...however, it does completely matter what color their skin. And it is time for that to stop.
The day that people with my skin color overtake the Nation's Capitol and remove the American flag and replace it with Trump's flag, is a day that I will not sit quietly for anymore! I will not be quiet. I will not use my white privilege to allow the status quo to continue so that I can ever be a bystander to what I witnessed yesterday. I will take the removal of the flag of this country as the act of treason and sedition it was. And I will not allow the voice of hate to speak for me. I shall overcome, we shall overcome...together let's pledge allegiance to a new Republic that is representative of all, one Nation under whatever God you believe in or not, INDIVISIBLE, with liberty and justice FOR ALL.