This quote, from a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson, accurately describes how I’ve been feeling in the last several weeks. As America prepares to say goodbye to democracy after 240 years, I, like many people, feel hamstrung — at once aware of the urgent need to do something before this awful thing takes place, and at the same time having no idea what to do. It can lead to utter despair.
In the immediate aftermath of the election, I started a group called UndividedNow, meant to describe that we on the left were considerably divided during the 2016 campaign but now are united in our common effort to resist the regressive and dangerous plans of the Trump administration. On our Facebook page, I post actionable ideas for people who want to get involved and do something.
Work, work, work
For my part, I have thrown myself into my work. Not only does it occupy my time and accomplish something tangible, but it addresses my need to speed up my plans for the future. My husband has serious medical issues as a result of the work he does. The severity of his issues are such that his application for long-term disability insurance was turned down. His doctor has recommended that he retire. But he’s only 59. Even if we were to be successful in a Social Security disability claim, it would still leave a huge problem to solve: How will we get health insurance?
Since I am self-employed, I rely on my husband’s employer for my own health insurance. If he retires, it will leave both of us with no health insurance.
Without the marketplace of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we are unlikely to be able to find coverage. So, there is a new urgency to do something, now, while we can still get coverage under the ACA.
Hope for the future
But an overlay to all those concerns is a real fear that Donald Trump is poised to preside over the utter destruction of the United States of America. As he operates as if Vladimir Putin is a friend — when, in fact, he is a deadly enemy — I’ve thought seriously of taking classes in the Russian language. Trump has spoken openly of jailing his enemies — telling Hillary Clinton during a debate that if he was in charge, she would be in jail (who needs evidence and charges and a fair trial?) — and clearly views as enemies those who look or think differently than he.
For him, being a Muslim is not a matter of religon; it’s a matter of race. He sees someone who looks Middle Eastern and thinks “ISIS.” It’s no different than his claim that most Mexicans are murderers, drug dealers, and rapists. It’s based on race, nothing else.
And while race is not an issue for me in that regard — I am as white as they come — I am still an enemy in Trump’s view. One need only witness his treatment of journalists — constantly saying they are crooked and liars, and actually barring certain journalists from covering him — to know that he considers anyone who has a viewpoint different than his to be an enemy.
That would be me.
Nothing to worry about
I know my Trump-supporting friends would dismiss my fears and assure me I have nothing to worry about. Such platitudes do nothing for me. Patting me on the knee and saying, “There, there, now, you know nothing is going to happen” does not help me sleep at night.
The truth is, none of my so-called friends will even read this. They either have little interest in politics — beyond filling in the box next the candidate with an “R” by his name — or they have adopted their hero’s strategy of playground behavior and have stuck their fingers in their ears. Apparently, as Jack Nicholson said, they “can’t handle the truth.”
And so I work. I’ve written more blog posts in the past couple of weeks than I usually write in six months. Not political posts, mind you. This is the first East Coast Politics post I’ve written in almost a month. Most of my posts have been for my personal blog.
So, for anyone who, like me, is constantly fighting despair over the shape of things to come, I invite you take action. Do whatever feels right, keeps you busy, or gives you hope. Do the thing you’ve been putting off until the “right time,” because if you wait much longer, you may never get the change. Life as we know it is coming to an end.