I’m supposed to be writing my cheerful cover release post about my upcoming anthology (which I’m truly, genuinely thrilled about), but I can’t. Actually, I’m supposed to HAVE written my cover release post. I’m a week behind.
But I can’t. I’m glued to my phone, watching my world unfurl. Watching my children’s world, their future, unfurl. I was not this heartbroken or upset during 9/11. And I was both then. I was terrified, holding my six month old and thinking we were going to go into WWIII. Now he’s fifteen, and while I can no longer hold him, I am more terrified. WWIII is actually closer now than it was then.
I may write fantasy, but I live and breathe in a real world. I can even distinguish fact from ‘alternate fact’ from lie from make-believe. And I love my make-believe. My house is covered in dragons and a few unicorns, and I am highly prone to daydreams and hearing the banter of voices that aren’t mine reverberate through my head sometimes non-stop. Yet my real-world persona exists in a science career.
My small department is made up of women. Women with an education- of varying degrees and experience- in science and medicine. And we serve a larger department of scientists; of which, maybe 1% is American. The rest are from everywhere: Romania, Sweden, India, China, Ireland, varying Arabic nations, Vietnam, Africa. Sometimes, it may take three of us to decipher someone’s broken or mislearned, or heavily accented English. I told my son to skip Spanish as a High School language and seek out Mandarin, even though he’s part Mexican. Many days I wish I spoke Mandarin.
I hear talk of visas, of visa trouble, but honestly, I really don’t care. My life is richer for working with such an amazing group of vastly different, yet remarkably similar people. They embody Chicago. They represent our entire melting pot of a country.
I watched the live feed from today, and my thoughts went to them. Same as it did the Monday after the election. Same as it did during the end of the campaign, especially while working with visiting medical professionals from France and Germany and the UK. These people are devoting themselves to the advancement and improvement of our health, with US bragging rights, and what does my country do in return? Attack the scientific community, put a gag on the sharing of data, and now put into physical and visible effect, the attack of a specific demographic of people. To attack one of us is to attack all of us.
I am so ashamed of my government, yet watching the immediate response of my people, I can also feel growing pride.