My friend, Lidia Yuknavitch, says to put my frustration with what is happening in the USA right now on paper. “Write!” she commands! And so I shall.
I bought myself a fragrant flower in the grocery store today. It is sitting on my kitchen sink – visible as I go about the mundane tasks of daily life. It smells delicious. I need something positive to fill my environment right now, even if it is a just pretty, fragrant flower.
This is not how I expected to spend my elder years, watching the country I love disintegrate hour by hour at the hands of a madman. I find it unimaginable to understand how Trump supporters can not see what is happening. It is plain to all – right out there in front of the whole world. When Hitler seized power in Germany, it was before the internet and the wide dissemination of information. He duped the German people with time-tested psychological techniques used by dictators throughout the ages. But aren’t we supposed to be smarter than to let that ever happen again? Don’t we have the instant ability to fact-check what we are being told from a variety of sources? Have we become so selfish and blind that we are tolerating what is happening to our fellow human beings in our own country as well as other countries? It appears that many people in our country who voted for Trump refuse to see or understand that we are teetering on the precipice of a disaster we can’t undo.
I have a difficult time understanding how the many people I know, who consider themselves Christians, can tolerate what is happening. I can’t understand how they can read and study what the Bible says are Christ’s very words, and then refuse to actually follow those precepts. Its so simple and mostly spelled out in Matthew 25. These are not difficult concepts that require a theological degree to follow. How can they continue to excuse and support our leader of the free world whose Executive Orders violate all of Christ’s teachings? Don’t tell me that we live in a Christian nation, and then refuse to speak up when the very basis of Christianity is being gutted.
The division of our citizens is deep, and sadly, looks irreparable. I have lost my best friend over this. She supports Trump, and I attended the Women’s March in Washington, DC last week, to protest the Trump agenda. The rift has torn at my heart almost like a death. I love her dearly and will miss the close friendship we shared for the past 4 years. I hear this same thing from many other people who have had this happen with their own friends and family members. How sad that there is no longer any ‘middle ground.’ That concept has been destroyed on a daily basis since January 20 and I see no end other than a common disaster that I fear will happen any day.
I marched against the war in Viet Nam in the 60s-70’s. I was much, much younger then. Now I am elderly and find myself again marching in the streets to protest an even more complex, threatening, and immediate evil. The uprising of citizens in those days got rid of Nixon and helped end the war sooner than it would have ended. It was satisfying to see that ordinary citizens could actually change policy by taking action when it became intolerable. I never expected to have to be marching again at 72 years old, but I will continue as long as it takes and I am able, to bring this despicable chapter in our history to an end. There were 13 women from our extended family marching in Washington, DC last week. We spanned three generations. I walked with my 13 year-old granddaughter beside me, sharing a commitment to the same values of our family down through the ages.
Trump’s ban on refugees and Muslims from a select few predominately-Muslim countries is particularly odious. He did not include countries where he has business interests, even though some of those very Middle Eastern countries have been the source of terrorist attacks around the world. Particularly, Saudi Arabia, which was the home country of most all of the 911 attackers. My family has a long history of taking in and assisting refugees. My grandparents sponsored and took in a family of 7 Jewish Russians fleeing the growing mayhem in their country in the 1930s. They also sponsored, and took in for a year, a Hungarian family of 6 fleeing the Hungarian Revolution in the 1960s. My parents sponsored and took in a family of 4 fleeing the terror in Viet Nam in the 1970s, sharing their home with them for 2 years helping them get established in our country. My father spent his last days working every day at an orphanage in Mexico in the 1990s. These are the values and examples I grew up with. My family considered themselves Christians – not just in words, but in how they lived their lives. They were not perfect, but I follow these basic tenets, not for fear of Hell or the rewards of Heaven, but because I believe them to be part of being a decent person with a concern and love for my fellow humans. I do not need to belong to any particular church to do or follow these things.
I will continue to spend a part of every day fighting against this monstrous evil brewing in our country. It is not how I wish to spend my ‘golden years.’ I miss my friend terribly. We were two elder ladies sharing our art interests, and our love of our dogs, and our retired lives, and our community interests, and contributions. We were in touch nearly every day. Trump’s election has destroyed that. It pricked a boil, and out is coming all the venomous infection washing over all of us that I never really saw was there.
I so hope some kind of healing will occur before it spreads too far and it is too late.