Category Archives: United States

In the Blink of an Eye

“Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling national problem despite claims that the United States has entered a “post-racial era.” It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.”

 

I read a blog sent out by ACLU that said just because police are afraid of an African-American man (or woman) that is no excuse to kill them.

It got me thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.

9781594831706

He says that we make decisions in the blink of an eye. Sometimes this is excellent. Some could call it intuition. But it often leads to the kinds of tragedies that are played out on the streets of big and small cities across America.

Police officers answering calls, especially domestic violence calls, are afraid for their lives. They know what has happened to other officers and that it could happen to them. They pull their guns fast and use them faster. If it’s a person of color it seems even faster. I’m not sure it’s because of racial hatred. It’s definitely racial profiling.

Ruminating about this, I started thinking about my own quick impressions of people. If I see a white older man in a suit, I think to myself: If that guy is a senator and a Republican he’s probably a Christian who only feels charity to other Christians. If he’s a “southern gentleman”, I throw in that he’s a racist bigot. I know it’s wrong to think that way. I’m trying to get over it.

Living in California there are many Hispanic people around me. Yesterday I got my car washed and sat next to two women speaking rapid fire Spanish. I’ve been working on my Spanish so I always eavesdrop to try to figure out what’s being said. As usual, I could pick out a few words here and there, but it was too quick for me. The men washing the cars, the man who took my information, the young woman who checked me out—they were all Hispanic. Should I generalize that all Hispanics are working class so how could they afford to get their car washed? A scene in the movie Beatrice At Dinner illustrates this well. When Beatrice, a guest, comes up to speak to Lithgow’s character, he asks her to refill his drink. He assumes she’s a servant. It’s not only because she’s wearing casual clothing; it’s because she’s Hispanic by birth. It’s a cringe-worthy moment.

Unknown-1

The ACLU blog got me thinking about how I feel if I see a black man. Do I immediately blink and feel fear? I don’t. I’m very happy to say that. I do not want to be a racist. I do not want to jump to conclusions about a person because of his or her race.

I was fortunate to grow up in Seattle and attend schools that were multi-racial and ethnic. I went back and taught in my junior high school and learned as much from my students as I taught them. So I avoided a lot of the scourge of racism. Not all, of course. But like Spanish, I keep working on it.

Besides being “white”, I am Jewish, which makes me a little schizophrenic in America, and always a little afraid.

DHCyb9mUQAAE9l0

I don’t “look Jewish” so I can pass easily in society. Until someone spouts a Jewish slur. That’s why I announce early into a conversation with a new acquaintance that I’m Jewish. I don’t want to suffer again the embarrassment of hearing someone say: “Don’t Jew me down.”

I’ve never wanted to admit that America is not the land of the free and the home of the brave. I love that myth. I love the stories of the Pilgrims and the Indians sharing the first Thanksgiving.

first-thanksgiving.jpg

It’s so sad at 71 to be aware it was a mythology we were taught. My generation was raised on Westerns where homesteaders and cowboys were heroes.

Unknown

We never realized that the scalps being taken and the arrows being shot were from the knives and bows of the people the land belonged to.

_64176050_chiefjoeseph,edwards.curtis,courtesyofcardozofineart

They were defending their property! We had no compassion whatsoever. It’s taken me a long time and perhaps the Donald Trump administration to pull the blinders fully from my rose colored eye-apparel.

I’m not saying I’m not proud to be an American. I am.

flag-2578873__340

I know how lucky I am that my grandparents had the courage to immigrate here, to a democratic capitalist nation. To a place where they had opportunity. I’m just acknowledging that the United States is not perfect. Nothing is. (Not even me.) But we can keep learning and growing.

images

We don’t have to be a melting pot to create a fabulous America. We can be a mixed salad with innovative and flavorful ingredients. Remember the posters United WE Stand after 9/11? Let’s remember that is our greatness.

Advertisements

There’s No Flu Like An Old Flu

 

IMG_2656

I’m not done moaning about my virus. I still don’t feel good enough to do anything constructive so I’m filling in my time… I found that watching the news was too heartbreaking. I love the London Bridge. I love London. I love Nice, actually. But we’ll never feel safe there again. Now I know why they have those cement blocks in front of airports and on certain streets.
I turned off the television and went to sleep for awhile. My dreams were crazy but then I woke up to the reality of a world gone crazy. In so many ways. I fear the Salem Witch Trials can’t be far from restarting. One little word, and they cut off your head. (THAT’S A JOKE!! A QUASI PUN. Actually, most of this post should strike you as humorous. I feel I need to point that out in today’s world were context isn’t given any value. )
My head started spinning as I tried to keep track of everything. I just couldn’t so I went to sit outside. My dog sat next to me and I began wondering if he was seeing what I was seeing. I mean, do dogs do that? Is their eyesight the same as ours’? Then I began to wonder if I couldn’t get well because I’m in my seventies. Maybe I had something worse going on in my lungs??????? I told myself “to calm down”, “be happy,” “don’t worry”. I sat back and tried to take deep breaths. The smell of the jasmine was so sweet…that it started a coughing spell so I had to go inside.
Then our grandson stopped by to show us how handsome he was in his tux for prom. We even took a picture, which you’ll never see. Take my word for it, he is gorgeous and I look like death on a low burner.

IMG_2658
Just before I started writing this, I realized I had been on Facebook for at least a half hour. (Hour?)I was reading every post carefully and playing every video presented.

2b9ed23169524dd98ccc87b315e0bad4

Trevor Noah, the puppeteer on America Has Talent, the Canada Salute, the giraffes on the high dive, Animals on Twitter. You name it, I watched it today.

DBLHW3pW0AUAm0-

I even started reading some tweets. I didn’t post anything but I did reply to a Joe Scarborough post.
OK. So you get the picture and it ain’t pretty. The Tylenol, antibiotics and Codeine Covfefe medicine better start working better or I’m toast. And Facebook will own my soul.

Boiling Point Revisited

What’s that saying, “the more things are different, the more they are the same?” This morning while looking through my files, I came upon something I’d written in 2009. I copied it and pasted it below. The Taliban are still around. Putin is still puttering on the world stage. All I need to do is change a few names and you’d think I wrote it today. Kim Jong Il becomes Kim Jong Un.  Obama becomes Trump. Throw in a little ISIS, Syria and Russia and you have the same recipe for nuclear winter.

Here’s what I wrote in 2009:

I’m beginning to get that creepy Cold War feeling. Growing up during that era meant there was always a chill in the air. The specter of nuclear winter loomed over us, raising goose bumps on the hardiest of Americans. News reports and civil defense drills stoked our collective anxiety. Books like “On the Beach” fueled our fears further, but that was fiction. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought it all into focus.

It was October 1962. The Soviet Union was building nuclear reactors in Cuba, and the United States was not going to stand for it. President Kennedy demanded they cease and desist, but the Soviet Union ignored the blockade and the threats.

On October 28, so full of trepidation we were unable to concentrate on our high school newspaper assignments, four of us hunkered around the transistor radio on the editor’s desk. Our advisor was off somewhere drinking coffee, or perhaps it was whiskey, so we had free rein to do whatever we wished. We were thirsty for news of the U.S./Soviet confrontation so when regular scheduled broadcasting was interrupted for a news flash, we leaned closer.

“Khrushchev has just announced that all weapons will be dismantled,” the announcer said. “There will be complete cessation of further work at the existing nuclear missile sites.” The four of us hugged. We had just been drawn back from the brink of nuclear war. We were going to be okay.

In the intervening years, we’ve endured events we could never foresee. But when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, we entered a time when you could worry more about whether you were keeping up with the Jones’ newest electronic devices instead of wondering if you were going to be blown to smithereens.

Now, with daily insta-reporting from the Koreas, Irans, and Afghanastans of the world, I’m beginning to feel again that nuclear destruction of the planet is right around the corner. Then I tell myself it’s the over reporting that’s making me anxious. After all, it was pretty hairy in 1962, and we survived. Perhaps Kim Jong IL is just testing Obama’s resolve? Perhaps Iran and Israel will make peace? Perhaps it will be snow tomorrow.

In 2017, I want to say, “Look how worried we were in 1962 and in 2009. Things turned out just fine. See, we’ll be all right.”  Anyway, that’s what I tell my grandkids.

 

Need to Know Basis

I want to start worrying about getting old again. I want to worry about my crow’s feet turning into pigeon’s feet. I want to feel bad that when I wave my arm, my sagging skin keeps flapping like a loose sail. I want to worry about whether I should be buying a cemetery plot rather than worrying if there’s a plot to bring down America as I’ve known it.

I want to worry about not being able to remember anyone’s name. Is it dementia creeping up on me or overload? Because all of a sudden I need to know a lot of names that I just took for granted before.

I can be naïve—I used to think banks existed for me to deposit my money in. Bankers were there to help and protect me. That’s what I thought about our government too. I thought the elected officials would act in the best interest of the country as a whole. So complacent was I that I didn’t worry about officials’ actions or know their names. I admit I still don’t want to know the name of the Speaker of the House is Paul Ryan or the senator from New York is Amy Schumer’s cousin. I don’t want to know that Mitch McConnell is from Kentucky. I’d like to feel everything was going to be all right and I could obsess over my bunions.

I want to worry about my weight. That would be so refreshing instead of worrying about my granddaughter taking ballet at our local JCC. And I’d like to fret about whether I should join the American Hair Loss Association or just quit coloring my hair.

I’d like to have trouble falling asleep at night thinking about how time is flying rather than thinking about neighbors who could be deported in an instant. I’d like to have time to think about whether Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty screwed up because they are old farts instead of needing to think nonstop about the deep divisions in our country.

I’d like to worry again about how short a skirt a woman my age can wear. And whether I can read a Jodi Picoult book without getting my heart broken. I’d even like to worry about how I can get my husband to drink enough water. That I know is a lost cause. I just hope our country isn’t.

Just Saying

I’m a head case, always have been and unless I get dementia, always will be. My mind is continuously busy with thoughts and questions so it’s not unusual for me to walk into a room and not know why I’ve come there. People say that’s a sign of senility but I’ve been doing that since I was ten. I didn’t realize until this morning that my mind is also crowded with adages, song lyrics and literary allusions.

unknown

As I did the breakfast dishes, I was thinking about George Washington. He cut down the cherry tree but he would not tell a lie. That story from first grade has had a lasting effect on me. I rarely tell even a white lie—I’d never lie about something big. And my word is my bond.

Thoughts about George led to a flood of others. Growing up, my brother, sister and I were taught to never judge anyone until we’d walked in his or her shoes. We drank in the concepts of compassion and respect for others with our Gerber formula. We knew that there but for the grace of God, we’d have gone into the ovens of Auschwitz.

11949449_10207371852957526_505228359851726715_n

Taught to be responsible for each other and be grateful for what we had, we knew we needed to share our bounty. I took this to heart and have literally given people the shirt off my back.

My brother gave away the money for his birthday party to help a family in need.

My brother gave away the money for his birthday party to help a family in need.

The work ethic and saving for a rainy day were strong themes in my childhood. Our parents were children of immigrants fleeing religious persecution.

old-family-photo

They married during the Depression and had no money. But when the going got tough, the tough got going. They worked like dogs to become successful and to make sure we all went to college.

investment-20

We were admonished that the early bird gets the worm and that practice makes perfect.

img_7927

 

“Waste not, want not,” they said if we left the lights on. If we didn’t finish our vegetables, we were reminded about the starving children in China. Along with this, we were taught that a penny saved was a penny earned, but also that all that glitters is not gold. There was also a sneaky suspicion that money was the root of all evil.

My parents weren’t the speak when spoken to kind. We were encouraged to have our own opinions as long as we honored our mother and father, and thought before we spoke. However, we were cautioned about opening a Pandora’s box and that it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.

unknown-1

Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I taught these same values to my own children.

scanned-image-1

They have taught them to theirs. Which makes me proud as punch, even though I know that pride goes before a fall. We all believe immigrants like our families have made this country strong.

img_8414

I think who we are is a combination of our nature and how we’ve been nurtured. I’ve been told many times not to be so nice because nice guys finish last, but it’s just the way I’m wired. Besides, I’m the tortoise to many others’ hare. Slow and steady wins my race.

images

Which reminds me, I think there’s a place for everything and everything has a place. That’s why I go crazy when I need my scissors and they aren’t where I put them. The Borrowers have moved them.

Even though I’m an old dog, I’m trying to learn new tricks. An inveterate multi-tasker, I can rush around like a chicken with my head cut off, but I’m getting better. I don’t rob Peter so much to pay Paul. I’m more into the moment, into the Now. I’ve always been slow to anger, and believed you can catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar. I have a long fuse but when lit, watch out. Then I’d be happy to cut off my nose to spite my face. I’m willing to share all this because I’m an open book. The truth is, you can’t tell a book by its cover.

 pinterest-holmes

Besides all these sayings, song lyrics play in my head. They come up from my subconscious, unbidden. Last fall while my husband was going through Proton radiation, the constant theme song playing was, “Put on a Happy Face.”

Lately, it’s “Wake Me Up When It’s All Over,” because I’m as frightened as a rabbit about the present political climate, as well as just climate in general. Hope springs eternal so I’m hoping the Emperor has someone around who tells him he has no clothes on. I’m hoping they don’t throw the baby out with the bath water when reforming affordable health care.

unknown-2

I’ve given up watching television. I’m sick of the pundits earning fame and fortune while crying, “The sky is falling.” And I can’t handle the bloggers, who obviously never went to Journalism School where we learned to be clear, concise and accurate.

Right now the lyric in my head is Bob Marley’s, “every little thing’s gonna be all right.” I know there’s no fool like an old fool, but I still believe good triumphs over evil. I’m still looking for the silver lining.

 

 

 

We Are The World

This was my kind of protest march. No violence. No shouting of epithets. No hatred. Families and friends walked along the street, some holding signs, some holding hands, some pushing strollers and other pushing wheelchairs.

 

img_0576

 

img_0573Grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, moms and moms, and dads and dads, toddlers and babies all strolled in the same direction, in no hurry to run another over or get in someone’s way. Friends greeted friends, said, “How do you?” Strangers met over a common cause and exchanged phone numbers.

img_0603

Actually, rather than protest, it was more a solidarity march for pro-thinkers. It wasn’t really political. Yes, women’s rights were the focus that brought us all out. But it was more than that. Groups of strangers united on the streets of our country to proclaim democracy and equality as the corner posts of our ideology. As the president said in his inaugural address: “It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

img_0605

Walking with friends, new and old, I felt empowered and healed. People of good will surrounded me. People who want to help the common cause. People who want to do something for the greater good. And I knew this was happening from the north to the south, the east to the west.

img_0607

I’d thought I’d lost my sense of who Americans are. But, united with folks from the far corners of the states, I found my kinspeople again.

 

 

 

 

Inauguration Day Realites, Please

 

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t be dressed in black because I’m in mourning on this 20th day of January 2017.

Please don’t read this if it will disturb your Trump sensibilities.

Please don’t tell me that I’m un-American if I don’t consider this man my President.

Please don’t tell me to rejoice in the peaceful transfer of power. Sorry, the transfer of power was powered by Russian hacks and unscrupulous people who created lies to denigrate Hillary Clinton. Fake news became a new industry fueled by the Internet. Outright lies were made up and spread around, bringing an income to these lowlifes. Peaceful transfer of power means nothing when it is tainted.

Please don’t tell me Kellyanne Conway should be admired. She is a model for a propaganda robot, effective but not admirable. She can be programmed to spin anything.

Please don’t tell me Trump was America’s choice. Almost 66 million people voted for Clinton compared to 63 million for him.

Please don’t tell me my dream of a united America working together is just that, a pipe dream. I don’t believe you.

2016-11-05-10-19-34

Please don’t tell me Trump has the good of the country at heart.

Please don’t tell me Trump’s rhetoric didn’t unleash bigots to perpetrate acts of hate.

Please don’t tell me not to worry.

Please don’t tell me that gun rights are more important than lives.

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t be suspicious when I can’t get on the Internet. I’m sure there is tracking of dissidents, which now has a broader definition. I’m sure my Google history can be traced.

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t have lain awake half the night until I took a tranquilizer so I could get some sleep.

Please don’t tell me I’m stupid that I cried when I woke up here at 7:15 and knew that in Washington, D.C., Trump had been sworn in.

Please don’t tell me to put a smile on my face.

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t feel as if I’m seeing the beginning of train wreck and that I’m powerless to do anything but watch.

Please don’t tell me that women in the land of the free shouldn’t have dominion over their own bodies.

Please don’t tell me that I shouldn’t be disturbed that the Republicans blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

Please don’t tell me the country hasn’t be hijacked by the conservative Republicans who believe they should be able to tell private citizens what they are allowed to do. States’ rights? B.S. And if you’re old? Forget it. Before the election, you were respected. Now, you’re on the way to being disenfranchised.

2016-11-05-10-47-22

Please don’t tell me I should be feeling proud of America today. Sixty-three million voted for a man who felt it was okay to grab a woman’s genitals. They voted for a man who discarded beautiful wife, number one, for beautiful younger wife, number two, etc.

Please don’t try to make me drink the Cool Aid. I’m not swallowing the lies and mistruths no matter what. Business is booming and unemployment is down.

screen-shot-2017-01-20-at-10-03-28-am

Please don’t re-write history and tell me things that are not true. I remember when George W Bush left office. America was teetering on the edge of disaster. Unemployment was so high. Banks closed their doors. The auto industry was in the pits. Friends lost their entire life savings at a time they thought they’d retire. Others went out of business or lost their homes. We took money out the bank and hid it under the mattress. Some people survived, others’ didn’t. Fact: Obama leaves a booming economy and low unemployment behind.

screen-shot-2017-01-20-at-10-02-34-am

Please don’t tell me the majority of Americans voted for a man who’s proven he doesn’t keep his word. He’s a man who believes the world can be flimflammed as he’s done time and again in his business practices. But he lost by 3 million votes.

Please don’t laugh in my face and call me a stupid liberal who doesn’t get it. I am one of the 65, 844, 954 who voted for Hillary.

Please don’t tell me the group Black Lives Matter is misguided. They, I should say we, as I am a member, were just ahead of the curve. Black lives don’t matter and neither do Jewish, Muslim, Latino, LGBT or any life that doesn’t fit the narrow picture outlined by Richard Spencer, the alt right leader and his friends, the Tea Partiers. Oh, there I go being silly again. Unborn lives of any hue do matter to them. But let them got born—forget about it!

Please don’t tell me I’m ridiculous to want all Americans to have health care and a full belly.

Please don’t tell me not to worry about my grandchildren. If the hyperbole leads to war, two of them are at an age where they could be drafted. Also, all my grandchildren go to Public Schools and are receiving excellent educations. It looks like this could be in the past as one of the basics of American life is being threatened.

Please don’t tell me Trump wants to be a President for all Americans. Just his Cabinet picks point to the opposite.

Please don’t tell me that everything is going to be all right. I want to believe it, but I need some proof.

320366_10201114967826438_1951783341_n

Please don’t tell me to give him a chance. I’ve been doing that. I haven’t seen him reach out to the four corners of America. I haven’t seen him surround himself with statesmen who are skilled in working with the system. His advisors are liars and bigots and ill prepared for the crucial work ahead.

Please don’t tell me to get a life and move on.

Please don’t tell me my nightmares are ridiculous.

And please, don’t mess with me today. For your own sake.

 

 

United We Stand

I volunteered again this weekend. It’s what I can do. I can’t watch the talking heads anymore. I think it’s these hired guns who are dividing us. Who are they? They’re just giving us their opinions–I rather listen to yours. These people are paid to cause controversy so the networks’ ratings go up. A lot of what they say is drivel. A lot of what they say is completely on party lines and they don’t deviate. Most of it is negative. Some journalists don’t hesitate to promote their own career along with their political agenda. Why is there so little talk of policy and plans for the future? Why is there no discussion of what America stands for?

I rather spend my time with people who want to work together to create solutions.

2016-11-05-10-27-34

I volunteered again this weekend so I could be with people who care about the country. They care enough that they’re giving up their time to talk to strangers about the election. That’s no easy task. I listened in sometimes and I was struck by the sincerity I heard. It was Americans reaching out to other Americans. Don’t tell me people don’t care.

2016-11-05-10-19-34

People came early to work on more than one shift. That morning by 11:00, thirty people came to the door to volunteer. As the day went on, the numbers kept increasing. The ages ranged from 16 to 90.

“I wish I could vote,” the sixteen-year-old said. “But at least I can make calls.”

Harold, the ninety-year-old was one of the walk-ins.

2016-11-05-10-47-22

“I’ve got to do my part,” he said. And he got right to work.

The mood was somber. We felt the weight of our responsibility. We believe in our candidate. We feel Hillary Clinton will make an excellent President. We’re concerned that Donald Trump is not prepared.

2016-11-05-10-22-28

 

“I had to come,” one man said. “There are so many lies out there, I’ve got to do something or I’d feel guilty.”2016-11-05-10-19-21

 

I happened to be in a Democratic group but I bet there was a Republican group with the same kind of people. People of good will. People who care about our country and are willing to work for the common good. We’re not flashy nor dramatic. You don’t see us because we aren’t the kind to create headlines. We’re just ordinary normal Americans.

2016-11-05-11-42-12

Volunteering

It’s Saturday morning. I have had a full week, being the support person for my husband who is going through Proton radiation at Loma Linda. That’s another story, which I’m about ready to share. I could have stayed in bed this morning, getting some rest. I don’t sleep well in Loma Linda and it’s a blessing to be in my own bed.

2016-10-29-10-20-43

But I’m at a phone bank for Hillary Clinton. For me, this election is that important.The phone bank isn’t anything like I pictured. It’s not official looking in any way. We’re all volunteers.

2016-10-29-10-28-20

img_0092

We’re at someone’s house a couple of miles away from where I live. Women and men, young and old, every color and ethnic group, we’ve brought our charged cell phone or laptop. Some people work through their laptops. Others of us spread out and begin to call. I hear one man speaking in Spanish.

2016-10-29-10-27-58

Today some people are calling Ohio, reminding people to vote, talking about Clinton’s policies. I’m helping to check people in, and also with the calling in our area, asking for volunteers for the coming week. We don’t know each other. What we have in common is a love for our country and a belief that Hillary is the person running for President who is qualified to lead us. It’s truly grassroots.

2016-10-29-10-23-05

I talk to an 86-year-old woman who is upset about the FBI Director’s statement. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” she says. “Now we’re not focusing on the issues anymore.”

It’s not a large group yet as its early. Six people walk in, asking to volunteer. Later in the day, more volunteers are signed up and will call. By the end of the week and Election Day, the house will be packed.

2016-10-29-10-25-04

 

There’s nothing phony here, no political axes being ground. But it’s all very organized and there’s attention to detail. I think that’s the kind of government we would have under Hillary. She’s willing to work hard and she’s willing to learn. She’s surrounded by people who work to solve the problems we’re facing. 2016-10-29-10-23-51

Fer Klempt, For Good

There are sometimes my heart is so full that I get choked with emotion. Last Friday we walked to Mercerdale Park on Mercer Island, a suburb of Seattle, to watch the high school homecoming parade. Really we went to watch the high school band. Really we went to watch our grandson play the trumpet in the band.

14432994_1140660689362249_124002649531548964_n

A combination of things came together to overfill my heart. First and foremost was seeing our grandson, 16, standing amongst his band mates. I felt so much love and pride mixed with awe that the baby I’d held (not so long ago, was it?) was now this accomplished young man. I was completely fer klempt.

The sound of the band and the nip in the air stirred something in me too. I had a subliminal instant flashback to the days of Garfield High and the UDub—going to the games with my friends and with my dad. In this troubled world, it was comforting to see untainted exuberance. There was a small town innocence without the feeling of xenophobia that we’ve been witnessing on the news. And I didn’t think too hard about injustice and prejudice for a moment. I just enjoyed.

The next day, the breaking news on television was the rally and  march in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a peaceful protest against police shooting black men like Keith Scott and Terence Crutcher. Hundreds of Charlotte residents turned out—blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, gay, straight and in between. Parents pushed their kids in strollers, teenage kids with drums beat out a cadence—much like what had happened the afternoon before on Mercer Island.

atlanta-protests6-092416_1474751812038_6271332_ver1-0

It was the white people wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts that got me fer klempt the second time in two days. They get it, I thought as I choked back tears. They understand where the focus has to be—not right now on all lives mattering, but on the lives that haven’t been mattering.

America is a complex country with systemic problems. It’s no fairy tale and a lot of times there are no happy endings. It’s better to acknowledge that, instead of covering it up. Otherwise, we’re just ostriches and the status quo will rule. Call me sentimental, but I’d like to see Americans working together with mutual respect to solve our problems. In this country, we have the potential to do just that. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

1473627154145