I’m realizing why this feels so personal to me. I grew up as the oddball in a family whose values I did not share, and the only recourse I had was first to hide in my room, and then just to leave. And that’s what I feel like now — obviously I don’t belong here. Time to move on.
But maybe I’m a grown-up now, and maybe I can act differently — assuming I don’t move to Canada (and I might, but there’s no guarantee they won’t elect a dictator, too), what can I do to feel like I belong here and have some say in how things go? I keep reading, “oh we’ve got to work. There’s work to be done.” In the first place, haven’t people worked pretty damn hard over the course of the past 8 year? I know so many people who worked so hard for Clinton, and for progress in general, and I think she ran a decent and persuasive campaign. I feel kind of insulted that we’re supposed to just keep working, as though we haven’t been working like hell already.
In the second place, what does that work look like?
So I’ve been thinking.
1. I’m going to speak up. I’m not going to shut up. I’m not going to hide in my room. I’m going to be forthright and speak up. I’m going to be polite, and explain my opinions, and I’m not shutting up.
2. I’m going to work for the environment. Human rights are going to be suffering all over the place. We’ve all heard the talk about torture and taking people out on stretchers. Girls in headscarves are being beaten up and gay people losing jobs. I actually feel guilty that that’s not my main concern because those are things that I care about. But I think I care about small corners of land more than most people, and that’s what I’m going to work on. Here’s a story. Somehow I got notice of an effort to buy a 5 acre plot of land somewhere in Utah that was under threat of development. It’s a meadow next to a larger piece of protected land, providing “nesting habitat for Great Horned owls, Saw-whet owls and hawks all of which have fledged chicks on this property and in the immediate surrounding area.” Go look — there are owls. It’s a small thing, but it’s an important thing, and I gave some tiny amount of money and the effort was successful.
That’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to raise money. I’m going to pick up trash from wetlands, and donate 25 bucks to buy 5 acre parcels. I’m going to let people know when they can do the same. I’m going to take school kids out to the wilderness so they learn to love it, too. I’m going to be a docent on Alcatraz and explain to visiting tourists why they should care about birds. Maybe I’m going to go back to school to be an ecologist, and maybe I’m going to do it in Canada as my path to citizenship. I don’t know, exactly, but that’s the work I’m going to do. I can retire in not too many years, but I am going to get to work now, because I see that I have maybe 25 years left before I will have lost all steam, and this has focused me like a laser beam.
I’ll let you know more as I know more.
I am bitter as all hell, but this is the way I’m going to get through it.
As I heard a sobbing Wellesley student say on the radio yesterday, we’re going to get up, and we’re going to put our pantsuits on, and we’re going to get to work. What choice do we have?