Monday, January 23, 2017

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

"We are made of oppositions; we live between two poles....You don't reconcile the poles.  You just recognize them."
~ Orson Wells 

I woke Friday, dreading the day.  I still struggled with the reality that "he who would be king", as I have begun to refer to him, would be in the White House.  That so many people could overlook, condone, even applaud his fear mongering,  threats, adolescent petulance, sexist and racist behavior, and blatant lies has been - and remains - a source of dismay and distress. That he and his inner circle exhibit many of the characteristics of Fascism, and that so many Americans either don't appear to recognize this nor seem to care, I find alarming.   That I am being asked to wait and see, to give him a chance...for what?  For how long?

The morning sky did little to uplift my spirits.  Gunmetal gray overhead, a steady persistent rain that mirrored the darkness of my spirits.  John coughing and sneezing, courting yet another cold. I decided not to watch the event, knowing I would end up at best, muttering under my breath so as not to disturb John or openly spewing my frustration and anger at the TV; neither the image of the intelligent, wise woman I'd like to think I can be.

I managed somehow to get through that very long day keeping my frustration and pessimism at bay by staying occupied with household chores and hobbies.   I eventually fell asleep wondering how I would manage the coming months concerned for John, concerned for my country, and concerned for myself if left alone, an old woman, in a world that looks potentially unsafe and inhospitable.

Then, Saturday dawned, still dark, still gloomy, still rainy.  Fortunately, I had a meeting in the morning with a group of women I enjoy and trust, women as concerned as I am, women with whom I can express my concerns without being told to get over it or "give him a chance." Got in a little retail therapy and went home to catch news of the march in Washington. Would the resistance I've been hearing about and reading about on-line materialize into anything that neared the goal of a million women gathering?  Would anyone notice? Could it matter?  What if it went south and people were hurt?

I remained glued to the set as images of women and men and children marching in peaceful protest were gathered from across the country, from across the world.  I delighted in the diversity of cultures, was encouraged by the span of generations, surprised to see some of the cities represented, and entertained by the audacity and cleverness of some of the posters.  I watched as they flooded streets for mile upon mile.  Over 500,000 in D.C. in the midst of winter.  Hundreds of thousands marching in cities in red states.  In Europe and Africa.  Even a group in Antarctica.

But most of all, I could feel the tide of my pessimism and dread recede.  We are not as apathetic and cynical as I have feared.  It will not be that easy to manipulate and remove our civil liberties.  Perhaps, the best to come out of this morass is the awakening of engagement and participation.  Peaceful engagement.  Participation by people in the mainstream who have been lulled into complacency or cynicism.  People on the fringes who have come to believe that no one cares.  People who will be heard.

This morning, as I complete this, the rains have stopped.  The sun is shining.  The sky is filled with clouds.  He is still in the White House.  There is no balance of power in D. C.  But I know there are millions of people watching.  Millions of people speaking up.  Millions of people who do recognize what could too easily happen.  Perhaps some of them did not vote in November, but maybe, just maybe, they will vote it 2018.  This is something I will wait to see.

My deepest gratitude to all who marched.  You have restored my faith and hope.  No small accomplishment.


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