I posted this essay on the Daily Kos website Wednesday morning. Later I realized that perhaps I should put it here as well.
I moved away from blog posts that were my usual partisan writings for several reasons. The first was the fire. It consumed me for several weeks, months really, and not in a good way. Luckily our house and immediate surroundings were not consumed (poor choice of words above, really, if you think about it), but it was all I could think about for a long time. The trajectory of our life took off in a direction this summer that I’m just now lassoing back into some semblance of an orbit.
Second, well, truth be told, this election season has been emotionally draining. As if it is sucking the life spirit out of all of us…like the Dementors in Harry Potter’s world. It’s all quite depressing actually leading me to wonder where our humanity has gone. Civility. Common courtesy. Decency. Morality.
I could go on and on-finding more and more abstractions that are being trampled. Lest you think I’ve decided to turn a deaf ear and avoid all things political, rest assured I am just as much addicted to the political machinations as I have always been. I simply haven’t known how to write about it.
I listened to parts of a Donald Trump rally/speech/appearance on Monday morning. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, but the satellite radio station I’ve been listening to maybe felt they needed to give him equal air time. So as not to be construed as biased? I suppose. Either way, I have come to the conclusion that I am a political junkie. I crave the information—almost to the point of ignoring family members to listen to the latest “breaking news” coming off the wire.
I know. This is not healthy. I have attempted to go cold-turkey and not open up the computer or simply change the radio station. I listen to some jazz music to soothe my troubled heart and mind. Eventually the siren call of the political punditry becomes too much to resist. I scramble to the radio to change the station, to get my fix. It’s like the first sip of coffee in the morning.
Monday morning I realized the listening was harming my psyche. The Donald Trump speech, though I use that term loosely as I’m not exactly sure what it was, was frightening. Screed. That’s what it was—a screeched screed by a scaremonger intent on painting the bleakest, darkest, most terrifying picture of this country that I live in. As I listened, I found my heart beating a bit faster, my stomach seeming to churn, my head beginning to pound. I was amazed at the visceral reactions his words and voice were causing. I dropped a bottle of cinnamon spice which spilled all over the counter. I snapped at the adorable English Springer Spaniel Aengus to get out of the kitchen. (He shouldn’t be there, but he didn’t need to be yelled at.) I was short with the darling daughter when she asked for help with a math problem. I even had the fleeting thought that I should find a pitchfork and torch and join the crazed mob hanging on his every spittle-filled word. Sort of like the villagers following Gaston to rid themselves of the Beast.
When I finally realized what was happening, blessedly, the radio station had moved on to other profound political positry. I felt as if there was a dark blanket dropped over me, suffocating me, blocking out the light. Donald Trump painted such a depressing picture of America, of life. The words spewed forth from his mouth spoke to such horridness that my entire demeanor had taken a hit. Equally dispiriting were the cheers from the mass of people he was trying to agitate. It took several minutes for me to get out from under the spell of his demagoguery. I shook my head and said to myself: “Self, you know this is not the way of this country. You know his words are empty and black and meaningless. You know there is light out there. You know the sun is shining and the sky is blue and the leaves are brilliantly gold.”
I took a deep breath, loved on my darling daughter, played tug-of-war with Aengus and went outside to breathe in the fresh scent of those fallen leaves.
Later that afternoon, I stumbled across a video of a flash mob dancing in the streets. Wearing pantsuits!! The Pantsuit Power flash mobs in New York City and North Carolina were full of light and smiles and happy, happy people. I showed my dearest, darling daughter and we whooped and pumped our fists in the air and danced together in the office. There were no angry mobs shouting “lock her up.” There were no angry faces, no spewing of filth. There was no demagogue spewing demagoguery, whining about rigged elections. There were simply happy, happy people, laughing and smiling, taking videos and pictures and enjoying the sunshine. (Truly, you should click the link below, turn up the volume and dance! I dare you not to dance.)
What a difference. The starkness of the contrast was jaw-dropping to me. Cower in the darkness of the demagogue or embrace the light?
I choose the sun. I choose the happy. I choose the light. Let us find a way to pass that message on to everyone we meet today.