There are no words

cashier

A line spiraling behind him, the man stood at the checkout — frozen.

The cashier stared, waiting for his response.

She rolled her eyes. Why is this foreigner holding up everything? Why can’t he just speak up and move on?

And I thought, I’ve been him.

Once upon a time, in a country where people spoke a language I didn’t understand, I, too, stood frozen, unable to say what I held in my heart.

Inspired by the Daily Prompt: Translate

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Lessons from my children: Mourning but Moving forward after the Trump victory

20161030_122047.jpgDevastation doesn’t quite sum it up.

I am in a state of disbelief, disappointment, and grave sadness after Donald Trump’s vision for America was chosen last night by a majority of my countrymen and -women. This is a hard, hard morning and is making so many of us reflect on what this means for our country, our children, our place in the world.

As I struggle to make sense of it all, I can’t help thinking about my two boys and how I must be a strong example to them in this painful, defining moment in American history. This morning, my husband and I spoke to our boys and told them that despite our hopes (and even our assurances) the night before, the election had not gone the way we had hoped and, indeed,  expected.

Noah, our 7-year-old, burst into tears. “What will happen to my friends?,” he said.

 

“I’m scared they will be taken away. Lots of them come from other places.” We had to dig deep to show optimism despite our own fears– reassuring our sweet son about his beautiful group of friends and classmates whose families are Mexican, Moroccan, Muslim, African-American and whose shining faces represent such hope for the future.

We told him this will make us work harder and that we will not abandon his friends or our vision of a better future for all children. We told him that it is very hard to lose but one of the great things about America is our democracy and that we must accept the will of the people and its choice for a new leader.  I believe this. I also believe that we must do more, become more involved in local politics, in national politics, in expressing our views and not simply allow the next 4 years to destroy every bit of progress we’ve made and still hope to make.

Our 4-year-old Mateo asked, “Why would someone vote for Donald Trump?”

 

I struggled to find an answer when I am still in such a state of disbelief that people could choose such a severely flawed candidate, lacking experience, and espousing policies of hatred and division. But his question reminds me that part of our work going forward is understanding “the why.” What explains our radically different views on the world and what has motivated them to vote for Trump? Is it racism? Is it economics? Is it fear? Is it one issue or many? Is it their educational background? Is it their daily experience, which must be so different from my own?

We tend to surround ourselves in real life and especially on social media by people who share our ideas. This election is a wake-up call that the reality of America is quite different than how I saw it, how most of the pollsters and pundits saw it, and that there is a huge disconnect between our differing visions of America.

The last thing I’ll mention is the one that I must remind myself of today and hold onto tightly. Over the weekend, when we were eagerly anticipating the week ahead and what we expected to be a historic, glass ceiling-shattering moment, we talked about our schedules.

“No school on Tuesday or Friday,” Noah told us.

“And we have the election on Tuesday — it’s a big week,” I said.

“Yes,” he agreed. “It is… And on Wednesday we have the Book Fair!”

In his 7-year-old wisdom, he saw that there is a day after, that the sun would still come up this morning and that the world would keep turning. Let’s not give up hope. We owe it to our children. Let’s call this Day 1 of our renewed commitment to doing more to make our vision of a more just, equal, and inclusive America a reality.

What is freedom?

 

Stop-gun-violence

For a long time, I have been trying to find words to express my frustration, fear, anger, and sadness about the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Each terror attack and act of violence shatters us — but all too soon we go back to our “normal” lives. Enough.

Every time the news recounts the latest horrors — in a school, in a movie theater, at a holiday party, at an office, at a concert, at a health clinic, in a place of worship — I wonder, what can we do now? It’s time to act.

As a child, things were different. We met relatives at the airport gate when they came to visit. We felt safe at school. Going to the movies, the mall, a sporting event were things that we could enjoy without fear. I didn’t have to wonder if somebody could carry a concealed weapon into my local grocery store.

My children are used to security checks at the airport, they know where to hide during a lock down at school, and surely notice the way I tense up when we’re in crowds. My sister said she’s no longer comfortable seeing a blockbuster movie on opening night in our home state of Colorado. I am sad that my children will never feel as safe as I once did.

But when I hear the response from the Far Right — I’m absolutely disgusted. Freedom is not, as they claim, about carrying a gun and having the right to shoot anyone.

  • Freedom is living in a country where elected public officials make reasonable, common sense laws regarding guns
  • Freedom is knowing that your elected officials are not beholden to a gun lobby that blatantly urges us to become gun-toting vigilantes
  • Freedom is knowing that loopholes have been closed to ensure background checks are standard on all gun purchases
  • Freedom is knowing that we have taken every step possible to ban military style, high capacity weapons from a civilian setting

The worst thing we can do is throw up our hands in exasperation and stop trying to do something. We must keep pushing for common sense gun laws. We must call our elected officials, write letters, show our outrage. We must not stop until these freedoms are our reality. It will take a village. These organizations can help:

Everytown for Gun Safety

An organization dedicated to building awareness about gun violence and providing evidence-based research to help inform public policy decisions.

Say it to our faces

A grassroots movement that will deliver thousands of photos of kids across America to our elected leaders to show them exactly who their inaction on gun legislation is harming.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Formed after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it fights for common sense gun laws to “decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day.”

I urge you to do something today — call a legislator, talk to your neighbor, write a letter to the editor. More guns are not the solution. More people working together to prevent gun violence is a move in the right direction.

What other groups or actions do you know of that are working to enact common sense gun laws? Please share them in your comments.

 

 

 

 

7 Wild Things That BACK TO THE FUTURE 2 Never Could Have Predicted

back-to-the-future-ii-1

We all know that technology has come a long way since BACK TO THE FUTURE 2 imagined what October 21, 2015 would look like. Sure we can make video calls, drive electric cars, and even watch the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs but what about these 7 surprising things that no one ever saw coming?

1.) Kale and brussels sprouts are popular veggie options — even for kids.

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2.) Vinyl records are making a come back.

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3.) People actually spend their time watching shows about “Real” Housewives.

MIAMI SOCIAL CLUB -- Season:1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Alexia Echevarria, Marysol Patton, Larsa Pippen, Cristy Rice, Lea Black, Adriana Sidi -- Photo by: Adam Olszweski/Bravo

Photo by: Adam Olszweski/Bravo

4.) The 1976 Olympic Men’s Decathalon champ looks ravishing today as a woman.2A92852200000578-3152418-Courage_award_Caitlyn_Jenner_accepted_the_Arthur_Ashe_Courage_Aw-a-70_1437038353203

5.) People will soon be reading Playboy for the articles.

no-more-nude-photos-at-playboy-magazine

6. The Clinton and Bush families are still duking it out for the White House.

BushClinton

7.) And The Donald is leading the list of Republican presidential hopefuls… (seriously?)

Smug-Donald-Trump-800x430