Letter From Scranton
Four years of Trump rage was awful. What lies beneath it is harder still.
One thing you never hear about primal screaming is how much it hurts, specifically the throat and the torso muscles. I’ve noticed that people who scoff at the idea have never tried it. They’ve never sequestered themselves away from anyone whom they might alarm, dug down into the gut, and searched for a starting point. They’ve never taken a deep breath and dived in, the exhale a stuck gear grinding to life in the diaphragm, tearing through the upper body only with great effort, vibrating the sternum, scraping the vocal cords with its metal. You don’t want it too high-pitched. This is not a cry for help. This is a war cry.
But the sound that comes is a combination between those two very things, high and then low, shrill and then gravelly. Shortly, screams give way to a keening that lasts much longer, the vein of gold in the landscape of grief, moans and snot wiping the soul clean. Alongside all the recent shocks purging themselves from the body come the oldest, most perennial ones.
This wasn’t actual primal scream therapy. I wouldn’t do that. It was just me in my car down by the lake, windows rolled up, the engine running and the heat on against the 20-degree January dusk. Afterward, as I dug through my purse for Kleenex, I could already feel the brittleness in my throat, the knotty tug in the tiny muscles between my ribs, the headache setting in. I looked around, relieved to find no one. Snow covered the parking lot, the beach, and the entire surface of the lake, a ring of dark pine trees framing all that white against a deepening sky. I got out and walked a hundred feet to where a crust of frozen slush marked the waterline. The sun had set but the horizon still glowed orange, causing me to automatically retrieve my phone from my coat and snap a picture. I kneeled on the beach, scooped up a few fistfuls of snow, and rubbed it into my swollen face and down my neck. Then I walked back to my car and decided to come home and write this.
Everyone I knew was so happy when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in: tears of joy, four years of cruelty and incompetence finally over with, decency restored. Not me. My relief was intellectual, about a quarter-inch thick. Below that I trembled, some erratic energy gathering in my depths. In this huge collective transition, I was behind the crowd. I’ve been like that since childhood, only feeling the full impact of events months or years later. When my father lunged at my mom, I was quick to jump between them. When a boy I liked grabbed my crotch hard in front of all our friends as a joke, I brushed it off. When a boyfriend backhanded me, I broke up with him on the spot and never looked back. Defiant and inviolable, that was me. Only much later did I panic in the most benign situations, or limp through whole summers crushed under the weight of shame, or struggle for years with an undiagnosable illness.
As Inauguration Day wore on, my shakiness was slightly relieved by certain images. The costumed military men lining the steps to the White House. The locked and loaded National Guardsmen forming a wall between the peaceful transfer of power and those who would interfere. The young Black poet, her hair swept into a crown, proclaiming that “being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.” I was waiting for catharsis. When President Biden sat down with the day’s executive orders, it nearly came — I almost teared up as he signed the United States back into the Paris Accord. The knot in my stomach uncoiled a little when Bruce Springsteen sang, “Meet me in the land of hopes and dreams.”
It all seemed so corny, the things that got to me. Springsteen, who back in high school I used to scorn as too mainstream. A white-haired Delaware grandpa signing a statement on climate change from the Oval Office. The same military that I often complained took up too many of our tax dollars, their global missions based as much on our access to oil as any endeavor to oust dictators or erect democracies.
But that’s what happens, I reasoned, when fascism raises its ruddy face from the ash heap of history. That’s what happens when men wearing “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirts storm the Capitol. A left-wing, peace-preaching, BLM-kneeling feminist like me quickly runs toward the middle, toward the oldest candidate with the most experience, toward the flag and the Constitution and the soldiers who, in the end, are the only thing standing between us and the Nazis. I see my fellow progressives doing the same, rushing inward to bolster the fortress, lest the premonition of William Blake come to pass and “the center cannot hold.” It’s a matter of physics.
You know when I was happy, right in time to the day’s events? On Saturday, November 7, when the major networks began calling Pennsylvania, and thus the election, for Biden. My longtime partner and I jumped up from the couch and hurrahed. We hugged and then pulled back to look at each other. “We did it,” I whispered, as if afraid to say it out loud. “We got rid of him.” I saw on social media that people were gathering in front of Biden’s childhood home in Scranton. I got in my car and drove a half hour to join them, a relatively quiet crowd of families and college students lining North Washington Avenue holding signs that said “Scranton Loves Joe” and snapping photos in front of a modest two-story house with peeling paint.
Biden wasn’t my first choice, but I took to him the moment he cinched the South Carolina primary, partly because I trusted Black voters to pick the right candidate. My affinity for him came easy as I was also born in Scranton. While my entire family remained local, I spent thirty years on the West Coast, only moving back last year. Driving through Scranton is a multi-layered experience, observing what the region has become while being hit with sense memories of childhood and adolescence: the corniced facade of the ballet studio, the pizza parlor still offering the same menu as in the ’70s, the bowling alley on the south side. When the weather is gray, I notice every empty beer bottle and plastic wrapper in the gutter, every rusted bannister and vacant storefront. When the air is brisk under a clear sky, my eye goes to the remodeled houses, the new yoga studio, the artists’ lofts borne from a shuttered garage. I loved growing up here. Its working-class ethos, steeped in the rituals of Irish, Polish, and Italian immigrants, was the balm that supplied all the resiliency I enjoyed as a child. My strength did not come from within. It came from these streets.
The Saturday when the election was called for Biden was one of those sunny days, the late-autumn light embracing, the air brisk with promise. I parked and walked along North Washington, snapping photos of kids climbing up Biden’s front steps and of a man wearing a rainbow mask, holding a sign that said “Love Conquers Hate.” On my drive home, I turned on Taylor Swift’s Folklore, my recent fascination with Swift another surrender to the wholesome center of the culture. Two years ago, it would have been Future Islands or Strand of Oaks blasting from the speakers. I’d been listening to nothing but Taylor Swift for a full year now.
As I turned the corner and headed back toward downtown, I passed the polling place I’d worked on election day, a mere two blocks from Biden’s house. Suddenly I realized that the Democratic Party had randomly assigned me to the very precinct where Biden’s parents would have voted.
Four days earlier at the polling place, a large utilitarian social hall connected to a Catholic Church, I worked inside while another volunteer who had driven seven hours from Massachusetts worked outside. Her job was to answer questions and encourage people to stay in line. Mine was to make sure that voters didn’t encounter illegal obstacles and that they were able to deliver their mail-in ballots or cast provisional ballots according to procedure. We both wore badges that read “Voter Protection.” I carried a thick printout of applicable laws, given me during a two-hour training session, and used my phone throughout the day to report issues to a central Democratic hotline.
The Republicans had poll watchers there too, three elderly women dressed in red, two of whom sat at a table with me while the third sat down beside the man at the entrance who greeted voters and checked their names off in his giant pollbook. It was her job to scroll through this pollbook, comparing it to her list of registered Republicans, and see which of them hadn’t yet voted. That way, she could phone in the names to local Republican headquarters, who would then call up those voters and urge them to get to the polls.
It seemed a hyper-efficient strategy and I wondered aloud why the Democrats hadn’t given me a similar assignment. The Judge of Elections, a man in his sixties who said he’d been overseeing local polls for decades, laughed at my wonderment. “This must be your first time at the rodeo,” he said. “Let’s put it this way. The Republicans are much, much better at this.” I couldn’t tell which party he favored, which meant he was doing his job. We weren’t allowed to wear political clothing or discuss political issues inside the polling place. We were there as observers and helpers, and my marching orders from Democratic headquarters was to not ask about a voter’s party affiliation, but to simply assist anyone who needed it. “We’re Democrats,” the trainer had said. “We are the party that wants every eligible voter to vote.”
So when the two Republican women at my table started talking about Biden’s family and how they didn’t really have deep roots in Scranton, I did something I never do. I smiled politely and shut up. (In fact, Biden’s Irish ancestors settled in Scranton in the 19th century, and Joe lived in the house on North Washington Avenue for his first 10 years.) When one of them leaned over with her phone to show off her granddaughter, an infant dressed in a red “Babies For Trump” onesie, I managed to say, “Aw, isn’t she a cutie.” And when the same woman then turned to me, as she and her friend discussed Covid, and declared that the virus was manufactured in a Wuhan laboratory by Dr. Fauci himself, I went stock still, determined not to respond. My eyebrows may have involuntarily raised a few millimeters, but otherwise I kept my expression blank.
It sounds easier than it was, to do nothing in the face of such outrageous disinformation. But I was high on democracy that day, worried but hopeful about the election results, and I wasn’t going to give in to what I usually do: rage. Rage against the mangling of objective data, against one of many fantastic alternate realities, against the populist stream of consciousness that meanders untethered from the fact-checked “mainstream media.” I have spent the last four years in a near-constant state of fury. I have screamed like a madwoman at a presidential motorcade passing through my hometown and at members of my extended family during holiday meals. I have gotten in online fights with racists and sexists that involved hundreds of comments and dozens of messages encouraging my outspoken takedowns as “fierce” and “brave.” I have prided myself on my big mouth and my willingness to jump into the fray. But this was a polling place, a sacred place, and I was going to honor that.
A Republican running for state legislature — who would end up losing — stopped in to say hi to his party’s volunteers, chatting about all the signs they were putting up throughout the heavily Catholic city that read “A Vote for Trump is a Vote for the Unborn.” On my lunch break I’d noticed they’d surrounded both the simple Biden/Harris and Trump/Pence signs with a dozen or so stressing this pro-life angle, as well as others that said, “Pro Gun, Pro Life, Pro Trump.” As he made to leave he said, “Thanks for all your work, ladies. Keep the faith. Pray the Rosary.”
I’ve had all the formative Catholic sacraments and am now a card-carrying Episcopalian who still occasionally prays the Rosary. I wanted to yell, “Hypocrites! Focusing on an issue Jesus never mentions while ignoring everything He says about lying, cruelty, materialism, helping the poor, caring for the immigrant. Wake the fuck up! I hate you all so goddamn much!”
That’s the thing about Trumpers. I’d been fighting them because I believed myself to have a good heart and a soft spot for the underdog. But within five minutes of attempting to argue what seemed plain as day to me — he is a bad, bad man, don’t you see, don’t you see? — my own heart often revealed itself to be made of nothing but red-hot hate.
When Biden’s win was announced four days later, he immediately called for everyone to tone down the rhetoric and lower the temperature. On my way back from North Washington Avenue that Saturday afternoon, I was glad I’d held my tongue at the polling place. I drove through the mountains east of Scranton with the windows down and the music loud, Taylor singing:
Please, picture me in the trees
I hit my peak at seven
Feet in the swing above the creek
I was too scared to jump in
But I, I was high in the sky with Pennsylvania under me
Are there still beautiful things?
Before the 2016 election, Trump said he would accept the results “if I win.” Before the 2020 contest he said, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” Thus the stage was set: If he won, the election was fair. If he lost, that meant it was bogus. Never mind the nonsensical circularity of such a statement. You or I or any of the 160 million Americans who voted on November 3 couldn’t get away with that kind of talk in a casino, a chess game, or on a sporting field. We couldn’t spout such nonsense and ever expect to keep a friend, colleague, or job.
But we all know Donald Trump plays by a different set of rules. He can tell his followers he’s going to accept if he wins, yell fraud if he loses, and they will go along. There are those who enjoy seeing this particular man get away with anything. They get a symbiotic boost from it somehow. After four years of watching him inspire white supremacists, spin facts on their heads, fail to take a pandemic seriously, show no compassion for 400,000 lost lives, evade all responsibility, and each day push the bounds of decency and truth a little further toward the breaking point, I never expected him to concede. He displayed a superhuman mastery of turning amorality to his advantage. I knew he’d go down swinging.
What I didn’t foresee was 62 lawsuits in 60 days.
“Watch out,” the women on my timeline warned after November 7. “The period after you reject the narcissist is the most dangerous phase.”
Every morning, even before coffee, my phone beeped with a new attempt at obstruction. Trump sues to stop Pennsylvania from certifying its results. Trump calls for a hand recount in Georgia. Trump files suits in Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada. Republicans sign on to an amicus brief in support of Trump. A U.S. District judge dismisses Trump’s Pennsylvania lawsuit. Pennsylvania Republicans file an emergency lawsuit to block certification. The U.S. Court of Appeals rejects Trump’s challenge. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects Trump’s challenge.
On my timeline, Democrats kept posting upbeat one-liners like “So much winning” and “Trump loses PA yet again.” My favorite post-election hashtag became #FuckAroundAndFindOut, an allusion to the coddled rich boy from Fifth Avenue trying to mess with the votes of hard-working Scrantonians and Philadelphians.
But below the bravado, I was fuming, wondering just how long this reality TV star could mess with the system and suffer zero consequences. This wasn’t a mauled speech or a friendly visit with a dictator or even a failed response to a pandemic. This was an election, the bedrock of democracy.
After hand-writing 700 letters to registered voters, donating a thousand dollars I didn’t really have, and working 14 hours on Election Day, I took the assaults on Pennsylvania voters personally. I began following Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who issued regular assurances that his team was ready to strike down all frivolous lawsuits, no matter how fast Trump could fling them. That included the suit filed by Texas Republicans claiming that my state had overstepped the will of Texas voters. With each new stunt, the local QAnon crowd rallied hope. Their de facto spokesman became a real estate agent, let’s call him Dave, who had quickly amassed 28,000 followers.
“Just wait till Texas v. Pennsylvania gets to SCOTUS,” Dave warned. I’m paraphrasing, but that was his refrain: Just wait. Stay tuned.
I gave no thought to the upcoming Christmas holiday. The only date I cared about was December 14, when the state electors would meet to certify the results. I lost all interest in my own life and work. I sent emails to lawmakers and signed petitions. I started writing letters to voters in Georgia for the upcoming Senate runoff.
But these incremental actions seemed too abstract. I needed something more immediate. So I started driving around the back roads of northeastern Pennsylvania, eyeing all the Trump signs and flags that still stood five weeks after Biden’s win. I pulled to the shoulder repeatedly to note the locations. I made a map.
First the low-hanging fruit, the small Trump signs still planted in the dirt along state roads and at various intersections, all of them on public property where they didn’t belong in the first place. Ripping them down wasn’t illegal. (But if you’re waiting for me to do something illegal, just hold on.)
I’d bundle up, get in my car, and turn on Folklore. I’d drive along the routes I’d outlined. The sight of each sign brought such a rush of pleasure — a bullseye, a prize I couldn’t wait to grab. I’d pull over and put my hazards on, hands shaking a little. Walk purposefully up the embankment, grab the top corners of the sign, and yank. They came up easily, being made only of an envelope of light plastic slid down over a metal frame stuck into the ground. I’d either ball up the plastic and toss it into my front seat (legal), or if I was in a wild mood, throw it as far as I could and watch it blow in the wind (illegal). Strut back to my car, turn off the hazards, and continue.
I quickly overcame any qualms about performing an outspoken political act in public. This was rural Pennsylvania where men carried guns into the ShopRite and where someone keyed my car right above its Biden bumper sticker. But I found that no one driving 60 miles an hour fully registers what another driver is doing on the side of the road, and even if they did, by the time they pulled over I could be back in my car.
When I could find no more small signs on public roads, I went to Lowe’s and bought a can of black spray paint for the really big signs that couldn’t be torn down. I only hit a few of these as most of them were on private property, but the ones that weren’t ended up reading “Trump LOST.” This task, which took much longer to accomplish than ripping up plastic, induced a much bigger jolt of adrenaline. After I finished, I’d drive around the block and circle back to admire my work, maybe snap a picture. My heart pounded like a rebellious teenager’s. Taylor sang:
Please picture me in the weeds before I learned civility
I used to scream ferociously anytime I wanted.
Next, the cardboard signs stapled to telephone polls. I pulled over to several of them, but failed at most, because someone had placed them too high. Who, I wondered? You’d need a ladder or a tall pickup bed to get a sign that far up a utility pole. Probably the monster pickup crowd. I successfully reached only one of these, but the juicy tug it took to muscle the sign from the pole, shredding it in two away from its thick staples, was worth it.
All that was left were the signs sitting in people’s yards, some small and plastic, some huge and wooden, and the flags flying from their porches, trees, and flagpoles. I wasn’t willing to let myself destroy other people’s property, so I had to think of another approach.
While the state electors were meeting on December 14 to certify Biden’s win, I was printing out flyers that read, “Losers in 1865, Losers in 1945, Losers in 2020.” Aside each line was a corresponding symbol: the Confederate flag, the Nazi flag, and a red MAGA baseball cap. The next day, when state senators from Virginia and North Carolina called for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and declare martial law, I was out on Route 502 with a pile of flyers and a roll of clear shipping tape. When I came upon a Trump residence, and there were many, I’d find the next nearest utility pole and tape a flyer securely around it. I started putting tape over the entire surface of the flyers in order to weatherproof them. I posted a lot of these before realizing that perhaps I shouldn’t be displaying anything with a swastika on it, even if it was anti-Nazi. So I made more varieties of flyers: BIDEN WON, GET OVER IT, MOVE ON. I bought rolls and rolls of shipping tape. When I got sick of taping them around utility poles I started tossing them into Trumpers’ driveways.
Meanwhile, when he should have been filling the Biden team in on the coronavirus vaccine plan and matters of national security, Trump instead appealed to SCOTUS and made 18 calls to the Georgia Secretary of State in between rounds of golf. He had already fired his defense secretary and the director of cybersecurity and installed loyalists at the Pentagon. I woke up every morning asking: What was he planning? How far would he go? Could he possibly succeed? Republican senators announced they would challenge the official electoral count when Congress met for its official joint session on January 6.
“January 6,” said Dave. “Just wait. Stay tuned.” He warned of a countrywide blackout, an activation of the national emergency broadcast system. There would be men with guns in the streets. We should stock up our pantries. He kept his tone paternal though it was easy to sense his glee. “Stay calm,” he said as he spouted scenarios intended to alarm.
It was around this point that I stopped finding QAnon ridiculous. I began to think of them not as naive idiots but mental abusers, constantly telling their fellow citizens, who were already dealing with the massive emotional and financial stress of a year-long pandemic, that the end of America as we know it was at hand. Why should the rest of us, who are not trained psychiatrists, have to continually listen to the ramblings of a collective psychotic break? On algorithmic cue, my feed began advertising bulletproof vests, generators, battery-powered LED bulbs good for seven days at a time.
“The Storm is coming,” they said. “January 6.”
I blocked Dave. Don’t ask what took me so long—probably the fact that I was high on rage, and the high began wearing off.
In the eight weeks between Election Day and January 6, Taylor Swift released yet another quarantine album, Evermore, and both my father-in-law and my favorite uncle died of Covid. Though his dad was already in a coma, my partner flew to California just to stand behind a pane of glass and watch his father’s vitals dwindle to zero over the course of a day. He could see but he couldn’t touch. When his dad’s blood oxygen hit 62, he called me and we prayed the Episcopal prayer for the dying. The hospice nurse had placed a heavy quilt knitted by volunteers over his dad to keep him warm.
A few days after Christmas, my cousin was driving my uncle to his dialysis appointment. Because he was infected, she had to take him to a center especially for Covid patients. They had only gotten a few blocks from his house when he became confused. When she asked if he was okay, he said, “I’m good, I’m good.” Then he closed his eyes and slumped asleep. By the time the ambulance got him to the hospital, he was dead.
A week later, we lined up at a freezing cemetery in Scranton to lay single carnations on his long silver casket. Only his closest family was there — his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews — none of the friends or neighbors or colleagues he had earned through 85 years of living in a small town. All his siblings, including my dad, were already dead. We couldn’t hug or stick around long to catch up. We were too wary of body fluids to let ourselves really cry. We couldn’t gather afterward to eat the customary funeral meal.
My father-in-law was cremated. He still hasn’t had any kind of funeral service, and won’t until sometime later this year when enough people in California are vaccinated, hopefully.
Hearing the usual suspects ramble on about the “authoritarianism” of wearing a mask, or how they would never succumb to “communist” lockdowns or give over their “sovereignty,” was one thing. Much more horrifying was watching those I had once assumed liberal jump on the Ayn Rand bandwagon. The history professor who hates walking on the eggshells of campus identity politics so much that he has gradually come to admire the far-right rhetoric of Tomi Lahren and Ben Shapiro. The life coach who preaches that Americans’ anger at Trump is just a projection of our own shadow — for we all secretly want to be as rich and powerful and careless as Trump is, if only we could admit it. The Instagram influencer who asserts to her 100,000 followers that having to sign a contract tracing list at a cafe is an impingement on her freedom. The Black man who believes Trump is Christ’s messenger and that white liberals can never be allies to people of color.
I can’t fight them anymore. Trump almost crushed me; his unexpected fanboys and girls finished the job. I know social media is an engine built to keep us embroiled in infinite conflict. I feel my island getting smaller, my rage hotter until it finally does what it’s designed to do: destroy the carrier, not the target. When the life coach recently sent me a private message acknowledging our disagreements and sincerely wishing me well, I burst into tears.
I’m done trying to convince anyone of anything, and that includes the woke leftists criticizing Biden two weeks into his term for being too centrist. I’m laying down my sword and putting my faith in a 78-year-old grandpa from Scranton who’s made mistakes and suffered more losses than most of us, and who seems to me like a basically kind man. Kinder than Trump, certainly. Kinder, I think, than the people I disagree with. Kinder than me.
When the January 6th rally turned into a riot, I was sitting on the couch watching the crowd climb the walls of the Capitol on television. I moved my left arm a few inches and my entire back clenched into a knot. I limped into my office and laid flat on the floor, waiting to see if the spasm would calm down. It did, but it took a day, so you could say the sight of an attempted insurrection literally paralyzed me. Snowflake, right? Up to that point, the armor of rage had protected me from that insult.
When Trump was first elected in 2016, several parishioners at my former church in Los Angeles objected to saying his name during the prayers we usually speak on Sundays for national leaders. They claimed that, given his record of verbal and sexual abuse of women, simply hearing his name triggered them, and they wanted it kept out of church. The pastor, a gentle, highly educated man, agreed to pray for “our president” instead of naming him. I remember thinking, “This isn’t good. They cannot allow themselves to be so sensitive. They have to toughen up.”
After the riot, smart women kept mentioning collective trauma and how it was going to take a while to recover from four years of watching a textbook abuser control our national fate: the lies, the gaslighting, the caged children, and now the inciting of violence in the heart of the nation’s democracy. I understood. I could feel the chasm of emotion opening up in me as the days crawled by. But there is a dichotomy inherent in the idea of collective trauma, because the collective is macroscopic, but trauma is microscopic. It coalesces in the muscles and neurons. How could we let ourselves process trauma when there were Nazis in the street and talk of civil war? As anyone who’s been through it will tell you, healing is something that happens much later, far from the action. And healing is never the end of the story. After healing comes more wounding. After peace comes the next round of violence.
I knew I needed to stop and feel, but I didn’t want to. Instead I decided to continue on with my futile public service announcements. I printed up a new batch of flyers, a collage of rioters smashing windows and beating a police officer, headlines that described them killing a cop and spreading feces inside the building. Above it all: SHAME ON YOU in red letters. It was snowing out so I lined them good in shipping tape and headed toward the road where I had seen the most Trump signs, Route 690.
The streets were slippery, the low sky dark, the tall trees bare and spindly. Many of the signs had come down. Several houses that for the past few months had flown both pro-police and Trump flags now had only a police flag remaining. Still, I found the holdouts. The farm with two huge white wooden signs. The entrance to a housing development where a sign nailed to a post read “Happiness Is Another Four Years.” The charming Cape Cod with eight signs forming a kind of fence around its yard. The freezing wind rushed in my open window and thrust the flyers in all directions as I aimed them for the driveways. I made a U-turn and headed for my main destination, a small roadside cabin adorned top to bottom in flags: Don’t Tread On Me, Make Liberals Cry Again, Trump 2020: Fuck Your Feelings. I pulled into the driveway, picturing the inhabitants as characters in Hillbilly Elegy. I threw the rest of the flyers at the house, then peeled back onto the street, my usual rush of adrenaline hardening into what felt like a fist in my chest. For a few moments I couldn’t work my lungs, until I reflexively gasped in a rush of cold air.
That’s it, I told myself. I was done with this fury. Biden was being inaugurated tomorrow and I was going to get on board with unity and healing. I knew that what lay beneath my defiance was more painful, and that it wasn’t easy to plumb even in the quiet, never mind in the midst of chaos. Yet it was creeping up, gaining on me. Soon it would have its way.
As I write this, the neo-nazis are sweeping in to gather up the disillusioned QAnons after the Storm failed to materialize. The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that domestic extremists fueled by false narratives could continue to commit violence in the weeks to come. The energy that Trump fostered and unleashed can’t just disappear. It has to go somewhere. Now does not seem the ideal time to let the guard down, to let the heart open.
But I don’t have a choice. Rage has carried me as far as it can and dropped me at the side of the lake. Grief is harder, but at least it makes room for hope.
I drove home through the snow down Route 690, just me and Taylor:
I was catching my breath
Barefoot in the wildest winter
Catching my death
And I couldn’t be sure
I had a feeling so peculiar
That this pain would be for