The tipping point has cut through my heart and my pen bleeds a river of tears. As I sit here with my weekly writing group, no creative prompt feels right or important enough to capture the floodgates. Our words are weeping with us, and for us, and for much of our country.

I am a Jew. A white woman with a gay daughter. A white woman whose son who works in the ghetto of New Haven, in the battlefield of an opioid crisis, where fathers shake their babies dead and boyfriends punch their pregnant wives in the gut, pow-pow-powuntil they miscarry.

As a mother, I am in despair. As an American, I am on my knees.

When 45 was elected, I stood on stage and performed my slam poem, Outrage is Love Rising.

I thought that I understood why this country would elect a reality TV showman; too many had felt unheard, and now they would be witnessed. I hoped that Kali would come and transform the dark to light. Leonard Cohen’s death reminded us about that crack, through which the light could enter.

Two years later, I look back and my own words sound hollow and empty. I’m ashamed to say that for the first time in my life I feel hate.

As a spiritual person who follows the way of love, and who above all values kindness, I loath myself for the hatred that lives in my belly. The vitriol has seeped into the marrow of my bones. My heart palpitates as my words drip off my pen. Anger fuels my fire.

Last night, for a split second I thought how good it would be if 45 were gunned down with an AR-15. I even thought I could do it myself. Like a suicide bomber, sacrificing myself for a perceived better world.

Is this what I’ve become?

I have known about anti-Semitism my whole life. When I was younger I lived next door to a family that called us “dirty Jews.” The fence that separated our yards grew five times taller that day.

I think about my ancestors, including those who were lost in the Holocaust. I fear that another genocide is being planned, here on the very soil where my great- grandparents and grandparents immigrated; here where, with blood and sweat and courage, they built their American dream.

When I heard about the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, the nightmare of being an American citizen woke me out of my slumber.  How could I not see this coming? I knew it lived in the underbelly of America; I just didn’t  think it would rise like scum to the top of what appears to be a stagnant pond.


Barbara Newmanis a writer and creative brand strategist.