Each morning, I walk into my living room, where I leave the drapes open so I can look out across the bay. I try to snatch a few minutes to appreciate my extreme good fortune. But today I awoke worried about Libya, and Wisconsin, and Obama, and all I had time for was a habitual glance as I turned toward the kitchen to begin my morning ritual.
Tonight, I wonder how many have been murdered in Libya. There was a woman in the Libyan capitol interviewed today on NPR around noon California time – did she survive? Her words were solid and sure, somehow buffeted from the fear I felt welling up in me as she talked about waiting for opposition organizers to call on protesters to march on Tripoli, to demand Qadafi’s resignation. “I am ready,” she said, “For anything.” And I believed her.
But I am not. And, from the comfort of my quiet apartment here in Santa Cruz, I have no need to be ready to sacrifice my life for freedom. But I am not ready for her to be hurt or murdered, because she sounded so hopeful, so possessed of the rightness of her cause, and we need more people like her in the world.
I wonder how it is that tens of thousands of people can march on the capitol in Wisconsin for nearly two weeks and be ignored by those in power. I’ve watched these bundled up American workers each night on the news and marveled at their commitment, their passion, their solidarity. When the unions offered all of the asked-for concessions except collective bargaining, Governor Walker refused them. It took 17 days for Cairo to fall, I pray that these American protesters have Egypt-style stamina. But I’m not so sure that American workers in Wisconsin seeking to avoid corporate repression and the deprivation of their rights will remain as resolved as the Egyptians, who were actually crushed by brutal repression and deprivation for decades.
Obama, I think, you have so much on your plate right now. I don’t know how you do it, so let me take on your worry. I’m doing it anyway. That will be my contribution to your work. Breathe deeply, listen well, talk to the right people, stay in integrity, kiss your daughters and your wife, leave them no doubt that they are your number ones. But please, let me worry for you. You just go out and do the right thing, whatever that is.
I’m at the end of my day, I look out over the darkness from my spot on the couch, knowing the bay is there and will be tomorrow. The rain patters out it’s incessant soothing rhythm on my patio and the skylight in the kitchen, and I am excited about the possibility of snow tomorrow and Saturday, an event which happens so rarely on the Central Coast that it feels once or twice in a lifetime.
I imagine myself at the ocean, even though I have appointed myself Worrier-in-Chief, twirling in a flurry of snow flakes, watching with awe as the sand is carpeted in white, and I think I’ll remember then that worried, tired, worn out people can’t change the world. In these few fantastical, disbelieving moments, I think I’ll remember to be happy.