All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye.
So many people are talking about how scary and bizarre this new year, this 2017, is shaping up to be that by now ,even just a few damn days into the damn thing, it almost seems cliche for another writer to toss the same notion in your face.
Whatever. Over here. Guilty. And I’m doing it anyway.
Because 2017 is making me feel things I have never felt before. I’m upset that the new President-elect doesn’t have any grace or dignity. I’m heartbroken and mystified that Barack Obama is going. I’m hurting inside at the loss of a leader who- no matter what you’re preferred political party flavor is- has carried himself across 8 years of service with the kind of poise and dignity that has all but disappeared from the leadership stage anymore. And I’m frightened as hell that the guy taking his place isn’t prepared for the job of leading the land where my kids are growing up, and where they’ll probably spend the majority of their lives even after I’m gone.
2017 is here. Trump is in. My Violet turns 8 two days after the official swearing-in.
I will not sit back and shut my mouth. I’m not going to just ‘live my life and let her boundless potential and her beautiful spirit her hard-won American girl liberties be bitch-slapped to some kind of hopeless pulp by what could very well turn out to be a hateful and ludicrous regime.
That’s not my job. That’s not what Daddies do, you see. When we sense any kind of danger hovering around our kids, around our little girls, we fight back. We’d fight ten men at once without thinking about it if we had to. I’d fight 10 million men at once, each of them all hopped-up on Mountain Dew and the fumes of their own thinly-veiled self-loathing, coming at me slow and steady, coming at me and Violet all Walking Dead. I’d die a gruesome death then of course. We both would, I guess. But at least we went down swinging for what we stood for. There’s not enough of that any more. Even at our ‘angriest’, even at our most ‘forgotten’ and our most ‘disenchanted’ moments, we’re still a thousand times more comfortable sitting there on our fat asses than most of the people who truly stand up for what they believe in in this world.
America is for Violet as far as I’m concerned. And for her little brothers, Henry, and Charlie, too. And I’d gladly stick my neck out in front of a freight train full of angry racist sexists if I knew my head exploding like a watermelon down the tracks would help the cause.
But then again. Ugh. I don’t know where the trains run. And I’m busy. I can’t get all radicalized or whatever. Prison is sh*t. No dads do their daughters much good from behind federal bars, you know? Plus, there’s like 30 things in my Netflix queue that I need to see yet and I’m not giving that up if I don’t have to.
How’s a dad like me supposed to help steer this national ship back on course?
I’m glad you asked that. (Just pretend you asked that). I need to talk to my Violet. You need to talk to your Chloe. I need to talk to my Henry. You need to talk to your Edna. (What? Edna? Oh just you watch. That sh*t is going to explode back onto the modern scene now). We need to talk to our kids about love and freedom and our passion for humanity in the face of a so many of our own family members and friends and co-workers and even people we were SURE would never want to vote for a man who’s very nature is to complain and sue and insult and blame others for the perpetual incorrigible haze that won’t lift up off his shoulders and his choking his life away. For a self-made American man who created, all by himself, the rotisserie-gilded mouthy mess he has become.
I need to listen too. To my daughter. I need to bring things up at the dinner table, stuff about racial equality and sexual equality and why no God from any religion should ever matter more than what lies right there in her 8-year-old heart.
In a lot of ways, as her Dad I need to be the only true God she’ll ever need. The guiding voice in her ear, even long after I have a massive heart attack and go down over by the energy drinks in Target, gone forever. I want our talks to be her Bible. I want our belief in love and our faith in trying our damnedest to be decent humans more than ANYTHING else to be the thing she can can turn to- automatically before long- when she turns the next corner or flips the next channel and there it is, all up in her face.
Laugh if you want. Call me an idiot, call me a fool. I know I’m not. Not the way you might think I am anyways. The only kind of fool I am, when it’s all said and done, is a fool for love. For truth and for beauty. A fool for human rights. A fool for America, not the way she used to be, but for where she’s headed if we help her get there.
(Phew. I know right? Almost done. See me out, will ya?)
So let’s hit it, y’all.
You make America great again and I’ll try and make Violet great from the get-go. And then her and all the other kids whose moms and dads fought off gargoyles with breakfast cereal discussions about human decency, who battled horrible dragons by listening to their own kids’ tough questions, those kids will be growing up with the right kind of fire kicking off in their young fresh eyes.
Then. THEN. Then. They’ll each help make America great again for real.
After Voldemort and his crew f*ck it up so bad, and for no damn reason at all.