In the past few days I’ve been thinking about how much I have to lose.
I enjoy the evenings at my son’s soccer practice, overhearing snippets of English, Spanish, and Arabic. I love the Spanish-speaking soccer moms who bring way too much food to weekend soccer tournaments, plying us with sandwiches, endless fruit salad, macaroni salad, ceviche tostadas. And coffee, god bless the coffee they brought this morning.
I value the bilingual school where my kids are learning to be fluent in Spanish just as their classmates are learning English.
I love that the ladies in the hair braiding salon, where my daughter was getting her hair done, raised my spirits yesterday with their jokes about Mitch McConnell and the incoming “coochie snatching president.” They even teased me about my lack of braiding knowledge, joking that I could give a lecture on the topic after spending an hour or two there. (As if.)
I love my neighborhood and my town, a medium sized suburb where you can walk down the street and hear six different languages in five minutes. Where you can eat a dozen different kinds of food from all over the world. Where you can work in a coffee shop side by side with entrepreneurs who came here from god knows where for a chance to make their dreams come true. Where you can drink your coffee right alongside moms pushing strollers, retired folks out with their friends and their little fluffy dogs, and high school students of all kinds working their homework and their budding caffeine addictions.
I love the swims in the clean water of the SF Bay — water that has been cleaned up thanks to the hellraising efforts of several generations of activists, mostly women. I love that some of my swim buddies are gay, and that they can feel safe and welcome wherever we go together, for swims and for lunches afterward.
I treasure my children, who are a different color than my wife and I, and who could not be more part of our family if they had come from our bodies. I’m grateful to the many people who believed enough in us, and in the potential of our love and abilities as parents, that they helped us bring these children into our family. I’m grateful that many of those same people took the time and care to educate us, as much as they could, about the racial issues our children would face, and that we would face as a family. Those lessons have proven valuable again and again.
I love the peaceful, quiet evenings when I can sit on the front porch or walk around my neighborhood, just listening to the quiet murmurings of people going about their lives, sometimes catching a whiff of someone’s dinner or hearing a snippet of their music.
My life is substantially better because of the diversity of the country and the area where I live. My family’s life is richer and more varied. And, I might add, as a multicolored family, we are safer here than we would be almost anywhere else in the world.
Someone I know was claiming online this week that his life would be essentially unchanged regardless of who the president was. Lucky for you, I told him. But for me, I feel absolutely different. The incoming president troubles me, a lot, both for what he has explicitly said and what he has alluded to or implicitly endorsed. His supporters scare me even more, especially the ones who feel emboldened to speak their racism, misogyny, and homophobia more openly now, and to express it ever more hatefully.
This — this diversity — is exactly what we stand to lose if America becomes a more hateful, more intolerant, more exclusive nation. This, I am here to tell you, would be a loss not just for black people, immigrants, gay people, transgender people: It would be a loss for white people too. It would be a loss for all of us.
And I’ll be damned if I’m going to just sit back and let that happen to the country I love.