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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Light Not Heat

Wilson High Protest/ photo by Mark Noone

I think it's safe to say DC was rocked by the election last week. When I walked out onto 18th Street at 12:30 a.m. last Wednesday after attending a party, I had never seen Adams Morgan so still. A few police. No people. Dead quiet. 

My daughter called me sobbing. She knows misogyny when she sees it- just like people of color know racism when they see it. Back in the 1940s, my blue eyed Greek American father could pass for white which meant he could sneak his family into resorts like Beverly Beach where no Mediterraneans were allowed. (Never mind anyone else of any sort of color.) And I am pretty sure my father would have voted for Trump. Without irony.

(One silver lining of these times might be the fodder for satire here. SNL  has come up with two brilliant skits: "Black Jeopardy" and  "Election Night.")

I have talked to Trump supporters. As much as I find it hard to comprehend, there are women who voted for Trump. Sisters and mothers, people I love and respect, voted for Trump.  Why? I asked them. Here are some of the answers I got: Because that "basket of deplorables" statement really hurt. Because though global warming might be happening, we can't do anything about it so why not bring back steel? Yesterday I heard that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, the Republicans would have accepted the news quietly without the protest. Though my jaw may have been dropping,  I did not try to refute these statements.  I looked at these conversations as windows into worlds I don't understand.

The news of journalist Gwen Ifel's death was another blow this week, but her life has inspired me. Her mission was to “tell the stories that shed light and spur action.” One small comfort I was able to give my daughter was to look at Trump's election as a wake up call to activists everywhere. Yesterday Montgomery County kids walked out of school. Today Wilson High School staged a protest downtown. Too young to vote, they wanted their truly diverse voices to be heard- to show their unity. They were impressive in number, armed with light not heat. The students marched from the Trump Hotel down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. Donald Trump may have started this conversation. I hope America is listening. 

photo by Keagan Hall


  1. Great post! We walked by your house yesterday and felt the light.