Politics 2017: Grief & Recovery

I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night with the orange visage of our 45th president crossing my consciousness. I hate being fearful at a gut level about what may be coming from the government now handed over to a group of unsympathetic, inhumane mean-spirited politicians. I hate feeling an anxiety over every part of my and my family’s future, including whether or not we might survive a war which “we” start. “We” in quotes because it won’t be we the people who pull the trigger or press the button. It will be an egomaniac whose thin skin leads him to believe he is being dissed every minute of every day.

The purpose of the current group in power seems to be to dismantle any and all programs that even appear to benefit/help/aid and succor their fellow citizens. I just want to ask “Why? What is it you hate about helping people? What is it that sticks in your craw when people have health insurance, and access to clean water, healthy air, stable school systems? What is so threatening about that?” I try to imagine their answers, and beyond the usual pale platitudes about government being too big, which usually means they want to privatize business to aid their buddies, I can’t even imagine what they might say. Because-I don’t like other people getting benefits? Because-no one is actually deserving of any help if they’ve messed up in their life at all? Because-I just don’t want anyone to get anything for their taxpayer money? What reason is there that justifies causing pain to fellow citizens, pushing them out of their homes, or losing the ability to manage their chronic diseases, causing them to have to buy 2 years worth of bottled water just to bathe their children?

Previous generations of Republican leaders were strong pro-business, pro-military and pro-family. The pro-business showed up when the Interstate Highway system was built under the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower, connecting the country and providing not only jobs, but the means to sell goods across the country. Pro-military can almost go without saying-often to the detriment of other domestic programs when new weapons systems took precedence over feeding the hungry. Pro-family Eisenhower expanded Social Security, Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, and Republican Senators promoted education, scientific exploration and living wages. They were willing and able to work across the aisle, recognizing that country came first.

When did it become acceptable for politicians to pursue power at the expense of their constituents? I feel as though every discussion and debate in Congress is accompanied by a virtual nuclear option-go our way or nothing happens, or, even worse, we retaliate against you for defying our plan.

I am sad for our country, sad for our honorable politicians who continue to try to serve their districts while trying to keep their party “leaders” happy. My grief is deep, as in my 60 years on the earth I don’t remember in my lifetime or that of my parents, feeling that the social contract of our mutual citizenship was ripped apart. Even in the depths of WWII I believe that the country as a whole worked together, and during the rages of the Vietnam War era, the wrong actions of Richard Nixon were found out, and there was agreement to hold him accountable. The norms held. But I don’t know what the norms are any more, and I fear the patriotism I believe in is being shoved aside in favor of personal enrichment and rape of the earth.

My progress out of the morass of grief and discouragement may take a while. I’m trying to find the means to accomplish this-and writing my blog may be one way. Hard physical exercise helps. The community of people energized by the Women’s March on Washington is a beacon of light. And I will have to find those places of activism that work for me and speak to the values I have.

This I know-I will not let my country go. I will defend the poor, the needy, the helpless. I will do my best protect the best of America, and commit to doing all I can to help those with influence to do the right things. I can do no less.

 

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