Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Gilead

We caught our son on the news. A truck exploded on Madison Avenue, and he was there with his crew, helping to douse the flames. His sister pulled these screen shots from the video. I cannot forget our son saying to us years ago that when everything is going to hell, he wants to be one of the people who can help turn it around. I'd say he looks prepared.

May he be safe always.

Anyone watching The Handmaid's Tale, the TV series depicting author Margaret Atwood's dystopian society in which women exist only to function as child bearing chattel, domestic servants, submissive wives, and sex workers for high placed men? The story is set in a barely fictional part of the U.S. that has been renamed Gilead to denote its supposed adherence to biblical principles. The series has ruined the word Gilead for my daughter and two nieces, who cannot hear the word now without thinking of it as short hand for evil. I explain to them that the old Negro spiritual "Balm in Gilead," referred to Gilead as a place of spiritual healing, but The Handmaid's Tale takes the line "There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul," and turns it on its head, making women the universal sinners, who must live under the dominion of men. Some wives and "aunties" are complicit in subjugating and brutalizing their fellow women. These, I suppose, are the women who would have voted for Trump in our current universe, which isn't really parallel, because aspects of that fictional world, and our real one, are starting to converge.

If you're familiar with The Handmaid's Tale, you'll understand the question my daughter asked her dad the other day. She said, "So, Daddy, what is our Canada plan?" She wasn't actually joking, but was referring to the "underground railroad" in Margaret Atwood's dystopia, in which handmaids and other brutalized women and their sympathizers escape to Canada. To offer some context, there's a meme going around that started with this tweet:


I'm suffering from a kind of whiplash trying to keep up with all the catastrophes swirling around us. Yesterday, someone referred to what our nation is going through right now as "massive trauma." I thought of those brown children crowded into cages at the southern border, denied basic human hygiene, with reports of them being trafficked by border agents as rich businessmen line their pockets with taxpayer money paid to them for these for-profit concentration camps. Massive trauma. It gonged in me as truth.

13 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh- there's your SON, doing what he's been training to do for so long.
    Yes. May he always be safe.
    Hell yes our country is going through massive trauma. I think it's going to take a very long time to undo and to heal from. If, that is, we even get the chance.

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  2. I remember that song it lives in my head. Yes to all of this. We are living it now it is no longer a future threat. No wonder we all suffer from anxiety these days. The disease of our time. Love

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  3. I don't know if we will recover. if Trump gets re-elected this country is done for sure. so much is riding on this election. it's not just the damage Trump has done but the past several decades of Republican policies. for instance, how long will it take to restore the public schools and produce an educated citizenship? how long to restore consumer rights and protections? how long to restore the EPA (pollution is up 14% since Trump)?

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  4. Every time I hear the word Gilead, the song fills the space in between my ears and I am happy. I have no and will not watch or read The Handmaid's Tale, successfully avoided it! Must keep a clear head for times to come! We live twenty minutes from the Canadian border...My son is thinking , perhaps, farther away. You son is a rare heroic sincere human, not to mention gorgeous! I do wish him super powers and safety, lovely lad!

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  5. I love the photo of your son doing his work in his community. He is the utter example of what we do when we work to help a community survive. This era we are living in is the opposite of my dreams. I dread the future if the Republicans maintain the Senate and the White House. We do want to run away. A heartbreaking time we are in, a heartbreaking time.

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  6. Your son looks like the kind of person who will step in and improve a bad situation. Congratulations to him for making it though training and having the life he wanted.
    The trauma is everywhere. The revelations about Epstein are just staggering. Who are these people and why did they think they had the right. I hope they all go to jail forever.
    I don't know that we'll ever recover. The racists and homophobes and etc. have always walked among us. With the internet, they found each other, now they're a movement. They like being out in the world, together.

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  7. I'm not sure there is a safe haven anywhere anymore. In Canada the right wing politicians are heading the same way as in the US. And Britain is the same. Politics in general has reached new heights of dysfunction in many countries, with party extremes and complete lack of cooperation. I don't know what is going to happen but I hope it turns around eventually.

    And yet, good people keep fighting the good fight. Like your son does.

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  8. Massive trauma sounds about right. Just when you think it can't get worse, it does.

    Canada is being besieged by right wing fanatics as well. We have a new premier in our province, an unpleasant man who makes me feel sick to my stomach, not somebody I would ever vote for.

    Glad that your son is safe and that he is able to help others be safe.

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  9. Massive trauma is a perfect description. May you son always be safe. Xoxo
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  10. So so so amazing to see your son at work!

    I've mentioned it a few times now in comments to other blogs, I am reading books on how the nazis came to power, what people knew, how people were systematically emotionally numbed by a calculating elite and how the elite eventually just had to lean back and watch these numbed masses do their job for them.
    It's scary. I am watching The Handmaid's Tale mainly in hope for a turn in events, some sort of happy ending with decent humans in charge.

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  11. Your son's singular dedication to first his dream and now his work is wonderful to see. We need more like him. I'd say massive trauma hits the nail on the head...

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  12. Massive trauma indeed! The thing is, it's happening all over the world. Canada might be slightly better, at least so far, but I feel like the problems go deeper -- we have to calm this storm of nationalism and identitarianism (is that a word?) that's sweeping the planet. We have to re-emphasize the idea that we are ALL ONE PEOPLE, all with the individual right to share in the world's resources! (That will get me branded a Communist by a lot of right-wingers, I know...)

    It's a joy to see your son so grown-up and participating in the life of the city in such a meaningful way.

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  13. Oh YES YES YES I watch the handmaids tale. It is awesome. The only problem is that I am watching it with my daughter and we promised that we would not watch it without each other. Right now she is working mandatory over time and so I am itching to sit down and watch it. Hopefully she can carve out some time for a binge watch soon.

    Oh your son is so handsome and what an honor to have him working so hard to help people and know that his work is in saving what he can. People, Animals and Property.
    Tell him I said Thank You for his service. Beth

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