I’ve been contemplating whether or not to write another political post. Should I or shouldn’t I? And what do I say at this point anyway? I shared my feelings of disappointment about the recent election result in an earlier post. Here it is over two months later, and maybe I should be feeling better about things, but I’m not. What about you?
I’ve been fairly successful at tuning out most political news coverage since election day. It’s too upsetting for a lot of reasons for me to watch. So yes, I’ve mostly kept my head in the sand regarding political news coverage of late, perhaps some sort of self-preservation tactic.
After the above-mentioned post, I received only one unfriendly email in which I was scolded and told I should stick to my topic – cancer.
Am I not allowed to write about any other topics I care about?
I was also warned, but only once or twice, that I should be prepared to lose plenty of readers. As far as I can tell, I only lost a handful, but of course, who really knows?
Most of you, my dear readers, were cordial even if you did not agree with me, so thank you. After all, I write for validation, yes, but I also write hoping to help those who do not agree with me better understand where some of the rest of us are coming from.
Isn’t this the whole point of writing and reading what others write, regardless of the topic?
Recently, like some of you probably did, I watched the Golden Globes awards show including Meryl Streep’s moving speech. Almost immediately after she gave it, the backlash (as well as the praise) began and Meryl was basically told the same thing I was told, stick to what you know, in her case, acting.
Interesting parallel, don’t you think?
And then she was chastised for lecturing from her “elite pulpit”.
Since when did speaking from the heart while defending human decency become elitism?
Regardless, thank you, Meryl, for giving me that little nudge to go ahead and write another political post. I was inspired by your words.
It’s my hope that no matter what your views are about our soon-to-be-new president, you would want to understand how those who do not share your views feel too. This goes for both sides of the aisle. We must try to understand one another. And yes, I know this can be hard. Really hard. As always, I welcome discussion here too.
Like some of you, I am still struggling to understand. And I remain quite troubled.
I am still troubled that Mr. Trump will be our president in the first place. I am troubled by many of his cabinet appointments. I am troubled by his many (and mounting) conflicts of interest. I am troubled by that whole Russian hacking thing and Trump’s seemingly too cozy relationship with Putin. I am troubled by certain continuing behaviors that seem anything but presidential. I am troubled by Supreme Court appointments likely coming whose views will probably not align with mine. I am troubled by the GOP’s zealous, irrational desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and do so quickly without a good alternative plan ready to go. I am troubled by the political divisiveness that is so prevalent in Washington, D.C., across this country and even within my own extended family.
I have never felt this troubled after an election in which my candidate lost. Never. And I am not proud to live in a state now branded as one that determined, in a big way, the unexpected outcome of the recent election.
I could go on and on, but I won’t because what’s the point, right?
I wish I could talk about all this unrest with my dad. He was so wise about these things, too.
Recently my favorite historian, son #one, reminded me this country has survived some less than stellar presidencies, in fact, some very less than stellar ones. Then out of curiosity, I asked him who would be on his list of the five worst presidents. It made for a very interesting discussion. His list included mostly the usual – Buchanan, Pierce, Johnson (Lincoln’s successor), Filmore, Harding (though he disputes this one a bit) and Coolidge. (Okay, that’s six). As you probably know, the top five presidents are generally thought to be Lincoln, FDR, Theodore Roosevelt, Washington and Jefferson, although the order sometimes gets shifted around a bit. Think Mount Rushmore for four of them.
I know son #one is right. We’ll survive. I’ll survive. But is this good enough? Maybe. Maybe not.
Survival is important, of course. But lots of damage can still be done even when one survives.
Think cancer and cancer treatment. Plenty of collateral damage can and does happen as a direct result of harsh treatments.
Another interesting parallel, right?
Right now my major areas of concern, politically speaking, revolve around the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court, women’s reproductive rights (I don’t want to go backwards, damn it!), the environment and global warming, education and international affairs.
I want to be optimistic, but again, I’m struggling.
This is why on January 20th, barring any other big news event, I won’t be watching inauguration ceremonies and festivities like I always have in years gone by. I’m boycotting. It’s going to be my way of protesting. And yes, I realize no one but me, my family and maybe some of you will care, but that’s okay. Doing so is going to make me feel better. I just don’t feel like celebrating. I feel like being quiet.
There are various protest marches and rallies scheduled on and around Inauguration Day, and it is my hope they will all be peaceful and well-tolerated by everyone, regardless of political stance. After all, the right to peacefully protest is one of our fundamental liberties. Since I won’t be attending any of these planned events, my boycott will be my private protest.
When Mr. Trump is sworn in and becomes President Trump, I will try to keep an open mind and give him a chance. But I will not remain quiet and “stick to my topic” if I choose not to.
And then what?
I’m not sure. So much uncertainty is on the horizon. Things remain murky.
So, let’s try to come up with ideas for what I can do, what you can do, what any of us can do to become more politically involved, no matter what political party we are or are not affiliated with.
Because we all need to become more involved in determining who’s running our government and then holding them accountable, or at least I know I do.
I guess this is the silver lining in all this for me. (And I am not a fan of that whole silver lining concept).
So my next political post will include (hopefully) some concrete ideas for things we can all do to become more involved. If you have ideas, I would love to hear and share them.
Because if you live in America and no matter which party you align yourself with or which one is in charge at the moment, our government is exactly that – ours.
President Barack Obama said it best in his farewell speech:
The most important office in a democracy: Citizen.
President Obama, thank you for serving and thank you for continuing to inspire.
If you live in the US, how are you feeling now that Inauguration Day is here and do you plan to watch the coverage?
What ideas do you have to help us all become more involved and to hold elected officials more accountable?
If you live outside the US, how do you feel about our new President and what suggestions might you have regarding any of this?
Featured image above via washington.org (public domain)