The State of the Union

26
Image by le vent le cri via Flickr Creative Commons.

 

(26 days into this new administration at the time of writing/deadline)

I’m finding it hard to breathe these days. Everything that I was fearful of on Nov. 9th, the morning after our election, has come to fruition… ten-fold.

We are 26 days into this nightmare and I wake up with a tight chest and a neverending sense of dread every morning. This new administration has successfully created a Blitzkrieg as their strategy as if those of us who oppose and challenge their decisions and choices on how they govern, per our right to do so, are the enemy of the state and we must be destroyed by means of wearing us down. Every day, multiple times a day, we are assaulted by something else that those now at the helm of our proverbial ship have done, said, tweeted, nominated, deflected, lied about, or signed.

So much so that I can’t catch my breath from the first attack before the next one comes screeching toward me like a WWII missile before it makes contact with its target… Make no mistake, I am (we are) its target. And the assault is working, to some extent. We’ve become hyper-focused on the newest, most immediate issue at hand in hopes of making our voices heard, while we’re still grappling with the feelings attached to the issues from yesterday, or a few hours ago. Coming down off the high from the Women’s Marches around the world, feeling empowered and recognized by our numbers and our passions, we then had to recycle our posters for the next protest just 24 hours later.

I and most of my inner circle are all suffering from outrage fatigue these days, and we simply don’t know what to do with ourselves. I find myself envious of those who have a laissez-faire attitude about our current state. Those that say, “There are enough stopgaps in place that won’t let him do that” or, “That could never happen.” Maybe it’s their own attempts at self-preservation and I should take a page from their book, but it’s fundamentally impossible for me to turn the other cheek. It’s both a blessing a curse to feel things so deeply.

The truth is this, I am scared and angry all of the time. Micro-aggression, along with threats to every other part of our daily lives (healthcare, women’s reproductive rights, our public school system, our national safety, the checks and balances that were put in place to thwart a fascist/ dictatorship, our very democracy, etc.), is now our reality and I just don’t know how to handle it, quite frankly.

We never get a respite, there seems to be simply no end in sight. Just when I feel as though some ground has been made, some rights have been protected (at least for the time being) and I can breathe a small sigh of relief that a particular catastrophe has been avoided or that our voices have been heard, here comes another CNN push notification on my phone. For just one day I would like to have nothing that makes me nervous and anxious about the future of our world and our collective rights.

Two and a half years ago, when I met with my then Editor over tea, and where the idea of this column was birthed, we were talking about our world, and more specifically, our country. He asked me what my honest opinion was about where we were heading, and my response was this: I told him that we were going to implode. That we were going to destroy ourselves from the inside out if we continued to treat our environment, and each other, the way that we were. Two and half years later I have never wished so much that I had been wrong.

Aside from the fact that the arrogance, ineptitude, corruption, and ignorance now in charge of our country is simply confounding; we now live with a president who rants simply because he likes nothing more in the world than to hear himself talk; unless, of course, you consider his second favorite past time which is to toot his own horn at every opportunity. Who was it that said, “The mark of true wisdom is knowing when to close your mouth”?

He’s the con man extraordinaire. Harold Hill couldn’t have done it any better when selling his 76 trombones. And enough people bought into his shtick, his vaudevillian performances of monkey dancing (this time, at a podium). He’s a pro at being a showman, all noise and not a lick of substance. He has lived his life like the perpetually bratty, entitled, teenage boy (every high school teacher knows exactly who I’m talking about) whose sense of arrogance is mind boggling.

He’s gotten along thus far because his daddy’s bank account never forced him to learn respect (unless he deems you worthy of such), accountability, compassion, or empathy, and he’s made a living off of his big mouth and overly inflated (and unjustified) ego. And, perhaps worse yet, are his “yes-men” (and women, Kellyanne I’m talking to you) that follow him around like a puppy dog, defending his un-American and wildly deplorable behavior because their paychecks, pride, and reputations count on it.

Worst yet, these loons that are now running our government think that we’re idiots. That we will blindly believe all of the stupid “alternative facts” that they throw at us. And when we push back by calling them on the carpet during an interview, or protesting in droves, or playing by the exact same rules of the game that they created years ago, or holding the floor for their horribly dangerous cabinet picks; then we’re all nothing but sore losers. Their favorite tagline as of late is, “haters gonna hate”, which I’m pretty sure I used to hear from the middle school kids I used to teach when they lacked the creativity to have a better comeback. As if there is absolutely no validity to our worries and concerns.

We’re seeing the disaster unfold and feel totally helpless, at least I do. We’re watching the child run out in front of the car and we can do nothing to stop her.

So where do we go from here? How do those of us who struggle with this misuse of power over our lives, deal day in and day out?

The conversations had with my tribe of fellow women warriors, and the links to spiritual and psychological perspectives we have come across on how to deal with a Trump world, that we send to each other often, seems never ending these days. We are all just desperately trying to find a way to get through this psychological warfare with the least amount suffering. At this point, we would all consider it a win if we can simply emotionally survive this; the idea of thriving through it all seems like nothing short of an unattainable luxury. What I know as an absolute is this, that our mental health must, now more than ever, be fiercely protected so that we can endure this kind of seemingly never ending trauma and continue on in this fight.

We have to find what we’re good at and use that to fight this new reality. From the lovely girl who knitted and sent me my very own p_ssyhat with love (that I am currently wearing as I write), to the clever protest sign creators, to the organizers and the storytellers, to Rachel Maddow who puts it all into perspective and connects the dots, and the brave men who stand with up with us for women’s rights, to (maybe) my very own superpower as a writer who is here to help others feel not so alone in this lunacy. We must, must, must use what have for the greater good in order to get through this.

I know this much to be true, it is a radical act of courage to stand up to a dictator and declare happiness and joy as one’s baseline emotion despite their attempts to destroy our will. While I can’t say that I’m there yet I certainly aspire to be, and some days that just has to be enough for now.

*****

Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and change agent. Find her at: www.TiffanysTake.com Instagram: Tiffanys_Take.columnist