Helping Each Other and Hunkering Down

I’d been waiting until after the election to get back to blogging about my usual stuff. Of course, I’d been assuming that Hillary Clinton would win, and that “Getting Back to it” would be “getting back to normal.” I’m not sure what normal means now.

I haven’t been able to eat since this morning. I just have a roiling nausea that threatens to erupt in bile. I’ve lost my voice (literally). I recognize other women wearing sunglasses, even though it’s raining, because we’re making an effort to not burst into tears from a sympathetic face. It’s not working.

I’m already tired from my own choices to have kids and to work full time. I’m newly exhausted by the work ahead of us. I know we who care can do it, but I didn’t want to have to work this hard. We have to work to protect those who are vulnerable. We have to use our privilege (whatever it is, education, wealth, time, identity) not to advance ourselves, but to make sure we can help others.

When America was “Great” so the narrative goes, white people were in charge and everything told them they deserved their place and that others were less than. There have always been allies who think the body politic can’t be great when the greatness is based on entitlement to others’ labor, families, lives. Women have helped each other end pregnancies that they can’t cope with; women have protected each other from sexual and racial violence (see my research on the California women in the face of Anglo invasion); the Underground Railroad existed; men and women rode buses, blocked entrances, and sat at restaurant counters; women have taken up the picket lines when men were arrested; Catholic priests and Chicana activists worked together to smuggle refugees from Central America to safety. I had hoped we had reached a point where we could agree that blanket social goods could be valuable. I was wrong.

In Harry Potter, the Wizarding community has to cast protective charms on Muggle neighbors (non-magical people). These spells are done in the hope of using their privilege (as under attack as it might be) to keep their neighbors safe from the dark elements. Throughout our history as a nation, people have sacrificed their own material and social interests to ensure that others can have a chance to have human dignity. We are here again.



  1. I believe people all over the world are shocked by the election’s result. A friend from the Netherlands messaged me that she cried when she learned of it. Another, from Denmark, wrote that in her country they thought his candidacy was a joke. So did many of us, never dreaming of the depth of misogyny in this country. The way you raise your sons is a strong contribution to a concrete foundation for change. The social infrastructure of this country can only be rebuilt one child at a time. And I believe it will take that long.

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