Monthly Archives: November 2016

A New Reality

Anyone over the age of 25 will always remember where they were on 9/11 in 2001.  That was the day our sense of safety and blissful ignorance of global terrorism was shattered.

It was a normal Tuesday work day.   At the time, I was a lead for a large state-run project — with a large contingent of IT consultants, with origins from all over the globe, including  New York, China, Pakistan and India.  As I came out of my early morning meeting, we found the entire staff huddled around a small black and white television that someone had brought in.   I found a seat, and got ‘up to speed’ with what was happening– just before the first tower fell.

I will never forget the sensation of sitting in that room with colleagues from all around the world, reacting with horror as we watched the second tower fall.  We were facing an uncertain and frightening new reality.

Fast forward to Election night, 2016, when I felt the same mixture of horror and disbelief.  Only this time, it was not an outside evil inflicting violent radicalism and hate upon innocent citizens; this time the radicalism and message of hate has come from within.  As with 9/11, we are again facing an uncertain, yet frightening, new reality.

The dynamics behind a Trump presidency and the alt-right movement represents a national cancer that has been underestimated and untreated for too long.   We became complacent in our confidence that a racist, misogynist, mocker of the disabled and assaulter of women; could not possibly be elected to our country’s highest office.

We were fools.

We still have a moral imperative to stop Trump.  Having failed to keep him out of office; we are compelled to tirelessly resist his policies of fear and hate.  We are compelled, more than ever, to demonstrate kindness, support and love–especially in the face of mockery, injustice and fear.

Particularly in this season of post-election and pre-inaugeral limbo:  it is a great time to ponder on how we personally can get more involved and seek ways to be kind, supportive and helpful to others.

As the saying goes:  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.  (BTW – that is what George W. was trying to say here).

 

 

 

Empty Nest: Free at Last, Free at Last!

Guzzy has spread her wings and flown the parental coop; seeking the age-appropriate shelter of a somewhat rundown 2-bedroom apartment with her BFF and BFF’s yippy puppy.  She has taken the majority of her belongings and furniture with her; leaving a void in a portion of our home, as well as within our hearts.

I still see her about once a week, or we talk on the phone… but, of course, it is not the same: which is probably the whole point of moving out.  She is (becoming) her own woman.

It took me 36 years to become an empty nester, and am adjusting to life without a minor under our roof.

We no longer need to consider Guzzy’s schedule, including meals, in our day-to-day plans.  This has freed me up to play more tennis in the evenings: up to 3-4 times a week.   I have also started working-out with a trainer, in a small group, 3 times a week.

So far, the empty nest has been great for my health and fitness!  It’s also been good on the pocketbook;  for now Guzzy is financially independent, and will remain so unless and until she chooses to go to college.

Compared to the days of raising small children, I now have occasional stretches of quiet time without significant demands.

I certainly intend to expend my slightly expanded available time, money and energy wisely.  We will need to be strong to face the next Presidency with courage, sanity, assertiveness and humor.   Ironically, it may just be us empty nesters: the grandmas and grandpas, that have the right stuff for what lies ahead.  

Walking the Dog: post election

My dog, Cleo, and I take a walk every morning –the length of which is subject to several variables such as weather and the sense of urgency I feel to hurry up and get to work.

Today, we had an extra long walk, as I took the opportunity to reflect on how to ‘BE’… how to conduct myself in the wake of last week’s election while attempting to maintain a degree of inner peace and equilibrium.

It is not a trivial question.  My world view has been rocked.  I spent last week in various stages of shock, grief and depression.  It is not because we have elected an amateur and thief to our highest office;  it is not because my candidate lost; and it is not because a Republican won. While those statements are all true — they are not the cause of my inner turmoil and occasional despair.

I despair because this man consistently demonstrated that he is a racist and a sexist;  yet we elected him anyway.   This man openly disdains and denigrates women, people of any color, Muslims, Mexicans,  immigrants, the disabled, the LGBT community, and more.  His promise to ‘Make America Great Again’  is a thinly veiled slogan for white supremacy.

This is not congruent with my beliefs or my sense of who we are as a nation.  He-who-shall-not-be-named,  his cronies, and their protect-the rich policies must be opposed vigorously and relentlessly by normal, decent people — like me. Like You.  We are reminded that “The only way for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.”

The rabble-rouser in me has been awakened, and she is feeling kinda fierce:  I am determined to seek opportunities to speak and act out against the fear, hate and division that threatens our better selves.  I am determined to reflect kindness and unity and to seek opportunities to advocate for others who are in a threatened demographic.

As the dog and I rounded the home stretch on our walk:  I feel a bit better; but then I start to consider how to best engage or relate to those who support the president-elect.  This includes family members, co-workers and friends–many of whom are intelligent and educated.   My brother uses the words of a great teacher to explain them:  “Forgive them because they know not what they do”.

One thing I know for sure: Cleo and I will be taking many long walks this winter.

The Unthinkable

Fear has won the day.  My disappointment over not electing our first woman POTUS is overshadowed by dread over who our nation has  chosen, and all that this choice represents.

I despair for our country.  We have chosen a candidate who campaigned on a platform of fear, hate and division.    I despair for the long-term impacts to hard-won rights for women, the poor, minorities, immigrants, disabled, gays– essentially anyone who isn’t a wealthy white male. I despair for the long-lasting legacy of nominations to the Supreme Court–they were (and our) our only hope for reducing the toxic impact of big money on our politics.  I despair over the almost certain escalation of hostilities and terrorism–both domestic and abroad.

I despair on a personal level: for the racism my latina grandbabies are now almost certain to experience; for our own retirement fund, which is nose-diving even as I write this;  for future of Obama Care–which will ripple throughout our economy and my own employment.

Mostly, I despair because this choice represents who we have become as a nation.