There were Trump-Pence signs dotting the farmland between our home and m's school. Most of them are down now, except one particularly committed household with a huge one plastered to the fence that faces the road. Does m see them, and does he make the connection between those signs and the distress we were in on the morning of November 9th, when we had to tell him that we lost? He has a newfound passion for the Ghostbusters, and his last artwork on election night was an orange man surrounded by a no symbol.
During the election we told him that Trump divides people, turns them against each other, makes them afraid of each other. This convinced him, though he would occasionally claim, to get under our skin, "I'm gonna vote for Donald Trump," which had the desired effect. Nonetheless he made his drawing while we ordered take out and I even bought a champagne split because I thought I knew what was going to happen. We were giddy when he went to bed. When he woke up we were in crisis. All of us, whether we knew it or not.
I'm writing and compiling resources. I'm looking for ways to help, and they are revealing themselves in abundance. Petitioning to make my school a sanctuary college. Standing with protestors at Mike Pence's. Signing up to talk to colleagues integrating social inequality into their classes. Trying to explain privilege to myself so that others might see it, too. And being m and m's father in a way that will help them help others and help them see the world, and this moment, for what it is.
I'm focusing on that work as I flash forward to holiday meals with people who are calling us crybabies and who trafficked in false equivalence for the whole election cycle. For the moment their activism is limited to reacting on Facebook; mine will, I am determined, obliterate their Like Button, and will far outpace anything beyond clicking a thumbs-up, should it come to pass. But it gnaws at me. That I will have to say something to disturb the peace, or, even worse, that I will stay silent. M and m will be watching and that will keep me focused and honest and courageous. How can I raise them to stand up for others if I will not stand up for myself? As we move forward their eyes will be on me. What I do they will someday do, or do now in miniature on the playground, in their classroom. I want them in this fight, need them in this rising up. And that is worth more than our dinner table cease fire.
Thank You Campaign...
...was a website I built to document my total freakout at the 2016 US presidential election. I've collected the "offerings" section here: short essays, each with an associated image I'd found or a picture I'd taken, documenting a small set of awakenings and a small rising up.