I, along with millions of other Americans, have been struggling to figure out how to move on in a political atmosphere rife with repressive, regressive, punitive and prejudicial attitudes. Along with millions of others, I am trying to sort through the thousands of social, economic and cultural variables that conspired plunk our governmental in this quagmire. Somehow, we went from a democracy to an autocracy, from a place where immigrants formed the foundation of our national fabric, to a chauvinistic climate that favors racism and elitism. We went from a land that applauds and strives to ensure civil rights, women’s rights, reproductive freedoms, gender equality, social justice, economic and academic opportunities, freedom of the press and equality under the law, to one that permits blatant abuse of power, racism and classism.
For months I’ve been saying we are at the brink of a revolution, way before the ballots were counted, my inner soothsayer warned of impending disaster. I felt the air of discontent surging from the tired remnants of Nixon’s Silent Majority, erupting from Jerry Farwell’s impassioned Religious Right and spewing forth from enraged rioters in Baltimore’s Freddie Gray case. Across our land, this land of the free, pockets of discontent have grown, expanded and blended ideas with our social outliers. Fringe groups moved toward center and center spread toward the fringes; the KKK, neo-Nazis and survivalists linked arms as they marched to the ballot box spurred on by their communal sense of disenfranchisement and the delusion that they had finally found their leader. Meanwhile the contented, self-absorbed non-voters stayed home popping their popcorn and watching their soaps, unaware that a coup d’état was fomenting just outside their doors.
You can call it what you wish, a coup, a revolution or another civil war, but nothing changes the fact that our government has been over-turned or turned-over to someone whose most fundamental desire is self-aggrandizement. Without respect for or in-depth knowledge of our Founding Fathers and the government they established, this quasi monarch seeks to create change via destruction not legislation. As to our cherished “balance of power” well, given the practicalities of rumor and Twitter, that’s questionable at this point. Although the powers of the Executive Branch are constitutionally limited to avoid the possibility that we are now facing, party affiliation and overt threats of unabashed revenge are likely to keep all but the most well defended Senators and Representatives muzzled.
These are some of my views on the realities of what happened, how it happened and what we are now facing. So how do we get out of this mess? Well no easy answer, but what little I know about systems theory might help. When there is a change, a drastic change that creates imbalance in a system, a family, the environment, a country there are of necessity reactions to that change. Necessary reactions and responses will create further changes because one change in a system has to lead to others. Okay have you had enough with the theories?
Here’s my advice, the advice I can give at this moment in time, of course, susceptible to change. Find and connect with other like-minded people, find an issue you care about and want to advocate for, start promoting the you believe in because, here’s the big message: to act as if you are powerless reinforces a bully’s power. Make that your slogan for the week. “Powerlessness reinforces a bully’s power. I am not powerless.” Think about it and do whatever you can to counteract the undertow of acquiesce, complacency and passivity. Talk, write, march, volunteer or contribute.
I’m with you.