My daughter peaks over my shoulder, sees the photo of the Tri-Met Max train below the headlines, “Is that our train? Are you reading about trains?…”
I tuck my phone away and surprise hug her close as I wipe away tears. She giggles and wiggles lose, sees my tears and runs for a tissue for me, “Are you ok, mama? Are you upset because the train broke-’ed down?”
She calls the train “our train” just like we call Portland “our town”. It didn’t feel like a city in the past but we are now. A growing one that has emerging rifts that are deepening between classes, religions, ideologies but this new phase of our city scares me. One where a select few feel emboldened by our bigoted leader and decide to attack others on a train like the one here in Portland last night. The men he killed were heroes that were defending the targets of this man’s hatred, women. Women the assailant viewed as Muslim and immigrant.
Acts of terrorism and hatred are springing up more often. It wins every time we’re scared yet, as a parent, I have to follow that fear down the rabbit hole. I can’t risk my kids’ safety just to prove my loyalty to my politics yet I don’t want them to learn to give into their fear.
Which side of the coin will I come down on? It changes at times to suit their best interests and I have to accept my guilt. I feel a renewed sense of loss then anger that this vile person ruined something necessary, vital, and beloved about our city. How many will choose not to ride now because of their fear?
“Yeah, honey. That’s our train.” I read the details to myself and put my phone down.
“The train is ok. Some people are not. A mean person hurt people on the train because he was angry.”
She thought about this and smiled at me, “They need to use their words.”
Don’t we all. Let’s use them to resist all hatred and speak out, stand up, and persist against cowards that choose violence. Whether here in Portland, Oregon, or Manchester, England, you are not alone in your wish for this madness to stop. Resist and persist with love my friends and may all of you, and those you love, be safe. Don’t let the fear stop you from living.