I don’t think I have another rant left to write. Disgusted, frightened, ashamed, and whatever synonyms for those words that might be found in a Thesaurus have taken over my psyche since 11/8/16. If I glance in the mirror, I see myself among the hollow-eyed zombies in “Thriller,” dragging around paranoia and fear. I just want to wake up and know that our ‘long national nightmare’ has ended, if only I could sleep through the night.
The part of my brain that still holds on to sanity asks over and over… .how and when will somebody be able to stop this insanity? Mueller? He’s working against a Republican Congress. Democrats? They’re outnumbered in Congress and state governments. Supreme Court? Can we say Corsuch?
I know some may be repeating the mantra, “We can’t get discouraged.” True, but reality shakes its ugly head. We have a system of checks and balances that seems to be failing. Too many Americans now take great pride in being racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and they’ve come out from under the rocks. And they’re armed after decades of ‘no gun control.’
Those of us who see the world differently—as a kind and loving experiment—cannot help but be sad beyond belief. And pissed.
We value inclusivity, opportunity, and freedom. We believe with every fiber of our humanity that: Not ONE of us is any better than another. No one is above the law. No child should ever be left behind. Health care is an issue of human dignity, not luck. And that the planet is a home for all living things and it needs some serious TLC—sooner rather than later.
So what now? To whom do we look for leadership? I’m sick to death of thoughts, prayers, and platitudes from elected officials that fill my email, Facebook posts, and ten second TV interviews.
If only I could stand in the well of Congress and ask them all:
“Does anyone have any idea when you might start behaving like grown-ups and do the business of legislating for which you’ve been elected? Who among you will step forward to lead us through what seems to be a crossroad in our country’s journey? And what can you tell me about your own personal moral fiber and how that affects your action—or inaction? Because it would seem to many of your constituents that we are without leadership right now and our country has lost its way. Over two centuries ago people fought and died in that pesky little war called the American Revolution so that their children and grandchildren could be free from tyrants. Yet the person who sits in the Oval Office now seems to think he’s been crowned king.”
I spent eighteen years as a teacher, and to me, I see ample evidence that he probably flunked his classes in history, government, math, science, foreign language, most definitely English, and compassion and social grace.
And then there was that horrendous Civil War ostensibly fought to free the slaves, when it, in fact, only created a whole other caste system to divide rich and poor, white and other.
We can look closely at recent legislation—or lack thereof—coming out of Congress that attests to that. I read that our system of free and public education is in serious jeopardy, as is health care coverage for the sick, not just the well. A livable minimum wage and affordable housing have been on the chopping block for a long time. And whatever portion of my tax dollars that might have been used for education, healthcare, etc., could be diverted instead to tax cuts for the rich—again.
In my study of American history and government, I learned that our country was a welcoming place for the hungry and the poor, a place where there would always, always be a hand up for those in need, because sirs and madams, these good people will always be among us, no matter how rich and powerful you and yours might be.
And then I might apologize for an over-simplistic look at governing and for sounding negative or accusatory or otherwise irrelevant. And I might also suggest that some of us should admit to being lazy citizens.
Far too many of us lollygagged around during way too many election cycles, and I may then suggest that our indifference helped to ensure that some who took the oath of office to uphold the Constitution as representatives of all the people just may have bought the very seats they sit in and now smugly represent only the few.
Finally, lest someone accuse me of ranting—yet again—I would then go back home where I am privileged to have ample food, clothing, and shelter. Perhaps my greatest fear now is that if I live a long, long life, I could become indigent in this, the richest country in the world. I told my daughter not to worry—my long-term health care plan could be moving to Costa Rica.
But for now, I’ll relish in the loud meow of my Siamese cat who welcomes me home, sip a glass of wine, and remember that I, too, have a voice. Maybe not in the well of Congress. But at my computer, among friends and family, and in the dark, quiet moments I spend alone. And then maybe I’ll start typing again:
To All Americans and wanna-be Americans who came here as immigrants, I am so sorry. I hope you can stay and help us heal. We need you.