As salaam alaikum,
I need to be doing some charting this morning, but after cruising the pain on my Facebook newsfeed and not feeling able to limit my thoughts to my status box, I decided to come back here, my nearly completely neglected blog with, so it seems, zero readership at this point, to put some of my thoughts down.
When I saw the polls take that critical turn toward Trump last night and saw my own home state had turned red for the first time since Reagan in 1988, I curled upon myself and cried. I cried for my patients, who I've grown with and come to learn from, who will no longer have insurance when the ACA is repealed. That's 30% of the people at our clinic that didn't ave insurance 2-3 years ago who now do. I cried for what that would mean, acutely, for our clinic, and the sudden struggle.
Of course that is where my mind would go first. Of course I would think of my patients. They are the people I spend most of my waking hours with, every week. These are the people who challenge me and sometimes traumatize me with their own stories of trauma. I empathize with them, even in 10-20 minute visits, I get in their space, 20 times a day I get into another person's space. It is emotionally taxing, but it was made easier by the fact that my patients had more resources because they had insurance through the ACA and Washington state's Medicaid expansion.
I was not among those who didn't believe it could happen. I saw it happen with the Republicans, and I hoped Trump antagonists were calculated enough to vote accordingly. We were not. There was hubris, and now there is nemesis.
I slept fitfully, having to pray before I could drift off and acknowledge all that I was grateful for, and all I'd rather have than avoiding a Trump presidency.
I am not of the most privileged in this country, but I am privileged. In January, I marry my long-time fiance, who is (now) a citizen and who is a white man. I will reap the benefits of his white privilege, including our living situation. Insha'Allah, we'll live and I'll co-own a home he bought for us last year, with five bedrooms, enough for our future children.
After my crying fit last night, I briefly wondered if this is a world I want to bring my children into, the children that I've been praying about more as of late, as family planning becomes acute for us.
I talked to my fiance about it. He calmed my fears. He's lived in a communist Albania. He's lived as an illegal immigrant in Greece, fearing for deportation at every turn. He's been an immigrant engineering student in Canada, he's earned citizenship there and, this year, here in the US. He's experienced that trauma. I still hurt for my patients, especially the undocumented immigrants and the refugees among them. I hurt for the babies that got invested in this election and are now are afraid for their well-being.
Insha'Allah, when Trump is inaugurated, I'll be sitting with my husband in our house on the hill with a relative position of privilege. The perfect position to affect change.
Don't get it twisted. LBJ knew Kennedy was going to be assassinated and gleefully took over as POTUS. This was a man who bragged about the size of his penis. It was not going to be him alone who signed into law the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act. My people mobilized to affect change. They mobilized. There were no submitting of demands. They gave their bodies to the cause. They worked to affect the change they wanted to see, they saw that change with their bodies. In effect, they were the change they hoped to see in the world.
My point in all this is that LBJ was hardly the charismatic and hopeful Kennedy, but he was the president under which these critical laws were passed because of the people. Will things be harder with a "Republican" (I think?) president and Republican majority in the House and Senate? For many of us, yes. Are we less likely to see the change we want to see under this president, even if we work hard to realize it? Yes. But the movements before us also didn't happen overnight.
One can muster all the memes that they like, craft all the hashtags they want--that has never been, nor never will be what is real. Although it will be painful, I will shower, dress, and be present for my patients this afternoon and evening because that is why I am here. I moved to this state from the comfort of Massachusetts' health care plan to learn how to provide care for a resource-poor, underserved community without a robust health safety net. The ACA happened, and I was overjoyed. It may be taken away, but my mission still stands. I will be there for my patients. I will use my position of comfort and privilege and muster up all the strength and smarts I can to be there for my patients.
And insha'Allah, I'll still bring babies into the world...but that's a topic for another time, another entry.
I don't believe this is a signal of end times. God knows, as always, and we don't. I also believe that this is (hopefully) the last hurrah for a dwindling majority in this nation. I will divert my energies into praying for us all, that God keep us in spite of political and financial twists and turns. I pray for my patients, my overwhelmingly black, Latino, and East African immigrant/refugee patients. I pray for my safety and the safety of all of my black and brown brothers and sisters in the face of police brutality, racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. I pray for the scared babies and their future. I pray for those abroad who bear the brunt of our foreign policy. I pray that all of my loved-ones survive the next 4-8 years, as we did Bush...
...as we did Obama, who has the blood upon blood on his hands, who played the game, who wasn't the president we all hoped he could be, who didn't affect the change we wanted to see, sometimes because he couldn't and sometimes because he didn't try. Let's be honest.
At times like these I remember my purpose in this life, our purpose in life--to help each other through it. This is why I'm here, and forward I go.
Also, inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'oon. One of my cousins passed away yesterday. Please join me in prayers for my auntie and uncle who lost another child just 4 months ago. Yesterday was also my grandmother's birthday. She would have been 88 years old. Please join me as I continue to pray for God's mercies and that God grant her peace and paradise.
I'm honestly thankful that my grandparents lived to see the first black president elected, for all that it was worth, and that neither lived to see the resurgence of the hatred that they felt so acutely when they lived in 1920s to 40s Arkansas.