Church Bells Ringing

I read way, way, way too many articles these days. 

Some favorites:

Gloria Steinem "We Will Not Mourn, We Will Organize"

Kirk Noden Why Do White Working-Class People Vte Against Their Interests? They Don't.

 Damon Young "I will Never Underestimate White People's Need to Preserve Whiteness

Baratunde Thurston "Empathy isn't a favor I owe white voters. It has to go both ways."

Ezra Kelin "The hard question isn't why Clinton lose - it's why Trump won

Joy Reid President-Elect Donald Trump Gets to work Betraying His Backers

Mark Lilla The End of Identity Liberalism

Joan C. Williams What So Many People Don't Get About the U.S. Working Class

Neal Gabler Farewell America

Brian Phillips Shirtless Trump Saves Drowning Kitten

Some of the articles contradict each other.

I argue with people in emails. I change my views. Revise those changes. 

I see people drop off from the email conversations to pursue the conversation where they have a bigger audience (i.e., social media).

I spend way too much time on Twitter, RT-ing articles like the above.

I call senators and representatives.

I donate to Foster Campbell, our one last chance to flip a senate seat.
I sign petitions (not sure if they really do anything) to get Merrick Garland appointed, to make Election Day a public holiday, to denounce white supremacist Bannon.

I join the #GrabYourWallet boycott and keep writing @TJMaxx and others, hoping they'll drop Trump products asap. 

I wonder if we will be so busy denouncing every Trump pick that we will miss it when multi-millionaire Paul Ryan follows through on his dream to destroy Medicare.

I work, less productively than at other times in my life, but perhaps on par with the sluggish pre-election pace when I kept telling myself "Come November 9, everything will be settled and I'll be back." 

I feel so very sad. Furious sometimes. Then back to very, very sad. 

I want to form better replies to some of the wonderful, generous comments from readers here, but I haven't been able to.

I talk to so many people who are as crushed and heartbroken as I am. I recoil at the fact that the most immediately sanguine of all my friends about the results of the election are the white males, the whitest of the white males.

For them, an ignorant, hopelessly unprepared, bigoted, bankrupt, non-tax-paying supposed billionaire without any policies defeating a brilliant, dedicated public servant, by many accounts one of the most qualified people ever to run for president, is not so bad. Business as usual. Let's wait and see.

I listen to people talk about privileged whiny white women who "didn't get their candidate" and think -- is that me? 

I talk to a woman who hasn't stopped crying since November 8 and watch as her two very white, bright-blond-haired toddlers tug at her skirt and beg for gelato. 

I think -- is that me?

Couldn't I be upset that this awesome candidate--yes a woman, yes that was amazing that the best prepared, the smartest, the most devoted was a woman--lost, but also genuinely sad for the people, all of them, who will suffer, including those who voted for Trump, who voted like they so often do for the party that wants to take everything away, who is planning right now to destroy health care? Can't I be both? Like Baratunde Thurston

"So I am both empathetic and angry. I get to be both. We all should be able to be both, but as we discuss the need for empathy, let us remember it needs to go both ways. It is not a cross solely to be born by the oppressed in order not to hurt the oppressor's feelings. It is not just for liberals and Democrats to practice toward conservatives and Republicans." 

I feel discouraged as again and again a man talks over me, with a louder voice, with more conviction, with a patronizing tone, while my voice is open, while I am willing to shift my position, revise, reflect. His view--it may have changed from yesterday, it doesn't matter--is now firm and unbending. He may be the one who swore, based on even Nick Silver's pessimistic polls, that this would never happen. He may be the one who swore a year ago that Trump would never be the Republican nominee. Never, ever going to happen.

Whether he is further left, or further right, or more upset or less. Whether he insists, the most infuriating of all that "She was the wrong candidate" (the that was so "wrong" it took Russia and the FBI to take her down?), or whether he demands we pay more attention to the white working class or whether he demands that we stop worrying about white people or whether he insists that this was all expected and was simply a "change election" -- it doesn't matter. Lots of points I agree with, others I don't. The point is whatever the man's damn position, his position is absolutely unyielding. His tone is superior. "This is just how it is, Rachel. Eventually, you'll get it."

I listen to lots and lots of Etta James. No books. No internet. No phone. No reading the lyrics even. Just me with my headphones and a few candles lit and my journal opened before me but I cannot write.

Pressing the headphones harder against my ears, heart pounding, listening to Etta wail. 


  1. Who can think, who can function normally? Perhaps James Comey is enjoying his morning coffee, basking in the purity of his honest disclosure; perhaps all the Republican legislatures and governors who successfully robbed voting rights from a million people; perhaps Paul Ryan knowing he can rob young (Obamacare) and old (Medicare) of health insurance; perhaps Jason Chaffetz who four days after saying he couldn't look his daughter in the eye if he voted for Trump, re-endorsed Trump; perhaps Jeff Sessions who can now roll back civil rights and voting rights; perhaps Steve Bannon who can push the white nationalist agenda; perhaps David Duke who needs no introduction except, perhaps, to Donald Trump, who professed to be barely aware of Duke and unable to comment; perhaps Trump and his children with their blind trust, which if we want to make sense of those words means you can trust them to rob America blind.

  2. I feel every line of this, Rachel. I, too, was less productive during those days leading up to the election. I wanted desperately for it to end so that things could return to normal, better than normal even. I didn't realize how much hope I was holding. Until it was gone. Of course, nothing was guaranteed, but I couldn't entertain the thought, even for a moment, of our current reality. I, too, alternate between anger and sadness. Sometimes I spiral into despair. Today, for the first time since the election, I did not log on to any social media, didn't listen to the news. But I couldn't avoid receiving a text from my best friend, an elementary school teacher in Santa Fe, NM, telling me about their emergency staff meeting; the school will be setting up safe houses for children who are left behind if/when their parents are arrested during school pick-up and deported. It happened back in 2005 and they know that, once again, it's a real possibility. When I take a walk in the woods, I think, how soon will this be lost? We have a president-elect who doesn't even believe the EPA should exist. The potential impact is so devastating and so far-reaching, it's hard to process it all. There are so many days I've thought, there has to be a way out. How can this actually be happening?

  3. Thanks Hawkeye. Exactly - perhaps Comey feels pretty good right now. I didn't know about Jason Chaffetz. Each time you think - okay, maybe it won't be as bad as we fear - something newly awful happens. Really worried about the normalization of each awful cabinet/advisor pick, just like the normalization of Trump's awful comments on the campaign trail. We've now seen an embolded "alt-right" (Neo Nazi/white supremacist movement) and even the tagline along CNN's screen "Alt-right leader questions if Jews are people." It's getting more and more surreal, but then we find a new normal, and something even more shocking has to happen to rattle the public.

    Thank you Sarah, too. Yes - exactly - hoping things could return to better-than-normal. All that hope we were holding. I agree -the current situation was literally unthinkable. Your school-teacher friend in Santa Fe - unbelievable and so sad to think about what those children are now facing. That did happen in 2005?! I too think that about the woods, the trees, the leaves even. Will they even continue to turn colors and maybe that is the ultimate first-world-problem for me to even ask and yet I think about it constantly.

    I think there is great resistance energy now, so we have to continue on with that.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts