Do you know what I discovered while I was on holiday with my family and friends? I didn’t follow the news for eighteen days, and the world didn’t end—at least, I don’t think it did. (One never knows: If a certain contingency of the Evangelical movement who blindly support Trump is correct, maybe they got raptured, and I got left behind “due to my sins” to deal with their presidential messiah.) I entered the holidays riddled with fear and bordering on a state of extreme exhaustion because I was so worried about the damage being done by the Cretin in the White House. Afraid that we’d never recover as a country. Fearing that all hope was waning and that my children and grandchildren would inherit a real-life version of the The Handmaid’s Tale.
If 2017 was truly the year from Hell, then what on Earth could 2018 bring?
So I threw myself into my family and the joy of who they are. I stopped watching the news on TV and ignored all online news outlets. I spent my days and nights eating, drinking, and laughing with my family until my stomach hurt. NPR was eradicated from Alexa and only Christmas carols and Smooth Jazz were permitted to be played—much to my nine-year-old grandson’s consternation: “Oh, Mema, if I hear one more Christmas carol or one more old people song, I think I’ll go banana cuckoos!”
Like most families, we’ve had our highs and lows, ups and downs, and we have all proven to be a slight bit crazy at one time or another, causing the other family members to band together and pull us back on course. We are an overly opinionated, strong-willed, and tenacious group of people and none of us suffers fools lightly. Those are some of the reasons I like hanging with them. Many people love their families, but not all that many people like their families. As I reengaged with the Tomczyk clan over the holidays, the fear and exhaustion perpetrated by the Maniac-in-Chief melted away, and I completely forgot he had turned the world upside down.
I didn’t just hang with my family to get my mental health back—I partied like it was 1999 with my friends. During one of my copious holiday parties, all of my Baby Boomer friends declared how much the news about Trump (and his die-hard Christian supporters) had wrecked their peace of mind. Many had stopped watching the news as I had during the holiday season to focus on what was pure and lovely. One of my friends made a comment that 2017 would go down as the worst year in modern American history since WWII. As Christians, none of us could fathom the stupidity of the ardent Trump supporters who refused to accept the unassailable truth about the Liar-in-Chief.
Now that precious friend is very smart, but she is also very White. I gently, but quickly, reminded her that depending on one’s ethnicity, the American problems were far more disturbing in 1968 and one could argue that it was one of the worst year’s in our country’s modern history. I know, because my heart still aches from that infamous year and I almost didn’t survive it. As I luxuriated in the bounty of all that I’ve acquired and the love of my very interracial family and diverse group of friends this Christmas, I was reminded that if God could save us from the evil of 1968, surely our good God would deliver us from the likes of Donald Trump and his minions.
1968 AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A BLACK BABY BOOMER
If you could see 1968 through my eyes, 2017 wouldn’t look so bad at all. It was the year my world almost imploded. Which is saying a lot since I was born a poor Black child in the heart of the Cleveland ghetto and lived in more foster homes than I could shake a stick at. This was the year that was five years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and three years before the Supreme Court passed a ruling that interracial couples could marry without fear of breaking the law and being thrown in jail just because they loved a person of another race. But 1968 seemed to be the year that God turned his back on America. The Vietnam War sent home thousands of our sons in body bags and scores of them came back addicted to drugs to mask the horrors they had witnessed. Captain James Kirk and Lt. Nyota Uhura of Star Trek engaged in the first interracial kiss on TV. Apollo Eight was the first manned space ship to orbit the moon, and Boeing introduced the first 747 jumbo jet. But none of those wartime losses and monumental historical gains would ever erase the pain caused by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4th and the subsequent assassination of Bobby Kennedy two months later.
I still remember where I was when I heard Martin was murdered. I was a sophomore in an all-White college, and the news of his death was inconsequential to the general population around me. Dr. King was shot at 6 p.m. on April 4th, but I didn’t hear of his death until the next morning while I was on my way to a choir rehearsal. One of the other four Black students told me as she passed me in the hallway, and I burst into tears and collapsed on the floor as if my heart had been ripped from my chest. An ear-splitting wail escaped from my inner core which sounded like the banshee scream of a mother mourning the murder of her first born child by a serial killer. In the same moment, two White classmates passed by me without breaking their stride. One said to the other, “What’s wrong with her?” The other answered, “Who knows. I think one of their people died.”
I had barely escaped illiteracy and poverty along with so many others because of Dr. King. I had managed to get a scholarship to college because of Dr. King’s vision and sacrifice. I had almost completed my second year—a grueling academic year to boot—partially due to the hope and courage that Dr. King had given me, and now he had been murdered, and from my vantage point, White people didn’t care and barely noticed. If this academic experiment didn’t work out, as a Ward of the Cleveland Court system, I had nowhere to go—no home to return to—no future to look forward to. A dark cloud of hurt and anger settled over my heart like the cataracts on the eyes of an octogenarian with one foot in the grave. By the time Bobby was killed—our White champion of civil rights and equality—I felt nothing. Not because I didn’t care, but because I assumed God didn’t care, and my life would end as it had begun—in poverty, ignorance, and despair—a dream assassinated by powers beyond my control.
But it is 2018, and we elected our first Black President in 2008 for two terms who at least 70 percent of the population would like to see return if the Constitution allowed. (Whoever thought in 1968 that a country would literally be in mourning for a Black ex-President’s leadership style and grace—“Come Back, Barack!”) I am well-educated, married to the love of my life who just happens to be White, blessed with beautiful children and a grandson, living in abundance and grateful to God for every single day of my glorious existence. Which tells me that God was there in 1968, and just because I couldn’t detect his presence in the horrors of the assassinations of King and Kennedy, doesn’t mean he wasn’t working on our behalf as a country and on my behalf as an individual who barely believed in his existence.
Which is why I came away from my vacation full of optimism and hope for our future. I’m almost glad that Trumpee is in the White House because think about the consciousness that has happened in our country in 2017 after 100,000 people didn’t vote, racism spewed out of the sewers, and White Christians sold their souls to the Devil-in-Chief. WE GOT WOKE: #ANGRYWOMAN #BLACKLIVESMATTER #WOKE #VOTE #RESIST #18BY18 #NOTMYPRESIDENT #MUSLIMLIVESMATTER #METOO #LGBTQ+LIVESMATTER #LATINOLIVESMATTER #ALABAMAWOMENVOTERS. Most of us are definitely “woke” and we are not going to let the Orangutan-in-Chief take us back to the stone ages.
Practically every week, God shows up and exposes some darkness to the light—some lie or abuse that was shoved down our throats by the Trump campaign and the GOP. (If only 20% of the new book Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff is true, the things it exposes about the Toddler-in-Chief will be so horrifying that he will never be able to overcome the ridicule and the shame.) Ignore all the scare tactics and the hyperbole by Trump that he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and no one would care. God cares. The end of Trump is near, folks, and it doesn’t matter who supports him, this dude is going down! In the meantime, stay calm and LOVE on! I’m gonna keep prayin’, keep trustin’, and keep on resistin’ until God shows up and the American landscape is replete with humans leading our most abundant lives.
HAPPY 2018! THE YEAR OF HOPE!
THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK: “The Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts From my Miseducated Self” is on sale now at Amazon!
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com
WANT TO HEAR THE AUTHOR’S LATEST INTERVIEW? Check out the podcast interview with Leo Brown: http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/e/what-if-it-is-true-can-you-find-faith-in-darkness/
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