How has it only been 2021 for a week?
Because the wild thing was that before Wednesday, I was feeling really optimistic about this year; and I still am, mind you, but with the caveat that the first chunk is going to be a B I T C H, and the rest might follow suit, unless some serious changes start happening seriously soon.
I mean, things were really going well! Sam was having a very smooth first week back to school–we’d done all his times tables up to 9, we’d finished out a unit on description and attributes and were moving on to the senses, both ABA and Sam’s therapy had started back up and were going well, and even my therapy started with a really good session that left me feeling excited and motivated for whatever comes next!
And then Wednesday.
I don’t talk a lot about my politics, at least partly because I don’t know how to politically define myself. Words don’t mean the same thing now as they used to; a lot of the terrorists on Wednesday were thrilled to call anyone who disagreed with them a Communist, which is not at all what the word means. I can’t define my stance on economic issues with a single word; I can’t define my stance on social issues with a single word.
Whenever I take the (imperfect) political compass test, I end up solidly in the green square, but as anyone else in the green square can tell you, that tells you the barest of minimums of what I believe and think; so much liberal and leftist political theory is so nuanced that I feel like I need a serious polisci degree to actually be able to answer the question.
But here’s what I believe, without definitions.
I believe that, if we are to have a government that we pay money into (and we should), that government’s job should be to look after the people, all of the people, so that nobody goes hungry, goes without a home, goes without healthcare. If the government can do something to prevent any of those things, I believe the government should do something to prevent those things; otherwise, what’s the point?
I don’t believe the United States is the greatest country to ever have countried. I couldn’t tell you what country is the greatest country to ever have countried, because it’s a rare country nowadays that doesn’t have blood on their hands in one way or another, skeletons in their closet, that sort of thing. Putting countries on pedestals is such a dangerous thing, because it’s not realistic. It can make you think that a country is infallible; it can blind you to the things other countries do right because they aren’t your personal favorite.
I believe that we have work to do, and will always have work to do; that’s the nature of humanity. We work to care for each other now, just as we did tens of thousands of years ago while painting pictures on the walls of caves. Society as a whole is at its strongest when we care for our weakest members; conversely, refusing to care for our weakest members is a pretty good sign that we’re heading into “fall of Roman Empire” territory, and that we should probably be on the lookout for marauding Goths.
I believe that all humans deserve to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect, no matter what they believe, the color of their skin, their ability or disability, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, the number in their bank account (or lack thereof), their nation of origin, their immigration status. At the same time, I understand the tolerance paradox: in order to promote true tolerance, the intolerant must not be tolerated.
(I also want to throw things when someone is like “hburr dhurr so much for the tolerant left” because none of us ever said we were tolerant of Nazis; that’s on you being a dumbass)
When I talk about politics, I don’t exaggerate to make a point. I grew out of that about 20 years ago. When I look at a group and say, “Wow, they seem like Nazis,” it’s not just me saying, “I disagree with them, and I must exaggerate to make myself look more right.” I don’t care about looking right or trying to paint my opponents worse than they are. When I say that someone looks a lot like a Nazi, I mean that someone looks a lot like a Nazi.
(which is such a pet peeve of mine; just because you called Obama a Nazi because you disagreed with him doesn’t mean that I’m doing the same thing when I say, “this person who wants to murder everyone not like them, who embraces fascist ideology, and has a literal swastika tattooed on their bicep is probably a Nazi”)
I don’t know why I’m enumerating all of that, except maybe to say that I’ve seen this coming since 2016. I remember when the election results made it clear what was going to happen; I was listening to Disturbed’s cover of “The Sound of Silence,” and I knew that if things didn’t go completely fascist, very quickly, they were at least going to try. And they are still trying, and I hate being right.
But the weirdest thing is how life goes on, you know? I was glued to the news all day and late into the night Wednesday, but Isaac still had ABA on Thursday, Sam still had therapy on Friday. I cleaned a lot of the playroom, breaking down Christmas boxes and putting away books. We had pizza delivered Friday night. I scheduled the twins’ preschool evaluation for this coming Friday.
You always expect that, during these Major Historical Events, everything just stops until things are resolved. Like whoa, hey, it’s Revolutionary War time, nothing is going on EXCEPT for battles with guns and ships and nobody is just living normal lives, but here we are. And shit, it’s the same all over the world. I remember reading one article recently where someone talked about how their camera roll had pictures of them out at a disco with their friends right after pictures of a building that was bombed just down the street from their house. The only thing that’s keeping life from moving forward more quickly is that there’s still a pandemic on, and even then, the vaccines should be widely available soon, so life will keep moving forward.
Are you supposed to keep working during a coup or can you take the day off?
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next ten days. I’m afraid of them. People will tell me that I’m overreacting, the same people who said I was overreacting in 2016, and I want to believe them. I’m not losing sleep over this, thankfully, because I’ve got good coping skills (we’re practicing “radical acceptance” and also “sleep meds” right now); I’m not even being fully disengaged from my daily life because of it, because what can I really do?
If I’m losing sleep, will it stop more QAnon cultist terrorists from rushing government buildings like my almost three-year-olds when they want to get through the gate to the playroom?
If I’m constantly refreshing the news, will it stop the occupant of the White House from deciding that if he’s going down, we’re all going down with him, and starting a nuclear war?
If I’m NOT constantly refreshing the news, will it prevent a peaceful transition of power on January 20? Will it stop the FBI from arresting everyone involved in this disaster at all levels?
What can I do? I donate, I protest, I speak up when I need to do so, I stay informed, I vote, I breathe. I want stability, for my kids, for their future–no child should grow up in a land torn apart by war–so I pray to whatever may be listening that things get better. I read a book and escape to another world for a little while. I have some ice cream after dinner and think that I should probably take up walking and running. I count down the hours until my appointment for my sciatica. I live.
Isn’t it weird? And yet, there it is.