If I’m going to get called names, let it be because I stood for something rather than let my silence imply my assent.
I am someone who deeply loves this country. I was raised in NH, educated in DC and have made my home in Virginia, Kansas and now Rhode Island, not far from the land where my mother’s ancestors farmed since 1639.
I care deeply about the environment and the changes humankind has wrought upon it. I can remember as a child noticing the maple tree next to the road that always turned red a month earlier than the others not as close to the damaging road salts. It’s probably starting to turn right now.
I have family members who have served our nation honorably in military service. My nephews are about to join that proud tradition, one in the US Navy, one as a US Marine.
I have family members who are disabled. Hearing loss, cerebral palsy, Autism – these are part of my daily life.
I have family members who are transgender.
I have people I consider family who are gay, lesbian, black, Latino, young, old, poor, and maybe even a few who might be considered rich.
I have walked in the halls of power both in DC and abroad. I have met with generals at home and in Europe and listened to our troops tell us what they need in places from Fort Irwin, CA to Fort Polk, LA, to Hohenfels, Germany.
I have stood in the snow at Dachau, feeling my feet burning with cold, adding my promise to the vow of “Never Again.”
I have climbed mountains and a volcano. And swum in oceans wherever I could.
I have danced in the woods by fire and moonlight offering my dance as a prayer for peace on the planet.
I have held my friends while they grieved their children’s deaths.
I have sat night after night between two incubators, my own babies too tiny for me even to hold.
By education and avocation I am more than just an interested bystander in our political system.
I have watched the growing polarization in Washington over the past fifteen or so years with deepening despair. Last year or maybe it was two years ago? I cried on the Fourth of July. We have moved so far away from the ideals our country represents.
I was thrilled with Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Here finally was someone who put together many of the issues that are not just important to me but have to be tackled as one interconnected whole. But he is not on the ballot this November.
I sat and watched and knit through the incredibly difficult summer of 2016. Knitting is my way to make, not sense, but connections, and ultimately beauty of the experiences of my life. The picture at the top of my blog is of the shawl I knit that fateful summer. Through the shootings of unarmed black men. Through peaceful protests turned into massacres of police in Dallas. Through both political conventions. Through the Olympics. Through learning about Black Lives Matter and White Privilege and so much more.
Through my own challenges closer to home Botox injections for the kids, lots of turnover in the community of helpers that makes our lives run smoothly, and through good times, too – hours spent in peaceful contemplation of nature, looking for birds, watching the kids at therapeutic horseback riding, enjoying the nearly imperceptible passage of the seasons.
Take a long-term perspective.
As the great Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
May it be so.
It is always worth asking, especially when a headline or a post gets you riled up – who benefits from my upset? And is this the best use of my energy?
Let’s go higher.