the kids are alright

I realize now what I’m doing here, on this planet, at this time, in the glorious and crushing moments, through uphill slogs and downhill slides, amid merciful solitude and exhuberant crowds …

It sounds so trite I hesitate, and yet it is true: I am a mother. But what is important is not my motherhood. It is the gift motherhood brings: my child.

This past month and a half have been among the saddest and most hopeful of my life. I have witnessed my father struggling to breathe from a hospital bed, then come through surgery with rousing success. I have watched another bloody massacre become a wave of youthful voices so passionate, so articulate, so tireless that my cynicism cracks a bit.

And I see my daughter, this human that my body grew, this person that our village raised, this glowing, compassionate being who cares about social justice, the environment, and the happiness of people around her. Her voice is one of a diverse, aware, and empowered generation, and, as Chloe and Halle sing to us, appropriating the words of the Who: “The kids are alright.” In an interview with Trevor Noah, these poised young women assured us that their generation is doing fine, that their parents didn’t fail them. I am struck by their words, and therein lies my truth.

Last weekend I marched behind a group of student protesters from the school where I teach, my daughter among them. As they led us down the tourist-lined streets, chanting their rage over the deaths of their peers, outlining gun policy demands that no sane person should oppose, my love and pride for these young people overwhelmed me. My body felt heavy with the poignant words of Briar Goldberg, a survivor of Columbine, who watched our country do nothing to protect us from what she went through. And I felt buoyed by the cadence and messaging of a middle-school girl, who far outshone any public speaker I’ve heard since the last presidential election. One by one, other teens spoke, with intelligence, with compassion, with the very present pain of what they experience daily because of guns in their communities. Their voices are clearer and louder than my feeble cries into the void have ever been. Now I can say that my fight was not in vain: it was an opening act, which is perhaps as it should be. The main stage is set for the real action, coming soon to a voting booth near you.

With renewed clarity, I see my life in a different way. My commitment to child-rearing takes on a greater meaning, as I envision the future that my child will help create. And I know that throughout the physical and mental exhaustion, the paycheck-to-paycheck existence, the struggles to hide despair and desperation from the gentle soul who kept me motivated, who shared my laughter, who makes me proud … she is why I’m here. She is my finest contribution to this time, to this planet, to these glorious moments and more yet to come.

IMG_0174
[photo: afp 2018]

 

Advertisements

I believe her

The most shocking thing about Susan J. Fowler’s story is that it isn’t the least bit shocking. The statistics alone speak volumes: Uber’s employment of women fell from 25% to 6% within less than a year. On her final day employed there, only 3% of Ms.Fowler’s cohort of 150 engineers were female.

Uber’s CEO can quit 45’s misogynistic team in DC, but he’s got some serious corporate culture problems back home.

I’m permanently deleting Uber.

img_3182

 

decline of language

I love this tongue-in-cheek Washington Post article by Dana Milbank about 45’s penchant for misspellings. I do not share that love for what is exposed by this cavalier disregard for the English language.

It sure makes it clear who is the “dummer” [sic] of our most recent presidents.

silencing dissent

Elizabeth Warren was shut down on the Senate floor as she quoted the writing of Coretta Scott King about Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated for attorney general of the United States. Mitch McConnell invoked a rule of the Senate which deemed the widow’s words unsuitable for senators’ ears. Senator Warren is banned from uttering another word during the 30 hours remaining in the confirmation hearings.

Republicans have made themselves into the perfect example of the blind, deaf, and tongue-tied, who refuse to see evil or hear evil but who speak nothing but evil.

Warren, who refuses to be silenced, read the letter outside the senate chamber.

 

land disposal

Each day I awaken to some new horror by the new administration: green card holders and refugees being turned away at airports, the Army Corps of Engineers given the greenlight to bulldoze through native lands and put precious water supplies in peril, and now a proposal to sell off over 3,000,000 acres of public land, denying taxpayer  use, environmental protections, and generating no income for the country.

For someone who is supposedly a businessman, 45 and his crew sure make some stupid economic decisions.

bound and gagged

45’s hostility to science becomes more apparent as his appointments for key positions that could affect policy regarding climate change come to light. The recent news of the man tapped to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a harbinger of doom, as reported by McClatchy DC. Kenneth Haapala of the Heartland Institute is a known climate change denier, and his organization strives to reduce government influences on the free market, giving the almighty dollar the power to crush life as we know it on planet Earth.

If you think this is an overly dramatic reading of the future, consider that we’ve already seen environmental agencies in DC fall under gag rules by the current administration, including the National Park Service, for whom I volunteer. The EPA has been forced to take down it’s web page on climate change, which demonstrates that — when confronted with science — 45 chooses to turn a blind eye and then prevent anyone else from seeing.

“In recent weeks, federal employees at the National Parks Service, EPA and other agencies have claimed they are under “gag orders” – restricted from using social media or taking any action not approved by the new administration. As of Monday evening, the EPA hadn’t tweeted a single item since Jan. 19, the day before Trump was sworn in as president.” (Stuart Leavenworth, McClatchy, 1.30.17)

Fortunately, the same social media tools that allowed 45’s campaign to disseminate fake news stories also allows insiders in Washington to tweet from anonymous accounts.

Keep shouting!

noaa

A NOAA crew on the R/V Roger Revelle came nose-to-nose with an iceberg floating in the the Southern Ocean near Antarctica in February of 2008. Scientists at the federal agency have helped document impacts of climate change in the world’s polar regions, but some NOAA employees fear such research could be upended under President Donald Trump, a climate change skeptic. Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

doors slammed shut

This is what blanket immigration policy looks like to only a small portion of the people who live and work in the U.S., and their families living abroad:

McClatchy News article on the first days of executive order on immigration

Not a pretty picture…

I prefer this one:

flag-hijab

UPDATE: A Federal Court has blocked the implementation and thus supported the Constitutional challenge of the executive order banning U.S. entry for people from certain countries. A victory for the ACLU in the long haul protecting our freedom.