Thursday, July 4, 2019

The 4th of July in Terrible America

Children and workers are seen at a tent encampment recently built near the Tornillo Port of Entry on June 19, 2018 in Tornillo, Texas.
 Getty Images

I was sitting at my computer, paying my American Express bill and waiting for a peach pie to finish baking in the oven when what was the biggest earthquake I have felt in several years began. It started as a jolt and then it grew in waves even as I glanced up and saw the chandelier swaying and heard the pots clinking on the pot rack that hangs over the stove. I willed myself not to panic and walked toward Sophie's room, the hallway a galley in a boat swaying back and forth. I nearly put my arms out on either side to keep my balance and when I passed the boys' room, I shouted to Oliver, Earthquake! and sat next to Sophie who was lying in bed, her eyes open, my stomach lurching the pots clinking and windows creaking. It seemed to go on forever and then it stopped. Everyone is fine. We are all fine. Sophie, who had a ridiculous number of huge seizures yesterday out of the blue, as she'd been doing so well, is fine. I know that she had those seizures now because she is exquisitely tuned in to the strange and elemental goings on in the universe. I imagine she feels relief now, her brain settled even as we settle. It seems like relief, now, after the simmering rage and unease I've felt for days, a rage that I attributed to what's going on, the unease to the imperative to celebrate, to wish happy fourth of July when so many are suffering, when tanks are being power-washed to shine at military parades for that POSPOTUS, the empty rapist in chief of Terrible America. Yes, my words are harsh, but isn't it true? And what can we do beyond cutting our pie crusts out with END THE CAMPS letters scattered over caramelized peaches? How can our voices be anything but tiny and inexhaustible (Faulkner)? I just can't wish anyone happy anything this 4th of July. I feel angry and ashamed to be an American, to be so ineffectual, to be able to do nothing but post horrible photos and satirical cartoons about the POS we have leading us and the incredible injustices that he and those who support him, those we know, those, even, we love, are doing in our name. It makes me so sick to my stomach that the very real earthquake that rocked our house was a kind of relief.


  1. Darling yes to all of this. Earthquakes are terrifying. I’m glad you are all okay. Sending love your way.

  2. Glad everyone is fine after the Earthquake, sad that a Natural Disaster is kind of a relief from the Man Made ones of our times. I don't feel very celebratory either, I too feel so ineffectual to make a significant difference, but we must keep trying to in our small ways.

  3. When I spent some weeks in NZ earlier this year, I was humbled by the easy going way the locals deal with (literally) daily earthquakes, most of them slight. I don't understand how they do this.

    As for the way history seems to repeat itself - I have started to read/reread books on how nazi Germany came about, how a people who cherished literature and Beethoven and forests and science learned (for lack of a better word) to hate and denounce and persecute all those who were deemed "not us". It's down to us to understand, we are not helpless.

  4. God. How can we have imagined that we would be in a space and place where an earthquake would be a relief?
    I'm depressed as hell today. Just fuck it all, fuck it all, fuck it all.
    We're fucked.
    But perhaps Sabine is right- we are not helpless. I hope that's true. I sure feel like I am. And it's so hot here that I feel helpless on even an immediate level. As, I suppose one does during an earthquake. But without the terror...
    How did we get here? How do we escape? How do we repair the damage?
    I don't know the answer to anything.
    I bet your pie is amazing.
    I love you.

  5. I hope and pray that Americans, a large majority, vote that dangerous, soulless, hate monger out of office.

  6. What you said, it is true. Hang on, it has to get better. I so very hope so. Or what is the point of hanging on? We have to believe that a saner, safer world is in the future. We have to, right?

  7. I thought about you and your family when I heard about the earthquake today and I hoped you and family would be ok. So glead you are.

  8. IT IS ALL SUCH A SHITSHOW and I need BIGGER CAPS and also glad you are safe in Terrible America for this moment. I feel like none of us is safe or am I overreacting?

  9. Seeing the apathy (or sometimes even total agreement) that so many people in our country have about toddlers, children and adults being rounded up and housed in such horrible conditions, really worries and sickens me. The fact that members of our congress were not even allowed to view the cage area where the 13 - 16 year old girls were being held and that they have only male guards (according to one congresswoman who spoke) is wrong on so many levels,and nothing is being done to change it: and then reading about all of the nasty, filthy, disgusting, lewd comments these guards make on a private online site, makes me wonder and worry about what kind of of hateful people are running our country right now who consider this inhumanity a good thing, serving as a deterrent against immigration.

    What a dishonorable and disgusting way for people like retired General John Kelly to make a profit, and all of the rest of the lowlife people who are profiting off of these concentration camps. Everyone in the United States should be afraid of our current regime. Who knows what type of people they may decide to lock up next? People don't seem to realize that it may be them and (their people) who will be targeted next for round up and lock up with no legal recourse. So their cheering and applauding for our current President continues.

  10. Everything you said + what all of your commenters said = my feelings.


  11. The first thing I thought of when I heard about that was you and the kids. So glad to hear that all is well and yes, I believe that Sophie feels these things coming - so connected. Good or sad? It felt surreal yesterday, celebrating a nation that is so fucked up, so shameful. So we ate our peach pie, must be a thing but mine did not! turn out well this year, and tried to separate the reality from what we used to think we knew - but probably didn't. Glad you are all ok.

  12. Heard about the second yesterday hope all is well. Love

  13. Scary. There is a fatalism in this post that is almost a relief. I get it.



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