On this day of change, I look back to my post from four years back when things were desperate (more desperate than now, truth be told) and hope was distant. It was the day of the Women’s March, January 22, 2017. It was a great day.
I had gone for a long run, almost 17 miles, through the forest, and had come home exhausted. My wife was on the phone with no interest in talking to me. I had done something wrong but I didn’t know what. I found out through snippets of conversation that a barbecue was being installed on the fire escape and asked why she hadn’t told me before. She shrugged, angry, feigning indifference. I was exhausted and went to sleep. The spare bedroom had been rearranged in a way I couldn’t understand and had to pull the bed against the wall to get the door closed.
I slept on and off until it was dark and she came briefly in the room and said, “I am watching Iron and Blood tonight” and left. I was disoriented. She was talking to her niece who was staying with us. They both ignored me.
And then it escalated. I asked my wife to speak alone to understand what was going on. She resented this request. She didn’t want to speak, saying she didn’t have to bother with that. It came out that she thought I had organized a series of parties for my students.
I didn’t understand the accusation. But it was too late. She was furious and now engaged with others, the accusations getting worse. It was because I smoked. That was the last thing she said. I didn’t see her again.
The Women’s March was a moment to be remembered, 400,000 singing, screaming people, everyone just glad to be alive and together, creeping along 42nd Street, up 5th Avenue, five hours to go about 20 blocks. It was a joyous affair, not looking to go anywhere, happy with where we were, cheers and songs surging back and forth, echoing between the buildings, calls of “my body, her body” the strongest. (Watch this video!)
Truth be told, I’ve never had the pleasure of a more courteous, empathetic, indeed lovely collection of souls in my life. (Good god, what if women did run the world?!?)Lots of emotion, all of that welling up, realizing what could be, even thinking things just might work out after all. And yet, we know what is next, the inevitable spins of fake news, of out-and-out denial, the lies of “dogmatic intransigence” and “alternate facts”. Thus the signs. The Trump policy of Lie and Repeat will stay the course, getting more entrenched in fear and anger. And so, sadly, there is nothing to do but take the gloves off and say what’s what in no uncertain terms. It’s time to fight. Hard.