Sunday Morning ~ What Happened to My Country?
Mwana wa mnzanko ngwako yemwe. ~ The child of your neighbor is your child too.
~ Chewa Proverb
July 7, 2019
I was happy to be home for Fourth of July in Bar Harbor. It’s such a great holiday in this small town: pancake breakfast, parade, town band concert, craft fair, lobster, fireworks, and happy people. In between all those activities there’s swimming, hiking, and walking in a beautiful landscape. It’s everything you could want in a celebration of what our country stands for. Or what I thought it stood for. It was always a day I could drum up some patriotism and look past the egregious failings on our part as a superpower. I had a hard time doing that this year. Though the crowds billowed out in puffs along the parade route, appearing to be bigger than ever, I felt an undertone of sadness and shame. Even the Shriners in their mini tractor trailers seemed low energy. Maybe I was projecting.
My grandchildren were here for the holiday week and it was such a joy to be with them and see their excitement about all the Independence Day activities. They had their faces painted, dove for candy at the parade, screamed in fear at the clowns, and then painted peace flags, an activity to raise awareness for all the children suffering on our southern border as they are detained away from their parents. I watched my little angels dip their brushes in bright colors and concentrate on the design they were creating on the piece of fabric that will fly with others in prayer for decency and humanity. I can’t imagine what I’d do, how I’d breathe, if these two loves of mine were ripped apart from their parents and isolated in squalor. It’s unthinkable. Yet it’s happening. Here. In the home of the free and land of the brave. Amelia, who learned “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” sang those words happily from her car seat on the drive to Bar Harbor. I felt the same foreboding I felt that horrible day in 2016 when the election results became a hellish reality.
I’ll occasionally be reassured by being with like-minded people and reminding myself it is only a third of people (ignorant people I tell myself) supporting this travesty. I tell myself it’s only uneducated, greedy, ignorant people but I know this isn’t accurate. I’m continually shocked, mortified, and frightened to learn I know people I used to respect who voted for this. When my bother puts a comment on Facebook saying the children should not be invading our country if they don’t want to be detained, I’m in 1984. Speechless, mortified, I remove his comment (thank God I can do this) and wonder how someone with an eduction can think this? He has grandchildren he loves and would protect them no matter what. So what the hell? Since the Regan era we’ve avoided political discussions in my family, always wondering what my father’s abuse had done to the two of his offspring who are as conservative as he was. (Talk about identifying with the oppressor!) But this is crazy shit talk and it scares me. So what do I do? Protest. Don’t engage in discussion with people that aren’t reachable. I stopped trying to make them see my point. It’s hopeless and a waste of time. Focus on those who are listening and I’ll live my truth. Remember that no dictator survives more than 3.5% of the population who peacefully protest. Work for candidates who can turn this around (please God don’t let it be too late). I’m hopeful for Betsy Sweet’s campaign to unseat Susan Collins and hope the 2018 midterm result is a sign of what is to come. I know the time might be dark right now but it always turns around. I just hope it is sooner rather than later. I’ll participate in the orientation for new volunteers this week in Boston, then back to work in my garden and participate in the resistance. Watching a plant grow from a tiny seed always gives me hope. In fact, right now, that and the smiles of my grand babies are the only things that do.
Love to all,