07 January 2021

Notes from Exile: Hey, remember 2020?

Photo credit: Phil Roeder
Wow. So, how is everyone doing this morning?

Yesterday was a rough day, by any stretch, for me. It was the first day of a new semester and that always comes with loads of horrifying delightful surprises as my students realize that forty-eleven thousand things are not right with their accommodations and they need to be fixed NOW. 

It was the first day that I actually had to GET UP ON TIME and be presentable, whatever that means in the current Zoom classroom environment. I wrangled the background in and out of a terribly messy incredibly organized guest room and brought it into the office for my interpreting work. The canine chorus sang the song of their people a few times and blocked out my audio. But it all got done, leaving my brain and body a bit battered but overall glad to be back doing what I know how to do.

And then after all of that, I went to the sitting room with my laptop and phone to stretch out on the sofa for a bit and watch something utterly boring but soothing in its routine and standard practice: the certification of the votes from the Presidential election by the joint Houses of Congress. I admit to bit of anxiety over the contentious mood in our nation's capitol concerning the upcoming transfer of power, but ultimately, my PollyAnna soul was certain that it would roll along smoothly as it has done for over two hundred years.

Because we are Americans. We are loud. We are bossy. We are our own worst enemy. But at our very core - I believed, anyway - we are still Americans and sometimes we just need a bit of reminding what that means. We need to remember our history and build on it for our future, and other such platitudes.

Wow. PollyAnna was WRONG. While I am still finding it hard to believe that the people I saw yesterday are at all representative of the majority of people in my country, that was a terrifying display of what can happen when lies and misinformation are allowed to propagate. 

It was also a reminder of how far we have yet to go in terms of law enforcement reform. I stand by my statement yesterday that if any of those on that front line that broke into the building and quickly overwhelmed the Capitol police had been people of color, that would have been over before it started. We all saw the policeman taking selfies with one of the terrorists inside the building. We watched as the terrorist mob was pushed back, finally, out of the building, and then just left, for the most part, to disperse. Left to disperse, after curfew. Left to disperse after curfew on the same streets where unarmed protesters over the summer, hands in the air, were tear-gassed so that the president could walk over to a beloved church and use it for a photo op.

I certainly hope we are not starting as we mean to go on, but make no mistake, when we see something, say something. This can get better. Yesterday saw horrible violence by some gullible puppets of a tyrant, but it also saw an African-American man elected via run-off in a state that created that very run-off requirement as a part of the Jim Crow scourge. We can stand together and against this kind of insurrection and still do the things we need to do to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Your voice will count just as much from six feet away and behind a mask, stopping the spread of yet another kind of virus - the so-called MAGA virus that is turning our country inside out.

Now, off to edit. Poor Tairn. That manuscript is expecting PollyAnna. That is not who I am anymore.


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