Since the election, my necessary rage has settled into banked coals with hearts of grief.
I have never handled grief well. Anger is easier, and there are times when rage is exactly the right and needed response (and this is one, this is one), and righteous ire is a blessing. It is an instrument, an alchemical reagent that transmutes loss into action and produces heat and light.
In dark times, we must have light to see our way through.
Today I mourn. We inaugurate a new president, a vainglorious liar whose message is hate. I grieve for my America. I do not think she is dead, but she is laid low. I fear for her survival. I do not believe we will—any of us—remain unscathed.
And so, I rage. To live in this society with clear eyes and a truthful heart is to know that America’s promise is seldom kept and the golden lamp shines not for all, whatever our platitudes… and that this was designed, and is enforced by those who benefit from cheating the dignity of others. Clarity and truth demand that they be opposed.
Clarity and truth demand voice for the nations swept into forgotten corners of the continent, who in despair and glory call for justice despite a legacy of treaties betrayed by our government.
Clarity and truth demand voice for the descendants of peoples brought in bondage, whose stolen work and genius literally built the country, who have yet to see equality.
Clarity and truth demand voice for the immigrants, whose bravery is carried on their backs across rivers and deserts and the sea, whose toil is the means by which food arrives on all of our tables, who ask only for the opportunity for a better life.
Clarity and truth demand recognition that love is love, and all are equal under the law.
Clarity and truth demand that we affirm that we are all equal under the law, that sex and gender in all their expressions are equal and valid, and each person, every person, has inherent dignity and worth.
And so, I rage: fanning banked coals into blazes so that grief comes light.
Tomorrow I march, a bad hombre standing with nasty women, because clarity and truth demand that I voice not only my rage, but my grief, and say that what I mourn is a promise that might never be kept.
I rage, so that our promises might be kept.