I posted this earlier today, after yet another call to sign a petition showed up in my Facebook news feed:
I've always had a feeling that these petitions were an exercise in futility. Last week's story about Paul Ryan absenting himself from the delivery of petitions from Planned Parenthood certainly reinforced that feeling. Think about it for just a minute: If the GOP-controlled Congress intends to ram through legislation over the objections of the minority in the House and Senate, it certainly has zero interest in hearing from the people represented by that legislative minority. Petitions are a waste of time. Ditto phone calls and emails to the offices of Congressional representatives. Congress has demonstrated repeatedly over the past eight years that they have little regard for the actual will or even the welfare of the American people.
The past nine weeks have been a struggle for me, as they have for much of the nation. It has been difficult to watch the days of perhaps the last sane presidency of our republic tick away...we're down to seven, now. The horrendous bloodbath that was the 2016 election left us all so drained that we literally cannot face the fear and dread that lies like a stone in our hearts. Haven't we all held out a shred of hope that Trump would somehow, against all odds, rise to this challenge and at least start acting like an adult, if not entirely presidential? Haven't we all been secretly waiting for some sign that surely things will not turn out as badly as we think they will?
But Trump continues to comport himself like an obnoxious, entitled 12-year-old who has never been taught the meaning of the word "no" and has no intention of ever learning it. He tweets garbage, selects obvious misfits for important government posts just for the sensational value of it, picks fights with the press, sticks out his tongue and calls anyone who disagrees with him a "loser..." His inspiring New Year's missive to the American people was a taunt to his "enemies"--which, if one considers the results of the popular vote, would refer to over half of those very American people--crowing playground bully-talk about what losers they were.
So, no...there is not one tiny shred of hope emanating from Trump or his suddenly sycophantic Republican Congress. The hopelessness is paralyzing. How many of us have been tempted to simply turn away from this fiasco and try to live quietly and genuinely until it all explodes? I know I have.
This evening, I was sitting in, of all places, a bar in a bowling alley in Klamath Falls Oregon. Country music was blaring from the stage where karaoke would begin at 9:00 pm sharp. And, almost by reflex, I was starting to feel a curmudgeonly resentment toward these people in this area of the state, whom I do not know but am convinced are my political "enemies"--no doubt leaning as far right as I do left.
And then it hit me: We've got to stop hating each other.
That's what we have to do. The hate, the division, the side-taking...it's got to stop.
Because that's where the power of those who would destroy this country comes from. From hate. We call each other "the enemy." We spew filth at each other on a daily basis. We've escalated from verbal assault upon our neighbors to cyber-bullying and, finally, deadly violence. Beatings. Rapes. Shootings. Riots.
And in our nation's capitol, we have 535 of our duly chosen "representatives" carrying out what they believe is OUR mandate to hate (or maybe we are carrying out theirs; it's become a chicken/egg thing...impossible to distinguish which came first.) We've even elected ourselves a Hater-in-Chief. We're no longer the United States of America. We're the Divided States of Hate.
It has to stop. And WE can stop it. At a very grass roots level. In our neighborhoods, in our villages and towns and cities, we have to stop hating each other. THAT is what we can do. All the petitions and phone calls and emails and tweets and Facebook statuses and blog posts we can muster will not produce the result of We The People physically laying down our swords and our clubs, joining together and refusing to continue to hate.
THIS is what needs to be organized. THIS is the thing into which we need to pour our hearts, our blood, sweat and tears. We need to join together and STOP THE HATE.
Once we stop hating, our god-forsaken joke of a government can continue to stall, or stagnate or even explode, and we'll weather the storm. Because we'll care about each other, and we'll take care of each other.
We are all we have, my friends. And that is not a bad thing.
There are 319 million of us. We are...HUGE!