Life After the Election 

Father, Daughter, Father Vote

Ruth’s First Time to Vote in a General Election

I’m not able to recapture the excitement we felt as we voted together in the early morning of November 8, 2016. On this side of the election, our smiles look a little silly. 

Despite the results, I’ve continued to hope. My mind starts these “well, maybe..” statements. Well maybe he really does want to bring the nation together. Well maybe he’ll speak out strongly against the rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Blacks, and, gay and Transgender people, especially here in the South. Well maybe he’ll create a cabinet that will balance his ultra conservative positions. 

None of this has happened and I’m becoming more and more hopeless. 

I didn’t used to pay this much attention to national politics. I’m beginning to think that’s what I’m going to have to do again out of self preservation. I can limit my time on Facebook, start listening to podcasts instead of NPR during my commute, ask relatives and loved ones to respect my decision to talk about other subjects. 

It won’t work though. 

I saw a meme that read, “All politics is local.” That’s true. What’s happening politically in our country is happening to people close to me. It’s happening to me. 

A gay friend who has lived peacefully for years in rural Tennessee has had to deal with hate speech directed at him on three separate occasions. Two black church buildings were shot at in Rutherford County. I went to college there. Last night, I attended a vigil for a young man named Deon who was stabbed to death. News reports say he was wearing a dress when he was killed. Deon’s friends say he was full of life, and he would pop drop and lock it anytime, anywhere. 

These hateful actions have occurred since the election, all within fifty miles of me. My friends are angry. Some are afraid. I’m more angry than afraid. 

There’s always been a political aspect to being a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. As a non-profit organization, we cannot endorse candidates. We can, however, take a stand on issues that affect the community we serve. 

Doug may want to bury himself under his covers, hiding from the fallout from this election. Sister Ann Wenita Morelove, on the other hand, is going to find herself pushing the pun that is her name even more than before. 

Now, more than ever, we need more love. Love for all people, especially women, Muslims, blacks, Latinos, and LGBT folks. 

Lie About the Candlestick

“Douglas!” My father yelled, and I winced. My body tensed, but I recovered quickly and rolled my eyes. I didn’t want the other guys to see my reaction. I wanted them to see me staying cool.

“What?” I shouted back. No “Yes Sir”, no “Coming!”, no respect. I’d grown out of that quite awhile back. And he had given up demanding it.

“Come here!” He yelled.

My father was a good man. Even a great man. He worked hard, provided for his family’s needs, and, in his own way, gave a great deal of himself to others. But holy shit he was hard to live with.

BasketballWhat was so important that he had to interrupt this game of horse? He probably wanted me to help him hold something he was nailing, or measure something he was sawing, or look for something he was needing. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter what he wanted and it didn’t matter what I was doing. It was always the same; his needs came first, at least for things like this.

It was the strangest thing; he built the basketball goal. Why wouldn’t he want me to play with it. He knew my friends rarely came to the house to play. This moment was rare. Why was he screwing it up?

I passed the ball to Pete as I turned toward the house, shaking my head. I walked through the back door and Dad shut it behind me. Index finger pointing, seething, he said, “Don’t you ever bring a black boy in this house again.”

What the hell?

I grew up in a house with its share of dysfunction. Was it more than what other kids had to face? I can’t answer that. In my house, anger flashed white and hot one minute then burned itself out and was gone the next. I was used to hearing a list of my faults and of the wrongs that I and others, by either omission or commission, had committed against my father.

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