Sunday Morning ~ It’s Our Door Now
Mpatseni tione cakhalitsa galu pa khomo. ~ Give it to him, let us see what made the dog stay at the door for such a long time.
~ Chewa proverb
February 14, 2021
I was just starting my freshman year in college when Nixon was pardoned. I was sharing an apartment with three other women and on the afternoon of the announcement one of them burst through the door screaming, “Do you believe this?!” I floundered for a moment wondering why she was so upset then tried to get a little outraged because she was. But, in all honesty, I didn’t care that much. To me it was like the football team losing. I mean, I wish they’d won, but I wasn’t losing sleep over it. I listened to my roommates express their disgust, and admired them for how much they knew about the whole thing. I was devoid of details and context. I believed Nixon was bad but understood none of his crimes or how they may affect me. The next day I walked into the Philosophy department to turn in a paper and saw signs of protest on professors’ office doors in big, bold, colorful letters, screaming, apoplectic. Their outrage at the pardon was shocking to me. The urgency seemed out of place in this quiet Catholic college. I remember thinking I’d been ignorant of something earth shattering. I didn’t understand it.
I listened to the impeachment arguments Saturday, and though I expected the eventual outcome, I still had hope. I went for a ski on the carriage trails when it seemed like they were hours away from conclusion. When I got back to the car and turned on the radio I heard McConnell speaking and thought, wait, this is his voice but this can’t be him. He would never say all this. I had a ray of hope. Could it be that all the evidence, the footage of the violence, the sound arguments had awoken a conscience in him? I started to drive slowly thinking justice would prevail! I listened, confused, wondering if I had the voice wrong? This couldn’t be him! He was saying everything iI wanted to hear! Could there be another senator with that same accent and tone? I was certain it was him, though. I know and dread that voice. Oh, please, please, please I thought. Maybe this could really happen. Then he got to the part about voting to acquit and I saw the scheme. My feelings for him reached a low I did not think possible. Snake in the grass. Playing everyone the fool again. I thought back to my roommate barging through the door screaming. I get it now.
I think about the ski patrol, AAA, surgeons, firefighters, all those whom I’ve depended on to help me, how the very thought of knowing they exist is a comfort. How much easier my life is when the plumber comes when I call, the snowplow clears the road, the bank teller deposits my check. I think about how we depend on so many to do their job. And now, blatantly, forty-three senators have walked away from their responsibility to protect the citizens they represent. Bone? Meat? Noose? What makes them sit by this door?
This door is now ours. We decide whether it opens or closes. Our future depends on this door.
As I prepare to spend a week with my granddaughter, I think about wanting to protect her from all this. I want her to read about it in history books not live through it with my anxiety and fear. So I force myself to shift my thinking to a better future where we work to make this story a thriller with a just ending. I will read her the story of the green sweater the six year old Polish girl took to the sewer where she hid with her family for fourteen months. We will knit this sweater together while learning more about the holocaust. The sweater survived and the girl survived. I believe we will, too.
Love to all,