Suburban Snapshots

A note from the token family liberal

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's always interesting for me to see posts from conservative relatives generalizing us liberals in ways that are totally inaccurate and also leave the impression that they've never actually met us. I thought it might be helpful ahead of what are sure to be some difficult Thanksgiving dinners to clarify a few things about us lefties, so that at least when those loved ones return to Facebook on Monday, they'll be able to rant more accurately about us.

Okay look, I don't even like Priuses. Yes, I recycle and compost. I shop at the farmers' market and buy local meat because I want to support my region's economy and agriculture, but I drive a crossover and my husband's in a pick up. It's maybe the only one in town that doesn't have an NRA sticker on it, but we're cool with that. Anyway, we're holding out for a Tesla.

No, we didn't think Hillary was an immaculate candidate (some of us are still feeling the Bern), but we also weren't "voting with our vaginas" or choosing the "lesser of two evils." I did my research and read reporting from an array of media sources, saw the woman speak in person, and then made my choice. To solidify my decision I followed the president-elect on Twitter for like, seven minutes.

We come from police and military families, and we love, respect and appreciate those men and women. So while we can be outraged by the treatment of Black Americans or DAPL protesters, we can be equally horrified and saddened by the murders of police officers. We can be in awe of the sacrifices our troops are called to make and supportive of the demonstration of rights they're sent to defend.

Most of us aren't on state or federal assistance (not that there's anything wrong with that). It's touted as fact that liberals are all on the dole, able to show up for primaries or iPhone releases because none of us work for a living. For the sake of accuracy, I have four jobs. My friends all have jobs. My lefty husband has a job with union security that helped bring us out of a pretty tough spot. Short of finally hitting that Powerball number, we both plan to work as long as we're able.

We don't believe that every man is a bad guy. For the most part, we were raised with help from some really good-hearted men, we've married them, we've birthed them. But lots of us have stories of not-good guys, or guys who'd consider themselves part of the good ones who by ignorance or entitlement truly weren't. There are millions of stories, from gropes on subways to forceful first dates, and these can't be dismissed and they can't all be coincidences. Part of building up good men is acknowledging the underside of what our society values in masculinity, recognizing where it's affected our men and deliberately teaching what's right.

We are not orchestrating a war on Christmas.  Conservatives love to portray us as pushovers until this time of year, when suddenly we're war mongers with our sights set on Baby Jesus. This house celebrates Christmas and we have plenty of friends who don't. You'll get a "Happy Holidays" from me, because Christmas isn't the only December game in town (and because I have too much shopping to get done to spend my time being mad at a Starbucks cup).

There is no gay agenda. So okay there totally is, but it's not the one hardcore conservatives want you to fear and trust me, you want in on it because it is awesome.

Tomorrow and after that, please remember that you know and love a "libtard." I hope this guide will help you engage more thoughtfully during thousand-comment Obama rage sessions, or maybe just make your Thanksgiving dinner a little more peaceful.

Just let me be furious today

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

There's a rule in writing, that you should let emotions settle before taking to your desk. But today my brain is spewing expletives and I don't have the composure to wait them out. Everything feels urgent. My arms are jittery and my shoulders ache, my eyes want to sleep but my legs want to kick, and my fingers want to pound out a tirade to purge the fury in my chest.

Maybe it's a good idea to stay off of social media, but I work alone except for two dogs whose inability to read or understand English I envy today and nearly always. I'm scrolling Facebook for reassurance and commiseration, I'm looking for the words of people I respect who've managed to find cooler heads in this burning calamity, and if I can't find hope there at least I can find community.

And look, I'm a fine person. I normally sleep well. I'm a giver. When I engage I try to do so thoughtfully. When I contradict someone I try to acknowledge that they perhaps come from different experiences than I do. I belong to one of the most scrutinized and judged populations in America — the Modern Parent — and it's taught me to have a little more empathy and less reflexive criticism. Today I'm not in the mood. And all over television and my laptop and my phone people are telling me to bring it in, that now more than ever we need compassion, understanding, we need to work hard to unearth the deeper reasons why there's now a man in charge of our country who represents all the worst -isms. Today there are people whose faces I don't want to look at and whose opinions I'm suffocating under. There's something that feels like an unending wrongness surging, and a sentiment that we need this transfer of power to happen peacefully, that it's up to the rejected, dismissed, the quieter people to see that through.

I'm sick to fucking death of being quiet. Today I have a list of fuck-yous long enough to wind its way through every red state and back again, and it's rivaled only by my list of heartbreaks over the injustices played out in this outcome. Anyone who claims to want "change" and then elects someone guaranteed to set LGBT, women's rights and racial relations back decades is on the list. Those who put orange shirts on their kids for Bully Awareness Week and then put an orange bully directly into the oval office is on it. You, who've benefited from government healthcare and social services and then voted yesterday to dismantle them, maybe eventually I'll feel a little bad for you, but today is not that day.

I hear the message of unity and somewhere under this crushing disillusion I know it's the right path. I'll get back to the hard, hard work of extending empathy not only to people who feel like I do, but to those who are the most opposite of me, the ones who just sent their own daughters the message that the notion of equality is still just a marketing ploy.

Today though, I have to use all my energy to help my own daughter believe that this country is hopeful, that there's reason to have faith in a future where she can accomplish whatever she wants, love whomever she wants, dress the way she prefers, be considered an equal and a contender, and I have to do all of that in a crisis of not really believing it myself.

So please do spread those good words, lift people up, give us faith in the future, just don't expect me to join you today.