Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Historical Moments

In the car all day wanting to do anything but think about the news. Last night was bad. I sit and read from my hotel room about the chinks being taken out of democracy and the quick slide towards so much more than dreaded McCarthyism, into full blown, outright fascism.

Last night, I sat on a hotel couch and I watched the news, after having spent the better part of an afternoon in a city which celebrates and lauds it's participation in American democracy from the revolution through through all our wars (good and ill). I sit and I watch a video of children crying in a detention center were staff have been given explicit instruction not to comfort. There is a level of horror that you cannot fathom here. Most normal people cannot understand what it means to watch children suffer, and as adults, withhold comfort. I watch and I start to cry again, and I start to feel completely isolated again, and I start to want to find a quick way out again, and I know that this is not about me, it's a political moment, but...

On the road at 7 a.m., little sleep, dreams are nightmares of being kept in corners with no freedom, told not to move, wish that the parents I despised were there to save me from the adult caregivers I was given into. I read the comments and responses. I should not have read the comments and responses. "It's basically summer camp." "If their parents loved them." "Most of these kids are probably super happy to be away from their parents and off the road."

I loathe with almost every fiber of being the parents of my childhood. They were both horrible people. They were both irredeemable to 2-7 year old me. And yet, when other adults tortured me I craved their torture because it was the torture I knew. This is a thing it's impossible for me to explain to you, through my degrees, through my learning, through my developing expertise in this field, at the visceral level this is not just something I am educated in, this is something I am experienced in. No matter how much children go through, at the end of the day, the parent is still the best of all possible worlds even when they are the height of evil.

It's hard to quantify unless you have lived through it. Even when your parent, your ultimate caregiver is the height of evil, they are still your parent.

The current political moment, this is not the case. The parents are doing the best they can, they sacrifice, they have done things no one who was raised in first world country will ever understand. The impetus to do such a thing to their family is overwhelming. We cannot ever know. Even me, with my experiences, I cannot know. I watch their suffering and I cry. I weep for the united states. United in nothing at the moment except a blanket march towards the worst of humanity, towards evils we once fought against.

This isn't about me, but I feel it too much. I cry and cry.

It's 7:00 a.m. on June 27th and my driver is shouting.

"I might just be a white guy with white guy privilege but it makes me so mad."

"I'm there with you."

"I just, it's awful. What everyone goes through, people with a tan, people without a tan," he works so hard at trying to not see black and white. I appreciate the fuck out of him for that.

"I can't fathom what it's like. I mean, it's hard to know, you know."

"I know."

"I know you know."

"No, I mean, I know. I know exactly what's it like. You can't imagine what it's like to go into deep red country and have your heart race, looking at every person and know that they are looking at you, feeling like your skin is just not the right shade, your hair a little too dark, your eyebrows too thick, your lips to big, your nose too big...and everyone is staring at you as you walk just waiting for someone to say something, knowing if someone does say something that it's on you. Wondering how submissive you will need to be to keep from getting punched in the face or worse, stabbed, shot, you don't know. Knowing that if you don't have your phone out, that if you aren't recording it all, that you are going to be at fault. That you were the one that stepped out. That you were the one that was wrong for being here. Being told to go back to a country you belong to when all you have ever been is American, when you have always been here, raised here, grown here, alive here, where everything about you makes you a citizen, expect your not just quite right skin means you need to go back from where you are from because..."

We sit in silence for thirty minutes. I realize I have been ranting. I want to cry. I can't cry.

On this day I see signed posted in office 'I am an unafraid ally! I work with and support undocumented students and families.'

I weep that this is the time we have come to live in.

The drive back is quieter, we talk more about our day, work, things, we leave politics alone. I make the mistake of checking the news and my world collapses. Justices retiring, after a day of decisions that are the epitome of backwards progress. I feel a lump in my throat as we say goodbye.

"It was off to a rocky start, but it was a good day."

"We did good. I'll see you tomorrow."

And in my room I cry for all the horror and I don't know anymore how to begin to feel anything other than that.

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