Student with a backpack photo found on the internet . . .
Day 66. The worrying mind
Sixty-six days since the election and my worrying mind won’t leave me alone. Today it’s our health care and Planned Parenthood, yesterday a photo of a polar bear swimming in an iceless sea, tomorrow the Muslim Registry and nuclear codes; it’s all too much.
Long ago I told a young man he was HIV positive. When I’d met with him at the clinic two weeks before, he’d described going to an infamous Folsom Street bookstore here in San Francisco and moving from the magazine rack at the front of the store to the booth in the back; now he wasn’t feeling well.
He returned to the clinic for his result wearing his high school uniform. When I told him the test was positive he took his backpack off and leaned forward. He lived with his parents, wasn’t out as a gay man to anyone, had chosen to test anonymously so no one would know; when he left my office all the well-intentioned referrals I’d given him still lay on the desk.
I thought of him for weeks, for months, so hoping he was well. One day, riding on a crowded bus, I saw him standing with another student; they were both laughing. He saw me, looked down, and then back. He nodded his head, a faint smile; he seemed okay. I stopped worrying about him and started to believe instead that he found his way to the support he needed and, ultimately, the HIV meds that would save his life.
Kirk and Ed at march Photo taken by a fellow marcher
Day 68. Move along!
A difficult week approaches as the Obamas prepare to move out and the Trumps move in. But there will be the Women’s Marches too; it will feel great to be in the streets with you. I remember the massive protests after 9/11, thousands of us out on Market Street. I’d just met Kirk and it was our first march. We’d stopped for just a moment to have this photo taken (our first together) when a cop started yelling at us. “Keep moving,” he called out. “Move along!” It was such good advice; it’s served us well over the years. Whatever happens this week and the weeks and months ahead, we all need to keep calling out to each other: “Keep moving!”
Guerneville flood Photo taken by Ed
Day 71. 14 things to do as Twitnit comes into power:
1. Know how to contact your senator and congressperson. Remember that face-to-face has more impact than a phone call, phone call is better than letter, letter better than text, etc. However you do it, be courteous, be brief (get to the point!), be specific, be calm.
2. Be calm.
3. Tell your comrades and loved ones how you’re dealing with the disbelief, disappointment, anger and fear about what’s happening and ask they how they are. Extra points if you can do this with a Trump voter.
4. Flashlights, batteries, first aid kit. (This is mostly in case of earthquake, flood or hurricane, but always good to be prepared.)
5. Stay informed. Read up on the latest stories and strategies about the most effective way to resist. There are many ways to use your voice, your money and your energy. Be selective and do what works for you.
6. Stay hopeful. Easy to say, I know. Sometimes the best I can do is to remind myself that this too will pass, as has every other challenging period in my lifetime.
7. Remember: brevity with impact. Nuff said.
8. Use humor. So good, so healthy, so important to laugh it out!
9. Be calm.
10. There used to be a poster that hung in all the public buildings in San Francisco. It was called “10 Things to do in a Disaster.” It depicted a series of stick figure drawings of what to do in case of catastrophe. The first one showed two stick figures, one standing, one kneeling, both tending to a stick figure laying on the ground. The caption underneath was, “Comfort the dying.” I appreciated the thought (and funding) that went into that kind of messaging. Let’s remember, first and foremost, to be comforting to one another.
11. If all the worst case scenarios you can imagine about the Twitnit and his cronies come through: read the following poem. But first ,
12. Be calm.
13. In Case Of Holocaust Open This Poem
You stand aboard the Titanic.
The boats have filled and pulled away.
The cries and running past,
a still night and no memories.
There is time for tea, a bit of honey,
a seat by the open porthole,
the evening air. —— Eric Kolvig
14. Stay calm.
Obama with a match . . . Photo from the internet
Day 72. On this day!
On this day, as Obama’s presidency officially ends, we begin. On this day, our own inauguration. On this day, we mark the beginning of working together. On this day, we know we are part of communities who see each other with fresh eyes. On this day, we celebrate our common values and commit to creating new stories together. On this day, we acknowledge we won’t totally heal from the hurt and disappointment of Trump’s election. On this day, we proclaim that remembering this wound is how we will go about expressing our love and commitment to each other. On this day, we begin anew.