Mike Blake, Reuters
I have been avoiding the news.

When he was elected, my disbelief rapidly glommed on to my depression, reinforcing the nihilistic feelings I was having about things being so far from okay.  2016 was not the best year for me, and it was coming to a spectacular, flaming ending before my eyes.

It wasn't just him, but the people who gained strength from his ridiculous, improbable winning gambit.  Who gained courage to be cruel and inhumane and violent.

My words escaped like prayers.

Please, don't let this be who we are.

I thought I was seeing the worst parts of humanity.  It turns out, I'd set the bar far too high, and there was still an abyss beneath waiting to swallow us up.

I mean, I knew there could be worse.  I just didn't think that worse could happen here.  Now.

I have been avoiding the news because it's not funny anymore.

Not that it ever was, but I have felt largely like it was just a bad period we had to power through.  At first I assured myself he'd never make it through the full four years, how could he?  Law after law trampled, but 18 months in it hasn't happened and he just grows more and more dangerous.

My mom told me, she has been through bad times in her life.  That things happening now reminded her of the politics, struggles, activism of her earlier years.  Politics always swing back and forth.

It seemed like maybe if we breathed, we could get through this and that the nightmare that is our 45th president would pass.  Someday, we would wake.

I pinch myself, but I'm not waking up.

When I was in middle school, I read Number the Stars.  I think maybe I read it more than once.  The periods in history that have most engaged me center on times when humans forsook one another, because to my heart it is incomprehensible.

I did not learn about the Japanese Internment Camps in school.  I was in my late teens before I heard of their existence.  That I knew people whose parents had been there was incomprehensible.

They say that history repeats itself, and... here we are.

The same and different both, the underlying abandonment of the love in our hearts and the kinship of humanity abundant.

I have been avoiding the news because I don't know if my heart can take even a single word, a single photo.

Children.  Babies.  Younger than my babies.

Alone.  Frightened.  Untouched, uncomforted, undone.

Even without firsthand accounts, without the images of tents and single file lines, without the maddening tweets our supposed leader shares, I feel a scream rising in my throat.  I try to swallow it before I gag, and find myself legitimately fearing I might vomit.

My heart, my soul, writhe with the unfeelable, the primal terror of families separated, of children alone, of mothers mad with the absence of their babies.

I have been avoiding the news because I will cry, and if I cry I may be washed away by tears that won't stop.

And still I know those tears will not be enough to wash away the horror of hatred, fear, racism, privilege, and inhumanity.

I have been avoiding the news because I don't know what to do.

I am unsettled, I am unfocused, even with all the avoidance I could muster, I cannot stop thinking about it.

I don't think I want to talk about it.  I don't think I can be civil or polite or in any way rational.  I don't think I can be very coherent.

There is no angle from which you are right by persecuting people, by punishing children, by imprisoning babies.

Fuck policy.  These are people.  If we are not here to help each other, what are we here for?

Please, don't let this be who we are.