Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in November, 2016

Now Wrestling with Normalcy

By on Nov 24, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

People I know on the right tell me the way I continue to feel — unbalanced, lacking foundational equilibrium, wondering what shared values remain among our vast nation — that’s how they felt when Barack Obama was elected and now we get to experience the same emotion. I want to have empathy that acknowledges their reflection, but it’s hard for me to grasp the counterpoint. When Obama was elected we had started an unjust war, crashed the real estate market on unregulated bank speculation, crashed the stock market causing desperate people to liquidate retirement holdings at half their value, and unemployment was spiraling. The night of his election supporters across the nation spontaneously danced in the streets. When Donald Trump was elected, many of the same people who danced for Obama marched in protest against Trump, but I saw no one dancing for Trump. Is repealing the burdens of the Obama administration a cause equally worth celebrating? I’m not mourning politics. I’m trying to come to terms with shared values, norms of civility, and making sense of my entire education — classroom instruction, professional experience, and community engagement. We can’t all be right about the Trump agenda and approach. If I’m not in the majority, I’m misaligned with about half the people in the places I travel. This is about spiritual identity and wondering what it means to be American. This is not sour grapes because my team lost and someone else’s won. I didn’t suffer isolation and questioning of self when the Dodgers lost the NLCS — and by the way, the victorious Cubs fans visiting Chavez Ravine were pretty cool. This is way beyond a team losing. It’s about losing the team I thought my great grandparents came here to join. The strange part is, I am personally likely to benefit from Trump’s financial policies, as long as none of his fringe followers assault me for my heritage. I believe the people hungry this Thanksgiving who bought his story will still be hungry the next four Thanksgivings. They will discover they were conned and I will still have empathy for them and be fighting for their human and civil rights. Yet if you tell me the way I feel on this Thanksgiving...

Read More

Wrestling with Wrong

By on Nov 9, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

I went to bed last night demoralized, my faith in democracy challenged in a way I never believed was possible. It was late, after the acceptance speech by President-elect Donald Trump. I was exhausted. I slept very little. I awoke this morning in a state of confusion, a daze that still lingers over me. My fear of half the nation’s voters, more than 50 million of my fellow citizens, brings grief and anxiety to my every thought. Can our ideas about what defines the United States of America be that different? Yes, they can. I’ve worked a lot of campaigns as a volunteer. This one was different. This one was unprecedented in its vitriol and disgust. This one was personal. This one was moral. The fog of war created cover for absurdist antics and human abuse. This behavior was not taught as acceptable when I learned as a child to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I have been physically threatened on multiple occasions for my writing about the election, almost entirely by anonymous sources online, for expressing my views, activating my right to free speech. I have experienced anti-Semitism. I have been asked to leave the nation to which my family immigrated generations ago. It is always strange to see words like this in print because I do not experience them at all in real world life, yet those words are always out there masked in cowardice. They never go away. Hate may sit in the background, but it is always with us. I won’t stop writing. I won’t stop talking. You may have won an election but you haven’t won the bullying match. Don’t believe me, just watch. I received an email early in the day from a dear friend asking for my advice on how to address his community this morning in the face of shock. I told him I was still forming my thoughts, but here was a start: I would say human beings are fallible and the wrong answer has always been the risk of our democracy. Majority rule is by nature imperfect, but we haven’t identified a better system. I would remind people we are now almost perfectly divided, that Trump prevailed by geography and demographics, not by...

Read More