Some thoughts on the New Reich, whoops I meant Year

Well, our holidays were interesting. Monkey ended up in the ER on Christmas Eve and was on oxygen for a while after coming home. He is doing better now. I don’t have the time or energy to write anything very organized, but I am going to spill some thoughts.

I don’t usually stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, but last night I did. Not because I was celebrating, but because I was fucking scared. (Excuse the language.) I was scared, I am scared. I am terrified for my family, especially for my son, as we face a new tax on our food, the loss of the Medicaid that has made Monkey’s medical challenges manageable, the loss of affordable housing rules that keep our rent at an amount we can (barely) afford. I am terrified for this country. I am terrified for families and children overseas. I lay awake last night, drowning in a deep, cold fear.

At the same time, I feel a deep gratitude for my beautiful family and all the blessings we have now – a roof over our heads, decent food, hot water (which we are not drinking right now because it tastes very odd, but that’s another story), love, humor, creativity, an appreciation of natural and aesthetic beauty. I am aware of the fragility of these blessings. I am painfully aware of how much we stand to lose. But right now we have them, and I am grateful.

I am also determined to fight to protect our freedoms, our dignity, our basic needs, and those of others.

Although he’s not President yet, Trump has repeatedly, in his cabinet appointments, his Twitter account, and plenty of other ways, shown us what his presidency will look like. It’s not good. I think as we move forward through a regime that seems hell bent on destroying the vestiges of democracy and the planet itself, it’s important not to blame this situation on people who criticized (or simply didn’t vote for) Hillary Clinton. (Yes, that includes me.) For one thing, Clinton won the popular vote; more people voting for her would likely not have changed things. If you’re upset that Clinton lost, don’t blame third party voters; instead, work to end the electoral college and winner-takes-all voting system.

I confess that Hillary seems like a saint in comparison to what we are facing now. This is, of course, part of the problem. The Democratic party is bad, but the Republican party is so bad that they make the Democrats look like compassionate little gods who are going to save us. Avoid the temptation, because this binary thinking is what got us into this situation in the first place. That Donald Trump was even a major candidate is an indictment of our country’s populace and media. That he only had one opponent with a real chance of winning, and that that opponent was pro-TPP, pro-fracking, with a hawkish record and close ties to Wall Street, is an indictment of our electoral system.

Moving on. This is the situation we have now. What can We The People do?

That question will be answered gradually over the coming year, I suppose. For the moment, here are a few concrete actions I’m taking:

  • I’ve made contact with national and local action groups and subscribed to their newsletters.
  • I continue to follow the news on a mostly daily basis, even though it’s painful (I have relatives who have simply stopped watching in despair, and I don’t blame them). I follow a variety of sources with different slants, but my single favorite news source is Democracy Now. If you are anywhere on the progressive/radical spectrum, check them out.
  • I intend (barring a health catastrophe) to join my local Women’s March on January 21. I have encouraged friends and relatives to do the same.
  • Since I knit, I’ve been knitting pink Pussyhats and donating them to the March.
  • I continue to sign petitions, write letters to individuals in state and federal governments, to editors of newspapers, etc.

These are very small things, but it’s a beginning. I am looking for ways to become much more involved with community organizing and direct action in the coming months. Obviously, having a medically complicated toddler limits what I can do, but there has to be something.

Be angry. Fight back.

Happy New Year.

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