Thankful and Hopeful

When I was little, I thought of Thanksgiving as just another day where I didn’t have school. But it was sign that Christmas was coming up soon and I started to think of what I wanted for Christmas. When I was in my teen years, I was still in that mindset. My mom would often say that she likes Thanksgiving a lot more than Christmas because there’s not as much pressure to get everything right or bother with presents. Okay mom. Sure, whatever you say. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I started to appreciate Thanksgiving a lot more. It was the first time I would see my folks since the first day of the semester and also it was nice eating food that was not dining hall food. Since then, I am more excited about Thanksgiving than Christmas. That’s not to say I’ve become a total grinch with Christmas but I am starting to see it from my mom’s perspective. As a kid, all you want is stuff. You wanted that new toy that all your friends were getting. Whether it was a Barbie or the new iPod nano. I usually got what I wanted for Christmas but I think once I was told that Santa was not real, that’s when I was just like okay whatever. I still like Christmas but now I want things that are useful. I know what I’m getting. Hell, now I knew what I was getting but it was just going to get wrapped up and put under the three until Christmas. Then it’s all mine.

I know, I know, this sounds like first world problems and it is. And I hate to sound like a broken record but the holidays are about being with your family and knowing that you’re fortunate. Sometimes when I feel terrible, I often remind myself that I am one lucky person. I was able to go to school where in many countries girls can’t go to school whether it’s due to the culture thinking that women shouldn’t go to school or they will miss out several days thanks to not having access to menstrual hygiene products. I have a roof over my head and I am able to go to bed on a full stomach but there are still people here in America and in other parts of the world going hungry. Vox recently released a video that hunger and poverty are going down but I can’t wait for the day where everyone is eating and is living comfortably. I don’t expect everyone to be super wealthy but I want them to get their needs met. To not worry about if they’re going to pay rent this month. Currently in the US, we have a health care problem. Despite spending the most on healthcare, not everyone is covered and who knows what the upcoming year will be like with the current administration. I am able to afford healthcare but I would like it more if everyone had healthcare. Single payer health care needs to happen. Many will tell me that ‘Oh it’s probably not going to happen in our lifetime.’ And as much as a downer i can be, I’d like to think that we can get it done in my lifetime. Same goes for people living on a liveable wage and making sure everyone is living comfortably.

Yes, despite the world going to shit, I would like to take the time to appreciate the good things that do come out of dark times. I mentioned yesterday how I often make jokes when things get really rough. Some people would tell me that it’s not nice and that I should have more empathy. Thing is, that’s how I relate to it and I know there are times when it’s not appropriate. If I do end up going to trauma group therapy, the jokes will be put away during that time. Today, I talked about how since the beginning of this year we’ve been getting some great works of art. Specifically, films. I’m sure the same goes for other art forms like music and books and so on but it’s film that I follow the most. I started off my year at a well known film festival and watched films that were very timely. One of them was Beatriz at Dinner. Good god, that movie is so relevant. It’s about this Mexican woman who is a massage therapist to some very wealthy California family. As she’s about to leave, her car breaks down and she ends up staying for dinner. One of the dinner guests is this Donald Trump type that from the start is just regurgitating xenophobic talking points. He’ll ask her if she came here legally and brags about how he hunts endangered animals. The writer of the film, Mike White, was asked if his inspiration was Trump. He said that he was initially inspired by the dentist who killed Cecil the lion back in 2015. He thought ‘Man, I would hate to be stuck at dinner with that asshole.’ While he was writing up the script, Trump announced his candidacy and now look where we are. I don’t think Mike White expected Trump to win. It’s why I wonder if this movie would still be relevant if Trump was not elected. I still think it would be. It resonates with latino Americans any time they’re the only one at a mostly white event. Tell me about it.

Get Out, however, would be relevant even if Trump was never elected. When I tell people that I found Get Out predictable, I often get the response ‘Oh so you didn’t like it?’ No. I loved it. It lived up to the hype even though I knew where it was going but I was still tense from the moment he walked into his white girlfriend’s house. I’m still not going to reveal the plot points since seriously, if you have not seen the film please see it tonight. That would also make a good thanksgiving movie right now. Double bill it with Beatriz at Dinner or hell, triple bill it with Prisoners. People often complain about how Hollywood is running out of original ideas. How long have you been saying that? I feel like since the beginning of cinema, people have been saying that. I’m probably one of the few people who is numb to the remakes or reboots. Those films pay the bills. And while I did find Get Out predictable, I was not bored. Far from it. I knew what was happening but the one thing that kept me on edge is hoping the main character would make it out okay. Do you think Gravity is the first movie where someone has survive nature whether it be in space or back on earth? I doubt it but what kept it fresh is constantly hoping and waiting to see if they will make it out okay.

In fact, isn’t that how it is currently? People often joke that ever since January 20th, every day has been a damage report. It’s annoying but I’d like to think by the end of the day, we are going to be okay. I know it’s draining to call representatives to make sure people are not going to die or that the internet will stay as is but we’re still okay. We are still fighting the good fight. Planned Parenthood is still around despite threats to defund it but thanks to many people donating, they’re still here. The ACLU has been working their asses off defending the people. Yes, you can argue they have their own set of issues such as how they once defended the klan but thank god for the ACLU. Most of us are still here. Of course, not everything has been all sunshine and roses. Just look at Puerto Rico. Despite it being a US territory, the US government neglected them. It was up to the people who had to help Puerto Rico out but shame on our government for doing very little. The one thing I feel like we’ve been doing well in the past year is checking in on each other. I remember not too long after the election, I picked up this one Muslim woman and drove her to her mosque. I asked her if she was okay. She started to tell me about how she came to this country over thirty years ago from Iran. Iran was, and still is, in a volatile place. Her husband was involved with the revolution and lost his eye in the process. It was a scary time.Her family came here to escape that corruption and violence. Now, she’s constantly being vigilant about her surroundings. She said the mosque she goes to had been vandalized a few times since the election but so far she’s been safe. I told her that she and others like her do not deserve this. She thanked me for the kind words and concern and told me to watch out.

There is no right solution to the current dark world we live in. But I think the best option is to shut the fuck up and listen to others. Check in on your friends or even strangers. Let them know that you will stand by them. And not just empty words, do take some forms of action. I don’t expect everyone to be in every protest that happens. I know not everyone will feel safe. But do call your representatives let them know that you will not vote for them if they decide to go with the current administration. The state I currently live in will have a gubernatorial election in less than a year. Do your homework. Vote for science. Vote for people who care about the people. Vote out the people approved by corporations or the current administration. Yes, I went on a rant about elections despite it being a day to be thankful for the little things. Don’t get me wrong, I am and I am thankful for the people who are standing up to the problems here. Now is the time to do this. So eat your dinner and make sure to be ready and keep an eye out on each other.

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