It is November 19, 2016.
I am sitting on the porch of a cottage situated on the Western cliffs of Negril, Jamaica overlooking the Caribbean. I decided to take a few days off to get away, read, write and reflect while the alluring rhythms of the ocean waves carry me to a different planes of consciousness.
The last time I took some time off was a few days after my father died. The trip was scheduled about two months before, So I did not know at the time, that I would be going to Costa Rica two days after the funeral, to mourn the loss of my father and to contemplate living in a world without him. I reflected on his life, our relationship and the values of respect, love, decency and family that he modeled for us that I would continue to carry on.
This time, when I made plans, little did I know that I would find myself mourning the loss of the America I have known. This time I am wondering what it will mean to come back to a world where Donald Trump is President of the United States of America. Sometimes our worst fears do come true.
Now I wonder what kind of “new dark age” these election results portend.
Many of us are fearful. Many of us are angry. Many of us are still in disbelief. Many of us are depressed. Many anxious. Many want to fight. Many want to be hopeful.
I DO understand “why” the “reds” voted the way they did. Many of them are suffering. And I want our government to do something to alleviate their suffering, but I am afraid that many will be disappointed.
I usually follow the news every day, read articles and editorial from the NY Times and various other sources. So did something I have not done since my trip to Costa Rica. I’ve taken “a break from the news.” For the past three days, I have “stopped the world.” Yeah, I know it’s still going on somewhere. Some people talk about taking a “news break”. But few of us ever do it. Maybe we’ve afraid that once we are free we won’t want to come back. Yeah, I do not want to return to “Trumpworld.”
But I want to return. To my wife, my kids, my friends, my students, my clients, my work, my country.
BUT I never want to hear or see the word Trump ever again or see his image, his face, his expressions, his appointments, his disappointments, his impact on the future of our country and on the rest of humanity and the environment. I know, but just let me have this moment of magical thinking.The fuller brush salesman just got his foot in the door and is now making a killing.
But for the time being, I’m sitting here in Sunny Jamaica, sitting between two worlds. Last time I contemplated the two worlds I sat between it was about being a child with a parent and being an orphan. Once again I am alone, but this time I am also not alone. We are not alone. We are all in this together, all at the same time, RED, WHITE, BLACK and BLUE and all the other colors of the rainbow.
Yes I am one of the blue city dwellers and I am a New Yorker and a Queens boy.
I never met him, but I know him. We both grew up in Queens around the same time. I left Queens years ago. I thought I made it out. But “It follows.”
If you want to be familiar with Queens attitudes back in the ’60’s-’70’s, watch some episodes of, “All in the Family.” Bigotry is not a laughing matter, but Archie Bunker’s character was a precursor to the character Stephen Colbert played on The Stephen Colbert Show and the character Alec Baldwin played on Saturday Night Live.
So I am still here, hoping someone will “Say it aint so.” I never like endings.
I remember my son and I visiting our first amusement park together in the swamps of New Jersey (aka The Meadowlands), where he rode a roller coaster for the first time. He did not want to leave. It’s that way for me with a Bruce Springsteen concert. Or coming out of a hypnotic trance. Until I remember a future filled with wonderful possibilities.
So my readers, my friends, my family, my clients, my students, my colleagues, my fellow citizens, Mother Earth and Father Time, I am sitting here with you. When I think of all the loving, respectful, decent human beings I know who are going through this, I don’t feel so alone and that gives me a ray of hope and more than a little comfort.
This message I send to everyone, regardless of who you voted for and whether you agree with me or not. We have differences, but we have to live together and find ways to work together. Can we all find something that we can agree is worth fighting for?
Fasten your seatbelt or whatever metaphor works for you.
This situation is anything but funny. But let’s hope Springsteen is right. Maybe:
“Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all ‘seem’ funny.”
The 2016 election is over and the Future is about to be revealed.
Let’s see what we elect to do now.
Ready or not, here we go…