I have given up trying to answer for my country, my race, my gender, my privilege, my class.
Instead I'll speak out for what I believe, as a soul inside a human being.
I'm grateful that Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. are represented here in beautiful Parque Lincoln in Mexico City. They face each other across a wide paved footpath. Its very poignant, especially if you are an American, on a day when you are missing the people, place and language of where you were born.
Especially if you are in shock, watching the events of the past year in the United States.
I walked here and cried the day after the election. I wasn't expecting to, it just happened. I didn't even know these sculptures were in this park. To try to reconcile what these men stood for with what had just transpired in the US - well, I couldn't. It hit me like a punch in the stomach.
Maybe this post is dated now, but I couldn't make it work earlier.
My move to Mexico was never about escaping or leaving something in the US. It was and is about moving forward. It is about experiencing life in a global city. It is about being in love with a Mexican.
The plans were in motion over a year ago, before the election in which the Republican candidate trotted out an extremely predictable and effective strategy of scapegoating - this time immigrants, and in particular Mexican immigrants.
Now here I am, immersed in dejavu. I've been in this place before.
In the early 80's, I was a student in London. Some Americans were sewing Canadian flags on their backpacks to avoid backlash from Reagan's choices in the Falklands.
On trips to Australia and Germany during the Bush ("W") administration, I was supposed to answer to complete strangers for the Gulf War.
US citizens abroad have a special burden to answer for the abuse of power of the leaders some of us elect.
Travel opens your mind. Ironically, if more Americans were to travel, those of us that do wouldn't have to assure people in other countries that we are not all "like that".
Like what? Afraid, close-minded, heavily armed and prone to violence?
Now here I am among the citizens of Mexico, who are just one subset of the groups the current POTUS is attacking. It is a puzzling strategy that seems very short sighted.
Here I am, in love with a Mexican man who can't get permission to visit my country because he isn't wealthy or connected.
I have to renew my temporary residency in October. Here I am, wondering if and when Mexico will slam its doors on me and other Americans not connected to corporate work, in retaliation for the rhetoric of the President of the United States of America.
We cut short our AirBnB experiment of living in different areas and moved to Polanco. Its lovely and probably the safest neighborhood in Mexico City, due to high number of embassies, extrañjeros and rich Mexicans.
I never wanted to live in an enclave. I felt a bit like I was selling out, but I was feeling uneasy in barrios with very few extrañjeros.
Mexican people are among the most polite on the planet, no one has ever been rude to me. However, I get looks at times on the street and on the Metro.
I can't blame them.
I had no answer for the earnest young people's questions as we floated in the backways of Xochimilco's canals. We had just finished an afternoon that included a purging sweat lodge experience. I was trying to focus on the green banks nearby and stay out of the conversation. However, as the only American on board, suddenly I'm representing all of us.
I'm on the bus and an elderly señora strikes up a conversation. Soon she asked me,
"Por qué las mujeres??"
"Why the women?"
Its inconceivable to Mexican women that American women would vote for Trump. To many of them, American women represent the pinnacle of female power and freedom on the planet today.
Why would American women vote for a man like Trump?
I used to try to come up with and answer.
Now I just say, "I don't know, either." I cannot explain what I don't understand.
I have given up trying to answer for my country, my race, my gender, my privilege, my class. I think instead I'll speak out for what I believe, as a soul inside a human being.
I'm still figuring this out. I see some people on FB complaining about the ongoing "political posts" now that the election is over.
Funny thing, I never posted during the election. I believe part of the reason Trump gained traction was, ironically, too much sharing by people opposed to him. They just could not resist. It was the ultimate triumph of collective ego.
At any rate, that was politics. Now is not about politics, it is about resistance and connection.
So I say, post on, sisters and brothers, social media is not perfect but it is very powerful. New networks of connection, action and power are coalescing at an incredible rate.
I see this first hand in the exponential explosion of women entrepreneurs connecting with one another outside the traditional silos.
Americans abroad have a role to play. I will stay open and represent tolerance, freedom, respectful language, and American optimism. THAT is who I am as an American.
I listen with compassion to the Mexican people's frustration and hurt over what they read and hear coming out of the mouth of the so-called leader of the free world.
I watch my country from a different land, through a different lens now. It is incredibly painful to observe from the outside the extent of the damage being done.
I identify with some of the great travelers of the past. I feel homeless and detached at a time I probably should be putting down roots in the US. I can't muster the enthusiasm. I can't split my heart and live half time away from my sweet man.
My middle age bones will have to keep moving a little bit longer, rattling around new places until my soul finally says "this. this is the place."
#solidarity #nobannowall #imwithmexico #IamAnAmerican
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