I drove to LAX last night.
Once there, I joined a crowd of a couple hundred people. They–we–demanded release of Muslims from certain countries detained based on a Trump (read: Bannon) executive order issued yesterday.
A California congressperson informed us one Iranian student had already been deported. She and others were at the airport demanding access to the detainees.
As I stood chanting, hoping that so many people show up for Sunday solidarity at airports, I regretted deeply how I contributed to this outcome.
As I drove home, I thought of a post I wrote in October. In “The could-have-been soul-kin of Anne Frank,” I wrote:
I thought about the quiet inaction of those who watched as Nazis committed genocide. They likely hoped they’d earn safety for themselves and their own if they remained silent.
I understood that the U.S. coming-for actually began at least fifteen years ago.
I thought of three kids who’d stood chanting opposite me at LAX.
They don’t deserve less than my or your non-Muslim kids. In fact, what we do to protect them will profoundly impact the safety of all our kids … forever.
So if you’re wondering what you, just one person, can do? You can donate to the ACLU, busy fighting this heinous executive order. It was the ACLU that earned yesterday’s stay that, unfortunately, wasn’t acted on quickly enough at some airports.
You can call Congress, multiple times every day. You can show up at city council meetings, and other local political meetings. You can call your friends and bring them with you.
And today? Today you can drive to your nearest airport, and join others in saying, “Not on my watch!”
You don’t need to know what you’re doing tomorrow. Just … please, please, show up today.
I recorded a video a couple of nights ago. I wasn’t planning on linking it here, but I just listened to it and changed my mind. It reveals so much about where I’ve been, where I want to go, and why I want to go there.
It did originate with politics, so you might want to skip it. Basically, some folks expressed concern with my supporting Brand New Congress, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that could legally accept dark money. It’s so personal that sitting down and writing it out didn’t feel right. So … I recorded a (respectful!) video, and I’m glad I did.
Just be forewarned: my husband might work in show biz, but you’ll see none of that glitz watching the video here!
One of the first books I read after beginning to care about politics was Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It was both powerful and powerfully depressing, an accounting of decades of U.S. destruction in the name of “free markets.”
Today, its author has written something beautiful and empowering. I want to get back to sharing things we all can celebrate, and that means I’m going to try moving away from explicitly political stuff. But tonight? I want you to know that much of what I understand about politics, and about U.S. politics, I understand because of Klein.
When Klein writes that the U.S. oligarchs who’ve controlled the world for decades are scared of us, that’s something to seize. They’re trying to implement shocks that’ll confound, diminish, and separate us from each other.
That can’t happen if we’re willing to stand for and with each other. So, please, please, read Klein’s “Trump’s Crony Cabinet May Look Strong, but They Are Scared,” and prepare to reach across divides, because that’s what it’s going to take to save each other.
I refuse fear. I reject it absolutely. And why? Because I know you, and I know: together, we are invincible.
I see you. I see some of the hundred difficult situations you’re juggling. I see how you berate yourself when you drop any one ball for even a second.
In case it helps lighten your load, I want to share a little of what I see.
Faced with some challenging parental situations, you are facing them right back. You’re not minimizing or deflecting them, but doing everything you can, despite exhaustion, to usher your kids into a future that will be good to them.
You work hard, smart, and kind. You understand when you need to adapt and you do the work, undaunted by complexity or hurdles.
Your enormous heart finds ways to give and share every day. I mean this: every day. You are always looking out for the people around you, sometimes to your own detriment. You deserve your own compassion at least as much as the people around you do.
You make people laugh. You have great insights and perspectives, which brighten conversations and, heck, entire days.
You’re candid. You show what’s good and what’s bad, making it less lonely to be human in a world so full of illusions of perfection.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Think of it as a (lunch break) start!
Please step out into the sunshine, lift your face to the sun, and take a second to marvel at everything beautiful you do and are. It’s a lot.
I see you, and you are magnificent.
I hope you see it, too.
P.S. Think of the ponies!
One of my sons is sick today. Because I am lucky, his grandma is watching him while his dad and I work.
The other son’s school didn’t open on time. Someone on the staff either missed an alarm or had an accident, and so my little one and I stood outside the school for 45 minutes before it opened. Because I am lucky, my manager laughed when I explained I’d be late. “What, you don’t want to leave him to fend for himself in the parking lot!?” he replied.
My son shrieked with glee when he saw his teacher, which made me smile.
Every day, I am able to either be with my sons or leave them with people who care. Because I have been unlucky, I am grateful to be so lucky today.
I grew up with both violence and denial. Denial aggravated me far more than violence.
Violence came and went. It happened because it happened. Parents were sometimes cruel, and then the kids they violated often learned to be cruel, too.
Denial, on the other hand, screamed, “I have the luxury of pretending what happened to you could not happen to me! Therefore, it happened because there was something uniquely terrible and deserving about you!”
The violence I endured as a child taught me to trust my instincts.
When a “charming” acquaintance made my skin crawl, I told my friends. They said I didn’t give him enough credit.
They were shocked when he committed murder-suicide. I was shocked, but not surprised. I’d lived with violence long enough to identify the subtle indicators others could simply choose to ignore. The little red flags he displayed didn’t even register for 99% of the people around me, none of whom–otherwise–themselves presented a single red flag.
When one of my sisters was at risk, I knew it because of how her communication changed. She didn’t have to tell me much for some part of me to cry out, “Alert! Alert! Alert!” even before she first told me he’d attacked her. I identified the risk before I could express it well.
When she called me about a later attack, I’d just finished reading security expert Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. I had vocabulary to show her the risk I saw. From the book, I read her a list of danger signs displayed by a partner. She told me her boyfriend had “done at least 25 of those things” and, thank God, packed up and drove more than a thousand miles south to begin a new life here in SoCal.
Had she stayed, she might not have survived.
When a neighbor told my son what to do, speaking over me to command Li’l D against my wishes, I trusted my instincts … and Gavin de Becker’s Protecting the Gift. I said no and ended the conversation. My neighbor’s aggressive reaction to this affirmed how right I am not only to trust my instincts, but to teach my sons to trust theirs.
Many times before now, I’ve told you I will not perpetuate violence by my denial.
All the same, I wanted to shove my intuition aside in 2016 when it screamed, “Your representatives don’t represent you!” Instead, because I committed to never perpetuate denial at others’ expense, I researched. Once again, I discovered my instincts had guided me well. They uncovered truths logic alone would’ve kept concealed.
Despite everything I’d learned in youth, I’d been taken. I’d had no idea that the predatory tactics of pedophiles could be adopted en masse by politicians. I’d never have even had cause to suspect, had I not grown up in such mayhem.