One nation under carbs

justice kennedy

Last week was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. If a root canal and the Norovirus got together and produced an offspring – it would look like last week. I can make some tepid jokes about it now, but there was nothing funny about last week – it was the worst many of us had felt since the wee early hours of November 9, 2016.

While we were still reeling from the coverage of immigrant children being separated from their parents and held in cages, came the staggeringly sober news that Justice Anthony Kennedy was resigning from the Supreme Court. When I got the BREAKING NEWS alert on my phone I prayed it really was FAKE NEWS.

It felt like the time years ago when I hit the wrong button on my first iPhone and accidentally did a factory reset – losing all my never backed up photos and contacts. That slow motion feeling of not being in control mixed with deep sadness for what might be permanently erased.

I don’t care if we knew it “might” be coming. I’m a proud reality denier and I had put that particular item far down on my To Worry About List. Once I caught my breath, I cried. I did. It was just too much to process after EVERYTHING else. Fortunately, I was at home by myself, so my cat was the only eyewitness to my breakdown and her silence can be bought with a few extra treats.

I’ve spent much of my adult life working for LGBT civil rights – including devoting a sizable chunk of my professional life to advocating for people living with AIDS. I suddenly saw the past 25 years or so like a montage – all the meetings, all the marches, all the fundraising, all the stinging defeats, all the friends – some dead now – all the years of incremental progress – then the rush of huge advancements. I could feel it all slipping through my hands like sand. I felt hopeless.


My guy, Jeff. I guess you could say he wears his heart on his T-shirt.

And then my phone started blowing up. First one in was my gay boyfriend, Jeff. We’ve said for years that we would be the perfect couple except for the little detail of sexual orientation. He’s the gay man version of me – cranky with a wicked sense of humor. I adore him, and we have shared many hours stuffing envelopes, canvassing neighborhoods, hosting fundraisers and kvetching about the current state of affairs. Side note: We narrowly avoided a tragic accident years ago while delivering a Porta Potty to a special event. It almost tipped over in Jeff’s truck while we were placing it in a friend’s backyard. If the Porta Potty hadn’t crushed us to death, we would have most certainly died from humiliation.

Jeff basically expressed the same things I was feeling – that everything we had worked so long and hard for could be eradicated as the balance of the Court shifted. And then he texted a few minutes later to say he had gone to the men’s room to throw up. The thought of losing some of your civil rights can make you toss your lunch. My crying didn’t seem so bad then. Jeff always makes me feel better.

Then I got a Facebook message from my friend, Bo, in Wilmington. We served on the

Bo is rather shy and retiring. Said no one ever.

board of Equality NC for several years and have stayed in touch. He wrote, “I share your fear and I want to walk with you in our next right thing. You taught me that all is not lost. We have to keep teaching each other.” Damn. I was crying again – only this time the tears were sweeter.

And then I got a phone call – old school – from my mentor/Jewish mother/friend/sage, Phyllis, in DC. I worked for her years ago and we became family. She and her husband hosted my wedding to my dear wife in 2014. Phyllis is fearless and is always the first to call – in good times and in tough times. When I answered the phone, I said, “Please tell me we are moving to Norway.” She said, “Addy, I feel like someone in my family has died.” Just hearing her voice made me feel safer.


Phyllis always calls. Always.


I turned off the TV. I couldn’t bear to hear the talking heads start to circle the body like vultures, speculating on who Trump would select. I’ve barely watched any news since then. Thank God for BBC crime dramas – I find them oddly comforting. Nothing like a good grisly murder or two set against a gray London backdrop to lift your spirits.

My wife and I had dinner plans that evening with a friend from our church. She’s a delightful and smart retired woman who has hosted us for supper in her home a few times. I’m a vegetarian and she’s kind enough to even prepare some fabulous tofu dishes for us – nobody ever does that. We usually bring a bottle of wine – that night we brought two. Just in case.

We had a surprisingly lovely evening sitting around her dining room table as the sun went down. I love that time of day and the light cast a peaceful balm over us as we talked. We came home feeling a bit better.

dinner with carol.jpg

Breaking bread with a kindred spirit was just what we needed.

I had one more Facebook message waiting for me – from my good friend Megan. We worked together for years around HIV/AIDS issues and she and her husband are two people who always seem to be on the right – as in fair and just – side of everything. She oozes integrity and her support has always meant a great deal to me. She wrote, “Holding you and many others in my heart… don’t lose hope.” I felt like I had a logjam of life rafts available when I finally fell into bed that night.

megan meme
This is a typical Facebook post from Megan. All the feels.

But do you want to know what lifted my spirits the most amidst the angst of last week? I could give you a gazillion guesses, and you wouldn’t come close. Ready? A chocolate éclair. And, no, I wasn’t self-medicating. It wasn’t even my éclair. On Friday, I met my bestie, Carla, at a local coffee shop. Carla is in grad school and we’ve been taking advantage of her summer off by meeting every other Friday for a three-hour coffee date. Seriously. We always meet at 9 AM and we’re never done before noon. That’s a lot of coffee and conversation.


Coffee with Carla. The best part of summer.

Our croissants and cappuccinos were long gone by the time a smiling young Asian man put down his paper plate on the table right next to us. We both started staring – lusting really – at the scrumptious looking chocolate éclair on his plate. Clearly, we were not as smooth about it as we thought we were because he looked at us sweetly and said, “Would you like a bite?” We both giggled with embarrassment and I think I fumbled a bit and said, “Oh, no, sorry, that éclair just looks so good.”

Carla got up to use the restroom and our new pal returned to his table with his coffee and settled in to enjoy his treat. He caught my eye as he held his plastic fork and knife in his hands and said, “Really, are you sure you wouldn’t like to try this?” Seriously, I really DID want to, but honestly, I could feel my throat closing with emotion. There was something so incredibly moving about his simple but genuine kindness in that moment. I wanted to hug him, but I was afraid he might think I was going to nab that big ass éclair.


The object of our affection.

Carla returned to our table and as we headed towards the door, I told him that we would not have been so generous with our éclairs and he laughed and told us to have a nice day. I could almost hear Won’t You Be My Neighbor playing in the background.

Let’s make the most of this beautiful day

Since we’re together, might as well say

Would you be my, could you be my

Won’t you be my neighbor?

I know it’s a gross simplification to imply that good pastries make good neighbors. I just know that a random exchange with a perfect stranger in my local coffee shop made me feel like somehow, we will make it through to the other side of this darkness. Together.

When I got home I reread the last part of Megan’s message:

“You just need to know you’re not alone in this. I come from a perspective, forged from coming of age in the 70’s, that we’re smart enough and tough enough to outmaneuver the bastards if we just work together.”

Mr. Rogers couldn’t have said it any better himself.


Can you say outmaneuver the bastards?



Carbs will keep us together.


ruth meme

This tweet saved me last Wednesday. Long live Ruth!



Making waves


January 20th, 2017. What could go wrong?

The Impossible is an absolutely gripping film from 2012 about one family’s experience in the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. One minute they are enjoying a Christmas vacation at a lush resort, the next they are literally swept away into total chaos and destruction.

I thought about this film in the middle of the night when I could not sleep – 24 hours before Donald Trump’s inauguration. Probably just a coincidence.


Last night as I was stone cold awake, I had a physical sensation that felt very familiar to me but I couldn’t quite nail it. Then it came to me – that feeling you have in the middle of the night before you or a loved one are having surgery. You know – that anxious feeling where you tell yourself that there is nothing to worry about and everything will be okay. And then somehow it is 4 AM and you still haven’t gone to sleep.

The devastation of November 8th feels far away from me today. It is no longer unfathomable to me that Hillary Clinton was not elected president. You’ve all seen the various autopsies and any combination of causes – FBI Director Comey, Russian hacking, fake news, misogyny, patriarchy, a flawed campaign and high unfavorability ratings – can explain her defeat.

Don’t get me wrong – I will mourn Hillary’s loss for the rest of my life but today it’s a fresh pink scar and not an open wound as it was for those first awful weeks. A fearful dread now hangs over me (and approximately 65,844,953 others) as we feel the rumbles of the electoral tsunami creeping ever closer.

I started watching some news again the first of the year. My dear wife likes to watch the Today show as she’s getting ready for work. We have developed some new safety protocols – the main one being that if Kellyanne Conway appears on-screen, she is to hit the off button immediately. For the record, we have that same rule in effect when Sarah McLachlan’s  Arms of the Angels PSA comes on, too. No Kellyanne. No sick kittens. The human spirit can only absorb so much pain.


Just say no!

I find myself crying more easily and more often these days. The Obamas, damn them, certainly haven’t helped matters. It seems as if every day one of them gives us another reason to weep but their grace, humanity and humility have helped make me believe for a little while that everything really will be okay.

My biggest breakdown to date came right before Thanksgiving when I was still deep in the throes of my election depression and avoiding all media. I just happened to be surfing for Sex and the City reruns (they always make me feel better) when I caught the White House ceremony when President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 recipients, including Ellen DeGeneres.


Twitter continues to save me on a daily basis.

It was the faces that killed me. Obama’s face – so genuine and respectful – and the faces of the recipients – all of them superstars in their fields – but so absolutely gobsmacked by receiving this award from this president. Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Bruce Freaking Springsteen – all of them with enough hardware to fill an armory – all deeply moved by the honor.  Ellen flat-out ugly cried, bless her heart. And I ugly cried right along with her when President Obama told us that we should never forget how much courage was required for her to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago, noting that she “pushed our country in the direction of justice.”

I pray there’s no turning back now.



Ellen’s award-winning ugly cry.

The White House released a YouTube video recently in which many famous and not so famous folks share how they have been inspired by the Obamas.  In the video, noted feminist Gloria Steinem says, “It was the first time in my life when I felt like the White House belonged to everyone.” I know that feeling, too. In 2011, I was invited to the White House for a LGBT reception in celebration of PRIDE month. I don’t care how cool you think you are, being a guest at the White House is a pretty heady experience.


I’ll always regret that the most qualified Clinton never made it to the Oval. That’s me in the White House, 2011.

I remember going to D.C. for the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation in the spring of 1993. It was an empowering and life changing event for me as I heard speaker after speaker talk about taking our place at the table. It was too much for me to imagine back then that table would one day include one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I cried again the week before Christmas when my friend Gina posted a picture of her partner Marco becoming an American citizen. Marco is a handsome and charming Italian (redundant) and my wife and I both fell madly in love with him when we met him at my best friend Carla’s (Gina’s sister) wedding four years ago.

Marco and Gina are both brilliant mathematicians – those rare folks who actually used algebra after high school. They are that groovy couple who do the unimaginable and make math look hot. Anyway, I knew Marco had been studying for his citizenship exam but when I saw his sweet mug on Facebook with Gina’s caption, “One of our newest citizens!” – well, I lost it.

I told her that I wanted our country to be deserving of Marco’s beautiful smile. It’s like that bumper sticker says: I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.


Marco. Making America more beautiful.

His beaming face and the special red, white and blue tie he had purchased for the occasion just gutted me. I thought about so many people joking – sort of – about moving to Canada post-election. Such a disconnect from how gleeful Marco looks in Gina’s photograph. The Obamas made me feel like our country was deserving of that smile.

I’ll be back in our nation’s capital this weekend for another historic march – this time the Women’s March on Washington, the day after the inauguration. A lot has happened in those 24 years since my last march, especially in terms of LGBT rights. I’m legally married to the person I love and entitled to all the rights associated with that piece of paper.

Back then, I was still anxious about being completely out. This march, I’m most anxious about finding a Don’s Johns that isn’t completely gross.

And I’m not just marching for myself this time.

I’m marching for a thousand and one important reasons. Correction – make that 1002, counting Marco.

Ciao, Bellas! Ciao, Obamas!


The First Family. I’ll even miss their dogs.


Feets, don’t fail me now


Can you hear the voice crying in the wilderness? Can you hear the crying?

I’ve heard those voices – my own loudest of all – a lot lately. I have been crying and wandering in the wilderness a great deal since November 8th.  And that’s how I found myself back in church this past Sunday. Sometimes our feet just take us where we need to be. I have no other reasonable explanation for why on a cold, rainy Sunday, I got myself up and dressed and in a pew and found myself listening to Prepare Ye, a calypso style anthem written by Marc Robinson.

Click here to hear it – it has a Lion King vibe and everyone was really feeling it and someone in the choir was even playing bongo drums. It sounded like hope to me and it was a balm to my battered soul.

Can you hear the voice crying in the wilderness? Can you hear the crying? 


Don’t even think about it.

I’m attending a new church, one in the city where I live, instead of driving 40 minutes to my old church where I used to live. I had to get out of my own way to like this new church. For starters, it’s fairly modern and I’m pretty old school when it comes to churches. My new church is sort of like a ranch house. It’s rather dated with not much curb appeal – entirely different from my old church. The Property Brothers could do a lot with it.

Funny thing, though – on this Sunday, the simplicity of my new church seemed quite lovely to me. So my wife and I sat down in our row. We’re Episcopalian and every good Episcopalian sits in the same row no matter what church we’re in – it’s just a thing and I can’t explain it. Our new church has chairs – not pews – which bothered me at first because there’s no kneeling. Episcopalians are known for our Anglican aerobics featuring lots of up and down during our services. And there’s something about your energy when you’re kneeling that opens up your heart – a bit like some yoga poses.


Episcopalian workout.

Before I lose some of you who are rolling your eyes because I’m writing about church, let me say loud and clear that I know many of  you have been deeply hurt and damaged in the name of religion and I don’t discount those feelings at all. My own dear wife has endured much suffering within her evangelical family. It makes me crazy mad and terribly sad.

I know I have been blessed  to have always felt accepted and loved in the Episcopal Church and that is why I returned there after months of wandering. It feels like home to me and since my parents died 14 years ago, there is really no place I feel closer to them than in the confines of an Episcopal Church – fancy or plain. So there is where my feet often take me, particularly in times of despair.


Do not attempt to adjust the picture.

We welcomed our new interim rector on this Sunday and he processed in with a cane. He’s in his mid-60’s and his hands were visibly trembling as he began the service and he apologized for his legs not working quite right on this morning. I assume he has Parkinson’s or some other neurological condition.

He sat on a stool when he delivered his sermon – a sermon that was surprisingly personal and political. He talked about finally pulling himself up out of bed on November 9th – after checking his iPhone at 3 and 4 and 5 to see if perhaps, an Electoral College Miracle had occurred as he slept. He talked about being able to finally see through his tears later in the day and thinking about where God was in all of this. The very question I asked with rage on that same awful day. I never got to an answer but he did. He said, “God is here with us, the real question is where are we in all of this.”

Sometimes you just have to ask the right questions.

He did not give us false hope – far from it. He said the coming days would be very difficult but that our charge is to “be the grace of God in the world”.  So much for a soft opening.

As he preached, with his trembling hands, the irony was not lost on me that #notmypresident might make fun of this dear man – as he so infamously did the disabled reporter.

And as I looked around the congregation, I realized that we had landed in a truly diverse community of faith. It could make a great holiday commercial for Coke – young, old, black, white, Indian, Asian, wheelchairs, walkers and gays – not necessarily in that order. And I could hardly suppress my glee when the developmentally disabled young man sitting directly behind us let forth some unbridled burps during the sermon. It was all so gloriously human.

And then came the Prayers of the People, one of my favorite parts of an Episcopal service. A lay person serves as an intercessor and leads the congregation in prayers for almost everything and everyone under the sun. There is a refrain that the leader repeats after each petition to God and it is usually different every Sunday. This one was a doozy: Give us grace to engage one another without hatred or bitterness and to work together with mutual respect.

Do you think that includes social media? Crap.

We prayed for the leaders of our church and the leaders of our country – Barrack, our President and Donald, our President-elect – that they make wise decisions for the well-being of our society.

It was at this moment that I wished I had stayed home in my pjs to watch CBS Sunday Morning.


Membership has its privileges.

Thank God, no pun intended, that the passing of The Peace was next because I really needed to hug my wife and shake lots of strangers’ hands after that. Full disclosure: There were audible groans when Donald’s name came up. This isn’t going to be easy.

We prayed for the Standing Rock water protectors and the people of Aleppo and the victims of the warehouse fire in Oakland.

I think we’re going to like it here.

And wouldn’t you know we ended up kneeling (finally) for communion right beside that developmentally disabled man who smiled beatifically at us.

I’m always amused when God is not subtle. It makes her seem all that more accessible.

Yes, God was there in that colorful flock of saints and sinners this past Sunday and I need to remember that as I continue to find my footing in this abnormal normal that we’ve been thrust into to.  Oh, don’t worry, I’ll keep kicking and screaming and ranting and raving but I’m so very weary from crying in the wilderness and it feels good to be with others.

Besides, this coming Sunday is the Christmas pageant. And you know how the gays love a pageant.

So for now, you know where to find me Sundays at 11 – third row from the back on the right hand side, aisle seat.

There’s no place like home.



Always a good show and easier to get tickets to than Hamilton.


I guess two out of three is not an option.

Do you hear what I hear?


The Scream

“I have passed through the initial five stages of grief: Denial anger bargaining depression and acceptance. Now I am in fascination–cobra hypnosis, newly apoplectic every day by the latest. I believe I have actually keened within recent memory. At this rate, i may have a flickering tic in my eye by sundown.” ~ Anne Lamott in a recent post-election Facebook post

As usual, author Anne Lamott writes what’s in my head only it sounds almost lyrical instead of the ALL CAPS RAGE AND DESPAIR that marinates inside me these days. Oh, and my eye tic has manifested as a pain in my right arm. No, not the heart attack kind of arm pain. It hurts the most when I undo my bra. Sorry, if that’s too much information from this nasty woman. My doctor, Web MD, says that this could indicate stress in the rotator cuff muscles. My symptoms started shortly after FBI Director James Comey released his now infamous letter to Congress regarding Hillary Clinton’s damn emails 10 days before the election. Coincidence?  I think not. Case closed.

Lamott also writes about stress eating during these troubling times. I have no doubt that Weight Watchers will be inundated with an influx of chubby liberals come January. Carbs are one of our sole/soul comforts these days. If it weren’t so unbelievably frightening, it would be funny. Lamott prefers Oreos and Cheerios. I feel for her because her options are limited. She’s been in recovery for over 30 years, so wine is not a viable option for her. By the way, did you know that Aldi’s carries some decent wine? What? A friend told me – just putting it out there.


Limiting myself to just one glass a day.

I ran into a dear and much admired colleague right after the election. I was leaving a professional function as she was pulling into the parking lot. She put her window down and we lamented together about the results and she picked up a McDonald’s cheeseburger sitting on the passenger seat next to her, took a big bite and garbled, “Look, I’m stress eating!” She’s a very petite and trim woman which made the whole thing even more amusing to me.

I’m trying to practice good self-care so I’m pretty much in a news blackout, which I guess is not really that different from the actual campaign, right? There was so little news about policies and issues. It was Reality TV at its very worst and it helped elect the least qualified presidential candidate in the history of our great nation. We were punked. Bigly. Faux news is the new news. (I just got one of those shooting pains in my shoulder.)

So I’m under a TV blackout except for every liberal’s lifeline these days. Yes, on the eighth day, God created Netflix. And it was good. And ironically, the show saving me in this post-apocalyptic election world is one about a monarchy – The Crown. If you’re reading my blog, you’re most likely watching The Crown, too, but for those in the royal dark, the series is about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s a fascinating behind the scenes look at her marriage to Price Phillip and her relationship with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. And it’s a glorious diversion from the reality of the Park Avenue president-elect only without as much gilded furniture.


Who needs term limits?

I haven’t been able to give up social media but I’ve made my Facebook world a kinder, gentler place. And for the record, I think “unfriending” is a misnomer. We can be friends in REAL life and not be “friends” on Facebook because in real life, I might not ever know that you get your news from Breitbart or that you really think that all Muslims should be deported. Another irony – people are more their real selves behind a keyboard than in actual conversation. Social media is like HD TV – it makes all your warts and blemishes that much bigger.

And honestly, it makes it easier for me and my wife to worship with you at church if I don’t know that you supported a ticket that opposes our marriage. What I don’t know can’t hurt my heart. And spare me the “how can we ever find unity if we don’t talk about our differences” crap. Tell me what I should have said to a friend I have known since the 7th grade when she accused Michelle Obama of being a “race baiter” because she talked about the White House being built by slaves. There is no middle ground to find on scorched earth.

I haven’t slept through the night since the Cubs won the Word Series. Granted, that was a short night since the game didn’t end until after 1 AM. I’m not much for drugs but Tylenol PM has been my constant companion. But even with my version of the little blue pill, I still wake up at 2 AM and immediately start worrying about so many of the things I care about. Many – most actually – of the folks closest to me are feeling the same way and while often comforting, it can be an exhausting burden, too – trying to be present to their pain while holding my own.

My best friend from college is a chaplain in California at a large urban hospital. She is a woman and she is gay and she is Muslim. Damn, there goes my shoulder again. She’s struggling and she has to be available to everyone she encounters in her work – there can be no “others” in her day. She has observed that it is only white people who ask her if she’s okay – because she doesn’t seem “like herself”.  She’s come up with a brilliant response. She tells people that she is “soul sick”.  And there ain’t enough chicken soup in the world for this kind of sick.

I’ve been going to the movies – always a balm for me. I can highly recommend Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Fantasy is so superior to reality these days. And I just want to pinch Eddie Redmayne’s ginger cheek. Spoiler alert: Love really does trump hate in this movie.

But I made the mistake of going to Costco the other day. How can it be time for Christmas again already? The decorations made me feel disoriented – like going into a Christmas shop on the boardwalk when you’re at the beach in July. They seemed garish and out-of-place. Bell ringers are out now, too. I have plenty of valid issues regarding the Salvation Army so I’m never excited to hear those bells, but this year, the tone sounds almost ominous to me. It’s a tolling, not a ring.

A few days ago, my mourning changed to anger – white hot anger about what has happened in our country. My shift was not subtle. It came the moment I read who Trump had appointed as his chief strategist – Steve “Darkness is good” Bannon. Let’s be clear – the term “alt-right” should only ever be used with the word DELETE. Even Sarah Palin knew that if you put lipstick on a Nazi, it’s still a Nazi.

Yep. That was my tipping point. That day I signed up for the Women’s March on Washington – the Saturday following Not My President’s inauguration. Initially, I didn’t think I had it in me – to be in our nation’s capital at such a deplorable time. The last time I marched in Washington was 23 years ago for gay rights. That march changed my life in immeasurable ways. It made me feel empowered to live my life out loud. I hope this march empowers every woman, man and child there to go home and speak up for all of those that this new regime would diminish if given carte blanche. Hell, I might even burn my bra since I may not be able to clasp it anymore by then.


Resistance, my friends.

Jonathan Capehart, a gay black journalist, had a great piece in the Washington Post last week about the palpable fear that many of us are experiencing post-election. A fear that some of our friends – mostly white, mostly male, mostly monied – don’t feel – the fear of being targeted under the new administration. Capehart sums it up here really well: “But here’s what our well-meaning friends, especially those who have not felt the sting of discrimination or even otherness, need to understand. President-elect Trump has made promises that represent a threat to real lives and livelihoods. Some are unconstitutional. All are immoral.”

So, yeah, we others are kind of worked up over all of this. But we still enjoy your pictures of puppies.

Truth be told, it’s all Hillary’s fault that I’m going to the march. Damn her. A week after the election she honored a long-standing speaking engagement at a celebration for the Children’s Defense Fund, a cause near and dear to her broken heart. And God bless her – she showed up looking like – well, me, a few days after the election – no make up, regular going to the grocery store hair and a weary looking face. Twitterverse went wild with commentary – someone saying Hillary had “no more fucks to give” and another speculating that she was raising a middle finger to patriarchy. Whatever, I’m still with her. And it wasn’t how she looked but what she said that kicked my sorry ass.

“I know this isn’t easy, I know that over the past week, a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.”



I don’t have super powers like Hillary but I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

So in January, I will march but what about those damn holidays before us?

Pray for peace, people, everywhere.

And pass the cookies.

Made with Repix (

I’m still with her and our power’s turned on.

Piss and vinegar


Why, yes I am. Thanks for noticing.

This election has made a lot of us face some hard truths about our country and ourselves. I suppose the fact that Trump won (not the popular vote, of course) is the most sobering one for the 47.8 percent of Americans who supported Hillary Clinton. I can’t really give any more of my precious time or tears to Trump. I have too much work to do on myself.

I’m not who you think I am.  Perhaps I never was.

Maybe I was always really a radical trapped inside the exterior of the good girl and moderately sensible shoes. I just cared (note past tense) way too much about pleasing people to fully express my truths. That’s one reason I didn’t come out until I was well into my 30’s. I was afraid people wouldn’t like me and most of all, I did not want to disappoint my parents. They, of course, were not at all surprised that I was gay and only cared for my happiness and well-being but I still deeply regret all those years of not being fully known to them.

So for most of my sixty years I have operated under the adage that my dear departed daddy used to often tell me, “You can catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” I don’t know why it never occurred to me to ask my father the obvious question all those years ago. Why the hell would you want to catch flies?


Exit polls reveal that voters prefer savory over sweet.And 3rd party voters prefer arsenic.

Yes, I know the phrase means you can attract more friends by being nice than by being rude. It just doesn’t apply to voters. Voters like vinegar. Bitter, stinging sour vinegar. Sort of like the taste that I have had in my mouth since November 8th.

Ironic isn’t it, since we liberals so glommed on to Michelle Obama’s passionate cry at the Democratic Convention back in July -“When they go low, we go high.” I know I clung to it like a personal floatation device – fully knowing that we had the moral high ground in this election. We repeated it on social media when Trump supporters would post vile commentary like, “Lock her up!” or “Drain the swamp”. I even shouted it at the first rally that Hillary  and Michelle appeared together at in my hometown a few weeks before the election.


And then they win.

That rally was the day before FBI Director Comey released his letter, the October Surprise (i.e. Tsunami) – an unprecedented move 10 days before a presidential election. You remember – the one that pollsters and the media said had a very “marginal” effect on voters. At least that’s what they said before the election. Then after a lot of Wednesday morning quarterbacking, many of them proclaimed that it probably had a bigger effect than they had measured. Ya think? If there are any swamps to be drained, I hope Trump starts with the pollsters. Bye, Nate Silver. We are never ever getting back together.

I don’t know if that’s the main reason Hillary lost the election. I know I’ve read at least 1,412 theories on the subject, and I’m done agonizing over it. Bottom line: Trump was elected Lord of the Flies and now we have to put on our big girl panties and grab him and his minions by the balls to make sure that we don’t let an already great America go back.

As I often do in times of moral uncertainty, I turned to the words of Harvey Milk who said, “I have tasted freedom. I will not give up that which I have tasted.”

Oh. Hell. No.

I am flat-out worn out from being the good girl for so long. Oh, I’ve spoken out before  on issues near and dear to my heart – LGBT civil rights, HIV/AIDS stigma, Amendment One and HB2. But I’ve never really boldly crossed that “honey” line. I’ve bit my tongue over the years with some family, friends and colleagues when they’ve made comments that offend me and my ideals. God forbid I be accused of being a humorless liberal or too politically correct. Not me, people like me. They really, really like me.

Fair warning to all – my Sally Field phase is over. I’m acquiring a taste for vinegar. Vinegar gets shit done. Simma down, now. I’m not looking for a fight with anyone on either side but I’m sure as hell not going to default to sweet talking my way out of any either. I’m too old and there’s too much at stake.


That would be nice but it’s no longer a deal breaker for me.

47.3% of voters may have booked passage on the Titanic but I see that iceberg ahead and I’m going to use my voice as the biggest baddest foghorn you’ve ever heard.

I’m angry and I’m going to fight tooth and nail for the America that I believe in – the America that is good and kind and loving – the America not hell-bent on preserving the white status quo – the America that is not afraid of someone being different – the America that celebrates being different.

I started to get a queasy feeling in my stomach the Sunday before the election. My wife and I drove over to Buena Vista, an upscale neighborhood in Winston-Salem, where we like to walk when the weather is nice. The streets are lined with gorgeous trees and there are sidewalks – it’s a great walking neighborhood and the houses there are big and beautiful and apparently, home to an awful lot of people who voted for Trump – at least if yard signs are any indication.


True story.

I find it hard to believe that these folks were simply voting for change because it sure looks like they’ve been doing pretty darn well for a while. Just an observation.

The “R” word has been thrown around a lot this election cycle. No, not all Trump voters are racists but Charles Gaba, founder of, nailed it in one short not so sweet tweet when he said, “Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all of them decided that racism isn’t a deal-breaker. End of story.”

Yes, there was lot of Flying the W this election and I’m not talking about the Cubs. White Makes Right could have been another big seller for Trump hat vendors this year.

Author Toni Morrison gives a blistering view on this ugly reality  in an essay this week in The New Yorker. You can read it here but here’s a stiff shot of it:

The comfort of being “naturally better than,” of not having to struggle or demand civil treatment, is hard to give up. The confidence that you will not be watched in a department store, that you are the preferred customer in high-end restaurants—these social inflections, belonging to whiteness, are greedily relished.

So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.


Why we can’t have nice things.

I don’t want to be angry for four years because I still believe down deep in my bones in kindness as “the only thing that matters” as the wonderful poet Namoi Shihab Nye writes in her poem of the same name.

Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

What you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness.

The electoral map certainly highlighted a lot of desolation and I think we all lost a lot last Tuesday. Maybe now it’s finally time to think about all of this through a different prism than the red state/blue state one. I’m not crazy about purple either. I might suggest something like a burnt sienna as we navigate our new country in search of kindness.


An Ariel view of the new electoral map.

But this is where my work is. I know I cannot dismiss all Trump voters as racist and a threat against me and my wife as gay Americans.. I would lose some family members and a few good friends if that was my moral litmus test.

I know I have to stop thinking of that man standing in front of me at Starbucks – the older white man with the big belly that is taking up the whole counter while he fixes his coffee – more cream, a shake of vanilla – while the rest of us wait – as my enemy because I think he looks like a Republican.


I promise to do better. Tomorrow.

No, that’s on me to do better. But I will no longer go with the “honey” approach. I will speak the truth as I know it. I will be respectful and civil but I will no longer stop at the line that I drew for myself so many years ago when I bought into the good girl scenario.

The results of this election made me recall something a dear friend said to me years ago in the context of a professional dilemma I was experiencing. I was opting for the path of least resistance and staying on the high road in the situation. My friend said, “Addison, taking the high road is great but sometimes you can wind up in a ditch.”

Many of us have felt like we’ve been in a ditch this past week or so – or maybe even more like road kill. Anyway, there’s no AAA to pull us coastal elites out of this one. It’s on us and we better get started.

You can sleep while I drive.


We’ve got a long way to go. Pack snacks.