I remember how I felt when I saw tanks in the West Village, after 9/11. My whole body is paralyzed by the sight. I just stand there, absorbing the shock. What I witness is impossible; my beloved New York City, under siege.
It’s reminiscent of how I feel right now.
There’s a report in Business Insider that more troops will be in Washington than in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Inauguration. Let that sink in.
For the first time in my life, there is no peaceful transfer of power between presidents. I believe that alone answers Ronald Reagan’s political test,
Are you better off today than you were four years ago? …
Ever since the Capitol was stormed, I exist in a state of fear.
That’s not an accident. Terrorists terrify; it’s what they do. I am incapable of imagining this situation without the specter of a second Civil War. I am weepy and jumpy and agitated.
Then this morning, I remember a phrase that snaps me right out of it.
Here’s the thing: my fear of more bloodshed isn’t going to change a thing. My fear is a hindrance. It encourages learned helplessness, and I am not helpless. None of us are.
I learn this phrase from a friend. We are both progressive Democrats. Historically, though, I have more sympathy for middle-of-the-road politicians than she. I know we are a nation of diverse people and I know how important compromise is in politics. …
My brother and I have a fairy godmother. Ours arrives not by pumpkin coach, but via the classified section of the newspaper.
It is 1965. My mother, pregnant with me, has a vacant apartment in our rambling Victorian house. A woman sees the ad, and makes an appointment. She takes one look at our kooky place and knows it’s exactly the right home for herself.
Taking that apartment forges a life-long friendship with our family.
She is our third parent, without the drag of parenthood. Her apartment is an extension of our own. We don’t have to knock. …
How do we talk to them?
I mean the point, of course, the bottom line, is to get them to cooperate. We want them to get with the program, which is wear a mask in public and maintain social distance. That is the point.
The point is not to inform them how incredibly stupid they are. Which is hard to remember, because they are being incredibly stupid. …
I hear President-Elect Biden wants to heal the rift in our nation.
What a lovely thought. I do wish he would shut up about it. It isn’t helping him, or us.
At the moment, healing our nation is a pipe dream. I am not proposing that it won’t ever be possible to work together. I am pointing out that Americans need to be willing to heal in order to do so.
I’m not sure what just happened.
The joy inspired by Biden’s victory reaches across all kinds of generational and philosophical lines. I receive celebratory texts from people in their twenties, and people in their nineties. The guys over at The Lincoln Project are crying, as are my most progressive friends.
This buoyancy of spirit is a shared one. From online to the streets of New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, we all use the same language to describe what’s going on.
Tears of relief. I can breathe again. That weight is gone. Euphoria. Joy. Such a heavy load is off my chest. …
Late last night, I have a very bad moment.
I force myself to accept that Donald Trump won the election.
Imagining the worst possible scenario is a protective mechanism. My brain believes that if I accept defeat I will be guarded against that fickle, awful phenomenon called optimism.
Optimism is a malicious prankster. It gears itself up with assurances that cooler heads will prevail; that people will choose wisely. It tells us that there cannot possibly be enough voters in this country to re-elect the worst excuse for a president ever to sit in the Oval Office.
Optimism is the bully that tricks me into believing it’s my friend, then trips me in the school cafeteria, laughing as my teeth are knocked out and a rectangular piece of pizza attaches itself to my white shirt. …
I am undecided.
I am undecided because I don’t know if anything matters at all, anymore. I imagine I will find out on November 3rd, when this question is answered:
If a Republican chops down a tree in the forest, then says it didn’t happen; is the tree still there?
I am undecided because I don’t really know if anything I have done in the past four years made a difference. I always had a problem in school with Using my time wisely. Could I have made better use of it?
Perhaps I should have finished the book.
A few years ago, I started writing a book. I wrote at least two thousand words every day. I assembled over 600 pages. All I needed to do to it was some editing, write another draft, and it would be in good shape. …
Being conscious these days is simply exhausting.
We have a pandemic; and a president who insists upon being a super spreader.
Writing about current events is a maddening exercise. The news cycle is so frantic that by the time I finish an essay, it is likely irrelevant. People are well on to the next atrocity.
I do hope there is a market for books filled with half-written essays in the Trump era. …
What are you writing today, my mother asks.
She and I talk or text in the morning and evening. She’s 91.
I tell her I am writing about misplaced empathy for Donald Trump.
It’s a tricky situation, I say to her. I don’t ever wish suffering on anyone. But he wants to take away people’s healthcare in the middle of a pandemic.
My mother is a most empathetic person. She’s always pointing out that Donald Trump didn’t get enough love as a child.
It is tricky, she replies. It’s both sad and criminal. …