I majored in Political Science in college. Then, because I wanted to live abroad, I went into teaching. Overseas, I saw that people don't live the way we do here in the US. I experienced exceptional quality of life, a feeling of true safety and security and excellent healthcare, which was structured by the government in such a way that we never had to worry about being bankrupted by medical bills. Granted I only lived in one teeny-tiny utopian country for five years total, but it changed me. It changed what I thought was possible and it changed what I think people deserve. Since returning to the US, I have felt a constant sense of insecurity. People seem downtrodden and hopeless. Seeing homeless people and vets asking for money at highway off ramps was downright shocking when we first came back. We've dealt with unemployment and underemployment and going back to school and changing careers in mid-life. This has given us a comprehensive tour of the US healthcare system, so-called safety net and social programs. It has been horrifying.
I mentioned almost a year ago that we were huge Bernie supporters in this house. We took both of our kids to the caucuses (Theo in the hiking backpack!) and we were so excited about the possibility of a Bernie Sanders presidency. And then things just nosedived and I found it all so depressing. I buried my head in the sand.
All of this time, my only way to cope has been to bury my head in the sand and pretend that none of this madness is actually happening. When I say "madness" I mean that Donald J. Trump has been elected as President of the United States by spouting a populist message that is completely contradictory to his policies and actions since being elected. And that people on both sides of the spectrum are being aggressive, hateful and angry in their speech and actions. To me, it feels almost apocalyptic. And try as I might, I'm not having any success in finding ways to be the love to drive out the hate, or the light to drive out the darkness, as Dr. King suggested.
But, I realized this morning, that burying my head in the sand is no longer an option. I'm very concerned about the future. I'm worried about healthcare, the environment, growing inequality and greed, and quality of life for common Americans. Bernie Sanders got on Instagram this morning and said,
This is going to be a tough day for millions of Americans, including myself. But we cannot throw up our hands in despair. We have to fight back as effectively and as vigorously as we can. We are not giving up.I realize that some of you may be really offended that I've chosen to touch politics here on Swiss Lark. And if you're a Trump supporter, I know that a lot of what Trump says can sound really good: Lofty ideals, Unity, Make American Great Again! But, since his election, his actions have spoken louder than his words. His cabinet picks are divisive, he has attacked news and media outlets and suggested that intelligence agencies are incompetent. I fear that insular rhetoric and nationalism are going to reign large in a Trump presidency. And I am worried for the future. I'm just not quite sure how to fight back effectively and vigorously yet.
So, I'll leave you with these two fantastic, insightful, intelligent links:
The Internal Invasion, by David Brooks.
Requiem for the American Dream, with Noam Chomsky.
Thank you for reading. xo
(Illustration via Maira Kalman)