Tag Archive for: #SCOTUS

I have felt nauseous for two days, a feeling that’s pretty unusual for me since I stopped eating gluten over ten years ago. It’s pretty rare that I have any stomach issues, to be honest, and when I first started feeling off, i instantly began running through what I’d eaten in the last 24 hours in an effort to figure it out.

Since a week ago, I’ve been careful about what I look at on social media. I needed to step back from the Kavanaugh hearings because of some difficulties in my life that were closer, more personal. And frankly, I had noticed that even seeing the ubiquitous photos of his angry, red, yelling face in every other Facebook post made my chest constrict uncomfortably.

Angry men are frightening

I don’t know if that’s something they know and use as a tool, but for most women and girls, male anger is tremendously upsetting. Men in our culture are taught to translate their anger and frustration in to physical outlets – hitting, throwing, slamming, shooting.

And yesterday, Lola and I got on a plane to fly across the country to visit Eve who is in her first year of college. I couldn’t afford to be angry or rage-filled or incapacitated by grief. I was filled with joy at the thought of being in her presence again, the presence of both of these young women who love each other and make each other laugh. We travel together well, easing in to activities and rest with comfort, somehow managing each others’ desires without fighting.

I woke up nauseous again, desperately pleading with the Universe to help me be 100%, to feel ok, to be able to enjoy my girls this weekend. Before my feet touched the floor, I took a deep breath and tried to pinpoint the feeling of unease and when it became clear that it wasn’t inside me, but surrounding me, I finally acknowledged it. I am receiving the energy of others outside me – the overwhelming despair and rage and fury of women everywhere who know they can’t stop this confirmation despite all our efforts.

Lola and Eve politely waited until I’d hugged Eve to fall in to each others’ arms and stay there for a minute. Little do they know that while I loved hugging Eve myself, witnessing the two of them resting together, holding each other up, was the biggest gift. My heart is full.

Not far in to the day, things turned. The ride to breakfast was a bumpy one and Lola felt carsick. Eve wanted to know what the plan was after breakfast. The weather forecast was horrid – humid and thunderstorms. The wait for breakfast seemed interminable. They exchanged (quiet) sarcastic words and there were tears. As we sat at the table, the girls ignoring each other on their phones, I remembered family trips where our parents were angry with us for being  “spoiled brats.”

We are spending money to bring you to this place and have a vacation, an adventure, and you repay us by bickering and complaining? Knock it off right now or you can forget about us taking you on any more trips.

I nearly laughed out loud, knowing that I could never say something like that to my girls. Not only would they think I’d been inhabited by some alien life form, but I know better. The very air is tainted right now, with anger and frustration and despair. And we are all entitled to feel overwhelmed, sad, confused, upset.

We soldiered on. And many hours later, as we sat eating lunch, our phones all pinged with the notification that Kavanaugh had been confirmed by the Senate. And I was reminded that what we are learning is valuable. We are learning, over and over again, that the solutions we can come up with within the paradigm of the current system are limited.

Had I threatened the girls, made them feel small and embarrassed, it might have made them less likely to express their frustrations outwardly, behave slightly better in public, but it wouldn’t have addressed the root of the issues. Had I dug in to the “root” of the issues, things would likely have gotten a lot worse in the short term (and they probably would have both turned on me instead of being angry with each other).  Those were tactics my parents used. My tactic shifted – I created a new system. I decided that since I’m the grownup here, I would trust my girls to let me know if they needed my help sorting out their emotions, and in the meantime, I would forge ahead, doing what I thought would make me happy. We headed to a burgeoning neighborhood and wandered through bookstores, thrift shops, stationery stores. I stopped to pet an adorable puppy, mused about birthday gifts for my nieces, begged Lola to try on an outrageously gorgeous, outrageously tiny pantsuit that she looked phenomenal wearing. By lunch time, we were doing ok. Good, even. And when I suggested we head back to the hotel so Eve could have a hot bath (there’s no tub in her dorm, so it’s been a long time since she had a therapeutic soak), Lola could chill by herself and watch TV, and I would head to the lobby and write, there were huge smiles all around.

Protesting, signing petitions, calling our representatives, those are all things we do to address the problems within the system. And I’m certainly not saying that those efforts are useless. But it’s the system itself that allows for these things to happen. The system that was created by white men for white men will always benefit white men. We need to get rid of that system. We need to dismantle (smash? burn?) the set of rules and mores that keep us small and compliant. We need to get a lot more comfortable imagining what a different paradigm would look like – one that is created for all of us – and work vigorously toward that end. Especially those of us who have benefited a great deal from this system, by playing by the rules and excusing the white men who make those rules.

It won’t be easy. And it won’t be comfortable. But we can’t make substantive changes within this system that will end up benefitting all of us. While I am still furiously angry that Kavanaugh was confirmed, there is a tiny sense of relief in that now I know that this fire will forge steel. Should we still work our asses off to get out the vote in November? Absolutely! When we take back the House, should we start impeachment proceedings on Kavanaugh and Drumpf? First. Fucking. Order. Of. Business.

And then, we should not rest. We should not think we’ve won. Small victories within this broken, broken system are not enough. We have to burn this SOB down.

A few things that have made me stop and wonder today:

  • The emails I get in my inbox from my state legislators asking me to chip in $3 to help pass a bill in the House. Example: my state’s Democratic Senator, Patty Murray, whom I support wholeheartedly, managed to help craft a budget proposal that was recently passed in the Senate. This morning, I got an email soliciting money so they can get it passed in the House because they’re anticipating a fight.  Where do those donations go? Am I buying the vocal support of a Senator with my $3? Would they not fight loudly and passionately for that budget anyway since they (presumably) believe in it?  Or am I paying for a a lobbyist’s time to go pester a Congressperson to pass it?  What exactly is my money doing?  I doubt there’s time to put together a media campaign with television and radio advertisements, so I’m confused here.  On top of that, I’m sick of being asked for “just $3 to show my support.” I capitulated during the Presidential campaign, but now I just want the elected officials to sit down and do their damn jobs without expecting more money for them. They get paid. Do the right thing, already, and leave my inbox alone!
  • I was one of those people on Facebook who changed my profile picture to the equal sign that stands for marriage equality for all Americans.  I was happy to do it. Hell, I even spent ten minutes fiddling with the settings on my iPhone to make it happen because I didn’t have my computer with me yesterday morning.  But I have to say, idealist that I am, I hope the multitudes of people who changed their profile pictures don’t have any bearing on the outcome of the case.  Seriously.  I want the justices of the Supreme Court to do their jobs as well and decide the case on its merits.  I want them to listen to the logical arguments (not the frantic speculation of the Christian Coalition that the moral fabric of society will be torn irreparably if we allow gays to marry), discuss the issues, and render a LEGAL decision like they are supposed to.  I don’t want them to poll Americans or look at their Facebook or Twitter feeds.  They are judges. The day we let public opinion influence their decisions is the day we might as well open the doors of the courthouse to lobbyists with their pockets stuffed full of cash.  
  • Eve and her class are attending WeDay today, a celebration of the many acts of philanthropy by school children around the world.  There are 15,000 students from all over the state of Washington attending this amazing event in an effort to learn from each other how to mobilize their own efforts to make the world a better place for us all.  There are corporate sponsors (of course) and actors and philanthropists presenting to drum up excitement and Jennifer Hudson was slated to perform. After two hours of amazing speeches by people who have made substantive change in their own way (including one man who came and told a harrowing story of his time as a child soldier in the Congo), Jennifer Hudson came on stage.  And sang “Night of Your Life.”  I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t ever heard the song and I was confused.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

…My love ain’t easy
You gon’ have to put in some work
You can’t buy me a drink, thinking I’mma fall for your flirt
You gotta make it right
If you wanna go spend some time
You gotta raise the bar tonight…

…So now love me, baby treat me rightAnd we’ll be riding it from morning til midnightIf you love me til the end of timeThen I will promise you the night of your life…

I could have ya, if I wanted toDown on one knee, in front of me where them bells ringingI could claim ya, be your saviorWrap your heart inside of these arms and you’ll never leaveI could have your hands tied, round my body all up on meBoy you’ll be stuck to me, if I wanted with no releaseI’ll have you begging, wishing now I give a piece

 So, tell me, what does that have to do with philanthropy? Giving back to your community? Changing the world?  Seriously? She sang the song, and then walked off stage. Not a word about this room full of students who had to earn tickets to this event by engaging in fundraising efforts for charitable organizations, by working for a cause. And she sings a song about hooking up with a guy in a bar.  I’m glad she asked to be treated right, but the message seems a little cloudy to me.  I can only hope that it gets drowned out by the other, more meaningful ones of the day.