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.