Politics

I’m So Tired

im_so_tired

Is your spirit spinning in a dusty whirlpool of disgusting news? I keep thinking I can walk my way out of it, like after the election.

But this requires marching.

Attempting to write my way out, like after the Newtown shootings, I wrote an uplifting piece that tapped into a story connecting 1967 with 2017 – about my mother, my daughter and me – united in a mission to protect women’s rights. I planned to publish that today.

But the sweetness of the moment got tossed aside by recent events.

Trying hard not to let outrage rule my life, I will organize, resist and march, because I love this country.

But today, I am dispirited and whirling. It’s going to be a long four years, and I’m already so tired of…

Image via nataliehsc, Etsy

Knit for Women

malabrigo_pink_yarn

I never knit in pink. It’s not my “normal” color to knit with. I knit in neutrals.

I never use the word “pussy.” It’s not a word the men in my life use either.

As I move from sadness to fear to anger to action, when I’m reminded of our president-elect’s vile “locker room” language about how he treats women, it stops any kind of redemptive healing dead in its tracks.

How to overcome the demeaning foulness Trump has brought into women’s lives?

March.

But first knit.

Knit for you. Knit to connect with women. Knit for those who cannot. Knit to transform unkindness.

According to the Pussyhat Project, pink is powerful because it represents caring, compassion and love. According to me, it’s not a  “normal” color to knit with. But then again, welcoming the Trump show’s “new normal” is not what the vast majority signed up for.

The Women’s March on Washington is January 21, 2017. Knit a hat for the movement. Here’s the pattern:
1479859649824

1479859828872

Photo: Malabrigo Yarn

How to Talk to Children After the Election

stormy_sky

This past week, I’ve walked miles. Walking changes the nature of my thoughts. It helps me make sense of things I don’t understand. And boy, have I needed to walk off this election.

Exactly one week after Election Day, the sky over my upstate New York home opened up and torrential rain fell for hours … raining havoc on my ability to get out and walk.

Like balm for the parched earth (the current drought monitor placed us in a severe drought zone), the pelting rain sank deeply into the ground around my home, as it simultaneously seeped into my basement. This left me cooped up in the house voraciously reading the news, worrying about the president-elect’s questionable team choices, viewing ongoing Facebook arguments, answering “What’s next?” email inquires from climate colleagues … and now having to deal with a flooded basement.

Instead of fishing out towels to sop up a puddle the size of Texas that was becoming uncorralable, I escaped to a warm, dry coffee shop, just as the local children were getting out from school. I watched a stream of moms, dads and school kids duck into the coffee shop for an afterschool treat.

My kids are older now, but I recall how they loved a rainy day pick up and then a fancy hot chocolate at the coffee shop.

A mom and her son slid in next to me on the bench and I overheard him ask, “Mommy, what makes America great?”

“You do, Sweetie. President John F. Kennedy said, ‘Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.’” 

The boy sat straight up and blurted, “One day, I want to be a president like that.”

Pausing to carefully choose her words, the mom says, “Of course you can. Anyone can be president.” 

How ironically true. Anyone can be president.

As many of us struggle to make sense of this fact, it’s our job to protect our children and help them deal with their fearful feelings.

Yet, so many children clearly heard our president-elect talk about sending families back to Mexico. Children saw him mock people with disabilities and demean women. Some listened to parents say they were moving to Canada if he gets in. Many children even stayed up election night to witness history in the making. Instead, they watched emotional CNN reporter, Van Jones, look into the camera and ask, “How do I explain this to my children?”

It’s nearly impossible to keep children out of the noisy news fray.

So what is it about America that makes it great for our kids? And how can we talk about something that we are having trouble sorting out ourselves?

Civics

Politics is emotional, and as Leslie Bushara, a mom, and the deputy director of education at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan says, “This is a time to explain to children that democracy is messy. When you can, talk with your children about what President Obama called, ‘the boisterous diversity of our country.’ Help young children understand that like a family, we won’t always agree as citizens, either.”

Like President Obama said, “We’re all on the same team.” And Americans are allowed to disagree.

Children need to know that citizens are permitted to peacefully gather and protest what they do not agree with.

Civility

When I was a teacher, my students and I had endless conversations about how to be humble, gracious winners; not sore losers. We talked about bullying, posturing superior behavior and being kind, generous and helpful.

Children need to know their parents still hold tight to virtuous beliefs and values, despite how ill behaved our president-elect acted during the election.

Safety 

You may not feel safe, but children need to feel that they are. They need to know that just because our country will have a new president who may have very different ideas and opinions than ours, their lives will not change. If age appropriate, explain the political process — congress, bills, voting.

Fearing deportation, loss of health insurance, an increase of hate crimes and sexual abuse are adult subjects.

Children need to know that when politicians say things we think are wrong, just because they said it, doesn’t mean it’s ok.

Science

For our work on climate change and toxic chemicals, we will continue to report and respect sound science. And we will hold those accountable who do not. There are many forces of good in this country. The field of climate science overflows with ethical scientists telling us we must curb polluting fossil fuel emissions and transition to healthy, clean renewable energy.

Children need to know this is a message every parent in this country can love.

The kids are listening, they’re learning by our example. Show them you have a strong voice. 

As I polished off my coffee and watched the mother and son exit the coffee shop into the late day sun, I decided to take a short walk.

Then I headed home to mop the basement.

He Gets It.

land_sea_sky

President Obama gets it.

“That bright blue ball rising over the moon’s surface containing everything we hold dear – the laughter of children, a quiet sunset, all the hopes and dreams of posterity – that’s what’s at stake.” ~ President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013

On Tuesday, President Obama told us he gets it — he’s putting the breaks on climate change. Obama is imagining a “cleaner, safer, more stable world,” because he gets it. He gets that humans have created climate change by burning massive amounts of fossil fuels. He gets that these changes will have a devastating impact on people, ecosystems, and energy use. He gets that we must do something about it now.

“Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”

 “We have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we’re going to suffer the consequences – together.”

“Our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.”

“We can’t just drill our way out of the energy and climate challenge that we face.”

“I urged Congress to come up with a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one that Republican and Democratic senators worked on together a few years ago. And I still want to see that happen. I’m willing to work with anyone to make that happen.”

“A low-carbon clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come.”

“Those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it – they’re busy dealing with it.”

“While we may not live to see the full realization of our ambition, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the world we leave to our children will be better off for what we did.”

“Someday, our children, and our children’s children will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world?”

President Obama gets it.

Please join me in telling your representative to do everything in her or his power to support the president’s plan HERE. Thank you.

Watch full speech here. For those visually-inclined (like me), here’s an infographic

Photo: Ben Scott for Bluerock Design

Equal

equal. jpg

EQUAL: e·qual  /ˈēkwəl/ Adjective: Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value. Noun: A person or thing considered to be the same as another in status or quality.Verb: Be the same as in number or amount.

It’s time for marriage equality.

The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday in cases involving gay marriage.

3 Reasons why it’s time for marriage equality:

  1. 9 million Americans are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a 2011 study by a scholar at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.
  2. 49% of Americans now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in mid-March. 44% percent are opposed.
  3. There were 646,000 same-sex-couple households in the United States in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

My best reason for supporting marriage equality: I fell in love. Got married. Nobody told me I couldn’t. It should be every American’s constitutional right to marry the person they love.

Do you believe it’s time for marriage equality?

Source: Politico Painting via Designerman