In This Time of Darkness, Send In the Snow

I am a snowflake, I stand tall and proud. I’ve fallen to the ground, from an ominous cloud. I’m cold on arrival, but I melt when I hear. The drums of injustice, pounding very near.

The world seems so much darker since Donald Trump was sworn in on January 20, 2017. His first 80 days in office have been a disaster, and have incited many people to protest often. He continues to harm and insult countless individuals and communities, just like he did on the campaign trail. Some were anticipating that he’d magically change once he took the oath of office, but I never had that hope. I saw what he was, because I listened to who he told us he was. Many didn’t listen close enough or believe it. They just chose a few things they liked about him, and dismissed all the rest. Some of these people are regretting their decision to vote for him, but not many of his core supporters who seem to stick by him no matter the cost. Even through the threat of nuclear war.

That makes me very sad. Sad that people support such a hateful man, who surrounds himself with cruel, divisive people. Sad that he was elected even though Hillary Clinton had almost three million more votes. Sad that the world’s opinion of the United States has now changed. Sad that I cannot let my own children listen to their President speak. I will not let them hear his hateful rhetoric. I will play back old speeches of Barack Obama so that they can hear the words of a wonderful, eloquent man. An intelligent, devoted family man whom I, and many citizens, loved and will always love. He will always be my President.

I will teach them about compassion, and the difference between legislation that is created to hurt us, and legislation that is created to help us. I will show them how people’s actions speak louder than their words. I will show them all the progress that was made during Obama’s Presidency. I will show them how the Trump Administration is desperately trying to erase all of that progress, and target certain people/communities with a big smile on their face.

I will teach them the value of voting in every single election.

I will show them what love is, and that helping people is an essential part of being human. I will teach them not to judge people by the color of their skin, or by what religion they follow, or by the amount of money they have. I will teach them that we are all equal and should be treated that way.

I will teach them that snowflakes are beautiful, and to be called one is not an insult but a compliment. It means that you care about the world and all of those in it, not just yourself or people like you. It means that you will speak up when necessary, and won’t let your kindhearted ideals get trampled to the ground.

When I heard about the Muslim Ban and saw all the chaos and inhumanity at the airports months ago, I cried. I cried for all those affected, for their families, for our country, and for my children.

I was so happy that they were born while Obama was President. The world seemed so much better, safer and happier. I know that some terrible things still happened, but having Obama at the helm was very comforting. He strived for peace, equality and the greater good. He was a kind and decent man, and when he spoke I got chills down my spine. I knew that I was witnessing greatness. I feel sorry for those that didn’t.

I do believe some people are coming to that conclusion now, and are realizing that harmless emails were actually a diversion from a sinister plot to make America fascist not great. Many people made a mistake by not voting, or by voting for the wrong candidate. Now our country is in great peril. Now a traitorous egomaniac is at the helm.

I believe Michelle Obama said it best when she spoke to Oprah “we are feeling what not having hope feels like.”

I know exactly what she meant, and that is the feeling I have had since the election. I am left with a giant hole in my heart now, and a feeling of dread that I have never felt before. I am scared for my country. I do not support Trump as President and I never will. That is a hard thing to admit and have to deal with, for I consider myself a very patriotic person. I love this country. But, I love it so much that I will not support those who try to destroy it. Things are not normal right now. I have always watched every Inauguration, and wished every President well. Not this time. This administration is like no other. The hate, intolerance, discrimination, and fear it perpetuates is unacceptable.

That is why I am a snowflake.

I was born with a lot of compassion, even though I was not treated well for many years. I was always able to try to put myself in others shoes. I cried easily at the sight of pain or injustice. I always wanted to help, though I wasn’t always able to.

Some are not born with a lot of compassion, but it can be taught, it can be practiced, it can be developed. It can be learned by watching others who exhibit it. It will not be shown during this administration, that is why I hope it doesn’t last long. I hope it doesn’t have to time to destroy people’s lives, jobs, families, healthcare, and the environment.

I don’t want to watch the country I love burn. I want the beauty that Obama and those before him created to remain.

I was very sad on January 20th. I am still very sad about what is going on, and about how Trump is trying to move our country quickly toward fascism. But on January 21st, during The Women’s March on Washington, I found hope again. Hope came in the form of millions of snowflakes wearing pink hats. I could not get enough of the coverage, the speeches, the signs, the women and men who marched for a better, more fair and diverse world. A world I believe in. A world I want to live in.

Though I live close to Washington D.C. I could not march due to my health, but I felt like I was right there with them. I found the light I was looking for, I found my fellow snowflakes.

Many conservatives use the term snowflake in a derogatory manner. I don’t care though, I am proud to be one. I am proud that I, and so many others, care about our fellow citizens, and about our world. I am proud that we want to help others, and to make the world a better place for our children, and for everyone. We will march, protest, call our representatives until the cows come home, because we know that many things in life are worth fighting for, and our country is one of them.

I am so proud that so many people in our country, and around the world, are standing up to the injustice that surrounds us. It gives me hope, it helps me sleep at night. I am able to look in the mirror knowing that I did my best to try to be a good person, and to make a difference, no matter how small.

I don’t know how our new President, or many of his followers look in the mirror at night. I don’t know how they post about how glad they are that the refugee children that have been turned away have nowhere safe to go now, then kiss their own children good night. I don’t know how they say “build the wall,” with such glee, and turn their heads while other’s are bullied and beaten because of such hateful rhetoric. I don’t know how they cried while Angels were shot down in Newtown, but cheer when Trump talks about removing gun-free zones at schools, and while he gave a Sandy Hook denier a seat in the White House Press Room. They looked away while the people of Flint had no drinking water, and voted for someone who will allow all of our water to be polluted. They believe all of the alternative facts and have no idea what the truth is anymore. What examples are they setting for their children?

I will follow the marchers, the scientists, the environmentalists, the civil rights activists, those who fight injustice, and those who dream of a brighter future for all of us. Those who realize that the swamp has not been drained, it has been filled with unscrupulous billionaires who are okay with following a tyrant who is beholden to Russian interests. Money is their God, and their savior Jesus, is just a poor immigrant.

I am glad that the world is watching. I am glad that those who were banned from our country know that the majority of Americans do not agree. I am glad that most of us do not agree with the deportations of Dreamers and non-violent immigrants. I am glad that they see that most of us care. That we will keep protesting and fighting for them, and for what is right. Fighting for the heart and soul of the nation we love.

They say a storm is coming. It is a storm of millions of voices starting to rise. Winter is here. A winter that could last many years.

We are the winter. We are the snowflakes. We will fight injustice. We will spread love. We are indivisible. We are stronger together.

We will try to replace all of the pain that will be created, and all of the woe that we feel, with a beautiful bright layer of fresh fallen snow.

And as we march, we will leave millions of footprints in the snow that will never melt.

snowflakepoem

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I Will No Longer Be Silent

Last week I read a story about a local Virginia waitress who was given a receipt back from a customer that said “we don’t tip black people.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t believe how close I lived to this restaurant, to this horrible racist act. I felt really sad when I read it. Sad for the waitress, and sad for our country.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that it is the year 2017. I knew that Trump’s rhetoric was unacceptable the moment he declared his run for the Presidency. I knew right then that I would never vote for him, nor anyone like him. I did however, expect him to tone it down at some point and at least act like had some humanity. But, as we all know now, he did not. He just keeps getting worse, and he has empowered and given voice to the followers of his that are racist and/or sexist.

I never expected him to win, though technically he didn’t. I had more faith in my country. I never expected so many people to vote for him. I never expected Russia to interfere in the elections, making them void in my opinion. But this is the reality we face now. The question is what do we do about it?

I am a chronically ill person and a mom. I don’t have a big following on social media, and I don’t really care. What I do care about is having a voice and sharing it. I also care about making a difference no matter how small, and helping others when I can.

I grew up in a suburb of New York City. I was shy, neglected, and allowed people to walk all over me. That continued for many years until I finally found my truth. I finally found my voice. I realized that telling the truth does indeed set you free. I found that having a voice and sharing it is very cathartic. It is also necessary, especially now.

There were not many African American children in the area I grew up in. I went to a high school that wasn’t very diverse. It was mostly Irish and Italian Americans. I remember one incident where some of the boys were bullying one of the only African American students for no apparent reason. They were being very cruel and calling him offensive names. I just sat there and watched and didn’t say anything. I was shy and too nervous to speak up, or to stick up for him when it mattered most. After a few teachers came and broke up the altercation, I went over to one of them and gave my account of the situation. I told them that the boy did nothing wrong and was treated very badly. To this day I feel guilty about it. He had no one to stick up for him. I just sat there silent.

Another incident happened when I was looking for an apartment of my own. The landlord said to me “you can’t bring any black people here, the neighbors won’t approve.” I was so broke and desperate for an apartment that I just nodded and said that I was interested in the apartment. Blind acceptance once again.

There are probably more of these incidents from my youth, but these are the two that stick with me. I didn’t have my voice yet or any confidence. I didn’t do the right thing. I didn’t recognize my own white privilege.

Something changed in me after the shooting at Newtown. I completely broke down and had trouble getting over it. I began to heal by recognizing other people’s humanity despite all of the darkness. I struggled to find my own. Where had it been hiding? What had I actually done to help others? I took time to look within myself and I didn’t like what I saw. Though I was a wife and mother, and had a wonderful family, I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t using my voice. I hadn’t found it yet. I started writing a lot and it finally became clear who I was and what I wanted to do.

I didn’t want to sit in the shadows anymore. I wanted to continue to find my voice and use it to do some good in this world. My writing is one of the biggest ways I intend to do this. But, as a neighbor, citizen and friend I can do so much more. I no longer intend to be silent.

Silence can shut many doors. It can overcome you and blanket you with guilt. It can cause you to lose yourself and ignore your own truth. It can hurt others, it can cause much pain.

It can allow a harmful, intolerant person to gain much power. It can end relationships, it can end lives, it can ruin democracies.

I am tired of seeing and reading about other people being bullied or harassed just because of the color of their skin, or because of their religious or sexual identities. I am tired of the the rhetoric of our 45th President.

I am just one person. But one person can make a difference. Whether it’s in their own households by raising kind children, or in their communities by not staying silent while others are harassed or persecuted for no reason.

I promise to use my voice for good and to no longer remain silent. I will speak up when I hear others disparaging certain groups of people, or I will walk away when I have to. But I will not participate by remaining silent or nodding my head when I don’t actually agree.

I’ve done that for far too long and I am sorry.

Please join me and we will help to make our country more compassionate and tolerant. One voice at a time. One word at a time. One kind act at a time.

I will no longer be silent…

Yes, Virginia…We Need Stronger Gun Laws

Virginia, throughout America your little friends are crying. They have been affected by their parents, and other Americans, cynicism, divisiveness and apathy. They know the scary things which they see on the news. They comprehend the violence occurring every day on their streets. Their minds are not little. They see the bloodshed. They feel the loss of their innocence. In their great big worlds dreams are being replaced by fear, art is being replaced by a picture of their friends mother crying at their child’s burial. They are not too young to grasp the fact that their classroom closets are now our inept way to cope with the reality of gun violence in our nation.

Yes, Virginia there is a need for stronger gun laws. Those of us who are willing to put politics aside and march toward a safer, more peaceful world know this. Your world should be filled with joy and fireflies, sprinklers and bike rides, carnivals and endless laughter. We should always put you first, and do what we can to protect you from harm. So that your world will be like an infinite poem, one that provides a rhyme and reason for your beautiful life.

We should not turn a blind eye each time we hear a story of another child killed by a gun not stored safely, or by a person intent on doing harm to school children or innocent bystanders. Over thirty thousand beams of light are extinguished each year by a gun. This light should not be forgotten, these flames should continue to burn in each one of us.

Not believe in gun laws? You might as well not believe in the pursuit of happiness which our forefathers fought so bravely for. So many people are fighting every single day for you and your happiness Virginia. They walk the streets, they make phone calls, they attend tough meetings. You may not see them, but they are there just as sure as the princesses that fill your dreams. Many of us choose not to see these unsung heroes, but many of us do and march to the beat of the same drum.

You can take apart this drum and see the rim, tension rods and tuning screws, but you cannot see the depth of the heart that beats for you and for all Americans. These hearts are strong, these hearts are united, these hearts want you and all children/people to be given a chance to lead a full, wonderful life. They believe in stronger gun laws and background checks because they work and save lives, not because of a secret agenda. Their agenda is pain. Their agenda is a mother’s tears. They want these tears to stop flowing. They can see the reality of the situation, but they remain hopeful. They want to fill your world with this hope, and they want you to revel in the beauty of this nation. The beauty of friendship, the beauty of community, the beauty of love.

No gun laws? That was never the intention of our forefathers, for they knew we must create, amend and uphold the laws of our land so that we can all be safer and free. Many years from now, I hope you are able to look back on a wonderful childhood, free from the fear and constraints of a violent society.

We have the ability to make that happen. We are the adults, and yes you should believe in us. You should believe in childhood fantasies and fairy tales. You should walk the streets with a smile on your face, and lots of love in your heart. You should believe that we will keep fighting for you and never let you down.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

* This blog post is inspired by, and follows the format of the famous editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” which was printed on September 21, 1897 in The New York Sun

 

The Storms of Life Spare No One – Let’s All Help Each Other Through

I was just reading a news story about finding an appropriate way to posthumously honor former DC Mayor Marion Barry.  I knew that he was a deeply flawed political figure, known as the “Mayor for life,” but I was still saddened after reading all of the negative comments about him. I felt the urgent need to post a positive comment about him, though he was never my Mayor. 

After reading more about him, I understood more about where he came from, his poverty stricken childhood, and about what may have led to his drug use and some of his bad choices.  I also read about how he was a well educated man, and a civil rights leader, becoming the first such leader to become Mayor of such a major city in America.  I read about his legacy and accomplishments, which most of us will never attain.

I was deeply moved by two of his quotes where he described having to drink at a separate water fountain as a child due to segregation, and about how he was just trying to get through “the storms of life.”

The storms of life definitely do not spare anyone, I know that just as well as anyone.  That is why I am always so shocked and upset after I read callous online comments.  When did it become okay for us to tear each other apart from the comfort of our own homes?   When did it become okay for us to become inhumane couch critics?

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I don’t know when I read my first cruel online comment, but I do know that I have stopped reading most of them.  I do know that I am only human, and have been tempted by the apple of anger to post one myself, especially to defend those unable to defend themselves, but I stop myself from commenting most of the time.

This is because it is the never-ending story of hate, lies, anger, discriminatory remarks, and fear.  Once in awhile you may read a brilliant, hilarious, or heart-warming comment that sucks you back into the whole rigmarole, but a large percentage of it seems to be negative. (There are a few exceptions to this such as; a positive support group, a page to help cure diseases, etc)

Oh that Caitlyn Jenner is no hero, or that President Obama is the cause of all the evil in the world, or that Chris Christie eats too many Jersey subs.  It never ends…

I just came by to see

But all of these people are human.  They are living their lives, and doing their best to survive the storms of life.  I may not agree with every opinion, or post I see, but I’m trying hard to become a member of Online Commenter’s Anonymous.*  I’m trying hard to read the articles & not the comments.  To see the real story, the big picture, the fragility of the human race.

That fragility is what makes us human.  That ability to make mistakes, and learn and grow from them makes us who we are,  We have all suffered, we have all experienced failure and regret, and all of us must learn to exercise a little more compassion, and A LOT less judgment.

I’m also trying to read more positive, uplifting pieces, blog posts, etc.  These stories remind us that no one is immune to tragedy, heartache or pain.  We are all facing something.  We have all walked through fire.  We must all help each other through.

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I keep up with the news because I know how important it is.  I keep up with politics because I know how much it affects my life.  But I will not keep up with reading online comments, unless it’s about fluffy bunny rabbits…..everybody loves fluffy bunny rabbits….oh, except for user4hate who just commented “not the fat ones.”

Mandy cute close up

  • my blog gives me special commenting privileges, and a respite from regular online commenting on other’s posts 😉

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

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