Thursday, July 13, 2017

WRITER'S BLOCK -- PART 1 -- POLITICS

I'm trying to figure out why I am avoiding writing.  Every once in a while I'll get an idea, then it flits away in a fit of procrastination.  I turn on the TV instead.  Or pick up my crochet project.  Or scroll through Facebook for the tenth time as I watch my newsfeed replenish itself.  Or flip my Kindle open.

I think the thing is, I might be just a tad bit overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  There are three major issues in my life that take up most of my brain, body, and heart energy these days.  None are tidily summed up in a pithy blog post, which makes me feel like a crappy writer because daily I read the essays of others who can so articulately and entertainingly state the rambling half-formed thoughts in my own head.

So, here goes.   Maybe just starting will loosen the writing logjam.

Let's start with politics:  I've avoided writing about the clusterf*%k (See?  You can't tell what I really said in my mind, can you?) that is the American political system and our disabled government these days.  It is impossible to recount the horrors, because they have all run together.  Most of us don't even remember the daily outrages.  When I hear about something that happened last winter, last month, or even last week, I go, "Oh yeah...I forgot about that one!"   Or it seems so naive to believe that was anything to huff about given what has happened since.

We have a shit show of a president. (I'm actually enjoying reclaiming my swearing habit from my youth, but I only use it to expound on politics because it just seems so descriptive and cathartic and appropriate to having absolutely no respect for them, as they have demonstrated they have none for us -- the American public.)   He has appointed an unqualified, self-serving Cabinet of Wall Streeters and religious conservatives, and "alt-right" racists to dismantle the institutions of government.  He attacks our free media daily, calling their reporting "fake news" and characterizes our free press as the "enemy of the people".  He attends meetings with historical allies and disses them.  He withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Accords.  He cuddles up to authoritarian leaders as kindred spirits.  He's a compulsive liar and an unrepentant sexist.   Then there's the whole Russia connection and his collusion with them to influence the 2016 election -- now outed by his own eldest son who admitted meeting with a Russian attorney who offered to provide dirt on Hillary last June.  They are trying to squirm out of it, but there are (ironically!) emails that confirm the whole thing.

And still the Republicans are circling the partisan wagons and showing no inclination to admit their president has obstructed justice, colluded with an enemy in a cyber attack on our government and political system, daily violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution and is in general just a creep.  (Today he's in France, where he met the First Lady of France with the comment, "You're in great physical shape!  Beautiful!")  The R's are too busy ramming through a repeal and replace health care bill (drafted in secret) that will decimate Medicaid, throw 22 million people off health insurance, severely weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions and which lines the pockets of the most wealthy in the US with tax cuts.  Business as usual; treason ignored.

This craziness all started last summer around convention time, then got horrifyingly real on November 8th, then has just gone batshit crazy since January 20th.  It feels like a lifetime of awful.  This, for me,  has never been just about a difference of political party or policy.  It's about the character of the man, of those who voted for him, and of what this country has become in the wake of an unprecedented, unmitigated political disaster.  I don't recognize my country anymore, and it scares me.

On the upside -- part of the populace at least has "woke", to use the term of the day.  (Being "woke" means that one sees with complete awareness that the status quo must be overhauled, and is part of a cultural push to challenge norms and systemic injustices).   This awareness has ushered in an activism the likes of which has not been seen in decades.  New thought leaders are rising up, people are filling Congressional offices and Town Halls, voices are being heard.  It still feels anemic to me at times, but we in the "resistance" are assured that our voices are making a difference.  God, I hope so.

I've got my representatives on speed dial and am incredibly grateful to live in the "blue bubble" of a Democratic stronghold with Senators and Congresspeople who actually represent my values and views.  I have reached out to Republicans who have shown even modest moves in the right direction, encouraging them.  I call, send emails, write letters to the editor.  I post on Facebook to the dismay of some and the appreciation of others.  (Whenever I say I'll step back, I'm encouraged by many to keep on.  I'm happy to provide that voice, encouragement, and information to those who want it.  To those who don't, scroll on by.)  I go to meetings, rallies, marches, and local candidates forums.  I post yard signs.  I wear message T-shirts.  I contribute a bunch of money.  I watch probably way too much daily political commentary on TV.  I also read opinions and editorials in newspapers on social media, and in blogs.  I watch hearings and Congressional committee meetings on CSPAN.

I envy those who can turn it all off.  I really do.  But I am absolutely convinced that an informed electorate is even more necessary to save our Republic now than in recent memory.  The changes happening to us are startling, the normalization of that which is NOT NORMAL is stunning.  I hope all the various investigations lead to justice.  (House and Senate Investigations, Special Prosecutor Independent Investigation, Lawsuit in Federal Courts).  My greatest fear is that they'll get away with it -- the destruction of all that is good and right.

I've always been patriotic, but even more so now.  It's time for Liberals to reclaim the flag; to stop being called weak because we are compassionate; to stop apologizing for being rational and intelligent.  I am reading a book about Washington's Farewell Letter.  His warnings to future generations about threats to the infant Republic in his time is exactly what is happening now.  Some say it is overstating and dramatizing the situation to say our Republic is at risk.  If it was just an aberrant president, I might agree....but it's the Republicans who are defending and embracing him and it's the citizens who voted for him, and who continue to cheer him on or who sit passively by ignoring all the noise and believing the lie that outstanding investigative reporting is "fake news", that make the threat all too real.

This is already a long post and I've only scratched the surface of what is happening and my feelings about it.  See?  Overwhelm.  Bottom Line:  RESIST!

At least, that's the view from here...©

3 comments:

  1. It's really hard to write a blog about current events when there are so many interwoven and alarming political topics to choose from. It's enough to make your brain spin. For me, I have to pick and choose my battles, my last political blog was one on the G20 Summit. I'm pacing myself.

    You said, "I envy those who can turn it all off." I see them as being in two camps: 1) The bury their heads in the sand types who want to believe if they don't acknowledge what is going on it isn't happening, and 2) Those who truly don't understand the seriousness and abnormality of our times under Trump. I don't envy either group. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

    Keep on resisting, Donna, but also pace yourself with a politics free day once a week or so, to recharge the other parts of your life because it's that other part of your life that you're really fighting for...for your family and their future and being mentally healthy. Through the Resistance we will find another leader, like Obama, who can bring back the tranquility and confidence we felt under his administration but it's a very long game and we can't let yourselves get burned-out too early.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I needed your wise words, Jean. You are so right about those who can "turn it off". I DON'T want to be them. You are also right about pacing myself. I actually have backed off in some regards -- all those things I listed that I do are things I've done since the election, certainly not every day. But the whole situation is on my mind every day. I get up, brush my teeth, pour my coffee and brace myself for opening my computer to see what news has broken overnight! My yoga class is a perfect respite. I absolutely turn it off there. Also my meditation practice -- but it takes about 10 minutes to settle my mind. You are right -- it's a long game. I'm just so impatient!!! Thanks for your support, friend. Back at ya!

      Delete
    2. Every morning I get up and before turning on the TV I have this pit in my stomach, anticipating what has broken overnight. I've vowed on Saturdays not to turn on the news and go directly to HGTV and I'll catch up with the world again for the Sunday news programs. Works for me.

      Delete