I really am a pessimist. I’ve always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It’s something essentially splendid because it’s not at all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory.
~ Normal Mailer
I don’t tune in to the news first thing in the morning. I wait until I’ve done most of my morning routine. It was warm this morning, barefoot warm. I went out to watch the sunrise, to feel the grass and earth beneath my feet. The sky to the east was lit up in an arc of yellow, the light shooting up through the clouds. A kettle (a flock, a group) of turkey vultures were gliding around in the area lit up by the rising sun. Two bald eagles were up there with them (eagles are opportunists and will eat whatever the vultures happen to find). The wind was blustery, gusting, coming up from the south, carrying a tinge of salt from the water we are almost surrounded by. As I watched, the wind blew itself through the trees on the horizon just as the big ball of the sun appeared. Birds, trees, wind, and clouds were all dancing in the light. Large, fat raindrops began to drop from the sky.
Reading this morning’s news gave it all a more ominous feel. Dark clouds looming overhead, vultures circling and looking for the dead, eagles ready to swoop in and steal from the vultures, the light of the sun being swallowed by the clouds, and the sky shedding mourning tears. Our small herd of white-tailed deer who show up every morning to romp and run races and play on the front lawn were nowhere to be seen today. In what one could call a bit of foreshadowing, I was chased by a rabid raccoon the other day.
It’s all a matter of perception and interpretation, isn’t it?
(Side note: I’ve decided this is probably how I will die — in a panic, doing the one stupid thing I shouldn’t do because I don’t know how to react to situations like this other than in panic. I ran when maybe I should have faced the animal and stood my ground. The raccoon pursued and emitted high-pitched vocal sounds. He stopped when M showed up in response to all the noise — screaming and yelling — I was making. I don’t know if it was the noise or seeing another person that finally caused the raccoon to turn and leave, but whatever it was, I’m thankful he did. M said he heard a gunshot a little later, and has speculated that maybe Lloyd, our neighbor down the road, saw the raccoon and shot it.)
Fueled by a hateful, evil, maniac who is considered a world leader, bigotry and hate are being encouraged to spread. A question: What are you going to do about it? At what point are good people going to declare that enough is enough? (Well, those are probably rhetorical questions because — what CAN you do about it?)
I have spent the past 11 weeks or so away from the news cycle. Not completely away from it because there is this need to stay informed and that need, since the last presidential election in this country, stems mostly from fear. I look at the Washington Post or the television news to make sure the world isn’t about to be blown to smithereens. I look because it’s a little like a train wreck or a car accident and, being human, it’s hard to look away. I check the news because there is a part of me who hopes, who believes in the good guys, and who wants to stay informed in case there is something, anything, I can do.
I’ve noted, in conversations and in comments on other blogs, that as long as most of us are comfortable in our lives, as long as we are not the vulnerable and the threatened, nothing will be likely to change. We don’t need it to change so it’s easy to sit back and believe that positive thinking, meditation on world peace, writing the occasional blog post, and/or burying our heads in the sand is okay, is the best we can do, is the only way we know of to promote change. I am not judging or condemning anyone for this. I’ve written about my own lack of bravery in this regard, my own inability to use my voice, to rise up, to be a part of the change I wish to see.
So, I have to ask myself this question, almost on a daily basis now: What are you going to do about it? The answer is always, “I don’t know.” I am not a leader. I may not even be a very good follower.
Sometimes I think that the best thing would be for everyone, everywhere, to go on strike. To stop consuming. To shut it all down. But I also know how unrealistic that is. The basest of the base continue to support the hatred and bigotry. Who knows what will fill the vacuum if we did shut it all down? Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, or so they say.
Two statements, one from an interview yesterday, another from from 1941:
I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
Today I’m the head of the strongest Army in the world, the most gigantic Air Force and a proud Navy. Behind me stands The Party with which I became great and which has become great through me…Our enemies must not deceive themselves—our people have never been more united.
Hard to tell the difference, isn’t it?
So, the question remains: What, if anything, are we going to do about what is happening in this world?
The New Zealand shooting should remind us of how connected we are. The only way forward is through coexistence, not isolationism. Condemn hate. Embrace compassion. We’re all spinning through space on this tiny, blue island together. Be kind. There is courage in kindness.
~ Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness)