Watching the 2018 US Midterm Elections Abroad
November 7, 2018
I woke up with anxiety to news again from the other side of the world. It is the morning after the November 6th 2018 midterm elections. Today will tell me what happened in America, while I was asleep, eight hours ahead of New York time. I won't get a fuller picture until the afternoon or evening at best. Which is about the same as if I were on US soil.
I leave my hotel and walk to work. No one around me here is much concerned with the news. It blares in the hotel lobby and breakfast area, sometimes with overdubbed Arabic, the same anxiety provoking lights and talking heads and ugly orange face. No one pays any mind, no one seems to be interested or alerted by it. Certainly no reactions are displayed from orange face. Which oddly enough, the nonchalance reminds me of the TV presence in my grandmother's midwestern living room - a certain kind of free and undisturbed boredom. I don't know the protocol here yet. It is a brief respite of relief from the reality and the deep inner turmoil I feel as an American citizen whose rights are threatened by 45. But it changes nothing. At work, no one is preoccupied over the news, or anything about the US. It is like I am in a restored harmony with the universe - it does not revolve around the US. But home concerns are more important to me than ever right now.
I am so proud. Finally congress is closer to representing our people. ALL of them. I feel safer knowing all of these women, LGBTQ & POC will be representing us in congress, the house, the senate, and in goverment. Equality is tantamount to freedom and safety for all families and children everywhere. From what I can gather - please chime in as I'm so far away right now - we now have just under 25% of women in the house of representatives. This is just shy of the 30% number needed to eliminate tokenization of a minority voice in any institutional body or panel, like a board. Companies use the excuse "we have a woman on our board" all the time. 1 out of 10 is nothing. At LEAST 30% is needed to eliminate institutionalized tokenization in attitudes on a panel. Here is a poor list of excuses by male bosses in regards to not having more women in the boardroom, lambasted.
As Ruth Bader Ginsburg replied when asked how many women needed to serve on the SCOTUS for it to be equal, she replied NINE. People were shocked. She then said, "No one was shocked when all nine justices were men." Obviously.
This should apply to every situation. Yes, 50/50 is Equal. But for the decades and centuries of fuck ups that men have executed in entitlement and power, we need 100% women in office to fix it. I bet they could do it in half the time in office. But they should be in for double to really even things up. I can't imagine this happening, but I can only dream about it every day.
Some days I don't know if airing my anxiety helps or hurts. Some days I just want to have a good day and it is all I can do to detach to get through the horrors of 45's administation. I've burned more candles and sage than in my entire life since 2016. Still I saw that red map today and felt so scared. So scared.
We have a country that demeans women and still threatens their right to govern their own body and refuse to discipline and hold accountable discipline those who trespass against it. Have you heard about the 450,000+ rape kits untested in the USA, just sitting in police departments, decades of no action? That is not a place I want to raise my children. Where victims do not matter. Where society turns a blind eye because they are uncomfortable talking about it, because there has been no framework for discussion, compassion and healing. Where police are not trained to understand trauma and assault when they are the ones reinforcing it and writing the reports and disclaiming victims as worthless. Because women are seen that way. Worthless. Untrustable. Where they are killing people of color with no reason because the system used laws against weed to criminalize and imprison underserved communities and people of color.
I denounce headlines depicting all the struggle of women and victims. I see through it. I ask you to join me. It is deconditioning with compassion and acceptance for all. We all have to do it every day. As a queer person I feel this challenge everyday in the world. I am used to it. Some days it is too hard to handle the adversity alone.
I am grateful for my communities all over the states. Divided but at least seeing each other and hearing each other.
I am grateful, on a daily basis, for all of the strong women who are brave enough to share their stories. They have healed me and are healing us. We owe them so much more. They owe us nothing and they gave us these gifts. Join me in gratitude. I just wanna say to you all that every time someone shares something difficult and traumatic you must recognize and be grateful for their strength in facing adversity to share it. They do not owe you this. It is a gift you got to experience.
I am grateful for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Grateful for her vision. Her leadership. For serving her community. For paving the way for other young women and women of color to see themselves as leaders. Congress is not just for old white men. I am grateful for Liuba Grechen Shirley and her campaign for office in the NY-02 Long Island district, and her tough fight in raising $950,000 to defeat incumbent Peter King (who only raised $230k). I am disappointed that she didn't win, but she gave King a run for his money matching him with only a 6 point voting gap. This was the most he had been challenged in 12 years, with his previous win beating a democrat in 2006 by 12 points. I'd been watching her campaign for the last two years and so moved by her taking intitiative at age 32, with two young children, to see herself in congress and run for office. Along her battle path, she changed a NY state law to allow campaign funding to finance childcare. Something that had NEVER come up before.
It is insane to think how for thousands of years, women have done the childcare and cooking while men have had the power. We are in new times. This is no longer the framework. I'm more than fine with it. And I am grateful for men of my generation and the younger generations, who are becoming so much more than I ever imagined - for sharing the housework and childcare, for being stay at home dads, for having strength and comfort in redefining masculinity. It means so much for our healing collectively, for our equality, for our children, our future.
The best thing about 45 is that women are now unstoppable. Thank you all, goddess friendly warriors. Forward march.
Sending all my congratulations to the first women, first lesbian mother, first LGBT, first Muslims, first POC, first refugee, first Latinx, first open gay congresspeople to make office! You make my heart soar with joy and tears of pride today. Thanking goddesses for:
Sylvia Garcia (D) of TX, Sharice Davids (D) of KS, Rashida Tlaib (D) of MI, Ayanna Pressley (D) of MA, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) NY, Jared Polis of CO, Deb Haaland (D) NM, Joe Neguse (D) CO, Michelle Lujan Chisholm (D) NM, Chris Pappas of NH, Attorney General Letitia James (D) NY, Jahana Hayes (D) CT, Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) of MN, Kalan Haywood (D) WI, Angie Craig (D) MN, Marcia Blackburn (R) TN, Veronica Escorbar (D) TX, and Ilhan Omar (D) MN
Thanks to all people who voted, canvassed, called, donated and support equality health and safety for all. Congratulations to any more who I've left out and looking forward to the forward march continuing.