The longer we live, the more we find we are like other persons. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Normally my blog is about lighter topics, but this is has been circulating in my mind this week. It's not easy for me to post this, even though it's what's on my heart. I don't like disapproval, I want to please people. And some people may not be pleased with what I have to say. But, I have to say it.
My family may not agree with the statement that I am normally a person of peace. Having been blessed with a speaking voice like a foghorn, I come across as loud, outspoken, opinionated and fearless. Many times the girls have said: "Stop yelling!" My reply is that I am simply being emphatic. There is a big difference between my emphatic and my yelling, trust me. But deep inside, I'm a pleaser and a coward. I don't like confrontation or discord. I play around in my garden, talk to my chickens, put out fairy houses for the little kids in our family and the neighbor kids to enjoy. I'm a gramma, for crying out loud. I wear rabbit-shaped earrings and kooky aprons and I bake things. I keep popsicles in the freezer in the garage for anyone who looks like he or she could use a cool treat. Dum-Dum Pops sprout in my herb garden when kids aren't looking. I feed anything two or four-footed, inside and out. I grew up living in my own world of fantasy, art and literature that was populated with woodland creatures who lived in snug hollow trees and sipped tea with the fairies from acorn cap cups. I have always embraced peace, love and acceptance. My outlook has been rather simplistic until now.
I am not perfect; we are all instilled with prejudices from the moment we take our first breath. There were times as I grew into adulthood when I had to rout out those misconceptions and replace them with realities. The best way to do that was to step outside my personal cube and explore the wonderful people who populate our world. I don't mean I am a global traveler - far from it. I didn't have to pack a bag - it's a cultural journey of the heart and mind.
I have written for the public for over 17 years. I purposefully steered away from the topics of politics and religion. It was a wise choice. My work appealed to a wide audience and I wanted to keep it that way. I wasn't really looking for anyone to agree with me, I was just reporting on what was currently happening in my little world. Occasionally, if I felt particularly strongly about a subject, I brought out the soapbox, but not very often. When I did, I prefaced it with the words: "Scrape, scrape, scrape, that's the sound of me dragging out my soapbox."
"Scrape, scrape, scrape." You may or may not remember my impassioned response to trump being elected last November. Some people probably blocked me at that point because they didn't like my words. They were harsh words. This guy was barely on my radar before the campaign. I thought he was disgusting, living in his gold-plated tower in a world where there are too many have nots, a cartoonish example of what happens when someone has always had beyond way too much of everything, I think he was just playing when he decided to run, but got one sniff of power and his warped and bloated ego started to grow like Ursula the Sea Witch in "The Little Mermaid." I was hoping against hope that his ridiculous campaign rhetoric was just a ploy to turn votes his way, that maybe once in office he would buckle down to the job, that it wouldn't be as bad as I feared. He spewed filth, disgusting sexual commentary, stupidity - yes, wealthy people can be stupid - and let those who desperately wanted him to be a Christian think that he was. He is not. Every word he says, every action he takes is the opposite of what Christ taught. But, surprise - he is exactly what he showed us.
It hasn't been bad as I feared - it has been far worse. I don't know why I am shocked at each new disgrace he brings to the highest office of our land. I am depressed by the daily news from Washington to the point that my family sometimes has to filter it for me. I am embarrassed and disgusted on so many fronts, you would doze off reading the endless list. With each passing day, his actions become more and more ridiculous, more and more heinous. I feel literal nausea at the very thought of what this person has done to us Americans. (I cannot bring myself to call him a man. My husband is a man. He is decent, honest and principled and far more deserves the title of man.) I wake up in the morning and only a minute or two passes before the cloud of fear and apprehension sifts back down. How can we continue to respect the office of President when he has done everything conceivable to cheapen it and bring shame to it? I feel like we are caught up in the old story "The Emperor's New Clothes." If you aren't familiar with that old tale, inbox me and I'll be happy to tell it to you.
The situation is beyond party lines, beyond "winning" or "losing," beyond whether you supported our former President(s) or not. trump is a narcissistic child, a spoiled, rotten, delusional caricature, a clown who is stupid and ignorant. But, don't ever think that stupid and ignorant cannot be cunning and dangerous. We are in danger, the United States is in danger. Everything right and honorable we were brought up to believe is in danger. He has slapped the honor and memory of the millions of people who died at the hands of monsters, of those who risked their lives - and lost them - to right a world turned insane by the rantings of a an insane tyrant. Not to mention the men of the Union Army, and the people in our own lifetime who risked, and lost, their lives to stand up to prejudice and ignorance and anger and march and say "We are equal!"
Yesterday I was so upset, filled with despair thinking about how all of this must be affecting friends and family who have seen those ugly, torch lit, distorted faces over and over again, chanting that they are not equal, not welcome. I was talking with a friend that I haven't known long, but I knew the first day we chatted that I really liked her, and that despite the fact that she grew up in Detroit and I in little industrial towns in northwest Ohio, we have a lot in common. And you know what? SHE made ME feel better! That gritty, gray cloud lifted because of her calm, wise words. And that is what we have to focus on and listen to: the flood, no, the tsunami of love and support and yes, anger and disbelief that the MAJORITY of the people who live in this country are feeling.
I also said the day after the election: "I will not be quiet." Our country is not perfect. It never has been. We are learning that the history we were taught left out a lot of people who mattered. We have a lot to be ashamed of, but we also have much to be proud of. Quit wasting time analyzing the actions of those people. There is no right, no reason to be found. We have got to make it clear that those rabid torch bearers are the real minority. This disgusting era must be quickly brought to an end and the only way is if WE REFUSE TO BE QUIET! As I write this, I don't know what opportunities will present themselves to help me add my voice, but I will do my best - and I WILL NOT BE QUIET!