Born in the USA

By Mary Roberts

I lay on my yoga mat in savasana, the sweat dripping in my right ear. The teacher walks around with lavender-infused cold face cloths she places in our open palms. I put it on my forehead, covering my eyes. I feel the tears well up. No one knows that I’m crying. Hot yoga makes us all look like we’re weeping.

Mary Roberts is a writer living in Fort Collins, Colo. Click here to learn more about her…

My mind can’t settle. Trump had just declared the worse dictator in the world to be his bestie and, despite his abhorrence at ripping children from their parents’ arms, said he had to do it because the Democrats made him. Earlier, he had disrespected our oldest and most loyal allies, flipping them off as he ran away from any serious trade discussion or relationship-building, something an ignorant dictator would do.

I feel sick, like I can’t breathe, and think it must be the heat in the room or the high humidity, old memories of Boston summers when even the breezes from the ocean couldn’t dissipate the oppression we all felt, lying still and spent on the front lawn.

I don’t know why I’m crying—is it a sense of hopelessness? A sense of overwhelming disappointment in the GOP? I read that it’s now called The Cult of Trump, formerly known as the GOP. Is it helplessness in the face of 24 hours a day of lies, stupidity and Nazi-like adherence to a hate-filled agenda? Or is it that I can no longer talk to people I know who are Trump supporters? They smile at me and say that I’m just mad we lost.  I want to punch them.

Lying there, I feel like a loved one has died. Someone larger than life, someone I didn’t even know that I loved.

How some people feel about the state of America today: Howard Beale in the 1976 movie Network. Click here to learn more about the scene and to watch a video of it.

It dawns on me that it’s my country I’m grieving.

I’ve been fighting with it for so long (I’m a flower child from the 60s) that even when Obama arrived with hope and change, I was hesitant to expose my heart to a country that had for so long denied its culpability for the continued violence against minorities, had never apologized for its vicious treatment of native Americans, its misogyny, its hate of LBGTQ, its warmongering for oil, etc., etc. It took a couple of years and some changes, but I grew proud of where my country was headed, who we were aspiring to be. I was a little giddy with the beginnings of a nascent love.

What do you think? Don’t forget to take the short poll at the end of this article.

And then it left me. My country turned and without even a “see ya’ around” changed into a stranger with no morals, no compassion, no idea of what the Constitution and the Rule of Law means. Now it’s just another business meant to keep the richest happy and the poorest miserable because, after all, it’s their fault.

I want to love my country and perhaps that means you and I do something together.

We must fight back and shout “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore” from the rooftops, like Howard Beale in the film classic Network. We must call our Congresspeople. I call Colorado Senator Cory Gardner four times a week and tell him to find his cojones and speak up. Don’t swear on the messages, though. They’ll delete them.

We need to call everyone we know for the next few months and tell them to vote in the mid-term elections. Leave that message all over social media. Make sure all newly-minted voters vote.

It means we must financially support groups that are trying to help the immigrants, like The Florence Project and Catholic Charities. We must give money to the ACLU so we can sue the entire Trump administration for being idiots who circumvented the Rule of Law. We must attend protests whenever and wherever they’re held.

We need to talk to people about what’s happening and if they say, “I can’t hear anymore,” we’re polite but we insist on it. This is too important. I’ve heard that we should talk to Trump voters, but I can’t. They’ll say something about a few more meager dollars in their paycheck or new manufacturing jobs or how the other countries have treated us like a cash cow. I don’t have time for them. There are more of us than them. Frankly, I think they secretly hope we can stop this madness, but they don’t know how to get out of the cult.

The yoga room has cooled off and I get up to leave.  I almost didn’t come to class, seeking to wallow at home in my own impotence and righteous anger. Maybe the first thing we ought to do is take care of ourselves with yoga, a massage, or a walk in the woods with a goofy terrier. I’m feeling better, but my heart is still too tender to test it by checking my news feed and finding new horrors that the Trump administration has concocted in the last hour.

I turn on Pandora and listen to the old protest songs of the 60s. Sam Cooke, A Change is Gonna Come:

“There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long

But now I think I’m able to carry on

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will”

I sing along. I remember. I’m ready. Again.

 

Learn more:

June 28, 2018: Immigrant children are appearing in court alone.

June 30: ACLU says government wrong to detain families.

June 30: As masses of Americans gather to protest, Trump golfs and blames the Democrats for immigration policy.

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