Duplicity out. Decency in.

I recently held my sobbing husband in my arms as he choked out these words, “I think he’s going to win.” It was the first time I’ve seen him so desperately somber, so utterly broken by this tyrannical climate in which we’ve been living…and dying.

My husband became a North American son on April 19, 2016. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, he held our newborn child in his arms and cried tears of joy, feeling that America had fully opened her arms and heart to him, while knowing he now bore the privilege, responsibility, and weight of United States citizenry.

Like others upon which citizenship was conferred that spring day, my husband was not a rapist or a murderer. He was not the bottom of the barrel of his native Brazil. On the contrary, he was like the millions who came before him–millions who believed the American Dream could be their dream. Millions who believed their time, talents, and enterprise could grow this nation and lead to their personal versions and visions of success.

Sadly, the joy that bookended that momentous day waned as Election Day grew near. And we, along with countless others, watched tearfully horrified as Donald Trump was announced the next President of The United States of America. Though, at that time, I could never have imagined the sinister depths to which he would sink or the brutal inhumanity he would both show and sow, I remembered Thomas Paine’s fateful words:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls.”

The American Crisis. by the author of Common Sense Thomas Paine “These are the times that try men’s souls: the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country…”. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/2005694599/.

The last four years have been a struggle for so many. Inflammatory rhetoric and blatant abuses of power and privilege have punctuated our daily lives, while giving rise to the most hateful and baneful among us. All spectrums of relationship have been tried, tested, and, oftentimes, terminated, due to nonsensical belief in and adherence to the MAGA regime. People have taken to the streets in peaceful protest, only to be met with force instead of protection and apathy instead of empathy. Families have been separated at our border and children forced to live in barbaric conditions, incongruent with our moral and ethical principles as a country and people. Black and brown Americans have had life squeezed from their very lungs by those set apart to protect and serve. And while thousands died unnecessarily and alone (and continue to), the occupant of the Oval Office remains unmoved in heart or deed to be anything less than an apex offender of everything our democracy embraces and holds dear.

These are factious and heartrending times.

These are times that need to end.

My husband; and the countless who hope, pray, and work for a better life in America; deserve to once again feel the warming rays of civility, grace, and kindness on their skin. They deserve to believe that the choice to leave their country of origin in exchange for the promises of an adoptive one wasn’t a bait and switch scheme. That America, though temporarily cloaked in indifference at its highest levels, still remembers the latitudes and longitudes of its beating heart.

This election is so much bigger than politics.

This election is about personhood.

Whether your ancestors came to our shores freely or as enslaved persons held against their will, whether you were born in America or America was born in you, whether you lean red or blue or somewhere in between, we are all worthy of better.

This is not a call to arms or civil unrest, but, indeed, a call to communal awareness and civic responsibility. If we, as citizens of this great nation, do not hold it, and those entrusted to govern it, to a higher human and moral standard, tell me: who will?

At the 1976 Democratic National Convention, the keynote speaker, Representative Barbara Jordan, said this:

“A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good. A government is invigorated when each one of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation. In this election year, we must define the “common good” and begin again to shape a common future. Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.”

Jordan, Barbara. (1976). [PDF].

The 2020 Presidential Election is six days away. Six. And if you’ve made it this far, I will have to tell you: my heart can’t take four more minutes, let alone four more years, of the pathological dishonesty, emotional absenteeism, ill will, and moral erosion that has both characterized and defined the current administration.

It is time to turn a deaf ear to the reckless ravings of an emotionally-bankrupt conman and turn our eyes and hearts toward hope.

No one person is going to save us, but we can certainly vote in decency and civility and, in that, perhaps save ourselves.

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  One thought on “Duplicity out. Decency in.

  1. Renato
    October 28, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    So right on Dani – so glad you are back writing! Keep it up and continue to share your feelings – they are beautiful!

    • October 30, 2020 at 12:02 am

      Obrigada pela força e confiança, lindo. Te amo muito!!

  2. Melissa
    October 28, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Beautifully written as always. I also cannot take even 4 more minutes. Voted blue all the way down and sent 40 postcards to Michigan voters begging them to do the same. Ready to have a leader who works for all Americans and provides an exemplary example to our children. I pray we save our democracy and that human decency wins.

    • October 30, 2020 at 12:07 am

      Thank you so much, Melissa! I’m glad you’re invested in our present and future and do hope for better…for all of us. I’ll be praying with you and for you ⭐️

  3. October 29, 2020 at 2:58 am

    This should be published everywhere in large-print and people made to read and digest what you are saying. God help America! It staggers me that anyone should take this man seriously, that he should ever have been made the party’s candidate, and that people actually believe and vote for him. Praying that all eyes will be opened and common sense and decency may prevail in you country.

    • October 30, 2020 at 12:26 am

      I’m praying for the same, but, sadly, with such division, I think the probability is low. Even if Biden wins, I’m sure we’re in for more unrelenting idiocy, on Trump’s part, with/through the transfer of power.

      Never did I think I’d see such a time as this. It’s really quite unfathomable. Yet, here we are.

      And thank you for your kind words about the post itself, Catherine. They mean a lot, as do you.

  4. James G. Paul
    October 29, 2020 at 9:05 am

    What a total crock of Emotional baseless horse shit. Considering Your husbands country of origin and its proximity to now totally socially and economically destroyed Venezuela that the 2of you would know better. Considering your husband came here for opportunity and all the USA has to offer…. funny if BRAZIL was so great… why leave…was Venezuela not an option?

    Be careful what you wish for Danielle, socialism has failed everywhere, and you are ignorant if you think it will be better here.

    • October 29, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      Your reply is the crock, complete and total. For SHAME on you! I can’t decide which is stronger: your ignorance of the terms you use or the vituperative spirit you speak in. Take a good look in the mirror…see it? That is what is glaringly obvious to us.

      Shortcut thinking.
      Willingness to throw ANYBODY under any bus to keep power.

      Just like your idol, ttaf.

      • October 30, 2020 at 1:21 am

        I appreciate you defending the beliefs and experience I shared, Alms, but it’s not worth it. Really 💕

        • October 30, 2020 at 3:37 am

          I’ll say no more… What does the mama grizzly ever say to the poofy feisty dog barking at its own self importance?

          • October 30, 2020 at 2:26 pm

            You are that, Mama’s Marvel 💕

    • October 29, 2020 at 6:15 pm

      Though I am unsurprised by the response, a simple “I didn’t like it and I disagree” would have sufficed.

      Thank you for reading.

    • October 29, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      Social democracies in the Scandinavian countries are thriving and held as an example of progress all over the world.

      • October 30, 2020 at 1:15 am

        Thanks for sharing that, Gerard.

    • JWH
      October 30, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      Ouch. Some serious hostility there. Sorry about whom (or whatever) hurt you so much that you cannot respond in a more even manner.

  5. October 29, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    This impassioned plea is superbly written. I share your impatience and disbelief. “They deserve to believe that the choice to leave their country of origin in exchange for the promises of an adoptive one wasn’t a bait and switch scheme.” That says SO MUCH! I am moved to reblog this. I trust you won’t mind.

    • October 30, 2020 at 12:38 am

      Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing, Linda. I am both touched and thrilled that my thoughts, words, and experience moved you and do hope to be shortly celebrating a new direction and heartbeat for this country.

      • October 30, 2020 at 9:18 am

        I wish your words weren’t needed. But they are. I don’t think this country can handle another 4 years. I fear the very worst. Of course I feared that 4 years ago too, but I tried to quell my fear with reason. It might not be all that bad…America does need to change some entrenched problems…. But the change is going in exactly the opposite direction in needs to go.

        • October 30, 2020 at 12:03 pm

          My sentiments exactly. Remain reasonable/positive, but acknowledge the fear and underlying concern because, sadly, there is much of that.

  6. October 29, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    It could be seen as an act of treason to vote again for this genocidal man. What a great article.

    • October 30, 2020 at 12:50 am

      It truly could, Gerard. And thank you kindly for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger ⭐️

  7. October 29, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Popped over here from Rangewriter. This is so beautifully written and heartfelt. The ugliness we see around us (and, apparently in one of your comments) has no place in this country.

    • October 30, 2020 at 12:54 am

      Thank you for popping over, Janis. I certainly appreciate your time and sentiments. And, Trump or not, the ugly is everywhere. He simply (or not so simply) emboldens and magnifies it.

  8. October 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Wonderfully written. I am a northern neighbor watching and hoping for the best.

    • October 30, 2020 at 2:02 am

      We have made some lovely memories in your beautiful country! Please stay safe, as COVID cases rise. And thank you for visiting and commenting.

      • October 30, 2020 at 11:56 am

        You are welcome, Dani. Yes, our numbers are going up (470 yesterday in the province, over a thousand active cases in the city) so I am mostly hunkering down, with walks in nature with friends where we can spread out.

        • October 30, 2020 at 2:33 pm

          With few exceptions, we have been sheltering in place since March. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re doing our best to keep ourselves and others safe. Hoping your province returns to baseline soon and that you and yours stay safe in the meantime. Enjoy those walks with friends—as well as your new home 🙂

  9. October 30, 2020 at 4:40 am

    Well written. It’s a difficult time, let’s hope for an improvement. Unfortunately is not only the US, we in Europe are facing not only covid but also social disorders favored by right-wing supporters. And it is not the moment to have people divided, the ones against the others…
    robert, from Italy

    • October 30, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      You are right, Robert. Sadly, it is everywhere and divisiveness only complicates things further. I am now more a realist than the idealist of my past, but even still, I find myself longing for character and conduct that has become foreign to so many. It is a heartrending time; that is certain.

      Out of curiosity, where in Italy do you live? My sister-in-law lived in Italy nearly 10 years and shared so much with us about her time there ⭐️

  10. Kris Hall
    October 30, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Very well written!
    Thank you for sharing, Dani!

    • October 30, 2020 at 11:40 am

      Thank you for reading, Kris. You are missed, friend! Let’s catch up soon, please.?.?

  11. October 30, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Dani, thanks for posting. Would you mind if I posted this to my author page on Facebook?

    • October 30, 2020 at 11:37 am

      Of course not, Nick. I’d be honored if you would. And, honestly, I don’t believe I’ve even seen your author (how awesome!) page yet. I’ll be sure to check it out!

      • October 30, 2020 at 11:44 am

        The author page is in preparation for publication, further establishing my online presence. I’m still shopping my manuscript around. Keep up the great work. Let me know if you want to workshop some ideas!

        • October 30, 2020 at 2:54 pm

          I’m relieved to know I haven’t missed as much as I thought, Nick, and can only imagine how much you’ve learned through the publication process. Whenever you have the chance, I’d love to hear more. And thank you again for your kind words. Truly.

  12. October 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    That is a change in the last generation or so, to see a man with a young baby. It is a common sight now, and it warms my heart.

    • October 30, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      I agree. I think higher EQ and shifting ideas of who-belongs-where-doing-what have helped. A man can be as amazing a stay-at-home father/caregiver as a woman can be a CEO/breadwinner. Certainly, when we paint human beings with a broader brush, instead of assigning them space based on ingrained gender socialization, everyone wins. Love seeing that change! ⭐️

  13. November 1, 2020 at 3:43 am

    Thanks for sending this, Danielle~ Expressed so well, we add our hopes and prayers that the results are different this time. Please take care and your writing continues to be inspiring! May I share it? Dawn ________________________________

    • November 1, 2020 at 6:53 am

      I’m so glad that you do, Dawn! Still missing all my Y ladies and those special years spent together. And, yes, you may certainly share it 💗

  14. November 1, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Dani, your view of the Hellscape created by Trump in the past four years is beautifully written. You expressed so well your feelings in a heart-rending fashion what your wrote about our current dystopia under Trump. As an immigrant, I was so proud to be an American but not so much anymore. We were never a perfect union but most presidents, although I did not necessarily agreed with some of them regarding their approach in perfecting the union, at least they tried to do in their own way what was best for the nation. No so, with our current president. His latest tweet saying “I love Texas” after his supporters were caught on video harassing and allegedly trying to run the Biden bus off the road near Austin perfectly encapsulates what large sections of America have become under his Administration: hateful, divisive, bigoted, undignified, unprincipled and lacking in decency, empathy, compassion and ethics. Where is the sense that we are all in this world bonded by a common high purpose: to leave that world better for future generations so that they can live a very fulfilling and humane life. MAGA’s sole objective, in my opinion, is to ensure that a divided America is being built where only certain segments of the population will have access to the generosity, your word Dani, associated with the spirit in which the country was founded, while others, mostly brown, black and indigenous populations, will be forced to eke out a miserable life of servitude without access to that generosity. We will end up with a society of haves and have-nots. Really sad! I am waiting for that first novel, Dani. Keep on writing because you do it very well, as I used to tell you often.

    • November 17, 2020 at 7:23 am

      José, I am grateful for and humbled by your heartfelt response. I cried so many tears on 11/7 and felt as if I’d finally exhaled after years of holding my breath. But that sense of relief was quickly undercut by the continued barrage of deranged behavior from the WH and its long-on-spite and short-on-substance lemmings.

      I am still hopeful that we, as a people, can find our collective heartbeat, but I am not disillusioned to think it will be either organic or sequential once Biden and Harris take office. Sadly, I believe most, if not all, of their time in the WH will be underpinned by the emotional, physical, and psychological carnage left behind by this administration.

      Thank you, Jose, for your love of and belief in this country. I sincerely hope our pride in it can be restored.

  15. January 15, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    I’m so glad I’m reading this as we are about to have decency and light in the White House again . . .

    • January 20, 2021 at 11:54 pm

      Gosh, I know. I was crying at every turn today and filled with more hope than I’ve allowed in some time. My heart’s tank is no longer on E and my breath has returned to low belly instead of high chest. All feels foreign and, yet, familiar, which I love and is love. So, yes. Decency and light. Yes.

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