Tag Archive for Bernie Sanders

Resist! A Premonition

by Carol McMillan

Do you remember what you felt the week before the 2016 presidential election? As an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter, I still nursed some anger at the Democratic National Committee and the media, feeling they hadn’t given him the coverage they’d given Hillary Clinton, but, still, we were about to elect the first woman president. An historic moment! A glass ceiling hung poised above us all, waiting to be massively shattered. I remember watching the CBS pundits, running their predictive pointers across a red, blue, and purple map of the country, explaining all the possibilities that might be foreseen if this state went red or another went blue. His final words had been “Only a miracle could turn enough states red for a Republican victory.” Hillary’s landslide was assured; even the most unfavorable polls said so.

I joined my friends in planning parties to celebrate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s election as the first woman president of the United States of America. Three of us had even reserved a cabin on Orcas Island for our women’s victory weekend. Champagne, chocolate, beach walks, and companionship beckoned from our future.

I just want to take this moment to apologize for what happened next. It was my fault. Yes, honestly, it was all my fault! Let me explain.

On the night of November 5th, three days before the presidential election, I went to sleep in a familiar universe. I turned the heat down to sixty-two, took my evening vitamins, flossed my teeth, puffed my pillows, and snuggled down under my comforter. The cat jumped onto my bed as I turned out the light, curling his body into its usual position against my legs. Sleep came easily.

Three hours later I awoke from a soul-freezing nightmare. In my detailed and vivid dream, I sat at a long utilitarian table in an institutional green room. A group of us were awaiting the first deliveries of ballots that we could begin counting. A friend came rushing in from outside, visibly upset. “More Republican ballots are coming in than Democratic!”

Not believing her for a minute, I hurried out to the loading docks where ballots were arriving in large, flat white bags of heavy plastic, sorted by party. My stomach suddenly filled with icy lead, freezing me in place, as I realized that she was correct: more Republican votes were pouring into that small-town vote-counting place than Democratic.

The terror I felt jolted me into instant consciousness. The dream made no sense; everyone knew Hillary would win, but the vivid dream felt precognitively real. I feared that it foretold an unforeseen slip into an alternative universe, previously unknown and somehow malevolent.

For the next three days, I did everything possible to dispel the outcome predicted by that dream. How could I re-route the Universe, steer it away from that terrifying course? The man who originally seemed only to be a bad campaign joke, could not possibly take over the governance of my country! Everyone else seemed to continue as usual, confident of Hillary’s victory, unaware of the bifurcation of universes that I feared lay just ahead.

On the afternoon of the election, I felt even more certain that my dream had been an inexplicable premonition. Frantically, I pulled up every irrational superstition I could think of in an attempt to derail an unimaginable future.

If I wear different shoes this won’t come true.

If I don’t go to Leah’s to watch the returns this won’t come true.

If I don’t bring the bottle of my favorite port to her house this won’t come true.

History may record that the Earth changed course because

I did wear the shoes and

I did go to Leah’s and

I did bring the port.

Undoubtedly, the election of the forty-fifth president was entirely my fault: I had been warned. Megalomania has not been one of my usual faults but it continues to lurk here just below my consciousness.

This morning, as my first waking sensation, an inky sense of wrongness creeps into my consciousness. Reaching to snuggle my cat, I seek to retreat. If something so malevolent lurks in the waking world I will choose sleep. But my efforts defy me; consciousness is sending out a tentacle, ensnaring my thoughts, sucking them out into dawn. The man who ran a campaign based on anger and bigotry, despite everyone’s predictions to the contrary, has been elected president, and it is my fault.

So, I write this as an apology. My only sustaining consolation is that my friends have fallen into this alternative universe with me. If you are willing to forgive me, we will lock arms and wrestle this cosmic alligator back onto an appropriate track. Anyone know where to find a wormhole we might use to reboot reality?

Author’s Bio: CAROL MCMILLAN, until the past few years, had mostly published in academic journals. But moving to Bellingham has brought her poetry and memoir writing out of the closet; she has now been published in several anthologies. Carol is the author of one book, White Water, Red Walls, chronicling in poetry, photographs, and paintings her rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. She is currently working on a memoir of her experiences during the 1960’s in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’m Writing a Book

by Anneliese Kamola

I am writing a book. Well, trying.

Should I admit to this?

For context, I am a 29-year old, college-educated, white, bisexual, privileged woman from an upper-middle-class background. I only paid for my education through lack of sleep and stress—my parents paid the dollars. In the six years since graduating, I have worked steadily in order to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I want kids, a dog, and a home, so why spend my time writing?

I have tried living my ideals, but am losing my idealism. I am incensed that my vote is eradicated by a handful of rich people. I am disgusted to recognize that, yes, I have been indoctrinated by fear-based racism and sexism and that I have a lot of work to do. I am bitter that I cannot receive preventative health care at a reasonable price. And I am mad as hell that my food is poisoned without my consent.

As my voice is silenced every where I turn, and I obviously do not matter to the system, then why even attempt writing a book?

Ironically, the Divine Powers At Be gifted me with the calling of Artist. I tried denying it but only got depressed and physical ill. Voice is my jam; I don’t have a choice.

Of course I’m writing a book, because that’s how I’m programmed.

Recently, I had ‘That Moment’ artists describe, when family members spew, “Stop being stupid. You’re wasting time. You’re young, delusional, and shortsighted. Go back to school, get a job, get safe, and write in retirement.”

Let me tell you, it sucks being stabbed by other peoples’s judgments and fears. I’m a strong person, but I slumped big time. Imploded, really. Are these Voices right? Am I stupid? I watched myself deflate, crawl into my suit of self-doubt, and walk around like that for weeks.

Book? What book?

And then I attended the Washington State Democratic Caucus. (I know, it’s a non-sequitur. Hang with me.) Still wearing my self-doubt suit, I sat quietly on a gray folding chair amidst 50 precinct neighbors. We waited for our votes to be counted. When the precinct volunteers announced that Hillary needed one more vote to earn a single delegate, the group became democracy-in-action. A 50-something woman advocated pro-Hillary, mentioning decency. A 40-something man declared pro-Bernie, fist-pumping for brotherly love. A 60-something gentleman generally thanked us for attending.

It fell silent. We waited.

And then a gangly teenage girl walked quickly forward. Nervously—gripping her waist and raising her shoulders to her ears—she told us her story:

This was her first caucus. Only seventeen, she would be eighteen by November. “In my heart, I want Bernie, but I voted for Hillary because she can beat the Republicans.” She looked directly at us and asked someone to switch their vote.

The pro-Bernie crowd exploded into applause. We didn’t cheer for her idea—we cheered for her. We cheered for her bravery. For stepping into her budding power. For being young, giving a damn, and saying so.

My heart soared. “This,” I thought. “If she can do it, then I sure as hell can, too.”

In a mere 45 seconds, this young woman pulled me from my funk. Who the hell am I to stay silent? Why am I moping around? Sure, those Voices suck. And, yes, they’re going to stick around and will probably take every opportunity to disembowel my courage. My family may never affirm my writing. I’ll likely mess up, and I may not change a single heart or mind. But I won’t be slaughtered or raped for speaking out, like so many other women around the world.

Get over it. It’s time to grow up.

Younger generations deserve role models for creative living; humanity cannot afford anyone’s apathy. I might wobble, but this is a spiritual contract that cannot be broken. It is time to pull out every single root of internalized, silencing patriarchy. It is time to stand and give Voice—my voice—to what actually matters.

Yes. I am writing a book. And a damn good one at that.

RWB AnnalieseAnneliese Kamola is a multi-media storyteller from Bellingham, WA. She began performing with the Bellingham Storyteller’s Guild since 2008, and began training in Viewpoints Theater Technique with director Drue Robinson in 2010. Kamola wrote, produced, and performed two solo storytelling-theater shows exploring connections between womanhood, patriarchy, and eating disorders. And yes, she is currently writing a book titled, The Handweavers of Dachau: One Woman’s Choice in WWII Germany.