Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

It’s not only an Alice in Chains song, it’s an overused quote from The Simpsons, commonly heard in our house when were upset about something and can’t quite find the words to express W’s (What, Who, Where, Why). Except for this time, I had to change it a little, because I knew the who, so I said, “Can’t sleep, the Clown will eat us…” when A came in at midnight to see why I was still up and desperately staring at the computer screens with 34 tabs open across them. Most of them were already bookmarked, we’d looked at them before, some were newer from this year, even this summer. We had plans to leave the country in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Financial setbacks are a bitch. Add in not being able to sell your house without losing your ass, and it just plain sucks. COVID-19 lockdowns REALLY put a hamper on our searches. “Best Countries to Raise a Family”, “Countries Open to Americans”, “How to Apply for a Second Passport”, “Leaving the Country Fast”, “Sell Your House or Rent it Out?”, “RV Living On A Budget” were the first few that he could see. “You’re going to drive yourself crazy looking at this tonight. You need to get some sleep.” I know that. But how can I sleep?! How can anyone sleep know that the shred of hope for democracy died today? Ruth Bader Ginsberg, is, dead. 

A is forever looking at the news during dinner, I have been the opposite since the kids were born, I get the ‘readers digest’ version through him and a few select, trusted, individuals. So when I was eating and working, as per usual, and he told me to stop eating and stop working to listen to him, I was a bit taken aback. He never demands attention for news that way, he’ll just tell me, I multitask like a mother, cause mothers will multitask like none other, (note that I was eating and working and that was not out of the norm). “RBG is dead… you know what they are doing right now… “ 

You know that loud high-pitched ringing noise you heard after your ears pop? That’s all I could hear. I felt sick. Then I heard him say, “Look babe, I’m upset too, but don’t take this so personally, it’s like they’re coming for you.”

But “they” are. 

It IS personal because I’m a woman. Fear has a firm grip on me as my kids eat their popsicles on a rare, but warm, September evening. I’m terrified, we’re not ready. 

“They” being the over-privileged, old, white, wealthy men in power. They are coming for my children who are mixed-raced and lower-middle class. …

They are coming after my daughters ability to make choices for her own body and future family. We carry a wonderfully fucked gene that could’ve caused her to not even make it to birth, we had a great maternal-fetal-medicine doctor who took amazing care of us and found that hers was as severe as it could be, but it’s a risk. My son could father children with the same issue, his partner should be able to make the choice to terminate a pregnancy before getting to that point. Obviously, now we know more about it to make better, more informed choices, but there should be choices, options, for them. They are coming, using “religion”*, to fight against choices for future generations. Not that They care about the children once they are born. The voting record of those who are against abortion shows they care not for social programs that would help those who need it, who would’ve had an abortion had they been given the option, knowing the struggle of raising a child. Now add in a child with a disability and holy hell you’ll see some “compassionate Christians” who are anti-abortion but won’t give that now 2-year-old needing therapy a dime towards anything. It is not “pro-life”, it is “pro-birth”, and with all the ‘conspiracy theories’ my sister has been throwing my way about #savethechildren it seems to be the easiest link between of them is that the Republican Party wants to do away with abortions so they can have more children to kidnap and sacrifice for their crazy youth serum. They’ve already shown they’re not afraid to put children in cages, right in front of you, but it’s okay when it is someone else’s kid, someone who Fox News can make you think is doing something “illegal” even though it’s not. Coming to the U.S. border seeking asylum from your country, even passing through other shitty countries who have deals with your home country to send you back, is, in fact completely legal. Which is why people do it every year if they can survive the trek. 

I’m scared. I’m tired of fighting with my family to try to get them to care about other people. I’m tired of trying to get other people to care about other people. I just want out, mostly out of my own house at this point. I don’t want to even try to fix this country anymore. For those who are screaming so loudly about being patriotic are not holding up the values of basic patriotism. So I am at a loss and can’t reconcile how some people claiming Orange Chicken Shit is “so American”. 

To me, being a Patriotic American meant: 

  1. Knowing the Bill of Rights – Like actually knowing it, not just knowing that it exists, which sadly some people don’t even know that much
  2. The Pledge of Allegiance – Say it, but if you’re not going to say it then being quiet while it is said, not booing when someone takes a knee. The point of free speech and is that you can respectfully resist and disagree. 
  3. We Ain’t Perfect – Understanding our flawed and SHORT history and that we are STILL growing we are NOT Great, so there is no way to make America Great Again, it was never great, to begin with, it’s not going to be great anytime soon, just another broken promise from yet another dirty “new” politician. Congrats, Trump, you’re now just like all those other gross politicians. 
  4. Melting Pot – Not pretending to be “colorblind” and appreciate all the differences we have and what our experiences can bring to the table. It could be such a delicious dinner if we could just appreciate each other rather than hate each other. 
  5. Community Involvement – You are supposed to be involved in your community. This not only helps you be a better neighbor but you’ll see the issues that need to be fixed before they become a bigger problem, bring them up to the elected officials’ attention, and make sure it’s taken care of from there. If it’s not, vote someone else in who will take care of the issues. Which leads into…
  6. VOTING – Jesus, it wasn’t so long ago that not everyone here could vote. Now only those who have REALLY broken the law, or live in a fucked up area oppressed by systemic racism, are unable to vote. 

These are the things I’ve taught at rifle clinics, started to teach my own children through my daily actions and how we speak, yet now. I’m just done. I’ve lost faith in our country. I don’t want to be patriotic for the United States of America anymore. I would rather just watch this country burn to the ground and start over but I know what that bloodshed will mean. I don’t know that I could live with that kind of bloodshed. Both A and I, our fathers, went to Vietnam, we have other family who served in the military. My siblings are currently in different branches, serving now. I understand the gravity of the statement. The PTSD A’s father went through when he returned, the subsequent abuse A and his brother endured as a result of that PTSD, A’s pride in his family’s military service. I understand. It’s not a flippant statement like a child throwing a fit screaming “I hate you” to their loving parent when they don’t get their way, when I say, “I don’t want to be an American anymore.” 

So it wasn’t at all surprising for A to hear it, he knows all of this, and he will always preface his response with a, “You know my grandfather would be rolling in his grave if he could hear us talking right now?” but even he agreed tonight. 

I’m done listening to Trumpsters screaming Nazi slogans saying it’s patriotism. It’s not. It’s hatred. 

I don’t want to be in a country filled with hate. I don’t have enough light to see in this darkness. I want my kids to be able to see light.  

A is back to tell me to go to sleep again… I guess I should try. Wish me luck in that endeavor. 

Elle

*I say “religion” in quotes as someone who believes in God and identifies generally as a non-denominational Christian

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