NOVEMBER 7, 2020
What a day that was!!!! Jubilant. Especially after the somberness when the first results were reported on November 3rd. My husband and I went to bed with heavy hearts. We woke up on Wednesday and had our usual morning philosophical talk, which for the past four years has been about politics and the insane state our country is in right now. We started making plans. Maybe a move to Canada. Maybe giving up our little getaway in Milford, PA. How about Sicily? My husband has family there. After being trapped in a mile long Trump/Pence motorcade on our one lane into Milford a couple of days before we started thinking, “Is this really where we want to be? Two liberal married gay men?”
I stayed away from the media election week. I deactivated my Facebook account. Limited my interaction with friends. I just cocooned myself in my apartment and prayed hard. And then the news started to shift. Dare I get my hopes up? After 4 years of so many disappointments I was too bruised to think that we could jump the hurdle. And then Saturday morning. It started with my pal Billy texting “Biden projected elected president.” Then a call from my husband. AND THEN IT WAS NEW YEAR’S EVE IN TIMES SQUARE. I live on 43rd & 9th and to hear cheers and horns honking and people out on their balconies express elation. On my part I gave the shofar (yes, I have a shofar) an Al Hirt blow and felt as if the dark clouds were finally lifted. It was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. After so much vitriol. So much hatred. So much blatant corruption. So much news about votes not being counted. The skies opened and justice prevailed.
After being caught in that motorcade that scared the hell out of us we decided to come back to New York for election day and results. We just didn’t trust how people in Pennsylvania were going to react. We wanted to be among a majority of like minded people. Sorry…but there it is. That divide has been nurtured by Mr. Trump. It’s always been there but he put a spotlight on it.
I was in a Dalai Lama state all day Saturday. Especially after hearing President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris speak. They were intelligent. Eloquent. Respectful. Impassioned. Inclusive. How could anyone NOT respond positively to their message?
Married to a rabbi, I am around someone who is on the constant search for peace, love, serenity. Sounds like I live in an ashram. But the greatest journey we can take is the journey within. So I had to take good, long, hard looks at myself. The slashes of red I would see when I would hear Mitch McConnell, Eric Trump, most of the Fox News hosts and, of course, Mr. Trump.
Well, is my red any better than a Trump supporter’s red when they see or hear Hillary, Kamala, Biden, John Lewis, Pete Buttegeig? Red is red. Gotta be honest…how anyone can see red when hearing the calm intelligence of Pete Buttegeig is bewildering…but that crayola is there.
I have to say no one is gonna tell me that I’m not on the side of the angels when I am incensed about tampering with the counting of votes. Of Russian collusion. Of sexual misconduct. Of tax evasion. Of blatant racism. Of anti semitism. For some reason so many are willing to overlook this. Why? I haven’t a clue. And this is what we need to get at the root of.
When my husband and I were first dating we were at a social gathering with a group of friends of mine. Of course I wanted everyone to like each other. I noticed that my future husband was quiet. Not really joining in on the conversation. After the get together I said, “Didn’t you have a good time? You barely spoke.” His response, “Michael, there are two parts to a conversation. Talking and listening. I was listening.” Dare I say, the guy is much smarter and insightful than I will even hope to be. Damn I hit the jackpot!!!! Well, both sides of the table have talked…actually shouted. Now it’s time to listen.
That motorcade…they are my fellow Americans. For whatever reason they see it a different way. Some family members…they are my fellow Americans. For whatever reason they see it a different way. I gloated on Saturday. But there were a lot of people who felt disappointment on Saturday. I have to take that leap and say, “We may not agree but you’re my brother/sister/fellow American.” YES…IT’S HARD TO SAY THAT. HARD TO FEEL THAT. But it’s more about who I want to be then being right.
I’ve unfriended some Facebook friends. They were FB friend…not real friends…so the loss wasn’t great. But I unfriended because what pisses me off are people voting party over person. And I’ve seen some intelligent people vote for a man who is about equipped to govern a nation as I am to fix a car transmission. That, does indeed, bring out that vibrant red again.
As a gay man I’ve been marginalized way too long. And when friends/family vote for a presidential ticket with someone like Mike Pence on it…I have a problem. Oh, you may accept and like me specifically But what about the rest of the gay population? What? They don’t deserve the same civil rights? The same respect?
We are a divided nation. How do we come together? I’ve always felt the country was way too big. The needs in the Iowa farmlands are not the same needs we have in the big cities. But we are dependent on each other. There is a universal need that extends over and above topography, social class, income, education, race, religion, sexual orientation. Go ahead…slap me…it’s LOVE. An open heart. The ability to speak up. The ability to listen. The ability to simply look at someone who seems to be not the same and say “We’re the same.”
These past 8 months I’ve seen people sick. People perish. Jobs lost. Boarded up businesses. So much isolation from family and friends. I’ve comforted my mood with too many carbs and not taking care of myself. It’s time to get spirit, soul, mind and body healthy again because now the real work begins and we have to be up to the task.
So if all of us who are happy about the election result think the work is over…IT AIN’T. Each day we wake up the work continues. And the work has to be begin with us. Each and every one of us. We are the nation…yes…slap me again…WE ARE THE WORLD.
I gloated on Saturday. After four years of living under the pall of this administration I felt affirmed. I felt hopeful again. I pumped my fists like I do when Aaron Rogers throws a touchdown pass. They were ringing bells in Paris with the result. But there were a lot of disappointed people on Saturday. They are my brothers/sisters. It’s easy to love someone who thinks exactly the same as you do. Well, I guess the challenge is having that love cross the divide. What did the other side of the table feel they lost with this election? Maybe it will provide us with answers that would help all of us to understand a little more.
Am I still going to fight injustice. HELL YES. But maybe I will dig a little deeper as to why it’s there. Instead of ingesting another piece of homemade bread to ease the pain maybe I will just look across the aisle and ask, “Help me to understand a little better.”
*a little postscript…as I finished this blog word came back that there is unrest in Milford, PA with pro Trumpers driving through town yelling their protests of the election outcome. Law enforcement has been called. Hey, I protested after Trump was elected. Peacefully. Respectfully. I guess that’s just not their way. As I just blogged…now the real work begins!!!!!