I’ll just be over here hiding under my blanket, reading.

I’ve said it before:  in the past seven months, it’s been impossible for me to watch the news.  I have about a 60 second window before my limit is reached, and then I just start screaming profanity at the television.  (Doubtless, this makes me even more of a delight to live with than usual.) Because I can’t handle any mention of Trump (or of the institutionalized racism, misogyny, and overwhelming ignorance-by-choice that his election has led to), I spend a lot of time in silence, reading books that bear no resemblance to reality.  I watch a little TV, but it also must be fictional.  I spend more time reading and writing on WordPress than anything else, but even here, I have to steer clear of most overtly political posts.

I’m feeling fairly inert and helpless these days.  Half the country seems to be made up of white supremacists and ignoramuses.  The other half seems hellbent to rail against them and to get absolutely nowhere.  I’m of the second camp, but I’m also starting to feel like I’ve lost my voice from all the screaming.  There are sayings (aren’t there?) about one person’s ability to change the world.  What about millions of people?  How is it that millions of people screaming and crying and wildly gesticulating at the appalling shit this administration is doing can make no difference at all?  I mean sure, we support one another.  We commiserate on Facebook pages and New York Times op-eds, but at the end of the day, we’re hoarse and exhausted and still SO FUCKING ANGRY, and nothing has changed.

I’m sure the way I’m feeling has at least a little to do with the fact that I’m an academic and that apparently, I have lived to see the devaluation and utter downfall of Truth.  I don’t care what Kellyanne Conway or Trump and family say, there is not now nor has there ever been an “alternative fact.”  Those are called lies, and I don’t care if they’re being repeated by Fox News or my sweet old neighbor lady, when I hear them come out of your mouth, I’m done with your ass.  When I see you post them on your Facebook wall, I AM DONE WITH YOUR ASS.  And it’s not because we have differing opinions, it’s because I’m interested in facts and truth and you’re interested in being the blind servant of a narcissist.  If you think he isn’t coming for your poor white ass, you’re goofy.  Like clinically goofy.  In dire need of medication.

When I saw photos of the new tiki-torch-waving nazis this morning, I could only think that of course it’s come to this.  We already had the propaganda machine working at full tilt.  We already had the institutionalized racism and the us/them scare tactics wherein everyone not white, straight, or Christian is causing the downfall of this great nation and our way of life.  You see the italics back there?  They’re there because all the really scary things in history began with someone screaming them at a crowd of privileged people who were in danger of losing their privilege.

I’ve read the history, and I can’t stop being scared of what’s coming.  Our help — our way out — is being systematically cut off.  Our country’s Secretary of Education is pretty obviously anti-education; our children won’t have the ability or the inclination to think for themselves.  They won’t “believe in” global warming or evolution, and they will have been taught from birth that belief and opinion is the same as fact and truth.  There are systematic and unending attacks on healthcare that (I have no doubt) will eventually end in poor and middle class sick people being left entirely without coverage, choosing to stay home and die rather than burden their kids with insurmountable medical bills.  The hate and fear mongering against people of color and LGBTQ+ people is at a fever pitch, and it’s made even worse by white folks talking about “white and blue lives matter, too!”  I mean, what the fucking FUCK?  Can someone else matter for a minute, please?  Can everything not be about you and other people who look like you?  Can you take your blinders off for a second and JUST LOOK at what’s happening?

I’m tired.  I’m SOOOO tired.  I’m tired of being afraid every time my step-daughter leaves the house in a gay pride t-shirt.  We live in the most religious and white bread small town in America, and I’m about 95% certain that my husband and I were the only ones who didn’t vote Trump in the election.  One of these days, I’m really afraid she’s going to get hurt.  And yet I know that what I’m feeling can’t hold a candle to what people of color (and parents of children of color) are going through in this country.  Unspoken hatred and discrimination was horrific enough.  Now it’s right out in the open, given legitimacy by the President of the United States and the racist homophobes who elected him.  I can’t even imagine.

And again, I can’t for the life of me fathom what the hell it’s going to take for any of us–either separately or together–to stop this country’s downward spiral.  There are so many injustices happening at once that we’re all looking and acting in different directions.  Where do we look first?  What’s most important?  What can we do?  We have to do something!

It’s that last one that gets me, most of the time…I know it’s true.   But I also know that I can’t do or say or feel anymore than I already have.  It’s too much.  It’s too hateful.  It’s too sad.  It’ll take over my whole life and every bit of my joy if I let it.

So yeah.  I turn off the news and try to figure out what to read next.  And hell yes I feel like a bag of shit for doing it, but if I didn’t, I’d just be running around in circles, ranting in senselessness and profanity and scaring the children.

11 thoughts on “I’ll just be over here hiding under my blanket, reading.

  1. The news continually breaks my heart a little more everyday, I’m so optimistic about our world but Trump continually comes and rains all over my parade. He’s simply an ignorant ass with a big platform and a bad haircut but some how people listened and now things are going to shit and even in my optimistic world I don’t know how to find a way back. As a Scottish girl all the way over here in the U.K., I’ve got your back✊🏼 keep your faith in humanity, there’s still good people out there and you’re one of them✨💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I wish I could be where you are and I’m sure I’m not the only American who feels that way. Some distance between Trump’s temper tantrum lawmaking and me and mine could not help but improve my mood.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  2. OK, this comes to you from Geezerdom. Ruth Bader Ginsberg & I were born the same year, 1933. (That’s unfortunately the closest relationship I can claim to Notorious RBG.) I remember when we thought we would not survive McCarthyism. Or the stupid terrible Vietnam war. Or Richard Nixon. Admittedly, we’re still paying the price of those (and other horrors, like Reagan dumping the mentally ill onto the streets, or W taking us into a ruinous war in Iraq . . .) Admittedly also today seems worse, and well might be. But here’s the good news: Love trumps hate. Truth will always win. Justice will survive. Because individuals choose to love and listen to each other, and because groups of them (check out the Indivisibles, the ACLU, the MoveOns of the world) fight for a just and moral universe. So keep the faith. Keep on writing good prose with a moral center, and listen with kindness to those awful people who — for reasons you & I can’t understand — are promoting awful Stuff, because we share a fragile planet. And NEVER quit standing up for truth & justice in whatever ways you can. I do feel your pain, but I’m glad to share the planet with you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Fran…I want to be you when I grow up. For now, I think I’m going to write “listen with kindness” on my bathroom mirror until I see it so often that it starts to sink in.
      Thank you so much for taking the time and giving me a lot to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok, so I live in the Bible Belt in a town with a lot of educated people, so I’m in a weird place with this whole conflict. I know a ton of people who voted for Trump, a handful who voted for Clinton, and a surprisingly large amount who went third party. A lot of the Trump voters only voted for him because they sincerely thought he was the lesser of two evils, not because they liked and agreed with him. I know that there are a lot of idiots who voted for him, but the media tends to demonize everyone who did so as a heartless awful human, when that’s not the case. That kind of rhetoric only serves to alienate well- meaning people who couldn’t have seen how bad things would get. And I know that people who call themselves Christians are doing a lot of harm, but as a Christian I am so tired of being called intolerant and bigoted, just because I believe in an objective standard of truth and goodness. I fail every day to uphold that standard.

    To most of my friends, I’m really liberal, but to the Internet I’m a conservative. Being weirdly caught in the middle like that, I can say that what everyone needs to remember is that everyone else is a human who has reasons for their beliefs. You don’t have to agree with those reasons– in fact, I find many of them hugely problematic. But before condemning someone we should think about why they believe what they do.
    I know from one of your previous posts that you’ve read Rene Girard, so you’ll understand when I say this: with this volatile social climate, someone is inevitably going to be scapegoated. And right now I can’t say who it’s going to be, but I’m really scared to find out.
    Wow, that was a really long and ranty comment. I almost forgot to say what a great post this was– I love how frank you are. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this difficult topic. Right now we just need sane people’s voices to be heard, so I’m glad you wrote this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m pretty terrified to find out who is going to be scapegoated NEXT. Looks like it might be less time consuming to just list who *isn’t* going to be.
      I’m happy for your present ability to navigate the in-between space. I have honestly found that impossible since January.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, how I wish there were magic words. I’ve read a hundred op-eds and blog posts that I thought were amazing and insightful and that made me want to sign my name and march in a parade, and yet somehow the conversation continuously devolves back to “yuge” year-old email scandals and the touting of outright falsehoods as fact. It escapes me. How has this yellow blowhard with a 3rd grade vocabulary and Hugh Hefner’s regard for women been elevated to religious icon? Because that’s what’s happened–people believe in him. They believe in his ability to get things done and do the right thing regardless of what comes out of his mouth or who he appoints to cabinet positions or what he wants to sign into law. It’s all about faith and nothing about fact. I just feel like screaming HE’S NOT JESUS! from my front porch.

      And then I settle down a little because once upon a time, I was a religious studies grad student. I know that religiosity in this country is cyclic, and I suspect that other things are as well. We went from W (who was apparently told by God to do things) to Obama, whose religion was ever in question, to The Donald who–as far as I can tell–may not have ever even heard of Jesus. We also went from a black president to a racist president, from a president who cried in empathy in front of TV cameras to a president who has no feeling for anyone beyond the tip of his own nose, and from a president with a yearly reading list to a president with no innate intellect and no interest in pursuing learning. What I hope is that the swing back in the other direction will happen soon enough for the environment and for all of the kids who are now in even more danger than they were before. And I have no idea how I’m going to wait three years for that to happen when at the moment I’m having difficulty conceiving tomorrow.

      Heh. I’m not sure how all of this ended up coming out in a reply to you, Christine. I guess I just wasn’t as done with the ranting as I thought. Plus, I probably sensed a sympathizer. I know we’ve both spent some time contemplating the virtues of bunker life. LOL. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s like any good fight. It’s a sprint, not a marathon. Sometimes you will have to put your head under the covers, but you get back out there and you write another one and another one and another one. Then you put your head back under the covers and rest and get back out there.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “How is it that millions of people screaming and crying and wildly gesticulating at the appalling shit this administration is doing can make no difference at all? I mean sure, we support one another. We commiserate on Facebook pages and New York Times op-eds, but at the end of the day, we’re hoarse and exhausted and still SO FUCKING ANGRY, and nothing has changed.”
    This, Lord, this.

    Liked by 1 person

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