Memorial Day Weekend: Normal and Not Normal

I could write to you only about some of mine and Nick’s best friends, Brett and Kaelen, inviting us over for a cookout at their new apartment. They’ve only been back in Seattle about a month after living nearly a year in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Here’s a selfie Brett took of us eating a home-cooked fajita dinner in their community yard with their friend Kelsey on Saturday:

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I could write only about the fact that I spent an afternoon on Madison Beach (which is in Seattle on Lake Washington) with friends during one of the first weekends with temperatures in the 80s in many months. Here’s a picture I snapped:

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But the fact that I enjoyed this three-day holiday weekend seems almost selfish and out of touch with a more grim reality that reminds us that we are not living in a time of comfort, but one of tension, misunderstanding and hate. If we, privileged white folks, don’t step the fuck up and play a strong role in resisting the general direction of things, I am fearful the situation of the country we’ll be living in will be even worse than it is now.

Case in point: this weekend just 175 miles south of Seattle in the middle of Portland, Oregon, a white supremacist man on a public train shouted anti-Muslim slurs at two women of color, at least one of them was wearing a hijab. Three white bystanders jumped in to stand up for the women against this white supremacist, this terrorist. That man then stabbed and slit the throats of the three people who were trying to stand up for the women. Two of those men died on the train. This is what the headlines looked like in our national media:

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This hits so close to home for us in Seattle. This nightmare, in a string of so many lately, tries to wake us, to tell us privileged white folks that hate lives among us, and sometimes within the communities we think are safe from this kind of violence. Yet, following these murders, so many of us continued our holiday weekends as planned, drinking on the beach, going to bar-b-ques. And, that is really weird, isn’t it? I at once feel guilty for not doing more and also feel at a loss for ideas of what I can do in the immediate aftermath.

So, I did what I’ve been doing. I spent hours Saturday afternoon door-knocking in Seattle’s Madison Valley neighborhood for Council Candidate Jon Grant before I headed to the beach to see my friends. The houses I went to are palatial and many are on Lake Washington with extravagant wrap-around porches. Some people brushed me off immediately upon answering the door, before they heard anything except that I’m a volunteer with a city council campaign.

One additional thing I can and did do this weekend is listen to Muslim voices and other voices of color as those members of our community reacted publicly to the news on Facebook. Here’s the first post I read from a Muslim neighbor:

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I also read what Seattle Mayoral Candidate (and my friend) Nikkita Oliver had to say about it:

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I am enraged with the actions of this Republican administration in the aftermath of the Portland murders. Here is a national headline we saw in the hours after the murders:

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Also, during this holiday weekend, we’ve seen Europe further and more officially distance itself from the United States. We are watching as Trump makes his first foreign trip, which did not go well. We’re watching as the power dynamics of the western world shift before our eyes and as we start to lose allyships with countries who’ve been strongly on our side, namely Germany:

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Here are other headlines we’re seeing from The Washington Post (including incredibly alarming news about Oklahoma’s education system):

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