“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
I would like to add “powerless”, “victimized”, “hopeless” and 100 other words to Ms Roosevelt’s empowering statement – on this day when I see my beloved United States of America portrayed as a racist, xenophobic, heartless oligarchy in the international media. I am embarrassed to be an American for the first time in my 52 years on the planet.
As a Caucasian woman married to an African-American man, who has consulted international clients from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Poland for the past 20 years, diversity is intertwined in the fabric of WHO I AM.
When I engage, connect, and unify with these sacred members of the human family, we transcend race, religion, country of origin, politics, education. We find that place of familiarity, that sisterhood and brotherhood that is imminent, powerful, transformative.
As a Global Communications Consultant, I literally meet new international students, professionals, housewives and travelers every day, both in person and on Skype/Facetime. This has given me a unique perspective on the election, our North American way of life, issues happening across the globe and the interconnected nature of our world in 2017.
When I see Trump banning asylum for Syrian refugees for the next 90 days, I think of my Syrian clients and friends, their divided families, the possibility of loved ones abroad dying from violence, starvation, illness. When I hear about “The Wall”, I think of the 100’s of Mexican factory workers who were part of my ESL classes on the South and West Sides of Chicago. I think of their families, their neighborhoods in Pilsen, or their aged mother or father back home in Cuernavaca who is dependent on that monthly wire transfer. These are not abstractions on Fox News – these are real people and real stories and Trump’s ridiculous policies will have financial, medical, educational and life threatening implications on these mothers, fathers, employees, students, voters, community members.
Working with this global population over the years, there have been hundreds of intense discussions of geopolitical issues. In this context, I am often called upon to act as a cultural liaison and to “represent”.
- This administration.
- These distorted “values” of divisiveness, isolationism, poverty consciousness (we have to protect US interests) and oppression of everyone who is not a white, male, conservative Christian.
- This pervasive hatred and this narrow-minded view of our global reality.
I can not take this sitting down. These impostors in the White House do not represent me or millions of other loving, conscious, intelligent American citizens.
Despite my daily trips to the gym, positive affirmations and overall optimistic spirit, this is a dark chapter and I have an immense need to DO SOMETHING. So I will write letters to Paul Ryan and anybody else who can effect change on these issues. I demonstrated in the International Women’s March on January 21 and will continue to demonstrate for Civil Rights, Human Rights, the Affordable Care Act, Immigration and Refugee Rights and a Woman’s Right to Choose the destiny of her life and that of her future possible children. I will continue to blog here, and to engage in discourse IRL (in real life) and virtually.
I will love my neighbor. I will yield to merging traffic. I will say “thank you” to my Starbucks barista. When the weather turns, I will once again sit outside of Barnes and Noble with my “Open Discourse – Weigh in on the State of the Nation” sign. I will set up a card table and chairs and wait to see who sits down. Then I will give each brave participant 5 minutes to share their thoughts – to vent or cry or celebrate. This is how I can effect change in my own community. This is how I can contribute to empowerment, hope and equality.
This is what democracy looks like.