Trying to find my voice

The morning after the election of Donald J Trump remains one of the worst my worst mornings in recent times. The sheer level of anger I felt was frightening, both to myself and my partner who I was with at the time. The one constant image in my head was inspired by Michael Moore’s program on why we should elect Hillary Clinton. It was just this clear image of a dark horizon aglow with the red and orange hues of distant fire. On the inside, I was burning just as much.

As much as I hate Trump, my anger against Hillary was equal in intensity. A day before the election, I saw her doing a rally in Cleveland, being introduced by Lebron James. It reminded me of a scene from Apocalypse Now regarding USO shows.

“Charlie didn’t get much USO. He was dug in too deep, or moving too fast. His idea of R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat. He only had two ways home: death or victory.”

Hillary was giving us one big USO show, with a smugness, arrogance, and entitlement they can only be expressed on Saturday Night Live and endorsements by basketball stars. In the meantime, Trump was in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, etc. Trump was doing the equivalent of eating rice and rat meat, stirring up his base and stoking up a nationalist fervor that none of us liberals could even recognize.

And here we are.

On the surface, this country becomes more and more entrenched. Apparently we only have a binary choice: Trumpism or socialism. Conservatism or liberalism. American or un-American. Us or them.

There’s one thing I know about binary choices: they are a cognitive distortion. They distort everything from scientific research to social and governmental policy. Binary choices are false choices, an abstraction of reason that, if allowed to go unchecked, prevents thought and action to move forward in a constructive manner.

This is the essential nature of the dialectic: objectively analyzing both extremes and finding a middle solution that combines the characteristics of both extreme choices into one manageable decision. A logical and practical path forward.

The thing is, where is that middle ground? Both sides of the debate, Republican and Democrat, attempt to drown one another out and prevail by force of will. We see this in our media, the news coverage, the political commentary, the very networks that are our sources for information. We are given a binary choice: Fox News or MSNBC/CNN. Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow/Anderson Cooper. It’s a false choice, but unless someone or something emerges from the middle,  they look like the only choice to make.

I don’t know if I will write anything after this, or how long it’ll take to do so. All I know is that the constant bombardment from both sides of the American political spectrum are numbing. I either internally react with rage and fury at the other side, or I try to avoid the whole thing altogether and numb out on some sort of distraction.

Covid-19 is making it very hard to do that. The current pandemic is brutally exposing fatal weaknesses on both sides of the argument. This is going to have a cultural and political impact unlike anything else we have experienced in our lifetimes. With the exception of World War II veterans: I think they went through something that was actually worse.

We are not going to survive this by being a Republican or a Democrat. Liberal and conservative solutions will fail. One could easily state that after the stimulus package was passed, we are all socialists. I don’t believe this is true. But I do believe it is a once in a generation opening for a more substantive and meaningful discussion. Because at this very moment, there is no manual for coping or survival. We are all writing this book as it unfolds. If nothing else, I think will be interesting to see where all this goes.

And I’d like to see if I can find my voice…

One thought on “Trying to find my voice

  1. I am not political. I am loving, compassionate, empathic, and kind, but politics and the anger they can provoke, overwhelm me. I’ve been witness to this political anger from family, friends, acquaintances, Facebook, newspapers, news commentary, and the writer himself. I do not handle this type of conflict very well and definitely do my best to stay clear of it.

    However, the writer asked many questions that continuously run through my mind such as on both sides of the debate where is the middle ground? When he talks about cognitive distortions it causes me to stop and think, do I let my mind convince me of something that really isn’t true? Have I actually taking the time to research the truth or am I just relying on the news or a trusted friend? I think politically what is going on now is a wake up call to all of us.

    This writer echoed my thoughts when he said, “the constant bombardment from both sides of the American political spectrum are numbing.” I agree and often don’t feel I have much of a choice, that using my voice will not make a difference in the big picture. This is the reason I don’t get excited about political elections even though I always vote. I just feel there’s not much in the way of a choice that reflects the way I think. Often I feel it’s choosing the lesser of the two evils. I realize though that those negative thoughts won’t serve the higher purpose. So…

    We do have a choice.

    I think one of the many lessons in these uncharted times is I will have to use my voice. I believe this time in our history is raising our consciousness and energy. How we humans will change the world is in how we interact and treat one another. A circle of love, respect, tolerance, self-awareness, personal responsibility, and charity, is what I see emerging. I think there is definitely a significant message to what is happening. We all have a spiritual purpose, a mission, and through this historical event I think we will become a more actualized people. On a personal level and on a collective level doing all we are capable of, for not only self-fulfillment but for the betterment of humanity.

    Now is a good time to disclose that I know this writer personally, but I also want you to know that I believe in this writer‘s voice, his ability with his written words to affect change in policy. I personally don’t think he’s lost his voice, it sounds to me that he knows exactly where he wants to go with it. That of course, will be up to him. He has my vote of confidence and I look forward to his next blog!

    Also, I am a Harry Potter fan and two quotes keep running through my head by Professor Dumbledore that I think speak to current events.

    1. “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
    2. “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”

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