For the first time, I sat down to write my weekly missive to the world as a part of American Twilight, and I came up blank. I pulled something forth about politics, but it was weak and I hated the idea of putting my name on it, so I discarded it. But that left me with nothing but the blank page and a vast tiredness.
“The trouble is,” I said to my wife, “everything that isn’t politics right now seems meaningless, and everything to be said about politics has been said by someone smarter than me already.”
What room is there for my voice, for my thoughts? I can tell you that right now I am tired. I am hungry, actually, due to accidentally skipping breakfast. I am overbooked. Yesterday I went to a rally and tears slipped from my eyes as the speakers outlined how New Haven’s status as a sanctuary city would mean a potential withdrawing of millions of dollars in Title One funding, the federal money that goes to low income students. I felt fortunate that my face does not turn red when I cry. I felt fortunate that I am not a parent, or a young child.
I wish that all of us could take a vacation. That we could all, in our own quiet spaces, sit on the porch of a small cabin and look at a lake, contemplating nothing more than our dinner plans and whether we’d like to take a swim now or later. That as the sun sets, we all gather around the fire with our loved ones and roast marshmallows, and watch the smoke rising to a carpet of stars undimmed by pollution, out of the reach of humanity’s perturbations.
A close friend of mine said he didn’t know whether to allow himself to be happy, when so many are unhappy right now. Happiness is a defiance of power, I responded. It is a refusal of the right of those you oppose to lay claim to your heart as well as your political structures.
Be joyous as you fight.
I am tired, and I am not joyous. Maybe I crack sooner than others, but it has been a week and already I am at capacity for panic and grief. Maybe you are there too. Maybe together we can take a break and do some healing. We can care for ourselves and those close to us, away from the echo chambers and the bleak halls of the capital. And then we return, ready to fight. We always return.
These next four years will be a war. This week has been a battle. I am asking for the injured to let themselves withdraw, be healed in the medic’s tent with your injured fellows. We will lose the war if we squander our soldiers in the first charge.
So take this weekend, my friends, my comrades. Take the next few weekends—take the time you need, to repair the hurt that these slings and arrows have done to your heart and soul. I’ll be there too, reading a book, baking cookies. And then I’ll be there when we go back, to rejoin the battle.