Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life Isn't Fair

Update: There is now an Amazon Wishlist, because so many of you wrote to me and asked how to send holiday gifts. Items ship directly to the girls. Suggestions welcome. This is only a first attempt! Thanks, everyone.

Life isn't fair.

Two little girls, friends of the Grape, became orphans last week.

I won't identify them, as they are eight and ten years old; I'll call them S and A.

Their mother had struggled for a long time with a chronic incapacitating illness, but her sudden death, by a brain bleed, I think the term is ruptured aneurysm, took everyone by surprise.

S and A went to school and their mama had a headache. The next time they saw her she was in an irreversible coma in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit.

Life isn't fair.

I can't imagine their shock and heartbreak.

The girls had lost their father some years earlier. The mother, an Ivy-educated physician, had been too ill for many years to work. The family lived in a subsidized apartment and scraped along, all three of them victims of a brilliant scientific mind imprisoned by illness.

When the Grape first started having S over for play dates,  I tried to befriend the mom. She politely but firmly put up barriers. All play dates were at our home, and she never set foot beyond my threshold. After a few weeks, I stopped asking if she'd like to come in for coffee or tea or wine, or if she'd like to stay for dinner with her girls.

She always looked down on her luck, a wisp of a woman, bundled in all kinds of weather, because her disease interfered with her body's metabolism and temperature regulation. Sometimes, you might have been forgiven, if you mistook her for a homeless person.

There was no family money. No adult child with special needs trust. No safety net beyond the bare bones the state of Massachusetts provides, and while Massachusetts provides more than most states, it doesn't provide quality long term inpatient treatment. No state does. And sometimes that means the state makes orphans. Life isn't fair.

S and A had one regularly involved relative, a grandmother whose biweekly visits S and A recounted with huge smiles and sparkling eyes.

The mother excelled at finding resources for her daughters: camps and art courses and donated clothes. She got them scholarships at a private school and took advantage of free events at the library and the art museum. She had the girls paired with Big Sisters. She did most of this from the computer at the library, because she didn't own one of her own. Nor did she own a smartphone.

She did the best she could, but more days than not, those kids were hungry.

As the girls grew, and her illness worsened, she occasionally admitted her task grew more challenging. Local charities like Cradles to Crayons have a wealth of items for the baby and preschool set, but far less for kids in the middle to late elementary years.

A few of us moms at the school noticed when they had no snow gear (in Boston), no Christmas presents, no school supplies. We tried to help discreetly, and quietly marveled that the school turned a totally blind eye.

Life isn't fair.

For that reason, I dedicate my No Trump Vote to S and A, because they are orphans, and Trump doesn't believe in any expansion of the safety net, or in expansion of universal healthcare to a single payer model.

I dedicate my No Trump Vote to S and A, because they are girls, and no man has the right to grab them in the privates without their consent.

I dedicate my No Trump Vote to S and A, because they are black, and I abhor the racist rhetoric of Trump's campaign. It smacks of fascism, as does his almost unfathomable threat to jail his political opponents. In America. In 2016. If a candidate in Africa or Eastern Europe said anything remotely resembling this, we would send election monitors.

I dedicate my No Trump Vote to S and A, because their mother was chronically disabled, and Trump mocks disabled people.

I dedicate my No Trump Vote to S and A, because I want them to know ambition should not be a privilege reserved for well-to-do white men

I didn't plan to write about this election, because anyone who's read me once can deduce I'm a solid blue voter. 

I'm so tired of hearing about how awful it is that Clinton "wants to be President" and "She's worked at it for decades," and "She's too ambitious, not warm enough, too prepared, too thoughtful, not smiling enough."

I dedicate my No Trump Vote to S and A, because I want this glass ceiling to shatter. 

I want this catch-22, that says women cannot be feminine, but also strong and ambitious, to end with my generation.

Can you imagine anyone making similar criticisms of any male candidate for County Zoning Board, let alone President of the United States?

I'm also tired of hearing about voters sitting out the election, or voting for third party candidates.

I would strongly prefer a multi-party parliamentary system, but in the system we have, either Clinton or Trump will win the White House on November 8.

Which means nobody hears your protest ballot. If Trump scares you, but you don't vote for Clinton, you are as culpable as the Trump voters.

Before you cast that "I don't like either of them ballot," please think about the American military pilots under threat from Russian anti-aircraft artillery in Syria.

Yes, that Russia. The one Trump holds up as an example of a well run country. To be clear: the only aircraft in the skies above Syria are American. ISIS does not have an air force.

Clinton is not perfect.

Life isn't fair. We don't get perfect candidates. S and A don't get a mom, let alone a healthy one.

I am optimistic that the deliberative, thoughtful, highly analytical qualities that stifle Clinton's charisma on the campaign trail will serve her well as the nation's chief executive, and that her policies will benefit kids like S and A more than those proposed by her opponent.

#ImWithHer  #NeverTrump #DedicateYourNoTrumpVote