Sorting Words

I’m not sure what it is I want to write here in this moment. I don’t really know how to organize my thoughts in anything cohesive about what is happening in our country right now.

Ever since the day after Election Day, I have been promising myself I would put something here. Something so my kids look back, read my words, and know what it was like to live in this moment. I have failed at that because I truly don’t know what to point my words to.

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Do I focus on my distress, worry, and anxiety about our new president?  Because I am filled with distress, worry, and anxiety. His campaign was filled with lots of yelling, making fun of people, tweeting tantrums, cozying up to Russia, horribly misogynistic rants, racism, xenophobia, and more. I’m sure when my kids are old enough to read my writing, they will be old enough to read what our new president has said. Maybe.

The Preamble to our Constitution states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

See that bold part (that was my emphasis)? That means that our Constitution was put in place to make sure our citizens are ALL cared for, and that our citizens are ALL protected from unjust laws and a tyrannical government.

Our new president has nominated people to fill top leadership roles in our country who notoriously have worked against the very department they are supposedly going to be in charge of.

His chief adviser is a known racist.

We are being told that things that we hear and see with our own ears and eyes did not actually happen.

We are told that our president doesn’t lie, but gives “alternative facts.” (Pro tip: those are called lies).

I honestly haven’t been able to have a single day since he was elected that I could get my thoughts in order about how I wanted to write about this because every single day more news broke or he tweeted that people were mean to him or that Saturday Night Live made fun of him.

It’s enough to make my head spin.

This past weekend was the inauguration. So it’s official now.

This is what I know to be true right now: I do not trust our president.

I also know that I don’t want him to fail. Our country has a flawed system because humans are flawed. I don’t thin our current president is the one that is going to fix that, but I don’t want him to crash and burn because that would mean so very much pain for our country. Even more than has already been inflicted.

My prediction is that he won’t make it through his first term. At best he will be impeached, but then we have his VP to contend with. At worst…well…there are a lot of worse case scenarios and they all include someone’s bloodshed. That is unacceptable.

I don’t really want any part of my prediction to come to fruition. I would love to come here in four years and say, “man was I WRONG about that president!” I want someone–anyone–to get into his inner circle and help him be a leader who doesn’t hurt the people he is leading–someone who will help him do no harm.

Yet, he has already done harm. He has already marginalized.

I keep a small, match-sized flame of hope glowing, knowing full well that as a middle-class white woman who has insurance through her job that it is my privilege to be able to hold onto hope. And yet, how do we get through a day without some hope?

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Do I also focus on the protests? That is something my kids will surely learn about in history.

There were Women’s Marches this past weekend as well. All over the country. Actually all over the world. Women (and men) came out in droves and created what is now officially the largest inauguration protest of all time. There were lots of reasons people protested our current president, but they all boiled down to ALL of us having the SAME rights.

The march made me happy on Saturday as I watched the photos flood my social media. It gave me hope to see so many–millions!–come together to protest and have their voices heard!

We need to take action. Showing up is an action.

Yet I’ve seen some negative posts about march. It makes me sad. It seems that other people are still unwilling to listen to others. People are still trying to tell others that their feelings are wrong. “No, you don’t really feel oppressed because I don’t feel oppressed.”  People are still unwilling to accept that someone else’s reality and experience may be different than theirs–and that both can happen. And that alone is inequality. Why is it that a largely white crowd is a “peaceful protest”, but a crowd made up largely of People of Color is seen as a “riot”?

Our system is broken.

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Do I focus on what I am doing right now?

There is no question in my mind that we have to act. We have to raise our voice. We have to be the change. We can’t be content to write and share blog posts on social media, we also need to DO something.

As someone who is battling a really hard case of anxiety/depression this winter, probably in part to our current political situation, I have chosen to write my reps in congress and in the senate. I have chose to email and tweet them.

I have also chosen kindness. Our country needs kindness–humanity–right now. We need to be reminded that we are connected with each other even if we are different.

One thing we did this winter was actually Eddie’s idea. He was watching the news and saw a report on homelessness–specifically children who didn’t have winter coats and hats. He remembered this when I was packing up all the coats and hats that don’t fit anyone in the house anymore and asked me if we could give them to someone who didn’t have one instead of bringing them to GoodWill. We ended up taking a collection at church and taking the entire haul to Community Action House.

I have given money–be it small because that is what I can afford–to organizations that help educate people about cultural awareness and also go directly to help fund research and work in minority communities. My donations have gone to Being Black at School which helps educate and implement programs in schools to reduce the effects of systematic racism.

And of course I am trying to fight racism, tyranny, misogyny, and the rest with books. Research shows people who read fiction are more empathetic. Reading makes you a successful, smart person, yes. But way more importantly it makes you a good person. If you haven’t read The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, or Animal Farm, you should. Fiction writers have long been writing about worlds where tyranny rules and what that would mean to humanity.

 

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I am not doing things perfectly. There is more I could be doing. There is better I could be doing.

I am listening, I am staying vigilant, and I am spreading kindness.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. I am right where you are. I can’t find the words to speak about it on my blog, but I’m doing what I can to take action. It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s what I have in this moment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Roxanne recently posted…ENG 724: Issues in autobiography.My Profile

  2. I think you got this exactly right, Katie.

    These are complicated (devastating) times and you’re doing your part by raising three citizens of this earth who love each other and will love the world.

    Your kids will know your heart.

    XO
    Julie Gardner recently posted…Mother Knows BestMy Profile

  3. I think you put it rather well. We are all fearful of the worst and hoping for the best.
    Heather recently posted…My word for 2017: GentleMy Profile

  4. Every day you are doing something to move our country forward- starting with your own babies at home, and broadening to the students you impact every single day. Do not underestimate your power to make change. It’s happening right in front of you!

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