Photo of blue and red bricks; blue bricks on the left encroaching on the red bricks on the right.


Right now, my kids are watching the news. To be specific, they’re watching election results roll in. They don’t understand the full scope of things, but they know that Mama likes the blue people. That she supports health care and education and gun control and protections for people who don’t look like her or them. These all sound like good things to my elementary-school-aged kids.

I really don’t like it when they glue their eyes to the screen. The political ads lately have been hard to take – on both sides. My kids are confused by the name-calling and the bullying. Right now, they are earnestly trying to parse the politispeak, cheering every time they see a blue name with a checkmark next to it. Don’t tell me I brainwash my kids. We try to be circumspect and as honest as possible when we talk about politics, but kids aren’t stupid. They know what bad behavior looks like. They know what fairness looks like. Not just my kids; ask any kid on the playground. They know when they’re being lied to. When Trump won the 2016 election, my older son cried.

I don’t have the heart to tell them how little I believe this particular mid-term election will change things. I’m trying to stay positive for their sakes. I’m already talking to them about the next election – if there even is one. Sometimes I can’t make myself believe there will be. My rose-colored glasses are foggy and cracked.

A friend posted something the other day about how if we love our country, we need to stay and keep working to make it better. I do love my country, or at least the ideals that have been drummed into our heads since we were kids, that are being drummed into my kids’ heads now: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m grateful I was born here and not someplace scarier. Right now, there’s a caravan of refugees heading toward our southern border because they believe in those ideals too, or maybe they just believe it must be better here than where they came from. That it must be safer here. One can only imagine.

Sometimes I dream about packing up my family and moving someplace safe, too. I have a stack of paperwork that says we are a family: me, my wife, my children. Name change documents, marriage documents, adoption papers, birth certificates. But I don’t believe in paperwork anymore, not when children are being taken from their families all along the border. Don’t tell me, those aren’t American children. Does it matter? They’re children, and this is America. Paperwork is a thin shield against the potential erasure of your family.

Right now, I’m watching the news, and I don’t feel safe.

4 thoughts on “Shields

  1. Tom MacInnes says:

    If I were you and it was just me I was worrying about then, I would stay and fight til the end. I’ve never run from anything in my life and I certainly wouldn’t run from idiots like Trump and his ilk. But, that having been said, you have to do right by your kids, above all else. If going to Canada ever becomes an option, there are several ex-Trifectans up this way who you could contact. Suzanne Purkis is in the Ottawa area. I am in Cobourg, which is halfway between Ottawa and Toronto. Jo-Anne Teal is in Vancouver. I am sure any of the three of us would help you and your family. I definitely would do whatever you needed done. As long as Justin Trudeau is PM, asylum seekers will be ok here. Fyi, we have elections in 2019 so, no guarantees after that date if he loses. Good luck in the days and weeks to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer Mierisch says:

    Great essay. I was just discussing this exact topic with one of my neighbors this morning. Stay, and work to change things for the better, or flee the bad? Her family came here from Yemen(!!) and still it has crossed her mind to take her family out of here and find a better country to live in. I have two young kids. We try to keep it classy, for their sakes, but I’m sure they are quite aware how much their dad and I cannot stand Trump. We at least try to explain WHY we feel the way we do, e.g. his bullying and pussy grabbing. My favorite line you wrote was “My rose-colored glasses are foggy and cracked.” What a great image.


  3. unfoldingfromthefog says:

    Christine, I feel your pain. Your line- “They’re children, and this is America” really hits hard.
    Another way to think about things is this. We are run by layers of beauracracy, often infuriating, but hard to get rid of. Before we that happens there will be numerous elections. Let’s just hope blue takes more power before red implodes.


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