Today after school pick up I had one kid with me and an hour to kill so of course we went to the grocery store. I needed milk and english muffins. My kid with the eating issues will eat an english muffin for lunch, but only a Thomas’s English Muffin, which is not sold at every grocery store (because New York) and rarely on sale. So today we went to Fairway.
If you don’t know Fairway, well, that’s okay. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a Wegman’s or a Central Market or Rouse’s (I love grocery stores), but here in NYC we have Fairway. And local pride aside I’m pretty sure that I get to shop at the Fairway with the best view of any grocery store in the whole country.
There’s a cafe at the back of the grocery store along with an outdoor patio with a fantastic view of the East River, which is a pretty big deal waterway, and where you can eat a mediocre lunch and watch the Staten Island ferries and the container ships going to port, sail boats and police boats and shark boats and there in the not too far distance stands Lady Liberty, the statue herself.
I’m not going to say that every time I go to the store I pause for a reflective moment and give thanks to my country and for the liberties that this statue stands for, but this time, today, I’m driving out of the parking lot in my little car with my little kid in the back rambling on about Pokemon, and the fog was hanging low and everything is gray and there she is right in front of me, a beacon of green, standing stoic in the river. Placed there 130 years ago specifically to welcome people who had just crossed the ocean, a giant statue on the horizon of a friendly faced woman welcoming them to our shores. Here’s something to make you laugh/cry, from the National Parks website, the torch is a symbol of enlightenment…the torch lights the way to freedom showing us the path to Liberty.
France is France and probably not handing over any giant friendship statues to help us celebrate liberty any time soon. Not that we deserve a new one anyway. But we do deserve the one that exists. And that’s what I thought about today as I pulled over to the side of the road and got the kid out of the car and we walked to the fence that prevents us from jumping in the river and stood and looked at her. The kid reminded me that two years ago we went up to the top of her crown and how much he enjoyed that day. And he’s right, it was an amazing day. I also remembered the 18 rounds of security we went through to get up there and the bad ass Federal Park guards whose job it is to stand in the crown all day in the summer. The crown is made of copper. Yo dudes, copper gets HOT in the summer and there is no air conditioning built in to the Statue of Liberty.
And I stood there today and I thought and I thought and I thought. About these past few weeks and months and has it been years. And how as each passing day we feel our liberties slipping away, how each day is also a day to celebrate. Because our country is not our president or our administration. Our country is the people, we the people I think someone said. We who live here and work here, who send our kids to school here and run businesses, who have unparalleled rights to say whatever we want and love whomever we want and dress whichever way we like.
And I am not ignorant and I know that not everyone enjoys the same equal rights, but we as a nation, as a whole, I believe we want the same rights for everyone, because that’s what we LEARN, in SCHOOL, and in CHURCH, or wherever you do or don’t pray. Yes, there will always be numbnuts who think that only one type of person is the best kind of person, but those people are dummies and they all mostly spend time talking to themselves anways. Here’s a good policy, my brother came up with it, move everyone who hates people who aren’t straight white people or who wants to carry a bunch of guns to one particular state, like say, Nevada (sorry Nevada, nothing personal) and then the rest of the country can just spend their time getting along.
No. Not really.
I don’t really believe that.
But what really struck me today and the point of this blog post and what prompted me to say something, anything, is this. We as a country have shown so much strength and fortitude and bravery in numbers uncountable these past few months. I’m so proud every time I hear about a new rally of people banding together to prove, that yes, the people united, will never be defeated, but also because it’s the right thing to do. Because we know that, by and large we all came here from somewhere. At some point, some family member said y’know what, I’m going to go check out that America place, it sounds pretty cool.
We’re not cool right now.
But maybe we’ll become cool again. Maybe we’ll be known as that country that wrenched back our civil liberties, those liberties that were handed down to us by our forebears, the ones that some bad hombres thought they could come in and kick around. And I’m lumping in YEARS of history here, because this didn’t happen overnight. People were tired, they wanted a change, they got some sort of horrible terrible change and now EVERYONE is tired and we all want change, and not just to the way things were, but with civil liberties for EVERYONE who lives here.
And I won’t buy in to what have we done, and we’ve ruined the lives of our children, because that’s not the world I want to live in. And I’ve learned from many many teachers that I am in control of the life I want to lead. I can make changes, I can, I will and I do.
Yep, optimism. I have to. Otherwise it’s too hard to get out of bed on a day to day basis.
And overall, good and bad, I’m still proud to be American.
If I were more savvy here’s where Beyonce would start singing her Lee Greenwood cover.
So, who knows, I’ve had a lot a lot a lot of thoughts lately. Maybe I can funnel it in to some cohesion, foster some sanity for the moms out there. Follow along. Maybe we can all get through this together.