Needing no stretch of the imagination, North Americans everywhere, including those that have left the country recently or long ago, are startled at how quickly the political landscape has changed and how frightening the future looks only a short time into the presidency of a game show host with a bad haircut and a foul mouth. And while there’s plenty of blame to go around on this one-the media who gave him airplay, the single-issue voters who ignored all but what they wanted to hear, the self-righteous who complained the Democrats didn’t offer a “good enough choice”, not to mention the big pharma that’s dumping opioids all over rural America-the toxic cocktail that brought him to power must be swallowed by all of us, like it or not.
Be brave my friends. 2017 is the Chinese Year of the Fire Rooster. Things are getting hot fast and there will be blood. There already is a shitload of blood that most of us aren’t exposed to in our schools, in our prisons, and in our ghettos. Many of us live outside of this chaos and can pretend it doesn’t exist but Jim Crowe lives on, gang violence is just beneath the surface in every community, while the most dangerous villains invoke religion in the quest to control their oblivious followers.
But while the marches continue, job layoffs increase, fuses shorten and the stock market will soon be so overvalued that it will self-correct, it is up to all of us to find ways to contribute to the solutions instead of be part of the problem.
So what does preparation look like?
- Arm yourself with spirit, patience, and courage-you’ll need an ample supply
- Keep breathing & help others stay calm (put your mask on first as they say on the plane)
- The answer to any crisis includes self-reflection so set aside 10 minutes each day to care for yourself
- Decide what your contribution will look like-writing, protesting, feeding the hungry, caring for the elderly, disenfranchised, sick, etc.
- Pay attention to news from reputable sources you trust
- Be proactive – it will help your spirit (bitching on social media doesn’t count)
- Surround yourself with family, friends, community and pets– support is critical
- Show up early and often and encourage peaceful change
- Things will no doubt get bloody – be prepared for that and stay alert
- Your calm brain is more powerful than your angry brain – don’t fool yourself
The above won’t be easy in the presence of the fear that will increase. Soon the threats will intensify and not only will the marginalized communities live in fear but the rest of will be tempted to acquiesce to the rhetoric. There are already large sectors of the population that believe the Hitler references are simply “post-war propaganda”. The white supremacists are well organized and lurking just below the radar. The last 8 years have taught us that racism isn’t even hiding-it lives right next door and targets anyone that doesn’t fit in. Fear and hatred toward gays and transgender is encouraged in many of the so-called Christian places of ‘worship’ in this land of the free. Slavery has been replaced by prisons where we isolate the marginalized unless we’ve found some excuse to shoot them before they are even brought to what is still called ‘justice’ in this country.
The good news is that most of us who threatened to leave this country if the circus came to town and won the election stayed put to fight the good fight. Running from our demons never works anyway and we know that from our history. Our ancestors already did that-they left behind homes, families, and the world they knew to strike out into the unknown for a better life. We are being asked once again to leave the comfort of our sanctuaries and venture into the unknown. Many of us stood up during the Vietnam war to protest an unacceptable situation. But we have been lulled into believing that just because they no longer show our bloody, dead children on the 6 o’clock news that no one is dying in the global turf wars. We’ve become immune to the terrorism justified by our eloquent leaders in expensive suits but let’s call a spade a spade.
My father, my husband, and my brothers, my relations on every side have all fought for their country because many of us have bought into this noble truth of ‘defending our homeland’. It keeps the population in check on the backs of our young and penniless. It gives the illusion that we are powerful and invisible. But our history is littered with dead bodies, broken communities, and a false sense of superiority. Worse yet, we do this in the name of God. Not only in this country but around the world. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is an edict in every religion however all faiths have “exceptions’ it seems. Between you and I, that’s BS. These exceptions are convenient, aren’t they?
It seems many of the systems that have defined us in the past are being destroyed and will need to be rebuilt. Let’s not do this violently people. I invoke Jesus, Gandhi and Martin. Let’s not start throwing things but I understand that some will feel it’s necessary. We already have that violent and ignorant world and we need a better model. Step up Boomers. This will be our legacy. All the women and men that marched 1/21/17 around the world could form a perfect coalition and be leaders here. There is no one else, there is only ourselves to do the hard work.