it is not yet time to despair | THE POLITICUS

it is not yet time to despair

There is much wrong, in our society,in our economics, in our politics.

Each of us might also be able to find things wrong in our personal situations.  Certainly my own health has been far from robust, with two operations, one each of the past two Novembers. My job situation is far from ideal.

But I am employed.

Through my wife’s employment we both have excellent health insurance which covers medical bills that for either of us could have led to bankruptcy without it.

Our cats are both older, with health issues, but they still grace our lives, and we can manage to care for them.

We live in Virginia, where we saw a major political shift only two weeks ago, one matched with similar results recently ranging from suburban Philadelphia to Oklahoma.

Yes, there are things that are disturbing — Trump packing the judiciary with right wing nuts who are unqualified immediately comes to mind.  So does the possibility of legislation and executive actions that can further gut what is good in this country.

And yet, I see the bad as perhaps the last gasp of an ancien regime.  For all the wealth of the likes of the Koch Brothers and some of the semi-libertarians in some of the disruptive corporations that have arisen, I also I see a new energy in people pushing back, a new activism at the grass roots level.

So I find myself making a distinction between what I might hope for as we go forward and my own role, which as I age I expect to continue to diminish.

If we can financially manage it, this will probably be my last year as a full-time classroom teacher.  Perhaps in a different setting I might be willing to continue for one or two more years.  Still, I will be 72 in May, I tire far more easily, and the health issues now begin to occur with shorter intervals in between. I note that this past May at the 50th reunion for my original college class a good deal of our conversation was the sharing of different health situations we have encountered in recent years.

There are still books I want to read, places I would like to see.

I still have a desire to be useful, but I begin to accept that I may have to redefine how I will accomplish that.

But beyond that, I want the time and energy to simply enjoy, to be able to savor small things:  the warmth of a cat curling up in my lap,  having time to get to know two small nieces I do not really know who are curious about me, taking a walk in woods either near our house or perhaps out in the country after a leisurely drive.

Frankly, there are times when I want to totally disconnect from the politics that are hard to avoid both because I teach government & politics and because I live in the immediate national capital area.

I look at all that is in the news, and I find I am surprisingly hopeful.  It is not that I necessarily expect a Democratic wave in 2018, or even that I am making a prediction about the Alabama Senate race. Rather it is that i am seeing some shifts that are encouraging, starting with the willingness of women to step up and speak out.  This began with the Women’s March in response to Trump’s inauguration, which I think set the stage both for the media’s willingness to push hard on issues of sexual harassment and worse, and the willingness of some women to go on the record against their abusers, whether in Hollywood, TV, or politics.

Perhaps it is also because I have spent so much time with young people, whose attitudes on many things are very different than the older white folks who are still propping up the Republicans in Congress and serve as part of Trump’s base.

Perhaps it is as well seeing people who traditionally were Conservatives and who have been shocked by Trump and thus more open to more liberal and progressive possibilities.

I realize I may be wrong.  I may be very deluded.  I am sure some may choose to remind me about my inaccuracies on the 2016 election, to which I would be tempted to respond that Clinton still won the popular vote, that the polling did not pick up how much voter suppression there was, that no one could predict Comey’s 2nd letter, and that I do not totally rule out manipulation of election results in at least a few states (Georgia being a prime example, but not the only one). Ultimately all of that is irrelevant.

What is clear is this:  if we are, personally and/or politically, at the point of despair, then this site no longer matters, our efforts are pointless, and we are left with the choice between total withdrawal and effective suicide.  If we despair then we believe nothing we do matters any more.  Then what is the point of going on?

No matter how bad things may be, there is always hope.

So let me end this with some humor.  Perhaps if you know the film, you feel some inspiration?



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