the nest

the nest

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The children were nestled...

My children are home all snug in their beds...

I wish visions of sugarplums were all that were in their heads. With children transitioning to adulthood, the visions in their heads are not something I can control (not that I could before!) or ever know. Sometimes they share their dreams with me, but not often.
The world they are going out into is in some ways no different than the world I launched into in 1990,  in other ways, very different. In some ways better, in some ways worse.

When I was in college, I travelled to the USSR - the next year the Berlin Wall came down and we rejoiced that the Cold War was ending. Since then the fear of nuclear war has been way back in my mind as something of the past. We had evolved past that as a global society. Now I fear the incoming administration will plunge us back into not only an arms race, but WWIII. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

When I was in college, there was drinking, smoking, pot, and other drugs being used. Heroin was something mysterious and only being used by junkies in cities. Now a generation of young people are dying. My son and his friends are mourning the loss of one of their own just a week or so ago. TOO MANY. Every week I hear a friend of a friend, or the brother or sister of a friend has died from an OD... my heart aches.

When I was in college, I was pretty oblivious to politics. I voted, but mostly because my parents had instilled a sense of responsibility in me. That's just what you do. For the most part I trusted that the leaders I voted for were good people who wanted the best for our nation. My perspective was to get through the elections and then even if I wasn't thrilled with the result, I felt I needed to give them a chance. I don't remember ever being afraid after an election, that those who were in power were going to destroy us. I never felt compelled to write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, or march in protest. Now, I've done almost all of those. I'm going to a march in NYC on January 21st. If there is a silver lining to this horror show of an election, it is the number of people who have NEVER been politically active, who are now stepping up. My children are far more engaged and informed than I ever was. They are prepared to stand up and be counted. To stop the forces that would take the progress of the last 50 years and stomp on it.

When I was in college, I knew gay people. I had friends who were gay, I sang with people who were gay. While I don't remember ever thinking there was anything wrong with being gay, I would never have envisioned the progress we've made around marriage equality. The beautiful families I see headed by two moms or two dads were not anything I knew growing up. For my children? It's a part of the many ways that families are created. We still have such a long ways to go as a country, but we were making great progress, not just around acceptance of sexual orientation, but around protecting the rights and well being of ALL of us regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, immigration status...

Now, there are horrible things happening more and more - the incoming administration has unleashed a flood of UGLY. Never in my lifetime did I every fear that in 2016, swastika's would be showing up on playgrounds and in schools. On that trip to the USSR, we also visited Hungary, Estonia, and Poland. We spent time in Auschwitz Concentration Camp - we saw the horror that can be unleashed.
Now, I wear a safety pin everyday not only to signal that I am "safe," to those who may feel fear, but to remind myself that I must be ready to STAND UP. To remind myself that I can't look away from the hate. I must face it with strength and love.

My children are entering adulthood at a time when as a global community we are teetering on the brink. We could move forward into a world that supports and embraces all that is beautiful and diverse and AMAZING, or we could plunge backwards into a world that fears anything "different."

When it is dark and cold and my seasonal fight with depression rears it's ugly head, I truly fear for the future of our nation and our world.

When I look at my children and their friends, and the faces of the children I sing and dance with every day, I know in my heart that the ugliness that is out there is a LAST GASP. Those who are afraid of change and progress and different, are in the minority. Those who believe that what makes our world so amazing is the very diversity that makes up not just our nation, but the planet earth, are in the majority. We are growing and we are learning to speak out and stand up.

May 2017 be a year when love and kindness triumphs over hate and meanness. May it be a year when we demand that those in charge of our precious world LISTEN. May it be a year when we listen to each other and find common ground in our desire to live peace-filled, loving lives. 

No comments:

Post a Comment