I like to think I’m a thoughtful and rational guy. Lately it seems that I am questioning myself more and more. I wonder, is it just me? I get that uncertain feeling because I believe, societally, we are shifting away from civilized behavior. I believe an emboldened racism, xenophobia and misogyny threatens to make the world suck even more than it already does with regard to that kind of ugliness. Not so long ago we had hoped that progress was being made with regard to the more noble elements of humanity. And now, it seems, to have all come crashing down.
There are numerous reports of rising anxiety and even depression as people sense that something is slipping away. Stories of threats, bullying and actual violence permeate the news. Moneyed interests consolidate power and beholding politicians acquiesce at best and enthusiastically comply with the sellout of individual protections. Not to be too hyperbolic but it feels as if some of the policies coming out of Washington legitimately have the feel of institutionalized oppression. And why? In almost every example profits are to be made or power is to be gained. Economic policies are exacerbating income inequality and social issues are being leveraged to polarize the populace within our gerrymandered borders. And nobody is trying to hide it anymore. These are extraordinary times.
The stories of beatings and detention and bullying and threats in the news are heartbreaking. It is inconceivable that people can be like they are when they commit such atrocities. The words from empowered leaders expressing disdain for the concerns of those in their constituency which did not put them in place are dumbfounding. The fact that certain religious institutions condone all of the above is disgusting and the lack of a clear centralized voice in opposition to these forces is absent and alarming.
So I ask again. Is it just me? This stuff keeps me up at night. About the time I start to think things are getting hopeless a report will come out describing someone speaking truth to power or news of coalitions forming by divergent and/or intersectional risk groups. There is growing participation in town halls and people are taking to the streets in the most likely and unlikely places. There is a free press that is energized and hungry to remind us they are professionals no matter how badly we treat them. We seem to be finding a rare unity around common values and embracing the individual strengths of each other to persist and resist. Like a pendulum, when all of it seems so hopeless and insurmountable, we need to remind ourselves that we are many, we are strong and we will push back. We got this.
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