You’ve officially been called upon.

I took a hiatus from Facebook and then the entire world went to shit. Like actually. I took a hiatus from Facebook to try to maintain my sanity and then Donald Fucking Trump got elected president. That actually happened. In some ways, Trump ruined my Facebook homecoming. I was going to be away for 60 days and then return to wanting fans and friends, drop some humor bomb about Hillary and pantsuits and my return to normalcy, and then continue with a life of subconscious, public narration. And the occasional joke. Because that’s my Facebook MO.

And then all this happened. Candidly, I haven’t really been able to fully return to the world of social media, save Instagram. The nice thing about Instagram is that someone has to be totally and outrageously racist or determined in order to politically offends me via photo. And even though those people do exist, I don’t, believe it or not, follow them. So when I need my social media fix, I scroll through a collection of food, flowers, and selfies and try not to think too hard about who anyone voted for.

The times that I have been able to scroll through my Facebook feed, I’ve seen a sea of frantic liberals. I’ve even seen a few frantic conservatives. I’ve read posts of friends who are signing petitions, joining marches, rioting, protesting, and some who have decided to pack all their shit up and move to some other country that isn’t even pretending to be a democracy. Because that’s better.

All this panic and urgency reminds me of going to Baptist school. In the hallowed halls (re: chapels) of a Baptist high school in Texas you get a lot of panic and urgency. Everyday is a sin-obstacle course whereby the finish line is being saved and the ultimate game over is getting hit by a car and dying before you’ve allowed Jesus into your heart as a your Lord and Savior. Because then you’d end up in hell. Hell is a strangely earth-like place with fire and, get this, an eternity without Jesus. (One might argue that going to a place where your punishment is an eternity without the thing you didn’t believe in to begin with isn’t exactly punishment, but I’ll add here that Mr. Clark was not one for logic and reason. He preferred a booming tenor and verses about fools and faith. But that’s another blog post.) But the asking of Jesus into your cardiovascular system isn’t the meal ticket. The real express train to salvation is being called upon.

Being called upon can take many forms, but the cornerstone of BCU is publicity. If others do not see you defend God/right the wrongs/throw rocks at the girl trying to have an abortion than it doesn’t count and you have to find another BCU. In Sunday school as a teen, there were 15 or so minutes each week dedicated to sharing stories of saving others or being called upon. A man in the Subway was drunk and you sat him down and told him about Jesus and bought him a sandwich. A man was persecuting Christians in a public forum (re: gas station bathroom) and you stood up to him and declared God the Savior of man. Or something. I frankly can’t even remember the exact details of these magnanimous faith acts from my youth. But they were important.

Being called upon was validating and important. If you weren’t proving your Christianity, there was a good chance it wasn’t real. God forbid you have a private relationship with an all-loving God. Your relationship with God would be weighed and measured by those on the outside and being called upon was the only true and indisputable badge.

And being called upon is not an inherently negative thing. In preparation for such a thing, we are… prepared. When we believe we will be called upon, we remain alert and attentive. We are more vigilant and observant. The rush of fear and passion and adrenaline that we feel in the moments before it’s clear we have been called upon is what propels us to success. Without it we are nothing. We have no momentum, no fuel.

The moment can be subtle. Sometimes arguable. Like the man at the Subway. Maybe he needed saving. Maybe he was just a lost frat boy who wandered off campus and really needed to pee. But other times the moment is not subtle at all. Sometimes the moment is so clear, so obvious, that you get all the way to the door to take up arms before realizing you have no pants on. In those moments, the most important thing to do is stop, breathe, and put your goddamned pants on. You’ve been called upon, but without your wits, you are useless to the cause.

There is no question but that we have been called upon. Not Christians by God, not liberals by democracy, nor women by equality. The “we” that I refer to is the collective peoples who have created an oft too silent army around the weaker, the lesser, the battered, and the bruised. Let there be no mistake that in these political times, at this particular moment, in this course of nature, we have been called upon. We are needed. But we are not needed scattered and erratic; we are not needed if we are weakened by fear or made volatile by anger. Fear and anger have allowed oppression to creep back into our narrative.

We are called upon to organize ourselves, to shield our neighbors, and to fight with actions, not rhetoric or retaliation. We cannot change the minds or hearts of a hurting nation with words that drip with menace and malice of the same tone but different tenor than what got us here.

Our laws govern us, but they do not define us. As the tide shifts to the right and our black, muslim, and gay friends, lovers, and family slowly lose their footing, we have to be prepared to define our own understanding of humanity and continue to fight for that understanding.

You have officially been called upon to defend.

You have officially been called upon to protect.

You have officially been called upon to shelter.

You have officially been called upon to stay focused, to not fall victim to distraction.

You have officially been called upon.

You have officially been called upon.

You have officially been called upon.

Now, let us rise. Let us, the popular vote, the compassionate peoples, the left with an eye on humanity compassion seek those on the right who want economic fairness that is not achieved at the expense of anyone, but rather by a rising tide that raises all ships.

We will not let a spark of hate ignite a system that has given us each lives beyond imagine. We will not sing a song of destruction and hate. We will reach out, we will grab hold of the hands that seek ours. And we will continue.

Because we have officially been called upon. And now we shall come.

The Political Post

I was genuinely taken aback at my own response to Hillary’s official nomination last night. I haven’t been a Hillary supporter up until now. I threw myself behind Barack in the 2008 contest and behind Sanders during this nomination cycle. I’ve said since the beginning that she wasn’t the candidate I wanted, but she was absolutely the candidate I’d vote for if it came to that. So no #BernieorBust here. And maybe it’s because I was so focused on the task at hand–the singular goal of having my candidate secure the nomination– that I wasn’t focused on the historical significance of Hillary, a woman, securing the nomination. But there I was at Del Frisco’s, in a bar surrounded by white men drinking scotch, when the screen flashed the official announcement. She had done it. She had done it.

I held the hands of my dining companion (also a woman) and we stopped. We stopped drinking and talking, stopped hearing, stopped everything, and we took a moment to do the most appropriate thing. We wept. Because no matter what you believe about Hillary, no matter who you’re voting for, if you have a daughter, mother, granddaughter, or sister, you owed it to them to recognize what that meant. It was one less “never. ” And while those nevers are slowly being removed from our vocabulary, they still exist. They still silently affect our ability to truly believe in what is possible.

When she did it, she guaranteed that my 3-year-old son will add a new, female face to the fabric of history. When she did it, she gave my peers the confidence to push for more and better today and every day after today. When she did it, she also proved that men are aligned in this fight. That women are not doing it alone. Because women alone did not secure her nomination– we ALL did. For every man who pays us less, every institution that labels us less qualified, there are men who call bullshit. Men like my husband, my father, my grandfather. Those men are our army. Because of those hes, we have a she.

But there are months between now and November and a political shit storm is brewing. And there are many who are not with her. Many who espouse that she is a criminal, unqualified, and ill suited. On our own side, there are those who believe a vote for their conscience will prove their point. A vote for Trump will “show us.” Here is what I have to say to that.

Wars end in treaties. In compromises. With hope that change will continue to take hold. To walk away from something because you did not get everything is what got us into this mess. The road is long, it stretches on long after my lifetime or yours. The progress of the Sanders movement has fast forwarded our national dialogue in unimaginable ways. We were not shouting into a well. Our voices were heard. Our issues got more play, more time, more consideration in the last year than the last 10. We narrowly missed the nomination. There were dark forces, but dark forces are not new to politics. We cannot take our ball and go home. That is defeat. We were not defeated. We were victorious. We will continue to be victorious, if we remain.

What is at stake in the short- and long-term is bigger than today. It’s bigger than holding our ground, clinging to every principle. I am no traitor to this cause, but I am a pragmatist. The Supreme Court of the United States has the power to uphold or deny some of the most groundbreaking changes to social justice in the history of our country. A democratic/liberal majority bench is imperative to our stronghold on minority and gay rights. My conscience cannot nominate SCOTUS. She can.

The devastating effects of a diminishing middle class is evident. It’s causing unrest, division, and hate among neighbors. Access to education, reproductive autonomy, and living wages is imperative. We cannot further #blacklivesmatter without these three things. We cannot change the black American narrative if we do not continue to lay down in front of the train that threatened to undo all that we have managed to eek out these last eight years. My conscience cannot keep Planned Parenthood alive. She can.

We have to fight terror, not hope. Fear cannot be our military strategy. Do I believe we need to reassess our approach to relations in the Middle East? Yes. Do I think we need to push our allies to play a more active, cooperative role in ending ISIS? Yes. Do we need to end this reign of terror? Yes. Do I believe in spending more money, more time, more energy in building a military at the expense of the basic opportunities of the very citizens they protect? No. I do not. I also do not believe in walls. You cannot keep hate out with a wall. More hate comes to us through the internet than the borders. This is a global society. The last country to build a wall was Germany. I took us nearly thirty years to tear it down. My conscience cannot execute that foreign policy. She can.

Call her a criminal and I’ll show you 100 men who have done worse and served our country. Call her a liar and I’ll show you 100 men who have told bigger lies and become lauded in our history. But you cannot call her a bigot. You cannot call her racist. You cannot call her a misogynist. Because she isn’t. And that makes all the difference.

I was with him.

But now…. I’m with her.

What hope remains.

I hear you. I hear you saying that following the rules is the answer. I hear you saying that more guns are the answer. I hear you saying that black lives aren’t the issue. I hear you saying you want to build a wall. I hear you saying you want less color, less gay, less diversity. I hear you saying that the world you want is one of defensiveness, Darwinism, and solitude. I hear you saying that the America you’re voting for, pushing for, and hoping for is one where I take my kids to the movies with a gun, feel cautious and uncertain around black men, withdraw in fear from Muslims, and choose inalienable rights and freedoms over joy, hope, and peace. I hear you. I do not understand, I do not agree, but I hear you.

And I know you hear me. You hear me saying that no amount of rule breaking justifies any of this. You hear me saying that I don’t want more guns. You hear me saying that black lives are the issue. You hear me saying that I want more color, more gay, and more diversity. You hear me saying that the world I want is one of compassion, inclusion, empathy, and community. You hear me say that the America I’m voting for, pushing for, and hoping for is one where I take my kids to the movies with popcorn, feel camaraderie with black men, recognize the terror that my Muslim neighbors endure, and choose and adaptation, evolution, and compromise over militance, blind liberty, and stagnation. You hear me. You do not understand, you do not agree, but you hear me.

And this is our fundamental problem. We hear, but we do not agree. We want a different version of America. We are pulling mercilessly, tirelessly in different directions. We speak our truths to like-minded individuals, we commiserate with those who believe our side of the story, agree with our vision of America. Even in our rare agreements with our decided “foes,” we are quickly becoming enemies. Our frustrations and fears are slowly getting the better of us. These disagreements have leaked off of the pages of newspapers and Facebook feeds and seeped into our relationships. They have poisoned friendships, caused comrades to sling silent insults at one another. Our political differences, our social beliefs have divided us so far that we argue over the relative value of human life. We barter humanity like goods at market. We play God. We have created a theater out of our existence. Our original differences are unrecognizable. They are shrouded in rhetoric, defensive remarks, convenient facts.

You call me liberal. You find me soft, unrealistic, and absurd. But I cannot even call you conservative. Because you, who I am talking to, you are not conservative. You are hard, unrealistic, and disassociated.

But what happens next? Will our shouts and screams slowly quiet? Will our rage and frustration slowly change to indifference? Will our indifference slowly choke us? Will we become so tired of holding our ground that we become our congress, arguing to fill space and time until nothingness becomes the goal? What happens to a nation when progress stopped? When equality is not longer at the  the agenda? What happens if we take a step back and realize that we have irreconcilable differences?

Do we wage war on ourselves? Is that not what we are already doing?

I hear you say you will not compromise. And frankly, I will not either. I cannot agree to compromise any longer. I signed up for Rosa’s dream, King’s dream, Milk’s dream, Anthony’s dream. I signed up for the dream that was born of a desire for ongoing progress, equality, justice, and change. I signed up for the dream that suffered the consequences of a nation built on fear of one oppressor while ignoring the presence of hundreds. Our nation is not oppressed, but our citizens are. Citizens who did not have a seat on the Continental Congress. Citizens who were needed for their contributions, but not their voice.

And I am lost and angry and sad. How many times can we knock at the door before we give up? Or do we give up? Do we walk away or do we fight? Because to fight we need hope.

And what hope remains?

Show me that hope remains.





The Saddest Anger

Let’s put aside gun control and Islamic extremists for a second. I’m not going to talk about those things because right now I don’t care about them. Right now I care about people. Human beings. Not policies or all the shit we cannot fucking agree on to save (literally) our lives. I want to talk about people.

I am not a lesbian. (At least not actively. But don’t completely count me out.) I am a heterosexual woman in a heterosexual relationship with a heterosexual man. And you know what? It doesn’t fucking matter. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t 50 heterosexuals who were shot on Saturday. Because it was 50 people. 50 human beings. Each one of those people was the center of a small galaxy. They have mothers and brothers and fathers and partners and jobs. They were alive and that put them on an equal playing field with me and everyone else.

I overheard a woman at the Y talking about the shooting. That’s how I found out. I heard “shooting” and “Orlando” and immediately Googled it to find out what she was talking about. I was stunned. I was hurt. I felt physical pain– a tightening of my face and chest that made it hard to breathe. A vibrant, happy place filled with men and women seeking solidarity and joy amongst friends and comrades became a slaughter house. And then I was flooded with the names and faces of my gay friends, people I consider as close as family, closer than my blood siblings. Zach. Matt. Matt. Matt. (So many gay Matts…) Marc. Ana Maria. Dylan. Abby. Phillip. Tim. Brian. Brad. Mark. David. Frank. Lizz. Erin. Jason. Carly. Seana. And on and on. I thought of their children, so many of whom go to school with my son. I imagined their lives and their loved ones and the unbearable, unfathomable pain that would rip through my tiny corner of the world if even one of them was a victim of this kind of violence. Then I imagined it happening to 50 them at once. Because maybe they went to the same birthday celebration. Or had marked Latin Night in their calendars months before.

And then I imagined our children. Sitting at the Y, watching little kids cannonball into the water, I imagined their futures. I imagined many of them being brave enough to come out. Brave enough to face cruelty and uncertainty for the hope of a truer, happier existence. I imagined my own tiny son. Because he too may be gay. He too may one day go dance Salsa on a Saturday night with his friends. I tried to fathom the grief of those parents, friends, and families. And I couldn’t. Because that pain is too big. That pain is impossible to comprehend.

And I still won’t talk about policy. I won’t talk about guns or Islamic extremists. I won’t talk about the mental health crisis eating its way through our society. I won’t talk about the homophobia, the racism, the shaming, or the bigotry. Because I shouldn’t have to. Because this is about people. And that should be enough. Whatever the root, whatever the cause, we should be united on every front to find a solution. We have to come to a common understanding about the value of human life. Above hate, above extremism, even above fucking gorillas.

Every human life is worth preserving. Every child deserves a chance. Hate is not a cancer. Hate is a choice. No disagreement should end with with a bullet. No difference should result in a massacre. There is no tyranny greater than our own apathy, our indifference to the lives and struggles of our neighbors. Peace is not easy. Love is not without its obstacles. But no individual party, person, or policy, can dictate the outcome. We cannot continue to do nothing because it will not do everything.

We have created this world. We have allowed these deaths. We have enabled these causes.

And it’s time to do something about it.