Jan 27, 2017

To despair or not despair...

It’s day seven. I considered making this kind of like survivalist’s log of the end of the world.

Day seven, the rivers have dried, the food is scarce, and chances of survival seem slim.

I have been struggling since November, as the last two posts have shown, and finally after two months of burying my head in the sand and singing la-la-la-la-la to myself while covering my ears, I realized that denial didn’t make me feel any better than I was feeling. The sense of impending doom was there, whether I acknowledge it or not. So, I opened news, and clicked on headlined and struggled against the urge to cry and rail. I wanted to despair, to ask myself for the millionth time how we got here. How we are replacing a Nuclear Physicist as Secretary of Energy for a guy with a degree in Animal Science and more experience asking his constituents to ‘pray for rain’ in times of drought than to come up with a scientific solution for our climate problems.

I want to despair, so badly, but I cannot, I will not.  I refuse to despair because I think of the fact that Executive Orders are not written in stone and may not come to pass.

Maybe we won’t fuck up the water source for millions and destroy the sacred land of native people by building the Dakota Pipeline. Maybe, just maybe, we won’t rape Alaska’s pristine beauty, endangering its soil, water, flora and fauna by building the rejected Keystone XL pipeline.

Maybe we won’t cancel the Sanctuary cities all over the country, which embraced and sheltered so many, many immigrants that have tried to make this country their safe heaven and home. Maybe, just maybe, we won’t forget the words that so proudly stand under the Statue of Liberty. Maybe we won’t forget that promise, maybe we will remember to be proud of what this country used to stand for. Maybe we won’t make a mockery of the words. Those words, that have forever haunted me and made my heart skip a beat with their beauty.  When the country takes a turn for the worse and does objectionable things I don’t agree with, I try to remind myself that at its core, the goodness, the need to help other, the striving for betterment is its true calling, even when straying from its path.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I think back and wonder how different my life would be right now if I was one of those wretched refuse but on today’s current climate. How would my future look if I was one of those in the huddled mass, not then, but today. One of those tired, one of those poor as I was 15 years ago, when I came to this country.  I am no different from them, except I came earlier.

I don’t want to despair because I hope we don’t defund and ignore the needs of millions of women who use the services of Planned Parenthood and similar programs around the world, who depend, like I did on programs such as this one for their health.  When I was newly arrived in the country PP was the only way I could afford to do annual pap smears exams. Life-saving pap smears that screen for cervical cancer. At $6.50/hour working at McDonald’s, Planned Parenthood was the only way I could afford those. And it’s not just people like me, dirty immigrants who came to sap away resources and steal your jobs that benefit from Planned Parenthood. Born and bred US Citizens also benefit from them.

While despair beckons, I want to ignore it, I want to think that we can rise above the ridiculous notion of building a wall between neighboring countries. A wall between a country with such deeply rooted history with our own. I want to despair when I think about history repeating itself so shortly after it happened, when is barely even history. Didn’t several of our former presidents fight against walls, merely decades ago? Why cut ourselves from the world? Why, WHY do we think divisiveness is a solution to anything? Isn’t it obvious that together it’s the only way we’ll rise?

When despair and fear, anger. heartbreak and the overwhelming sense of betrayal are threatening to consume me I repeat to myself the incontrovertible truth that Victor Hugo shared with the world just two-hundred years ago:

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come”

When I want to despair, I remind myself that this, what is happening right now, are the last struggles of a dying breed. What you hear; the pomp and circumstance, the backwards thinking, the rampant ego, the oppressive thoughts, anti-intellectualism, the racism, xenophobia, homophobia, trans-phobia and militant sexism are but the death rattles of a perishing era of thought.

I won’t despair, I won’t quit. Because tolerance, unity, progress itself cannot be stopped, its time has come. 

1 comment:

Lorna Jane said...

Hi, I'm compiling an anthology on women and migration and found your blogs interesting. Would you consider contributing an essay about your immigration? If you are, please send me a message on linkedin. Thanx. Lorna Jane Harvey