Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

A Turning Point

This week has felt like another turning point in the nightmare those of us in the United States are currently living through, and I wanted to check with everyone and see how you’re all doing. Amid the continued racial injustice (specifically, the pathetic ruling in the killing of Breonna Taylor), the continued devastation as a result of our ongoing climate crisis, the attempted theft at the hands of the GOP of a Supreme Court seat, and the sudden uptick in Covid cases after weeks of a decrease, we have a president who has now made explicit what so many of us already expected: He has no intention of peacefully transferring the power of the presidency despite whatever the election results may be.

In my own personal life, this week has marked my kids’ return to school. Here in NYC, our public schools are attempting what none of the other 11 largest school districts in the country have yet attempted: They are opening classrooms for in-person learning. While school buildings are opening, there are plenty of reasons to avoid sending our kids inside of them. The old buildings lack adequate ventilation systems (teachers and staff returning to work have reported broken exhaust fans, windows that barely open or don’t open at all, and a lack of PPE and cleaning supplies), kids will be forced to avoid socializing at all costs (including no recess and having “learning lunches” where they will eat while a teacher gives them a lesson), and some children as young as four years old will be asked to bring devices to school to do remote learning in their classrooms. While some families are so desperate for childcare that they have no choice but to send their kids to school, others are luckier to have some options. We fall in the latter camp and have opted for the fully remote model of learning that NYC is offering. My kids will be safe, but in exchange, they will get only one hour of live instruction a day and will share their one teacher each with 50+ students. (Creating two models of learning—one for in-person and one for remote—has created an enormous teacher shortage, so the remote classes are growing to unconscionable sizes).

I have spent my week giving my kids as much attention and focus as I can, essentially becoming both a kindergarten teacher and a 4th grade teacher (though, admittedly, the 4th grader has gotten a bit more attention this week because he has so many more assignments he needs help completing). When I haven’t been busy with them, I’ve been reaching out to every reporter and journalist I can track down who covers education in the city. I’ve had interviews with reporters at several media outlets, including the New York Times, because what else do I have but my voice?

So … I’m sorry I haven’t been able to give much attention to this space, but I know you all understand and that your use and enjoyment of the community here isn’t solely dependent on my presence anyway. Next week we have a part-time tutor starting with us a few hours a week to give me a little relief and the kids some more targeted focus and instruction. I hope in those hours, I will be able to devote a little more attention here. In the meantime, how have you been? How is your week? How’s your mental health?

PS A friend shared this on FB and it really resonated with me. Maybe you’ll appreciate it too.

43 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Bittergaymark September 24, 2020, 9:03 am

    I am pretty much at a very low point. I think that we have long past the point of no return and that democracy is truly dead.

    Hopefully, I am wrong.

    But I wouldn’t bet on it.

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    MaterialsGirl September 24, 2020, 9:41 am

    Well, another shooting midday two blocks from my apartment and during a time when my child was outside playing with her daycare class. Ya know. Par for the course.
    14 rounds. they caught them right away, but downtown has become some shooting free-for-all. We’ve already had more children under 10 gunned down this year than previous ones. how many more will it take? Will they only listen if it’s a white kid? WTF is wrong with people.

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      MaterialsGirl September 24, 2020, 10:21 am

      (This is all to add to the ridiculousness that is this week/year in general). Trumps latest stupid rambling power grab, breonna Taylor (cmon man… couldnt indict the fired cop at a minimum for being a shit??)

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  • avatar

    Sara September 24, 2020, 9:59 am

    I’m not giving up hope, please don’t either. Now more than ever we need to make sure democracy wins.

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    Hannah September 24, 2020, 10:02 am

    Hello from England. I keep watching Trump’s every move with increasing horror. I mean, my country’s an omnishambles, but I’m grateful that Trump isn’t in charge of it. I’ve always loved America and I hope there are better times – and better leaders – ahead.

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  • avatar

    Allornone September 24, 2020, 10:26 am

    Considering a month ago I reached an incredible low point, to where I was hospitalized for suspicion of being a danger to myself, I’m doing lightyears better. Battling Covid-inspired unemployment, isolation (stuck at home 24/7 while my boyfriend had an essential service job) and alcoholism in this nightmare of a political and social climate, dang straight depression ruled the day. Fortunately, I sought some needed help (therapy, meds, AA, etc.). I’m on my second week in a new job writing grants for an incredible women’s homeless shelter that I absolutely love. It feels so good to be doing something meaningful with my day again, especially something I reallly believe in (not to mention no longer having to rely on my boyfriend for financial support). Having a real purpose again makes me much less inclined to drown my sorrows in booze (I had stopped drinking before the job, but the job is making every day easier). Plus, due to the nature of the work, I’m considered an essential worker and can finally be out of my tiny apartment again (there are many anti-Covid measures in place here).

    Don’t get me wrong, the nightmare of the political and social climate still rages on in my conciousness (how can it not? we are truly in apocalyptic times), but right now, I am taking one day at a time. I need to still (probably naively) believe we can get out of this.

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      Helen September 24, 2020, 10:59 am

      I’m so happy for you! Alcoholism is such a curse. Personal question that you don’t have to answer: Did they prescribe you Naltrexone? I started taking it after my rehab stint 5 months ago and it actually works for reducing cravings. I’ve struggled with addiction for basically my entire life and I’m thrilled to have something in my arsenal in addition to AA/NA. Its been so helpful for me I’m spreading the word everywhere. I’m rooting for you

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      • avatar

        Allornone September 24, 2020, 11:19 am

        Yes! I was prescribed Naltrexone and I do think it helped a great deal. I didn’t take it right away after coming out of the hospital, but after a craving turned into a three-day relapse, I got over my pride and started up. The cravings have gone way down (though they still pop up every now and then). They also prescribed an anti-depressent which has helped my overall mood. Right now, I’m finding if I don’t have the first drink (which the Naltrexone helps me avoid), I can usually be fine. That first drink though is what kills me. It’s never just one, or two, or three.

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        Helen September 24, 2020, 2:54 pm

        Glad its helping you! You’re right, the first drink isn’t the problem, its the 20 that follow

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    Kate September 24, 2020, 11:30 am

    I mean. Look, the guy is a white supremacist fascist misogynistic piece of garbage, but he’s also a dumb reality show ass clown and career criminal grifter who’s going straight to Rikers. And he’s not only stupid but cognitively impaired from, apparently, a series of mini strokes, so he just blurts out exactly what the fuck he’s going to do. Which, thank you.

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    • avatar

      Bittergaymark September 24, 2020, 1:09 pm

      Please. The odds of Trump ever facing any Real consequences much less jail time are the same as me getting a Blow Job from Bradley Cooper — later Today. 🤷‍♂️

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      • avatar

        Kate September 24, 2020, 1:12 pm

        He knows he’s going straight to Rikers if he leaves office. He’s scared, no matter what you might think. That’s why he’s doing what he’s doing. Also, don’t underestimate NY State.

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        Kate September 24, 2020, 1:23 pm

        But given that most of the Republican Party has sold their souls to the devil in order to keep women and minorities in their place, he might get away with all his scams and stay in office until his death from imminent stroke, at which time Ivanka will take over. And then one of her kids, and so on until the earth burns up.

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    • avatar

      Sara September 24, 2020, 1:30 pm

      Pardons can only be given for federal crimes, not state ones. Given the charges against him in NY state…

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    • avatar

      bondgirl September 28, 2020, 2:35 pm

      I can only hope you’re right. But after reading Mary Trump’s book, all I’ve concluded is that the Trump’s have been getting away with frauding NY’ers for literally decades without much consequence. And now his rabid fanbase is finding ways to rationalize this latest breaking headline about his tax payments, or lack thereof. IF he even leaves office, I could imagine every trick being pulled to help his sleazy family from facing any legal repercussions. Again though, I sincerely hope you’re right and he’s headed straight for Rikers.

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  • avatar

    Sara September 24, 2020, 1:31 pm

    Curious as to who is volunteering right now and where!

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    • avatar

      Kate September 24, 2020, 1:37 pm

      My dad is phone-banking and texting his ass off. I should be too, but I just donate.

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    • avatar

      Dear Wendy September 24, 2020, 5:32 pm

      I’m Text banking this evening through Demo Crew (planning to share info about them next week). Also writing letters through vote forward.

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  • avatar

    veritek33 September 24, 2020, 3:10 pm

    The last few weeks have just been horrifying. I cried Friday night when I got the CNN alert about RBG. It just feels so hopeless.

    But I will vote, i will encourage others to vote, and I’ve done text banking for our dem gubernatorial candidate.

    The one brief, shining spot this week? I had my first appointment and for right now I have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and we are expecting a baby in the spring. I can only hope he or she will be born into a better world that we have right now.

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    • avatar

      Copa September 24, 2020, 3:16 pm

      Congratulations!!! That’s some very happy, hopeful news in an otherwise bleak time.

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    • avatar

      Dear Wendy September 24, 2020, 5:31 pm

      Congrats!

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    • avatar

      Helen September 24, 2020, 5:47 pm

      Congratulations!! How exciting!

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    • avatar

      Fyodor September 24, 2020, 9:36 pm

      Congrats!

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      LisforLeslie September 25, 2020, 6:21 am

      That’s wonderful!

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      veritek33 September 25, 2020, 8:33 am

      Thank you everyone 🙂 The goal is to raise this baby to not be an asshole or a republican!

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      • avatar

        Fyodor September 25, 2020, 9:42 am

        Babies are overwhelming ar first but it gets a LOT easier after the first eighteen to twenty-two years.

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      anonymousse September 25, 2020, 8:47 am

      Congratulations!

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      Bittergaymark September 25, 2020, 12:04 pm

      Congrats! It was nice to finally hear some good news.

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    • avatar

      MaterialsGirl September 25, 2020, 1:54 pm

      Happy for you, Veritek! Your job now is to raise a considerate human being. I know you’ll be great at it

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    Witchmom September 24, 2020, 5:18 pm

    I don’t know how working parents are doing it right now!! My two grandkids (4th grader and Kindergartener) are remote learning here in SoCal and thankfully my DIL works on the weekends so she’s able to help them with their schooling during the weekday. These are tough times and it’s taking a toll on all.

    I’m more concerned about what will happen AFTER November 3rd! Trump loves to go rogue and his minions and supporters encourage him! The Atlantic put out a great (longish) article “What If Trump Refuses to Concede.” It’s not pretty but I’d rather know what we may be up against.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/

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    bloodymediocrity September 24, 2020, 7:27 pm

    My mental health? I mean – I’m a white guy in America, so largely I’m fine. But, it’s real bad. Watching this slow-motion train-wreck that is this election is just so. fucking. grueling. And things in my personal and family life are increasingly difficult and there’s just no end in sight. It’s very hard to keep at it every day.

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    Fyodor September 24, 2020, 9:35 pm

    Whatever happens in November (and I am cautiously optimistc) we’re not coming back from this, not to how things were in 2015. Things have come too far and too many people have gotten behind it. Whatever comes next will be something new and bad.

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    LisforLeslie September 25, 2020, 6:27 am

    Still haven’t seen my absentee ballot. If it’s not here by next Friday …. I’m going back to NY so I can quarantine and I’ll be getting up early to line up and vote. If others have gotten their absentee ballots, then I should get through pretty quick. If they haven’t, I’m prepared to be on line for the day.

    Down here in Florida it’s 80% political ads and of that 80% are Biden/Trump. It’s mind numbing. At least they finally stopped running the ones where an old lady has an intruder and can’t get through to 911 because of police defunding.

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    ron September 25, 2020, 3:35 pm

    Here is a fleshed-out nightmare of a thought:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-could-stay-in-power-even-if-he-doesnt-win-the-election-the-constitution-allows-it/2020/09/24/d9371bb0-fe97-11ea-9ceb-061d646d9c67_story.html

    Worst part of the nightmare: just about everything Trump has said or done with regard to upcoming election is consistent with this being the plan.

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      Sara September 27, 2020, 7:55 am

      Ron I feel like articles like those are to grab attention BUT we can’t give up hope. There are so many people working tirelessly to ensure Biden/Harris have a chance. For instance one guy wrote 1000 letters for Vote Forward. (Not that you have to do the same, but it’s inspiring).

      To all, please channel the anxiety that you feel when reading/seeing news that is disheartening, into a voter effort. You will feel so much better! Plus there are so many ways to volunteer without leaving your house.

      Here’s a list of opportunities which is constantly being updated. If you have any questions let me know.

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jxO8g7q9VO3ZMAABcrvR7PMyX4Yl6dgIYhD3eRTKk1M/htmlview

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      • avatar

        ron September 30, 2020, 12:38 pm

        Sara —
        I would have responded sooner, but just saw your post. I certainly will not give up. I will definitely vote. I’ve contributed to Biden and to congressional candidates. I discuss the importance of this election and the danger to democracy posed by Trump with everyone I know.

        But… I think it important to recognize the game plan of the other side. Trump means to steal this election without winning a majority of the electoral college votes. This all ties is with his refusal to promise to accept the result of the voters’ choice, to his desperation to get his Supreme Court justice prior to the election — even though it will benefit R Senate candidates to do it in lame duck session, his call out in the debate for the Proud Boys to stand ready, the number of Rs raising the issue of swing state legislators choosing their states electors in place of the voters if Trump’s legal challenges can push a conclusion of the vote count past the deadline, the congress making the decision under one-state one-vote rules, or the Supreme Court playing as big a role as in Bush vs Gore in FL. If we win by a wide enough margin, we can short circuit this plan. We and all of our friends and family need to vote.

        The opposition strategy should be a selling point to vote D up and down the ballot. Like Trump or hate Trump, do we really want to become a dictatorship? That’s what’s at stake. That’s why all of these non-directly-voter-driven scenarios are so important. We need to defeat them by winning big.

        Even very conservative Republicans should be chilled by Trump’s debate shout out to the Proud Boys, as if he is their commander. If we lose our democracy, nobody can predict how grim the future will become. We could be Belarus.

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    Kate September 26, 2020, 5:53 am

    It would be great if the mainstream media would stop with the “all hope is lost” scenario, because it’s not, people need to vote, we need a democratic senate, we don’t need people thinking there’s no point in voting.

    And if anyone here is getting their news from MSNBC, stop watching it. They are trying to wind you up for ratings. If you’re getting your news from Facebook, shame on you.

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    howdywiley September 27, 2020, 12:37 am

    I have three on their 6th week of 100% distance learning, a 4th grader, 2nd grader and kindergartener. To say I am at my lowest emotional point is an understatement. I keep thinking it can’t get worse and then it does. I am starting to feel like this will never end.

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    • avatar

      Dear Wendy September 27, 2020, 8:44 am

      What’s the worst part for you? I’m always curious how it’s going for people in other parts of the country and what constitutes a really bad experience. Is there anything you think would make it better (beyond being able to safely send your kids to Schoo, I mean).

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    Sara September 27, 2020, 8:09 am

    I forgot to add, please sign this petition for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat to be filled by the next elected president. It has 1.2 million signatures but needs more and it’s fast and free!

    https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/do-not-fill-ruth-bader-ginsburg-s-supreme-court-seat-until-after-the-2021-inauguration

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    Clover September 27, 2020, 10:59 pm

    My partner and I keep quoting Dana Milbank from the Washington Post: “When asked to name the lowest point in the Trump presidency, one answer is almost always correct: Tomorrow.”

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      anonymousse September 28, 2020, 9:04 am

      That’s so true. My stomach drops before I read the news.

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    Rangerchic September 29, 2020, 2:40 pm

    I didn’t see this post until today. I’ve been avoiding all news outlets for the last two weeks because I just couldn’t with any news anymore (even this site which usually brings me joy but there’s a lot right now I usually enjoy that isn’t helping). Of course I would hear the highlights…like RBG dying 🙁 and the woman he wants to replace her with-barf. I think our ballots are going to mailed October 6th. As soon as I get mine (and my husband and daughter) are all going to vote and I’ll drop them off the next day. I just hope it really counts!

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