By Tiffany A. Potter
I have been listening to a lot of folk music from the “60’s and ‘70’s, lately. I didn’t realize it at first but became more aware of it when I chose to watch my third PBS special on it. An entire genre of music devoted to peace. Creating it, finding it, protesting in the name of it, and choosing to sing about it because of feeling helpless in any other capacity to make one’s voice heard when dealing with Big Brother and the politics of the time. Peace, a simple concept profoundly difficult to obtain if it is not the end goal of every individual involved.
At time of deadline, as I sit and write, our news channels are saturated with the violence drenched political rallies of one particular republican presidential hopeful. Forgive me if I don’t call him by name but the mere sight of his face, let alone his name rolling off of my tongue, makes me sick to my stomach; so I refuse to sully my column with his (Americanized) name if at all possible. And while I can’t anticipate what our country will look like in two short weeks when this comes out in print, I can’t imagine that he, his camp, and many of his supporters will have turned over a new leaf to a more civilized way of being.
I am not physically sick of him because he is from a different political party than I; I can get along with and respect anyone from either side of the aisle regardless of our differing deeply entrenched views and beliefs of how our country should operate. I am physically sick of him because I oppose any level of rude, crass, egotistical, racist-supportive behavior of violence. The egging on of his supporters to solely feed his ego turns my stomach and, frankly, makes me want to throw up. A visceral reaction to a hostile antecedent is what I have been experiencing and frankly, my only respite has been listening to folk music. I find the quiet in the storm wherever and however I can, it’s one of my best coping abilities honed by necessity, present moment included.
But worse than him alone as an individual is the fact that the idiocracy of this country has helped to create, shape, and support this maniacal monster. When he blatantly made fun of a disabled reporter for the sake of laughs and proving a (false) point what frightened me most is that no one of merit, certainly not an entire group of people who made their feelings known in the polls to hit him where it hurts, took a stand and called him out of his childish and inappropriate move to gain political traction. When he has shown overt racist behavior and been applauded rather than booed, the monster grew bigger, louder, and even more dangerous. And worst yet, I fear with every part of my being that he is now unstoppable. And we did it. The loudest, most vile, most violent, most dangerous, most uneducated of us, the ones who only needed a “leader” (I use that word sparingly) to justify their bad behavior, are the ones to blame. And I don’t see it getting better.
In the beginning he was dismissed and given permission to behave as the petulant, ill-informed child that he is because some called him “entertaining”, but I saw this coming all along. I knew that we began traveling down a road that couldn’t end well. And while all road signs point to sending our country over a proverbial cliff up ahead I feel utterly helpless to do anything about it. And that terrifies me. Nervous tummy and feelings of dread and disgust follow me everywhere these days. And while I live by the belief that love will always win, I have to say that for the first time in my natural born life I can’t find comfort in that because truthfully, I don’t know that it will this time. We are on the precipice of our country, our global community, and our lives changing because of one irresponsible individual that is drunk with power given to him by the hands of the people. Ah democracy, a blessing and, at times, a curse.
I struggled with whether or not to give this topic a physical space in my world in the form of my column. I worry that by putting more voice to the awful behavior that I am aiding in his rise in some way. And then I thought about this, that I couldn’t live with myself if I don’t speak up in any way that I can, make my voice heard in opposition of these antics that seem to get worse every day, and speak love and tolerance, unity, compassion, and peace into the world. If good really does prevail over hate than consider this my platform, my declaration, to stand for, and believe in, love, goodness, and acceptance always. And perhaps, if someday I have a child of my own, I don’t want to have to explain why I sat by and said nothing.
I feel helpless (and, dare I say, damn near hopeless) in a way that I never have before. I’m finding it hard to find the positive in this situation that we as a country currently find ourselves in. So for now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go eat some more Tums, play with my animals that bring me so much joy, and listen to Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Peter Paul and Mary, and some Simon and Garfunkel on repeat.
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under Heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sow
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late…”
Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and change agent. Find her at: www.TiffanysTake.com Instagram: Tiffanys_Take