I’ve had this thought circling in my head for the past few weeks. I talked about it a bit with Nerd Child before he went back to school last week, and today it seemed appropriate for musing on the blog after 1 full week of Trump & Co in office. Yeah, I know, this isn’t a mom-blog and I already talk an awful lot about my kiddos, but bear with me, please.
Husband and I have always tried to do our best. We knew that wouldn’t always work out as intended, but still, parenting is a commitment we take seriously. A commitment to our children, but also a commitment to society. We do our best, and hopefully offer decent, kind, well-adjusted human beings who care about others, themselves (raising saints and martyrs was never our goal), and the world at large. How’s that for overblown navel gazing? And yeah, we want success for them. Success doesn’t have to mean a job making a bazillion dollars a year on Wall Street, but for us it means that in addition to doing something they feel good about, we wanted them to understand it’s important to be able to pay your bills, and do better than we have, a little more comfort, maybe even own a house.
But have we screwed them in the process? I’m looking around, taking stock of the past week, who’s taken office, been nominated, being confirmed despite (because of) no experience, no compassion, conflicts of interest galore and long documented overt racism; running the country, deciding to rip apart the social contract we’ve been building and trying to improve for over two hundred years…. Sure, greed, corporations, and selfishness have long been valued in our society. It isn’t brand new, the results of this election didn’t come from nowhere, regardless of how many want to pretend it has. There has also long been room for success from those who actually want to contribute, work with others.
Remember? One of the first things we all teach all children is the importance of sharing, waiting our turn. Husband and I taught our kiddos to do the right thing because it’s right, not because they might get in trouble, not even because of an afterlife. But because this life matters, and every life of every person matters. Trite but true, at the end of the day, can you look in the mirror? This week has shown us a whole different world. At first I typed new. A new world. It isn’t though, is it?
Today happens to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And today, Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the United Nations, addressed the UN and said, “for those who don’t have our backs, we’re taking names.” Trump is signing executive orders to begin building That Ridiculous Wall (the one that still makes zero sense), still discussing a registry for Muslims, will restrict incoming Muslim immigrants (unless they’re from Muslim countries his companies do business with), and is denying entry to Syrian refugees. No, not new at all. No wonder they’re so enamored of that fascist “America First” slogan.
And by the way, in case you’re thinking all of this is being done in a (misguided) attempt to actually protect American citizens, ha! This is the sneak-peak proof that this administration and the GOP couldn’t care less how many citizens are left without adequate healthcare in this country. Why let people know they still have a few days left to sign up for a year’s worth of care? Sure the ads were already in place and paid for, but, well, fuck ’em. I can’t address the beginning of the dismantling of women’s rights and health care in this country. Not yet.
So yes, in with all the other worries and panicking I’m doing about medicine and health care and civil rights and ohmygodhehasthefuckingnuclearcodes, I’m worrying about my kiddos; if they are prepared for this next page in American history, where might makes right and sharing their cookies is a notion as quaint and outdated as teaching them to use a quill.
Much of me is overwhelmed right now, certain we have said goodbye to American freedoms, the true American values of equality, justice, social mobility, education, progress, and democracy. We haven’t always hit those marks, and there’s no question and no excuse– our “equality” hasn’t been equal, but we
have had gotten better. Now I have to believe we didn’t do them a disservice when we taught our kids they have to be able to look in the mirror, and I have to hope the mirrors they look into are true and clear.