The terrifying transition of power

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like I was living a nightmare. I sobbed as I was getting ready for work, and I cried again when I got there. I spent the entire day feeling dirty, guilty, and deeply ashamed. And then I sulked home and crawled into bed.

blog-quote-3This is the first time I’ve ever felt gutted by an election. But this is not a sore loser feeling. I’m not the kind of person who is deeply fearful of the other party, I’m not mad that my candidate lost, and I’m not being dramatic for effect. What I am is utterly revolted by the man who was just elected president. I am shocked that half of the people in this country either think his racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic remarks are no big deal, or worse—agree with them. And I am terrified that he’s going to do irreversible damage to the world in the next four years.

I voted for Hillary on Tuesday, in case that wasn’t clear. Not because I was “with her,” necessarily, but because I was so adamantly, so forcefully, so disgustedly against him. Lest you think me naught but a sour grapes, bleeding heart, lily-livered liberal, you should know that I would’ve been very open to voting for a reasonable Republican like John Kasich or Mitt Romney this year. But they were not my options. My option was an unsympathetic boor who is totally uninterested in policy of any kind and completely unqualified for the job he now has to do.

blog-quote-2Donald Trump is a bully who believes that insults and name-calling are effective debate strategies. Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from our country—freedom of religion be damned. Donald Trump has suggested that our allies are freeloaders. Donald Trump flies off the handle at the tiniest slight. And now Donald Trump is in charge of the most powerful military in the world. Now Donald Trump has control of the nuclear codes.

What will he do if Angela Merkel holds the line against him? What will he do if Iran or Iraq won’t submit to his will? What will he do if North Korea becomes more aggressive? I don’t want to know.

What I would like to know, however, is what compelled people to vote for him. Because for the life of me, I cannot fathom it. Friends and family, I am curious to hear your reasoning.

If you’re a values voter who considers the Republican party to be more aligned with your beliefs, how do you reconcile Donald Trump’s sick comments about (and alleged violations of) women? If you’re concerned about the Supreme Court, consider the comments Donald Trump made about Latino judge Gonzalo Curiel: Do you think it’s possible for him to choose a justice based on his or her qualifications alone? If you don’t really like Donald Trump but could never bring yourself to vote for a Democrat, how were you able to overlook the fact that he is beloved by the former Grand Wizard of the KKK?

Please, tell me. Make me understand why he was the best choice above all others. Convince me that I should stop worrying about the future of this country. Help me believe that my Muslim, gay, African American, and Mexican friends are still welcome in this melting pot. Assure me that you and I and blog-quote-1everyone we know are safe.

Because right now, I feel anything but. I feel like we have failed not only ourselves, but the world at large. We have let partisanship cloud our better judgment. We have put our future in the hands of an out-of-touch demagogue. I am incredibly embarrassed, and profoundly sorry.

On the move

Sean and I are moving this week, and I’m drowning in all the Feelings. (You can tell I’m not myself because it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m wide awake.)

The neighborhood we’re in now was exactly what we wanted when we moved up here: beautiful, historic, and within walking distance of nearly every major Boston attraction (not to mention my office).

south end boston

Our apartment is exactly what we had in mind, too: a 19th-century charmer that’s full of character—from a big bay window and heavy crown molding to intricate fireplaces and exposed brick.

living2

living1

But comeliness and convenience come at a price—figuratively and literally. Those 150-year-old windows don’t do much to block out the noise from the busy street that we live on (and forget about insulation). Plus, we pay through the nose for our rickety little shoebox, and when management announced they were raising the rent by another 7% this year, we decided that it was time to start looking elsewhere.

living3

The new place is only about ten miles east, but it’s worlds away in terms of vibe. My current neighborhood is pure New England class and everyone who lives here is on trend. The new neighborhood is laid back and funky and everyone who lives there was definitely feeling the Bern at some point this year.

kitchen

And oh, my apartment! It’s so big I’m afraid someone is going to get lost in there (looking at you, Layla). The kitchen is the size of our current bedroom (nothing like that galley horror up there), which means my bed will fit just fine and I’m never leaving. It’s also on the top floor (byeee, stompy neighbors!), has brand new windows (thanks, thoughtful landlord!), and a big backyard (heeey, smoked brisket!). The best part? It’s $100/month less than what we pay now.

But in spite of all the positives, I can’t keep the Feelings at bay. Objectively, the new area is much more me. But the neighborhood I live in now feels like home. I had such a hard time adjusting when I moved up here: My only friends for the first six months were my familiar running route and these 600 or so square feet. And I’ll never see them again.

bedroom1

bedroom2

When my first fall wafted in, I breathed in the crisp air as I crunched golden leaves on the ubiquitous brick-red sidewalks. I worry that I won’t find that idyll anywhere else. When I finally settled in to fell in love with Boston, I walked these streets like I owned them. Now I don’t even lease.

south end snow

I’m only moving ten miles away, but I’m treating every meal and every moment here like it’s my last. (To be fair, ten miles is 30-45 minutes in Boston time.) I’m mourning the loss of convenience and admiring every nook and cranny of this picture-perfect place. I’m taking pictures for posterity and packing very slowly. It’s been a good 2.5 years, South End. Until we meet again.

The night my hometown was attacked

The first major mass shooting I can remember (as an adult, anyway) was Aurora. I’d been at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, too, and after watching the gory, heartbreaking details come out of Colorado all day, I went home and cried. It could’ve just as easily been me.

The first Black Lives Matter-adjacent moment I can remember was Trayvon Martin’s murder. I read every horrifying detail. I watched the trial. I wanted George Zimmerman to rot in prison forever. And when he didn’t, I felt sick to my stomach.

Over time, both events—mass shootings and senseless black slayings—stopped being surprising. They happened so frequently that they started to feel like the fabric of life in this country. The murder of innocent people was as American as watching the Super Bowl or eating too much at Chili’s.

The first Black Lives Matter moment to shock me back to reality was Michael Brown’s murder. That’s when the marches started. There was one just down the street from my apartment, and—as a civil rights supporter and curious historian—I stopped by for a look.

The first major mass shooting to shock me back to reality was Orlando. I’d been at Boston’s Pride Parade earlier that day, surrounded by love and acceptance and a general sense that humans can be pretty great. The next morning, I found out that 49 of those same lovely humans had been callously murdered at a gay club, and I cried. It could’ve just as easily been me.

Last week, my hometown became the hot zone. A peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter—where black, brown, and white were standing together harmoniously, as people—turned deadly when a psycho showed up with a vendetta and a gun.

I have been crying for Dallas since I first heard the news. I could’ve been there, caught in the crossfire. Protected by one of the cops who was eventually killed. It could’ve just as easily been me.

I don’t know what to think anymore. I don’t want to feel unsafe in large crowds, in my workplace, in my grocery store…but sometimes I do. And I don’t want anyone to become desensitized to the murder of innocent people. America is one of the most progressive countries in the world‍‍‍. Why are we continuing to live and die like this?

I want the hate and the racism and the violence to stop. I want black Americans to feel the same comfort I do when a law enforcement officer approaches. I want to hear about issues that matter—like healthcare and national security—not ugly generalizations about Muslims and Mexicans. I want common sense gun laws that keep weapons for hunting animals with law-abiding citizens and weapons for hunting people with the police and the military. But most of all, I want to remove myself from this offensive and dangerous moment in history. I want to hit the reset button.