It is 1:30 am on Friday. I had trouble going to sleep last night because I drank too much Diet Coke at dinner...I had been off the sauce for a couple of days so the high caffeine intake at 7 pm was a misguided idea...
My trouble in falling asleep was pretty normal: over-activated nervous system, hard to get comfortable, over tired, tired. But what woke me up at 1:30 am was this insanely creepy and upsetting idea about what is happening in our country...
In a land that was founded upon an honest desire to be free, we have always struggled with the concept. How much freedom and for whom? While we fought a war to gain independence, that independence was held close to the chest of white men. The rest of us had to fight to gain even an ounce a long the way. For some it took lifetimes, others it took several. The battle for equality and independence rages on today. Freedom not being free at all. For most, there is a high price exacted for even a small morsel of freedom.
One of the freedoms I have enjoyed is deciding what I watch or don't. I am sensitive so I am careful and thoughtful about what I let in...I do not watch the news. Things that I see and hear affect me deeply and my life is altered by the things that my senses take in. Watching the horrors of the world paraded through in sound bites and film reels, does some awful, lasting damage inside my body. I am not in charge of when and if those images leave. So I realized after 9/11 that I had to do a better job of gate keeping what I allowed in. I wished that I were stronger to hold the collateral damage off, but once it is in there, it leaves of its own accord...or not. No matter how I might try, I can’t get rid of the impact on my own. Some things last forever but fade, others leave an indelible impression that stays forever.
If you don’t believe me, ask me something about my childhood. I will be able to tell you in minute detail of where I was, what the weather was like, what I was wearing, what smell was in the air, and every detail of the trauma that I witnessed. Now for you, it may not be traumatic, but I assure you that for me, it haunts me still.
I do not want to be this way. I just am. And at fifty, I do not think it is likely to change. This extreme sensitivity to cruelty, anger, aggression, evil, hate is a reason why I sought out the numbness of alcohol at 12. When life comes at you at warp speed and the images are lasting, a teen without a lot of good coping mechanisms found what worked best, quickly. And worked it did, until it didn’t.
I can’t watch movies about the civil rights movement, slavery, human trafficking, or anything that even has animals in it. Any film where people are unfairly and cruelly treated is just too much for me. 12 years a slave? Never saw it. Couldn’t bear it.
And after 9/11 the news became one more thing I couldn’t bear to watch. And for the most part this has been a good decision. I am blissfully uniformed and have come to prefer it that way. I still hear things but I don’t have to watch it unfold. Someone sent me the videos of the Beirut explosion to which I responded by bursting into tears. It is not volitional, it is instinctual.
So I walk around unaware of what the president says and does because I can’t do much about it. I voted against him for all the reasons that are all over the news every day. I do not think he is a good person and an even worse president. I have been significantly and continually horrified at the bits and pieces of his antics that have gotten through my sensitivity filter. First it enrages me, then it devastates me and then I just don’t even want to get out of bed.
It has been building for years. Those little nuggets that slip through my defenses that land in my psyche, unwelcome parasites that are like getting rid of lice after a major infestation.
Yesterday I saw a post about him trying to shut down the post office in an admitted effort to alter voting results. This fact and admission by the leader of the “free” world is the most disgusting and horrifying thing that I have heard in a long time. The shameless abasement of all that we have fought so long and so hard for, equality in voting, completely and publicly undermined on CNN. I was incredulous. This couldn’t be true! How could we let this happen regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on? If one person can selectively choose to fuck with the voting system and so abuse his power, how are anyone of us safe? Sure you may reap the benefits if you are aligned with him now, but are you sure that you will be on that side forever? What if some issue or cause that you believe in becomes the target and guerrilla warfare tactics are deployed to completely skew the playing field? Once you make a deal with the Devil, the Devil holds all the cards...
I like to take everything back to the community level because that is where we all live. In our communities. We do not all live on Capitol Hill. Or in the confines of social media. We live and work next to people in community and concert with each other...albeit lately from about 6 feet away and masked.
If you think that what Trump is doing now is ok, let me ask you a few questions:
If your high schooler who was running for class president came home and told you that he/she had rigged the election to ensure their victory, would you tell them that was ok?
If your boss admitted to the company that he/she had completely violated the rules in order to assure that he/she stayed at the helm of the company would you support this person?
If a close friend of yours said to you that they were going set about a course of conduct that was going to unfairly and unethically abuse a subsection of friends, would you still want to be friends with them?
And if you answered any of the above questions yes, what the fuck is wrong with you? How have you so lost sight of morals and ethics and fairness and truth that you would think that this type of behavior is ok?
Even in my outrage, I unfortunately get it. You align yourself with the monster because you want to be in his good graces. You benefit by your alignment and pray that the monster keeps his attention focused on the weak and disenfranchised. You are in the clear because you are not in the line of fire...but are you really? The thing about monsters is that they inevitable become unpredictable and their behavior becomes more egregious with the passage of time. Let’s review: Stalin, Hitler, Genghis Khan. Yeah, I went there because for the moment I still have freedom of speech. I apparently do not have the right to vote anymore and have that be counted...but I can still speak my peace...for now.
How is this happening? Why isn’t everyone upset? This is not a democrat/republican thing...this is a civil liberties and freedom thing that affects us all! If Trump can manipulate the post office to rig the election, what is next? I mean seriously how is this even happening in our country? I am literally unable to sleep because I am so appalled at what is going on. This is not a movie or some Tik Tok video. This is real life. This is infringing on our ability to elect our leaders and representatives. He isn’t even denying it. He is literally saying “Yep, I am going to fuck up the postal service to stop votes from being counted!” How can this be happening and how can we sit here and let it?
We all have been led to believe that we get a say, every one of us. We get a vote. But not anymore. The system has always been flawed and is full of bias but now it is degraded to a point where it is meaningless. We no longer have elected officials, we can crooks that steal power to remain in power. I can’t even...
I am so at a loss that I don’t even know what to say. We continue to hit new lows and it isn’t even very shocking anymore. I am coming to really dislike the world we are creating. I would love to run away but my life is here. This is my country, and whether I like it or not, you are my people. All of you. No matter your political affiliation, color of skin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or identity. We are all Americans and that used to mean something. It has never been perfect but it used to be something I was proud of being. Now I feel ashamed...and I feel unfaired against and I am upset.
Please do not post on my blog about me being a liberal or lefty. I may be that but that is not where I am writing from today. I am writing as a human being concerned about what is going on and what this is going to do to all of us...not just the people who will benefit or not. Please, please, please, I beg of you to give some grace here. To open your eyes and see that unchecked power has only led to horrific things in the past. We were a democracy once upon a time, what is happening? How are we letting this happen?
I know that it is hard to stand up for what is right and what you believe in. It is much easier to stay quiet and keep your head down. I am sure that is what many, many people did in Germany. They just went along in the beginning because the things that were happening seemed benign enough and didn’t really affect them...or perhaps affected those that they didn’t like or agree with so it seemed like the persecution was warranted or good. But look what happened! Over six million people were killed and it all started with one man seizing total control of the political machine. One man preyed upon the fear and uncertainty of many. One man manipulated and used that fear to advance his own agenda. One man accomplished the unthinkable because so many stayed quiet in the beginning.
We are all human first, left or right second or hopefully that identification would come even further down the line. So long as the weakest member of our society is enslaved, so are the rest of us. It cannot be different. Oppression breeds oppression and it is only a matter of time until the people aligned with the Oppressor in chief become the oppressed. Don’t believe me, do a quick google search of the history of the world. No one has ever gained an unfair advantage without experiencing a cost...but how many perished before Hitler was killed in his bunker?
Please, I beg of you, let freedom ring...for all of us despite the disagreement about whether we should be liberal or conservative. Shouldn’t we all have the right to choose what we believe? And shouldn’t the most fundamental undercurrent of everything be that truth and honor are the foundation for all that is good regardless of which side of the aisle you like to sit?
To my way of thinking, we have already fallen so far...please do not let this most awful assertion and abuse of power become the norm. I pray for all our souls if it does.