I went around the house the other night when it was cold and feeling like winter was settling in. I had bought a small key that lets me release the air from the radiator pipes. It is incredibly satisfying. You find the valve, turn it with the small key, and all this steam releases until there is a small flow of water, then you lock it back up. The radiators are then ready for the winter.
I feel like we just did that to our whole country. Vented the steam that had been building up so the life can flow through the system like it is supposed to. In the end the emotional release was huge - Van Jones captured that in a deeply felt release “for a lot of people it is a good day”. All we needed was a good day.
I have always held the last line of William Styron’s, “Sophie’s Choice” close to my heart when things were falling apart. It reads, “This was not judgment day – only morning. Morning: excellent and fair.” I recited that line to myself many mornings the past 4 years. But in a way, yesterday WAS judgement day. In Pittsburgh, as the week proceeded from Election Day, the sun came out and it got incredibly warm. Not just warm for November - record setting warmth and sun. I was not thinking about global warming this one time. I was thinking about the weather somehow reflecting the dark political cloud lifting.
Yesterday in the hot midday sun in November in Pittsburgh, we were at the Farmer’s Market. The Lebanese vendor was yelling at Asher, “BOY! BOY!! Have some lamb.” as he held out his hand with fresh sliced shawarma. Suddenly there was yelling and all kinds of excitement. This was THAT moment. I hugged Stephie and Asher wrapped his arms around both of us. We were not yet ready to cry. I thought, we don’t get that many of these moments. Where justice prevails. Where the good guy wins. Where hope is alive - even for a moment.
I am thinking of all the good liberals who formed who I am. Natalie Meyers who held postmodern court up the street from where I grew up and taught us politics, modern art & architecture. Pete Seeger who I believed in so strongly and could not sing loud enough with. All the people who protested the Vietnam War when I was in high school. All the activists who braved batons and bullets to share their messages. All the African American leaders whose courage and oratory and values have taught us more about who we all are. African American culture has been the single greatest inspiration in my life. When we talk about Black Lives Matter - we mean it.
Today - Sunday - it is even brighter in Pittsburgh. We cannot hug each other and yet, that is all we want to do. I stood at the corner of Forbes and Murray last night. The traffic lights allow the cars to pass on Forbes, proceed on Murray - then the intersection for 20 seconds opens up in all directions for pedestrians. Last night during those 20 seconds people from all corners raced to dance and scream into the night. This was 8 blocks away from Tree of Life - at the same exact spot where such pain was shared 2 years ago. Last night there was no pain. It was all joy. We were all balloons rising into the sky. Excellent and fair.
I want all that time I spent fanatically scanning the news these past years back. I want people to understand we are ALL sharing this planet for such a short precious time and we believe in a common good. For that to happen we have to take care of the people who struggle. We have to believe in each other to believe in ourselves. Words were said that cannot be taken back. Forgiveness needs to find a way for us all to begin healing. Morning, excellent and fair.