Inaugural moment of celebration

I told my husband this morning: Kamala Harris will be inaugurated today!

And also: Joe Biden. Yeah. I’m not gonna lie. I am more excited about her, and what she represents than I am about Joe himself. Joe made a choice that many saw as a risk. He saw her as the future, not a risk. I wholeheartedly agree.

And I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court, did the swearing in ceremony. Firsts, but not lasts.

I had to capture this moment, as I took a personal holiday for myself (in my p.j.’s).

Lots of work to do for this administration. But I’m grateful that we can finally rest from the daily ravings of a disturbed man who believes everything is about him. While there are divisions in this country, Biden’s speech indicated a need for coming together.

We face challenges in the months and the years ahead. But I am grateful that this feels like a breath of fresh air, leadership with dignity and decency after the ego-driven, self-centered and self-interested approach of “Sideshow Donald.” I’m not sure what made him that way, but he mirrors the part of our country that is determined to hang onto white body supremacy.

Now it is time to acknowledge that history and the hurt these policies have caused, to comprehend the depths of the disparities that are showing up in health care, education, employment, and the criminal justice system. Can we be in a place of “yes, AND” rather than “either/or” instead of polarizing? I sure hope so.

No matter the challenges ahead, I’m taking time today to celebrate!

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Bracing myself

After the announcement of Biden’s pick for VP, Senator Kamala Harris, I spent some time perusing social media and the interwebs for the chatter. I’ve been waiting for a MONTH for this announcement and my first thought was: FINALLY, the decision is made.

Harris is a great candidate. I was a fan of Elizabeth Warren and was disappointed when she had dropped out of her bid for President. I had not paid attention to the other candidates as much, so I did some research and read some opinion pieces.

First woman VP Kamala Harris
Photo credit link: Politico

I found myself going to the fridge multiple times, getting ice cream and then wanting to snack. Typically when I do this, it means something is “up” emotionally – like anxiety, boredom or some other troubling emotion. I realized I was bracing myself for the inevitable misogyny and harsh judgement that always happens toward ambitious women.

Indeed some articles had this tone. And of course the harasser-in-chief called her “nasty” to Joe Biden, which is a typical way that he demeans women, so that wasn’t surprising. I started wishing for a “Nasty Women Get Sh*t Done” t-shirt or something…

Once I realized my own anxiety on behalf Harris, I slowed myself down and asked what I was feeling. Sometimes those us of with high empathy skills take on too many emotions that are not “ours.” So I calmed down, got out my laptop, and started writing. At least writing is a distraction from the misogyny, and a way I process emotion (healthier than overindulging on food).

I am excited for the choice and the fact that  Kamala Harris brings a wealth of experience and also a new perspective to the highest office in this country. I was very unenthusiastic about Biden’s campaign until I heard he had pledged to select a highly qualified woman to be his running mate.

Now I find myself grateful for my yoga training and taking deep breaths. I hope this team can defeat the menace that occupies the office at this time. If Americans cannot see how much we reap what we sow, we deserve to go down in flames.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

Next August – one hundred years

Next year on August 18th the U.S. will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. A couple of Western states had given women the right to vote already in 1910. Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote at the turn of the 19th century.

Lucretia Mott socks
I have socks with Lucretia Mott‘s likeness, which I wore with pride on election day this year. 

It is hard for me to imagine the changes in democratic consciousness that have taken place in the last 100 years. Generations of women and men began to understand that true democracy could not exist until more people could exercise their right to representation.

Granted, some people probably wish we had gone back to a world where men were in charge and women were property. I don’t tend to hang out with people like that for obvious reasons.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year with various candidates. I’m hoping we winnow down to less than 5 options by February caucus season. I would like to follow election politics but right now it’s hard to take any candidate too seriously. Unfortunately we do not regulate campaign spending very well in this country. So the people who raise the most money tend to dominate the airwaves.

Given the shock and trauma of the election 3 years ago, and the disastrous result of electing someone who has openly bragging about assaulting women, I am ready to help with GOTV efforts. Let’s make it a celebration! 100 years – can we imagine some new leadership? I say YES WE CAN!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

On grief and elections

It has now been a year since that strange and surreal day, the confirmation of my suspicions that we are deeply divided people in this nation. In the weeks leading up to the election, I began to volunteer for my candidate, Hillary Clinton, hoping she would make history and become the first woman President of the United States. After nearly 100 years with the right to vote, women were poised to break that final glass ceiling in the political realm.

 

Donald and Hillary
Photo from Wikipedia entry on 2016 Presidential Election

But as I got out door-knocking and visiting with people who had been identified as “registered Democrats” or “leaning Democrats” I was surprised to find that the support was lukewarm at best. Almost all of the women I spoke with were enthusiastic and exciting to vote for Hillary. But many of the men who would talk with me were not happy about their choices. One man, returning from home after work, perhaps, saw me leave some literature near the door after I had door-knocked and nobody was home asked me angrily: “What are you doing at my house?”  When I explained to him that I was door-knocking to ask people to get out to vote, he told me he had already voted.

In Minnesota we have early absentee voting, which allows you to vote by mail prior to the election day. It makes things much more convenient, especially for working people who find it harder to visit the polls on a work day. So he probably had already voted. I am fairly certain his aggressive tone indicated that he had not voted for my candidate.

It was a shock for many people, including the news media who seemed fairly amazed and shocked that the Republican candidate with no experience actually pulled it off, a victory with no political experience. But for me, that week before the election, I had been growing increasingly alarmed with the response I was getting from registered or leaning Democrats in St. Paul. Granted, I had not taken the “temperature” on the Republican side, but I had thought Republicans would be as appalled and angry with the sexist and racist remarks that they might defect, or at the very least, vote Independent.

So my reaction on election night was not one of shock, but actually one of grief. I felt deep grief for the direction of our country, for the state of consciousness that had brought us to this outcome. But oddly, I got very curious instead of getting angry. Don’t get me wrong. The anger was there, of course. It was just that I really wanted to understand how we got here, how we had all missed it. I ordered JD Vance’ Hillbilly Elegy and I started talking with a few people with whom I disagreed about the political situation.

I began to realize that my echo chambers were not the same as “their” echo chambers. We had been inhabiting different worlds all along. But as my conversations deepened, I kept realizing that our values were not all that different.

There is so much more I will write about on this topic, but for today, I will need to prepare for meetings with my team during this work trip. Suffice it to say that I am still grieving one year later, for the loss of civility that our country has suffered. I grieve for those who do not have agency and who’s lives are deeply affected by policies that will continue to push them into poverty and struggle. I grieve for the families of Latinos living in this country, including native born citizens and immigrants, documented and undocumented. I grieve for the ideal of America, which has been tarnished worldwide, and damaged by someone who is thoughtless with his words, and callous in his feelings.

Grief takes time and distance to process. And it is hard work, but it is necessary. We must allow ourselves the time and space for this, or we cannot get back to the hard work of repairing the rifts of this country, and the world. We are all connected to each other as people by a power greater than ourselves. Call it god, nature, or chi, it will always call us back. That is the faith I have, that we can somehow return. In this “death” of the ideal I thought we embodied as a country, I have a deep belief that we can be re-born into something greater.