Friday, November 06, 2020

on the threshold

most of us take doors for granted. we pass through doorways tens of times each day, without reflection. the door is, however, a powerful feature of human mentality and life-practice. it controls access, provides a sense of security and privacy, and marks the boundary between differentiated spaces. the doorway is also the architectural element allowing passage from one space to the next. crossing the threshold means abandoning one space and entering another, a bodily practice recognized both in ritual and language as a transition between social roles or situations. doors and thresholds are thus closely linked with rites de passage, the word "liminality" itself stemming from Latin limen, "threshold." this does not imply that each and every crossing of a threshold constitutes a liminal ritual, but rather that passing through a doorway is an embodied, everyday experience prompting numerous social and metaphorical implications.

--marianne hem eriksen, university of oslo
in architecture, society, and ritual in viking age scandinavia
doors, dwellings, and domestic space

this week of waiting for the results of the election has me, once again, thinking about liminal space. we're (hopefully) on the threshold of something new - a return to normalcy (if that's possible) after the utter insanity of the trump years. and i'm looking forward to stepping through that door. 

but i fear that the door won't completely shut on these years because the fact is that there are a significant amount of people who actually agreed with the way he was running things and they voted for him a second time. they're apparently totally ok with the 97 million cases of corona and 235,000 deaths. they're ok with kids in cages and more than 500 children who can't be reunited with their parents due to the incompetence and cruelty of the trump administration. they're ok with a president who grabs women by the pussy. and who has spent $142,000,000 in taxpayer money golfing. and they're ok with leaving the paris climate accord and the iran nuclear agreement. and they're ok with the more than 20,000 lies. and the self-dealing and the nepotism. and the cozying up to dictators. and the humiliation on the world stage. and did i mention the lies? and the narcissism and the petulance and the twitter. there's just. so. much. i'm exhausted from it. and embarrassed by it. and tired of the way it's weakened my very foundation and made me ashamed to be american.

and i'm at my wits' end - with relatives and friends who support the monster. and it feels like some doors may need to close there. but on the other hand, that doesn't necessarily seem like the answer either. but they don't get a pass. they have to own what their choice means - that women lose the freedom to choose over their own bodies, and good friends who are legally married may have those marriages nullified by the conservative supreme court justices trump and his cronies in the senate rushed through. that people will lose their health insurance. that they don't mind children being put in cages. children in cage. just think about that. it's ok because your stocks did well? really?

but back to doors and thresholds. i think we are really standing on a threshold here. we just faced a choice between empathy and caring for our fellow humans and more division and further erosion of democratic ideals. and only by the slimmest of margins does it appear that we chose our fellow humans. what does that say? in this moment, while the whole world balances on the precipice with a global pandemic, that the choice wasn't clearer than that is astonishing. 

i hope we stride confidently through the door with our hearts open. i'll admit mine is pretty closed right now to those who have supported the spray-tanned narcissist and it will take a bit of work on my part to open it a little bit. and right now, i don't really know how that's going to happen.

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