Sad for My Country
I've had a rough week. Last Friday, watching the inauguration of Trump, marked the start of this low-belly angst; a turmoil in my chest. In the week since that day, I have watched executive order after executive order start to gut what America had become. At this moment, green card holders have been denied entry to the US, partly based on their political views, there's the EPA media blackout, alternative facts have become an acceptable explanation for lying, and the threat of repealing the Affordable Care Act looms large.
This is all insanity.
I don't know what to do with this always-present fear and sadness I feel. This past week, I woke up and laid in bed for hours, unable to keep from reading the previous day's news stories. I lack the will to get up, make coffee, and get to work. And I don't know how to get back to hope, to feeling like I'm part of an inclusive, accepting country rather than what Trump and his team are forcing it into. This man—this horrible, repulsive man—and his equally repulsive cabinet choices have more money than a third of American households. How are this administration's interests aligned with Americans when they have no idea what it means to struggle, to worry about medical costs, to try to buy their first house?
And what I don't understand even more is how people actually voted for this man? I am a fairly tolerant person. I rallied and protested Bush's presidency and had a hard time understanding how he was elected. Yet, I still felt like I could talk to those that did vote for him. Even though there were disagreements, there was civility. But now, with White Power! being shouted in schools, an attack of a Muslim airline worker by a Worcester, MA man saying, "Trump is here now[...]he will get rid of all of you," the vitriol on social media, it seems to me this is a clear hatred of The Other.
Some may say to look toward the Women's March on Washington the day after the inauguration for hope. Some may say to call your representatives to express your concern. And some may say to move to Canada. But it all feels hopeless. I feel hopeless. I feel sad for my country. The values and beliefs I grew up with and embody as an adult seem to be falling away from our collective soul. Do we really need to choose between them and us? What's the distinction? Is it race? Is it religion? Are they ideals? When do people realize that you can actually become the other when the rules change? When do people realize that stepping down on groups of people will ultimately backfire? When do we realize that fear and hatred is the wrong direction?
I don't know what to do to move forward. I don't know how to handle myself in daily life. Sure, I'm going to be outspoken about my feelings and thoughts. And sure I'm going to stand up for all people. But, at a minimum, we've got another two years of this unchecked tyranny, with a Republican president, House, and Senate. I have to find a way to live in this world, in this country. We're going backwards.
The first post I wrote on this blog was about starting from where you are and I think America isn't starting from where we're at. We're viewing things through the lens of America first but we exist in a world where politics, economics, and health are global in scope. We can't just cordon ourselves off and solve our problems by looking internally. As a nation, as a citizen of the Earth, we must look beyond our borders and make policies that rise up all nations. The actions we take here, over the next four years, will echo for decades to come.
This post is disjointed and full of questions and half-thought out ideas. It's the way I feel right now. I am lost. I am sad. And I don't know what to do.