“I’m talking about the safe place we remain in, within the world we were born to. Swimming forever in the confines of our own pond….Today we are stepping outside your pond.” Maisie Dobbs
For the past year and a half I have been wondering what I can do in my little part of the world to contribute to making the world a little better. I figured teaching tough kids in a tough school counted. And it did count. It was incredibly difficult both physically and emotionally. But it was also incredibly rewarding. I felt like I helped. Now, newly retired, I’m wondering again.
As a believer that things tend to show themselves at the right times, I’m waiting, patiently waiting for the right thing to show itself while enjoying this much needed rest. Then Kavanaugh came into play. And I realized that with all the evil things going on in our country what stands out the most is the pure cruelty of it all. The cruelty of the president, the most powerful person on our planet, easily mocking a woman who’s been sexually assaulted. Mocking the disabled. Mocking Vietnam Vets who were Prisoners of War. And we laugh. As horrible as it is to hear this man say these things, it’s even more disturbing to watch his crowd laugh. What on Earth has gone so very wrong for this to be the new normal, the new “it’s OK to be cruel”? Bullying is back. And it’s back with a vengeance.
It’s not hard to understand why a child behaves with cruelty. Abusive and/or neglectful environment, trauma, chemical imbalance, poor nutrition, intense poverty … all those things can play a part into such behaviors from a challenging child. But adults? And so many of them? And so consistently? And so openly? And to applause?
When this administration is done (if it will leave willingly is still to be seen), it is the downright cruelty that it will be remembered for. Sure its lack of action on climate change will surely be remembered and felt for many lifetimes, its taking over of the lower courts too, as well as its Supreme Court pics. They are all what will surely be remembered. But I believe that it is the war on women and vulnerable peoples that will leave its most lasting impression. Just one case in point is the separation of children who have fled intense violence, locking them up in cages, and then not reuniting them with their families. That is about as low as you can go and as cruel as you can get. This really is no different than what Nazis did during WWII. They demonized a population of people and then took them away. We are doing that again today just as we did to slaves, Japanese Americans during WWII, and Indigenous peoples for over 500 years.
A compassionate society would be up in arms by this but many in ours just shrug and says it’s ok, that it is the way it should be. I find that horrific. Sad. Debilitating really. Sad that something so unimaginable can be carried out so easily. We did this. We are doing this. So how do we stop it? How do we bring compassion and empathy back? How do we get our country back again? Well, there lies one problem. Those are the wrong questions to ask. Because we never really did have that compassionate country we want to remember through out white privileged rose colored glasses. I’m ashamed I have worn those glasses for so long. Since the day the first white man stepped foot on this soil 500 years ago we began the cruel inhumanity that continues today. Taking kids away from their parents isn’t new. We’ve been doing it for 500 years to native peoples around our country. I recently learned that it was still happening in Maine only 50 years ago and probably around the country as well.
So how do we step out of our safe little pond, as Maisie so perfectly described it, and work for compassionate change? Yes, that’s a better question. Well, for one we register to vote and then we vote. We help our family and friends register to vote and then help them vote. (Absentee Ballots are wonderful things. Democrats in power please embrace this!) And when we vote, we vote for men and women who work for equality for all peoples. We call out our corporate controlled system, both in the GOP and the DNC. And in this year, 2018, it means we do not vote for Republicans, ever. The GOP has been hijacked by the extreme conservative “Christian” right. They do not look like any Christians I know. Even moderate GOP politicians step in line with the Koch held GOP. Do not listen to the hatred coming from the GOP. They have one goal and one goal only and they are well on their way to achieving that goal. And that goal is to enrich themselves with as much money as they can for those at the very top, and keep the rest of us under their shoes fighting over the scraps.
So what will speak to each one of us? I’m anxious to find out and I sure as heck hope it hurries up.
Use your voice. Share your voice. Do not be silenced. Work for equality and justice for all. Peace, love, and solidarity,