It came as a shock.
Betsy, Kris and I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon visiting in John’s backyard. We enjoyed the funny comments the kids made and connecting with their moms.
Spending time outside with our family alters my mood and restores balance to my shifting emotions. It leaves me feeling peaceful and happy…
The minute we returned home my phone started to blow up. My friends were bemoaning that it was, “a sad day for democracy,” and “disgraceful.” My world tilted. I immediately felt panic well up in my chest.
The agitation worsened when I saw the images of alt right rioters storming the capitol building. I felt physically ill when I viewed images of civilian men and women poised in the trees by the Capitol Building, holding weapons trained on the entrance.
I began to be angry when I saw middle aged women without masks strolling around the Senate Floor, or lounging in the seats as if they were at their own private club. I was enraged to see other individuals, masquerading as patriots, with our American flag draped around their shoulders like sandlot kings, shouting, pointing guns at the Capitol staff, and desecrating the corridors.
It felt to me, like someone had come into church and created a wild ruckus there, Max and the monsters frolicking amongst our hallowed halls, roaring their terrible roars and gnashing their terrible teeth.
I was appalled at the behavior of my fellow Americans. I never believed it possible. Even the most base of us has her limits.
My children living at home were not surprised. In the years that they have become interested in current events they have known nothing but the circus show that is the Donald Trump regime. The idea of civil discourse in the public arena is foreign. All of the post apocalyptic literature and movies they have consumed came together yesterday in one terrifying true-life reality show that they will never forget.
They had seen it coming…
Still reeling from the pictures on the news, I received a text from someone I was once close to. It was addressed to 4 other women and me.
The message went something like this:
It said that she was watching the protestors (her word), and they were mostly peaceful (!) maybe a small few were being violent. She did say that this is unacceptable. The rest I must quote to get the idea across properly, “However (the violence) definitely not like what we saw by Black Lives Matter crowds/ Antifa fires, destroying property, throwing bottles at and spitting on the Police. Very possible that Antifa members are posing as Trump supporters?” She then asks God to have mercy on our country.
This was the boxer’s TKO punch. My head was reeling, my heart was racing. I felt betrayal, and a deep cutting sadness. My anger and sorrow burst forth in a fit of tears as I struggled to get my head around these words and what they meant. I staggered to my room and tried to sort out my feelings. When I looked inside of myself this is what I found…
After anger this was the overriding emotion of yesterday.
I am embarrassed by the behavior of the terrorists who came to Washington to incite an insurrection. I am shamed by the 50 percent of Americans who re-voted for Donald Trump and with that vote put a seal of approval on his actions. I am mortified by the White women who have been captured for posterity behaving like party crashers in a space reserved for the functions of our government.
Far more difficult than the rest of these issues is my personal struggle with having to respond to my old friends, because ultimately I am embarrassed.
I do not relish taking someone to task. It is more my speed to let things blow over. I take seriously the call to treat others the way I would want to be treated.
I have also made solemn promises to others, and I have sworn, that no matter how uncomfortable it is for me, I will say that something is racist when I see it.
Acknowledging that I still need correction and direction in this area, I must fulfill the promise I made, first to a young woman named Kara, and then to all of my friends of color. It is a small, but important step.
When we White women make excuses for domestic terrorist actions, or when we hint that the Black Lives Matter movement is so much worse, we are being racist.
When we have lunch together and complain that our kids did not get into the state university because of the Black kids, we are being racist.
When we sneer at Black Lives Matter protestors, because they are , well, protesting for their lives, we are being racist.
You get the idea, I am sure. When we scapegoat people of another race, blaming them for our problems, we are being racist.
Come on, ladies, we are better than this! We do not have to behave the way our grandmothers before us did. We can end this thing.
Just say something when you hear something racist.
By doing this one simple thing we can make the world an easier place to live in for our sisters and brothers of color. We can, by not tolerating any racist talk, stamp it out in our circle of influence. We can be life giving, instead of being contributors to this deep rooted problem. We can throw a pebble into the pond.
Join me in this fresh New Year in choosing life!
No matter how difficult it is, have some courage and when you hear something, say something.