Well, I wish this wasn’t my first post back on the blog. But here we are.
I’ve never let myself belong to anything that I didn’t completely believe in. It’s the reason that I have never conformed to one particular faith or belief system. It’s not necessarily something I have ever struggled with. I was raised by amazing parents who fostered that part of me. They encouraged me to follow my heart and to not let anyone tell me that I needed to be something that I wasn’t, or be a part of something that I didn’t believe in. I’ve always planned to raise my children the same way.
But when I went in and picked up my daughter out of her crib this morning, my heart broke. My faith in one of the things I have always been proud to be a part of, broke.
How am I supposed to look her in the eyes knowing that last night my country, our country, elected someone into the highest office that wants to take her rights away? Who sees her as less, as inferior?
What if my son is gay? What if that brief glimpse into equality that this country saw gets ripped away? What if his amazing daycare provider, an immigrant who has helped me raise my son since he was 7 weeks old, decides to leave this country? Or is forced to?
How has this happened? I have never, until today, felt any shame about being an American.
I have always had a strong connection to American History. I’ve spent years studying it. I’ve poured tens of thousands of dollars into our education system to learn more about it. Believe me, we have never been perfect. I understand that the story we are told in elementary school about the pilgrims and the founders is all a romantic tale void of factual events. I know that. Slavery. Native American injustice. Japanese internment. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Segregation. Gender Inequality. These are all things that are a part of the American legacy. I didn’t think they were a part of our future.
I was wrong.
I made the mistake of believing that this country was progressive in it’s human rights. That we were always moving forward on the path to equality, no matter how slowly. I didn’t think that we would ever take a step backward.
For the sake of what? Trade? The national deficit? As a country, we have decided that those things are more important than the people who live here.
The only way I can describe this feeling in my gut, is a faith crisis. What people experience when they begin to question their religion. I’ve believed in this country my whole life, I’ve been proud to be a part of it. To tell people that I am an American. Now for the first time, I am questioning that faith.
As a woman, I am angry. As a mother, I am heartbroken. As an American, I am ashamed.