I promised myself time.
Time to decompress and time to gather my thoughts following a crushing body blow rendered to all the values I hold dear.
I promised myself that I would take a bit of a break from social media, newspapers, and television. I am not interested in being told that it will all be fine. I am not interested in the punditry informing me of the rhymes and reasons for this nightmare. I am wholly disinterested in the dissection of blame and errors and miscalculation. I am not placated by prayers and I am not solaced by the redemption story that is surely spinning to normalize the profoundly abnormal.
I haven't read a single think piece, blog post, or published letter from any source since Tuesday. I have avoided Twitter and the echo chamber. I know that it is all out there. It always is following times of tremendous upheaval. But I am not eager to read any of it.
But, I do feel the need to express my own emotions. That is why I set up this space for myself, as a vehicle for venting. As readers, you are free to disregard or disagree with any or all of it. So, here goes.
The sun rose as expected on Wednesday and aside from the raging agony of an upset stomach and exhaustion from lack of sleep, my life wasn't profoundly different. My family is healthy and happy. (Thanks to the Divine Spirit.) I am warm and comfortable and living in one of the safest and most progressive places on the planet. I am afforded countless opportunities and I am financially secure. My petty complaints have become fodder for silly pieces and sarcastic jokes in this space. On the surface, all is right in my world.
Except accepting that notion above all else would be to deny the obvious. I am a white, middle-aged, upper-middle class, recently transplanted suburban to urban woman. But...
I am not the person of colour being heckled on the street by flaming racists to return to a country in which I have never lived.
I am not the hijab-clad Muslim woman who fears outwardly for her safety by practicing her religion.
I am not the undocumented student who came to the United States as an infant and knows of no other country to call home.
I am not a Latina child being bullied in the playground of her school being told that in this new America she will be forced to go elsewhere.
I am not lesbian, gay, transgender, or queer and being told that love only matters for straight people.
I am not disabled and being cruelly mocked for that which I am unable to do.
I am not an African-American man who is fearful every single time I see a police officer.
I am not a single woman who attracts unwanted catcalls and sexual assaults masquerading as locker room behaviour.
I am a person of immense privilege who can hide behind a veil of caucasian.
I am a Jew who, in my lifetime, has only seen the very tip of anti-Semitism and is more frightened than ever by the open display of swastikas, Nazi salutes, Auschwitz cartoons, and dog whistles to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
I am a woman who remembers what it was like as a girl in high school when some strange boy actually did grab my pussy.
I am a person of faith who spent her career trying to justify and explain her place on the bimah to some very privileged Jewish men.
I am of the generation who has thoughtlessly abused our natural resources and was hoping to help remedy that massive error and leave this planet in better shape for the generations to follow.
I am a Canadian who is very aware that it can happen here too.
You see, the world did change on Tuesday night. It became a place where the now most powerful person in the world has given tacit permission for all of the aforementioned. He has, without apology, made it acceptable for hate groups to actively march again. He has, without a hint of irony, encouraged these slimeballs out of their hovels and into the mainstream. He has set brother upon brother, he has fostered distrust amongst neighbours, he has encouraged ignorance, and he has denounced science.
Through a campaign of hate-mongering and fear, one man unleashed all of that. One man took the lid off of Pandora's box and he cannot, no matter how much he might want to (Really? who believes that he wants to?) close it back up and return the vermin to their sewers.
For the first time in my life, I am truly afraid. I fear for my friends and family south of the border. I fear that when I visit my other home, my tanned olive skin might make me a target. I fear that wearing Jewish symbols might lead to confrontation. I fear the anger and I fear the hate.
I will undoubtedly move past my fears. I will undoubtedly find a constructive vehicle in which to channel my passion for equality and social justice and to stand resolutely opposed to everything this hate-monger has unleashed. I will undoubtedly find a way to battle hate with love.
Until then, I need the space to vent my outrage. I need for that emotion to be validated and not placated or patronized.
I need you all to understand that what has happened can never be normalized.
Not for me.