On the nineteenth of January my father died And so began the roller coaster ride that was 2020 and 20 days – a year we struggled to find our way.
At first there were empty streets and quiet weeks of smogless skies and distant peaks I found peace in the stillness – peace in the calm That time alone was a much-needed balm.
But after – a montage of images flashes now through my mind – much of it dark, some of it kind – exploding up, crashing down, fire and rage all around Our nation boils and seethes and a Black man gasps, “I can’t breathe”
Veterans protect fathers with leaf blowers who protect the mothers who protect our Black sons and daughters from tasers and guns. Ahmaud, Breonna, and George – say their names Black Lives Matter – our nation sits in shame as bigots and bullies scramble to shift the blame – and settle on “Karen” (which is really lame).
And a just woman with a doily collar and a selfish man who keeps up the holler and lie of “Stop the steal” and refuses to let the nation heal – our neighbors reel and keel in their zeal – fed rumors and news that are not real.
Dye runs down a lawyer’s face a narcissist screams, “Show your strength!” NAZI and Civil War flags fly in our streets D.C. police pummeled and beat. Racism and bullying and bigotry and hate, caskets of COVID victims, rioters climb gates Long lines for vaccinations, as people wait.
In the end the heroes win – as heroes always do – they wear masks to protect each other – me and you – they step up and vote and stop the coup – they stand up for Breonna and Ahmoud and George – and in the fiery fire a stronger land is forged.
I published this one in 2016 – shortly after Moz and Dad (Dee Molenaar) moved to La Conner to be closer to me. They were very brave during this time – leaving their home of 48 years, moving to a retirement community in Tacoma, and then to an assisted living place in La Conner – leaving their community and friends to be near me. I am in awe of them.
Here’s an excerpt from the book: I learned a lot of lessons from the folks on my visit this weekend, but there’s one moment I’d especially like to share. To be honest, I debated whether I should share this one or not. It seems almost silly for me to share it, in a way – because it SHOULD be just a matter-of-fact thing – a “no big deal” thing, really – but… after some other news I’ve heard tonight, I feel impelled to share this moment.
So I’d helped my dad out of the car, and was helping my mom out, when I heard Dad say, “Thank you!” to someone. I looked to see what was going on back there and saw that these two young Black men with Seahawks hoodies were holding the door for Dad so he could maneuver his walker into the building. Dad nodded to the young men, and smiled, and thanked them again as I watched him go through the doors, and the young men smiled back and said, “You’re welcome!” and then went on their way.
A small, insignificant moment, really. But… and I can’t even explain why… I find myself getting teary-eyed as I sit here recalling that simple, unremarkable, sweet exchange between a 97 year-old White man, and those two young men in the hoodies.
There are a lot of really good people in this world who want to do right by each other.
Message to a friend –
Plato told us to “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I know some of the battles my friends on here have been through that you know nothing about. I’ve been through my own battles that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on a public thread. I’m going to assume YOU are going through your own battles, too – probably dealing with stuff that I know nothing about – and that is what is giving me some restraint here. I am busy enough dealing with my own flaws and foibles and don’t have time to spend working on someone else’s.
But some of the things you’ve said on my threads have, frankly, horrified me – you seem to think it’s alright for federally-funded storm troopers – people my tax dollars have employed! – to round up innocent protesters, beat them, and detain them unlawfully – and that is… I can’t even wrap my head around it. You have implied American citizens should stop using their constitutional rights because federal thugs have become violent towards them. And no – what should happen there is that the federal thugs should be the ones removed from the streets – not the protesters. In my mind, you have it backasswards – the thugs shouldn’t be in control; the law-abiding citizens should.
I am tired, my friend. Worn down by the insanity. After reading your comments and other comments by other friends on other threads, I am losing hope for my country. The last three years have exposed to me things about the people I consider “friends” that… I am, frankly, shocked and disheartened by the callous disregard for other people; the hate-mongering and fear-mongering; and the fact that some of my friends are okay with storm troopers in our streets, bullying my fellow citizens.
What has happened to common decency? To caring for one another? To reaching out a hand to those in need of support? To standing up together against bullies and bigots and thugs? What has happened to the Golden Rule?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
A couple of my Facebook friends have talked about the rioting and violence that have occurred concurrently with some of the Black Lives Matter protests. I’ve been responding individually to their comments, but I thought it might save me time if I just did a copy and paste of my last response to a friend and saved it here:
Yeah. I hear you. CHOP in Seattle was a mess – I ain’t going to disagree with you there. But… if you scroll down my wall you’ll see an interesting post about who’s actually been causing the mayhem – and, according to a story in the Washington Post, it is apparently not “antifa” – it’s been caused mostly by ‘local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.’ According to the article, the alt-right “Boogaloo” movement has played a part in the violence, too.
From my own experience participating in the local BLM rally in Burlington, the only maybe threatening and intimidating element I saw there were the half a dozen Trump supporters standing off to the side with their rifles, self-appointed to “keep the peace.” The actual police officers there – whom I thanked for their support – were very calm and friendly – and the protest was entirely peaceful.
The racism and hate crimes in this country need to end. Now. None of us who are true Americans can allow it to continue for even one more day. And when the bulk of our president’s Fourth of July speech is loaded with division and hate for his own constituents – instead of the compassion and understanding we all sorely need right now – we need to call him on it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Black lives matter more than statues.
Living human beings matter more
than stone idols. The victims used
to mock and shame matter more
than the cheap laugh someone gets
from a vicious campaign.
Children separated from parents
matter more than The Wall. The health
of our planet matters more than
the wealth of CEOs. Women matter
even when they’re not incubators.
LGBTQ rights matter more
than the hate of the haters.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
I just had a flashback from 40 years ago. I was on a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton – I think I’d been visiting a friend in Seattle. I was standing at the railing of the ferry by myself, looking out over the water. A good-looking young man with blue eyes approached me and started chatting. He was visiting from another state, he said. Out here to lead a meeting or a gathering – I don’t remember his exact words now. He thought I might be interested in going to this meeting. I asked him what it was about. He said he was with the KKK. I remember feeling like I’d just been kicked in the gut – thinking he did not look like what I thought a KKK member would look like – shocked that there was anyone in the KKK in Washington State – wasn’t the KKK a southern thing? I told him no, I was not interested in his meeting. He tried to convince me to join him. I remember saying something like: “The KKK is against rights for blacks. The KKK hates black people.” And he smiled this really charming smile and said that no, the KKK wasn’t about hating black people – the KKK just wanted to make sure white people had rights, too – or something like that. I told him no, the KKK is racist, and no, I was not going to go to his meeting, and I walked away.
And here we are. Forty years later. My heart is breaking.
Is anybody really enjoying the path our country is currently on?!!!
Karen Molenaar Terrell
“The powers of this world will fight, and will command their sentinels not to let truth pass the guard until it subscribes to their systems; but Science, heeding not the pointed bayonet, marches on. There is always some tumult, but there is a rallying to truth’s standard. Love is the liberator.” – Mary Baker Eddy
If you don’t have to worry about looking suspicious when you walk around eating Skittles, wearing a hoodie when you go on a run through a suburban neighborhood when you carry assault rifles into a government building then you know white privilege – Karen Molenaar Terrell
I’m so glad I could be a part of the Black Lives Matter rally today. I ran into some of my favorite people: the Templetons, Bailey, Summer, Charles, and Pam. I cried (The “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant especially got to me). I laughed (when one guy gave us the finger – I pointed to my sign – “TRUTH JUSTICE KINDNESS” – and wondered what part of this he had a problem with). I waved to the people passing in cars – the support from the people in their cars really inspired me – there were a lot of thumbs up and there were a lot of horns being honked. At one point Salvation Army volunteers came through with a wagon of free water and snacks for the protesters – that was cool. As I was leaving I stopped to thank the police officers for coming and giving us their support and that’s when I saw Iris was there, too – she was chatting with the officers – and they all let me take their photo. There were also a few guys with assault rifles and whatnot standing off to the side in a clump. Not sure what they were all about – but I took their pictures, too.