How I Watch the News

I watch the news. Constantly. Or I listen in my car.

Because I have so many hungry identities to feed.

I watch the news as a disappointed liberal whose sense of disorientation, doubt, and national identity was sent spinning off in a death spiral in November. I watch to see what 45 has messed up each day, how Canada is becoming what America was to me. 

I watch the news as an advocate and a collector of tears. I watch and feel the impact of legislation and deregulation on clients who are sick, hurt, trying to get up and over increasingly-taller walls.

I watch the news as a mother of three living white boys, searching for answers to questions that no one can give me but that the three will ask. I watch with new worry; that the tall one looks so Aryan, that, despite his Jewish roots he will one day feel isolated enough to be interested in the courtship of Hate, that any of them will take their privilege for granted and push their way up and over a pile of overworked and underpaid, exploited, broken, brown-skinned bodies to get to their happy ending. That they will think the corpses are simply part of the pavement on their golden road. That they won’t speak up.

I watch the news as a Jew who abandoned her faith but who learned the Holocaust in her most formative moments. I don’t know how my rabbis voted but I know that they spoke for those who had not and that they taught that silence was death. I watch the news as a girl who was taught to always be on the alert for the signs.

I watch the news as a woman who sends her throbbing heart out into the world each day, wrapped in Kevlar and good sense. This man who is tender and doting and playful. I send him out into a world that will not see that. They will see their speedometer, in freeze-frame, twenty above and will curse at the sight of his blue lights. They will have their own new flashbacks, to uniformed men clubbing and kicking and punching and murdering. Will they risk a break? Will they record this interaction for fear? Will they see this man? Will they reach for their weapons? This man who does not do rallies or politics, who opts instead to make a difference in his every interaction with people, by treating them with respect, will they see him? I watch the news and study the widows. 

I watch the news searching for the answer, an antidote to fear and the bubbling hate and violence. I watch the news searching for some bright beacon of hope. Searching.

 

Richmond, VA