Friday, January 20, 2017

So...What now?

I think in circles lately about what's going to happen. What it all means. The state of everything. I ponder what faith means. I flirt, again, with the Catholic Church. I seek out sources of knowledge on philosophy.

In a time of great upheaval, when whatever embers of faith remain, you find them enflamed. Because when nothing makes sense, you have to try to make sense of it.

So I read Nicole Cliffe's testament of finding Christianity, as I so miss her guiding wit on twitter.

I read Ana Marie Holmes discussion of faith in trying times.

I signed up for online philosophy courses in Intellectual Humility and the philosophy of politics from courseca and am following those to try and understand how we got here and what government means right now.

I had previously tried to shop my way out of these doldrums where nothing at all seems to matter. And then became fearful of the coming recession and am over correcting by trying to save as much as possible. (But will it matter? If this all ends...why not spend what I have?) I vacationed. That felt shallow and selfish and turning off the noise only made me anxious about what was happening when I wasn't listening.

I donated to all the causes I hold dear. My December budget is an implosion of gifting. But even that was a temporary salve because it reminds me of all those suffering or about to be suffering that I can't help.

And then you feel like an ass. We're hardly the only place suffering. We're hardly suffering nearly as bad as most, even when accounting for those among our many who are.

But we are. And just because our suffering isn't their suffering, it's not suffering.

I feel a great need to question everything. When the land shifts beneath your feet, your faith in institutions you previously took for granted as stable and true no longer seems so sure. Nothing has made me question my general faith in the goodness of police like their unequivocal backing of the president elect. "Oh. THAT'S who you are. That's what you believe in." My dad, who spent 32 years in their ranks but is now a peace loving hippie, lamented in the run up to the election, "They want hoses in Birmingham again." They're gonna get them. And people like me, generally law abiding (hell, I took an oath to defend them) folks suddenly see them all as supremely flawed individuals who want to do us harm. So while I may have given the police the benefit of the doubt before, where I've hung out in their police stations and called them friends, are all suspect. And I sort of hate them. I hate them for contributing to us getting here. The leader of the Fraternal Order of Police got up and talked about how great Jeff Sessions was in front of Congress. He talks about their need to be protected. What about our need to be protected from them? How are they somehow more important and more special than us because they choose to do a job? Is their inherent racism there because police officers all over the country, including liberal NorCal are overwhelmingly white male?

Government, where I work, does not AT ALL seem interested in fulfilling its promise to HELP OTHERS.

It all feels so disorienting.

And yet. And yet and yet and yet...

It still feels like there's this innate goodness around us. People are good and happy and beautiful and deeply flawed. They are worthy of love. There is beauty in the rain on the windows and the sun in the sky and all that other weepy poetic bullshit that other people have and will say better than me. Art has extra importance now, not less. Fierce love has more importance now. I adore my people. I want nothing but the best in the entire world for them. And I am forever terrified now that nothing resembling good things happening is going to happen for them for the next four years and beyond.

All I've come up with for the next four years is:


But how? How do we "be good humans"? Protesting is nice. Except if today is any indication, we can fuck even that up and stand around with cell phones, baited by people inciting us, and making the police state, which is about to become a military arm, more powerful and lead them to earn more overtime which makes them wealthier which exacerbates the whole damn problem to begin with. We read 800 lists on "how to resist". We can call our electeds but let me tell you, as a dem living in NorCal that feels like a waste of time. "Yes, ma'am, I know. Yes, I get it. I couldn't agree more" doesn't inspire one to dial the phone a lot. It's not like Rep Huffman or Dianne Feinstein and I share wildly divergent ideologies.

How do you have faith in anything when a wildly unpopular man who lost the popular vote by 3 million people and who is hell bent on destroying every institution that protects us and makes us not China or Russia is in charge? HOOOWW? I mean, resist, rebel. Sure. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? We have no power over institutions. We have no power over a Republican congress. We. Have. No. Power. No one wants to admit that. We want to talk about the will of the people and the ability to change things and have faith in ACLU law suits that FOIA information. The reality is...when these small minded men use the arm of the government to make themselves richer and tighten the yolk on the very people they vowed to help (which anyone with three brain cells knew would happen), what the ever loving fuck are we supposed to do?

How do you beat a man who, as Masha Gessen said, continues to tell you he doesn't have your pencil box when you can very clearly see he has it and won't give it back? I don't know how you beat someone who denies the very existence of the reality you live in. He doesn't care. We could point out that NO ONE came to his inauguration and he'd attack us for being fearful liberal cowards. I'd love for all those in power to ignore him and frustrate him. I'd love for principled Republicans to say "we will not allow this to happen" but "principled Republican" seems like an oxymoron. We can't give him the attention he deserves and yet we can't turn a blind eye to what he's doing. Scylla and charybdis seems like a more pleasant mind fuck of a situation at the moment.

I don't know what to do when "speaking truth to power" has no effect because the power DNGAF. We can correct NYT headlines all we want. We can yell on twitter. We can yell in the streets. We can laugh and point at things to help us get through this. But does any of it change anything? I don't have any idea.

There are no answers. Or: there are a lot of think pieces that I don't find particularly helpful, anyway. There's just much gnashing of teeth and trying to remain sane and finding goodness and light in the moments that we can. And honing some survival skills for when this goes really south.

I just...I dunno, man. Shit sucks right now. And is going to for awhile. (I'm hella eloquent.)

I wish you all love and joy and peace and hope we come out on the other side.

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