December 21, 2017

Bring it On

By Crabby McSlacker

photo: U.S. Air Force

So it's Holiday Season!

But wait, where's Santa Claus? No Menorah? No sugar cookies or snowmen or pine trees? And what's with the spunky aviator gals in leather jackets, that's not very Christmassy!

Well, okay, traditionally the holidays are a time for festive celebrations, fun, frivolity, togetherness, and generosity. But also they're a time for year-end reflection. And my goodness, what a year 2017 has been!

What a year indeed.

So, setting aside any bright moments you may have enjoyed in your personal life this year (and I'm hoping there were many, many of them!)... does anyone else think that 2017 may have been the most toxic, noxious, depressing, abysmal, terrifying nightmare of a year we've ever experienced?





Note: I'm aware one could easily find this theme a mite downbeat for a holiday post. I haven't been posting much, and I know it's weird that I'm finally writing something and it turns out it's a political rant and not a handy list of Last-Minute Christmas Gifts for your Favorite Gym Rat, or, God forbid, yet another post on How Not to Screw Up Your New Years Resolutions.

But I gotta be honest: all I want for Christmas, and for 2018, is my fucking country back.

I know this sentiment is not universal. Maybe it's just me and my tribe who are grousing, a tribe I won't try to define precisely, but I'm guessing if you made it this far, there's a good chance you're one of us.

But Jesus. 2017. What a shitshow, right? We've been watching slack-jawed and horrified as a parade of catastrophes marched by, one after another. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, mass shootings. Scandals, betrayals, malfeasance, assaults, corruption, double-dealing. Most horrifying of all has been the discovery, if you live in the United States of America, that our country was not the sane, compassionate, forward-thinking, innovative, tolerant, freedom-loving country we thought it was.

 
Every few hours comes some new horrible development. Laws and regulations with terrifying long term consequences are enacted, funds to life-saving programs are cut. Unqualified, corrupt or unhinged tools of special interests are appointed to high government positions. The environment, public health and safety, diplomacy, justice, fairness--all are being trashed, pissed on by those in power for the sake of short term gain. The President of the United States, who should be a role model of intelligence, maturity, and thoughtfulness, spews crass, hateful and nonsensical insults in the language of a pre-schooler. He bullies and slanders and lies and gloats. He represents our nation. It is surreal.

After decades of forward progress on all kinds of issues, all of a sudden we live in a world where devastating nuclear war, or the destruction of our planet due to irreversible climate change, seem not like remote possibilities, but more like actual, on-purpose strategies. Why? Who is this benefiting? It's insanity.

Who knew that we could plummet backwards in time so quickly to the dark ages? Now science is suspect, because people who believe in it tend to be "liberal." Superstition and ignorance and wishful thinking rule. Hypocrisy, persecution, bigotry, dishonesty and greed are the new normal, and we're all just supposed to take them for granted. People who investigate or report wrong-doing are being silenced or removed. News organizations that report stories reflecting badly on those in power are being threatened with some sort of yet-to-be-determined retribution, no doubt unconstitutional.  But that whole "Constitution Rights" notion is old-school now, right? The Constitution is inconvenient when you want to discriminate on the basis of religion or race or gender. But, no worries. You can just appoint judges who will happily ignore it and you're good.

So what do we do? How on earth are we going to fix this in 2018?

We're going to fight back.

Bring. It. On.

And no, I don't have any solutions you haven't already thought of. It's just like with health and fitness: so often we know what needs to be done, it's just hard, and it takes a long time, and you have to keep doing it over and over and over even when successes are few and far between.

But we're going to take our country back. The stakes are too high. We're going to be all spunky and badass and fierce and we're going to stay outraged. We're not going to get bored with how hard it is and stop caring and give up and back down.

This is just a short and obvious list, I'm  hoping some of you have better ideas that you might include in the comments.

  • Register to vote and don't ever, ever miss an election.
  • Register others to vote; volunteer with organizations that help get people to the polls.
  • Encourage and thank people who are doing good work. 
  • Sign up for a weekly action checklist for Americans of Conscience or join Swing Left or other organizations already laying the groundwork for next November.
  • Call and write your representatives. Over and over. Be a pain in the ass.
  • Give money.
  • Give more money.
  • Keep the social media conversations going.
  • Be polite and civil, but refuse to normalize bigotry and misinformation if you encounter it your social circle.
  • Turn out for demonstrations or vigils that are meaningful to you. 
  • Support forward-thinking local candidates. Or think about running for office yourself!
  • Help those in need in your area who will soon have nowhere to turn.
  • Treat yourself gently and nourish yourself. Caring so much in the face of all this craziness is exhausting. Take time to love those around you, to find joy and light, to celebrate what is good and beautiful and worthwhile within your own community.
  • Know that you are not alone, that most people in the U.S. and certainly in the world know how wrong all this is. Continue to have hope that we can't be silenced, that sanity will return. 
I don't think the comparisons of our situation now to the early years of Nazi Germany are all that far-fetched. So much of that evil happened incrementally, with one injustice after another, with far too many ordinary citizens looking for scapegoats or turning a blind eye to obvious injustice.

Let's keep repeating: THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

Let's vow, we shall REFUSE TO STOP FIGHTING.

Let's all WORK TOGETHER TO FIX THIS COUNTRY OF OURS.


We can take our nation back. We have to.

And, um, Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays?



Peace on Earth and Love to You All!
Crabby

35 comments:

  1. It's disheartening to watch, Crabby. I cannot imagine how it is to live it. But I agree, you'll take your country back.
    Merry Christmas.
    Fight the Good Fight.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Leah! Your country is so much more sensible than ours, it's always a compfort to know that sanity reigns just a little further north. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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  2. The politeness is so important. When i speak to people with whom i disagree, i insist we have to be polite and work to come to an understanding, or get on a different subject.

    Bigotry is never acceptable.

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    1. You're so right Mimi, and I realize now that "politeness" actually understates it--we can feel genuine warmth and respect for people who disagree with us. Even if they are deluded, self-righteous bigots with big blind spots, they often do kind things too and have their own vulnerabilities. It's one of the challenges of living in the world of real people!

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  3. Not just the US, unfortunately. Nationalism seems to be on the rise everywhere, and it's genuinely scary... Brexit, anyone?

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    1. I know Lucky Duck, so depressing that it seems to be an international phenomenon, though in the states I think we've hit depths lower than yours.

      But yeah, it's like in the face of globalism humans are going all prehistoric and tribal all of a sudden, hunkered down in our caves, clubs at the ready to whomp on anyone who comes from elsewhere or seems "not like us." Hope it's just a phase we're going through and that it passes quickly!

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  4. I am so angry, and so tired of being angry. I have tried to get involved in the resistance, but I have no money to spare--there's less than a hundred in my savings account right now--and all the organizations assume, correctly, that most people are free on weekends. The events that happen on weekday evenings seem to always happen when I have to be at work at seven the next day, or they begin an hour or more before I leave work. I haven't been able to go to the voter registration planning meetings, much less actual events.

    I have missed two elections in the past forty-six years, when I was too sick to get out of bed. My grandmother voted in the last election before her death at 99 and a half, the first one in which she used an absentee ballot since women could first vote in 1920. I was an adult before I knew anyone who didn't vote, and I still find it hard to believe.

    I get enraged by the constant pressure to "call, call, call, it's easy"; no, it's not easy, and I don't do phones. This is the 21st century. If your Congress-beings don't pay attention to written material, we have bigger problems than a bunch of fools in the White House.

    I try to write to my legislators (not just Congress; state house when it is assembled) on what I call Trump Tuesdays; I don't hit every week, but there is usually some issue that needs mentioning, and I don't always wait for Tuesday. Every 15th of the month since some organization wanted us to send post cards to Trump on the 15th of March about his tax returns I have written one to the White House demanding that he release them, and mentioning some other issue. I don't know if this forgotten organization meant for us to continue this every month, but I am.

    In short, this whole year has been an intensifying of the feeling I've had since Ferguson: "But we already DID this fight!"

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    Replies
    1. Sorry Mary Anne, like so many others I've left out the disclaimer that any suggestions offered are of course not going to make sense for everyone! I don't think anyone means to enrage you by saying something is "easy" if it's not for you, I think it's assumed that if it isn't, something else might be a better fit. The fact that you always vote are even writing regularly to legislators is HUGE, especially from someone living in a red state.

      But yeah, this sense of having fought these battles already, and finding our country determined to go backwards yet again into mindlesss bigotry and shortsighted greed is so incredibly depressing. Hang in there!

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    2. I'm mostly reacting to Together We Will's constant pleas to call where they say calling is more influential than other methods, and I refrain from saying anything rude back. Also, it's very frustrating to want to help, or to demonstrate, and never be able to. No one is even interested in carrying a sign for me, the way my roommate did at Raleigh's very first Pride parade. We couldn't both be off at the kennel on a Saturday, so she wore a sign on her shirt with my name, saying "Present in spirit. Body and mind at work." Come to think of it, one of my high school classmates wore one like it for me at the Women's March in Boston, so that was good.
      I'm just so tired of doing this all over again.
      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  5. Honestly, it’s like watching one of those horror films where you know the people should just pack up and leave before it gets really ugly. I just hope something happens soon to turn it all around.

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    Replies
    1. This is probably why I never watch horror. Maybe we can switch to a different genre and the aliens will land and explain that the experiment is over and we can all go back to our home planets.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    2. It really has been like a horror film Kimberly! Let's just hope we can write an ending where all the good guys and gals survive and prosper in the end. Or failing that, I like Mary Anne's alternative ending... bring on those aliens!

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  6. Get an absentee ballot sent in advance if there is any chance of you not getting to the polls. Call and email politicians, if their answering machine is not full with messages you can do the calls off hours, with Congress you can call DC and their local office. It has been said that one communication equals 200 people who don't voice their opinion.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree Sharon! Great advice on absentee ballots and calling. In so many areas controlled by republicans they've been targeting turnout by limiting early voting and closing poll locations etc. Unfortunately, not only do we have to intend to vote, it take extra planning and long lines. Absentee ballots are a great way to make sure your vote gets there!

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    2. The second California allowed people to become permanent absentee ballot voters, I signed up. Mostly it was because of laziness, but it's great to have the ballot ahead of time, and time to think it over, and not have to worry about what's happening in my life on the actual election day. I know this option isn't available everywhere, but I encourage people to see if it is, and if so, go for it!

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  7. I understand that it is despicable greed and selfishness that drives the current politics - that, and the infantile desire to undo every good and caring thing that (the wonderful and much-missed) Obama did. I get that. They're vile and they care nothing about the people. What I don't understand are the people who come across as caring and intelligent and decent.. and how they can accept, support and promote this insanity. I know of a few through blogging and now through Facebook who floor me by supporting everything that is going on. They're not rude about it. They're not outwardly bigoted. But they have no regrets for voting as they did and still think everything is far better than it was. I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

    I am hoping something changes for the better before too long and that the damage done can be reversed. It's mind-boggling. And I hate that for my decent American friends and family.

    May everything begin to improve in the New Year. <3

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    1. I have the same problem Hilary, in not understanding how otherwise "good" people can be so willing to ignore facts, turn a blind eye to lies and duplicity, and keep persisting in beliefs that are demonstrably false.

      My suspicion: I fear it may be unconscious predjudices they don't even realize they have. I.e., ("I was always taught that WE are better than THEM, (meaning anyone who is different or outside the immediate circle,) and so if there's a narrative that justifies the views of OUR tribe, it must be true, because to confront the fact that we could be wrong calls everything into question, including our cherished idea that we deserve more than others, because we are US and they are THEM. Facts be damned, if they challenge that narrative they make us uncomfortable so we have to dismiss them.")

      I think liberals are more likely to see all sides of an argument, to question and to demand proof, to change our minds about people and situations when circumstances warrant. Which might make us smarter and more compassionate, but often less powerful in partisan settings in the U.S., where compromise or openmindedness are exploited, and the unethical always prevail. The fact that Republicans used their power to deny Obama a Supreme Court pick, as just one example, will have repercussions for a generation. It was "cheating" but they got away with it. As they do with seemingly everything.

      Oh dear, sorry, another rant...

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    2. I have to kindly disagree....liberals are not tolerant of those who voice a different opinion. I did not agree with a lot of what Obama did with his 'transparent' administration. Do you really believe he didn't know that HRC had a private email used for government purposes? He was her boss did he never communicate via email with her? We all need to be tolerant of each other and respect the other viewpoint. I believe the political environment has been on a downward spiral since the 2000 election. We are all Americans. Let's start acting like it!

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  8. I have read that it is not an easy task to bring back net neutrality once it is dismantled, and that it would take a Democratic Congress to do so. Hopefully the lawsuits will keep it in limbo until January 2019 and that the 2018 elections turn the tide

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    1. That's my hope to Sharon!! thanks!

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  9. I’ve debated whether or not to respond to this, not because I disagree with anything you’ve said. I don’t. I’m just tired.

    I will offer this. I’d describe myself as left of center, but with the center clearly in view. I spent five years on an internet forum of hard right-wingers (all men) because they were actually very helpful to me on a specific issue at the time. It also helped that for most of that time, there was one clearly liberal guy and a couple of more centrist types. But mostly, it was right-wingers who went to their end of the political spectrum and then started rappelling down the side.

    They were a tough bunch to listen to on any number of things, but because I got along particularly well with a handful of them, I stayed on for the ride and paid attention to what they were showing me. I could go on and on about how vile they could be. Oh my god, they could be awful. I stomped away from that group many times, always returning because of the couple of actual friends. That ended after the election because they actually got EVEN WORSE once things were going their way. That’s when I stepped out and stayed out.

    The thing that I noticed refers back, Crabby, to your US and THEM observation. They talk about us exactly like we talk about them. They ponder with rage how we could be so deluded, so resistant to reality, so unable to see obvious consequences to our narrow-minded goals and beliefs, and how we’d like to destroy the world they have to live in. It’s amazing. You could take a hard-left rant and a hard-right rant, remove all the identifying language, and you’d often be unable to correctly guess who said it.

    It frightens me that the US population is dividing into such rigidly opposing camps. I recently rewatched Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” specifically because of what’s been happening in the US in recent years. It was horrifying, how familiar it felt. We appear to be in a ramp-up to the exact same war, 150-some years later.

    There was a quote in the documentary about how someone (Lincoln maybe, but I’m not sure) hoped that the absolute carnage and destruction of the war would leave a horror that, for generations, would keep people from dividing that way again, and it did. Apparently, we’ve run through about the right number of generations now, though, because here we are.

    Yeah, not so Happy-Holidays-ish, but you started it. :) Happy Holidays anyway. Have lots of hugs with people you love, and may we all enjoy a more peaceful and sane world in 2018.

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  10. 2017 has been… unique. It's honestly hard to know how to sum it up, much less what the long-term effects are going to be. I'm sure we all have different perspectives about whether specific events have been good or bad. But, I don't think anyone can say that it's been a boring year.

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  11. I will keep fighting until we rid our country of this vile creature!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. I have to admit that I have never had that much interest in following politics, but it sure is hard to miss what has been going on. I find it shocking that the man is still president.

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  13. Angry?
    Beyond angry.

    It's like thinking you had spent all your life living around real human beings, only to discover that people you thought were relatives were actually robots programmed to say things like, "Oh, give him a chance. You're such a special snowflake."

    One thing that gives me a little hope is the thought--the hope--that some of the people who voted for the wannabe dictator and his cronies are now starting to Think. Maybe, dear God maybe, even to Act.

    The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election. - Gerald Ford

    Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. -Dwight D. Eisenhower

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  14. I am finally getting around to reading your posting. Hey, you looked at my blog after a long absence, I can look at yours, after a long while too! lol
    On a serious note, 2017 damn near ruined us, mentally. It was and is so over the top, unbelievable as to what is happening. It took 50+ years to get this far and now we've gone so far backwards, it could take that long to just get back to 2016's level. I fear for the DACA's, the poor, the elderly, the planet, the LBGTQ, immigrants, humanity, the FUTURE!
    To me, the 'why' of it all is money. Money and greed. The rich fear us. They do not understand us. That isn't a great excuse, but that is the only excuse I can come up with. As a pacifist, it is way too hard to imagine the evil that would make this all happen. I can understand fear. I can't understand evil.
    I even watched and read the 'other side' to see if I could understand. I could not. I cannot see how those involved can think they are helping anyone but themselves.
    Sorry, I am rambling.
    I will be voting. I will be speaking out as best I can. (not easy for an introvert). More importantly, I will not let 'them' put me in the dark place I was for most of 2017.
    JMHO

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  15. Re: the photo of the W.A.S.Ps.The sad fact is the ladies who ferried our aircraft during WWII were not recognized as veterans until 1977, 32 years after the war ended.(As a female vet, I suppose I should not be surprised.)In the early '80s I met some of them at a special luncheon given by Governor Deukmejian (CA), commemorating their service. It was an honor to meet them. Sadly by then many had already died.

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  16. Rosalee, thanks! I didn't know that, that stuff is so infuriating! Thanks so much for clueing me in.

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