I sat at the DMV yesterday, reading my book. Waiting. An older man walked by holding a little boy’s hand. They sat down one chair over. The child looked about the age of my son. He pulled himself up onto the plastic chair and his little boy fingers looked exactly like my son’s…sweet traces of baby fat and solid little hands holding onto whom I assume was his grandfather. The flash of child pride that he’d gotten himself up onto the chair himself. “Like a Big Boy,” as my son says. I discreetly looked at his faded clothes and very worn shoes, the oversized hat that his grandfather took off and put into his lap with kind words. They both waited very quietly until their turn was called and walked away to their assigned window. I didn’t see him again.
I came home to host a play date for four little children in the bright sunshine, on our green grass, while their mom and I sipped a little bit of very cold, very crisp white wine in the shade. Watching a joyful summer afternoon in Sonoma unfold. And wondered where that little boy was now. And what it would be like to have such little ears hear how unwanted and dirty you are by pretty much every TV or news report. How a wall will be built to keep you away from family or a better life. How your grandfather teaching you to not wear a hat inside is really a raping Visigoth in disguise. And wonder deeply what has happened to us a Nation. How far down the rabbit hole of ignorance and bigotry have we fallen that candidates like Trump have not just national viability for elected leadership but that many acquaintances we know personally are thrilled to vote for them. What kind of future are we paving for that little boy? And my little boy? Two little people of the same age, with the same little chubby hands, learning their ways in this world but with two very different messages being taught. This is not the America I’ve known and loved. And it makes me very, very sad.