Friday, May 11, 2018

I've got another confession to make

Has someone taken your faith?
It's real, the pain you feel
The life, the love you'd die to heal
The hope that starts the broken hearts
You trust, you must
Is someone getting the best
The best, the best, the best of you?
~~ "The Best of You" by The Foo Fighters
I'm not very happy with myself over the past couple of days. Maybe even weeks.
I've found myself irritable and ready to lash out online (not in person and not to anyone I'm close to). When I'm feeling that way, I try to figure out what is getting under my skin.
It wasn't hard to put my finger on it.
I am disgusted by what is going on in our country right now but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not just disgusted by the stupid policy decisions. I'm disgusted by the shortsightedness, the crassness, the viciousness, the hatred, the bigotry, the willful ignorance, the denigration of our justice and law enforcement institutions, the hypocrisy, the rabid sycophancy, and the sheer dumbfuckery that I'm seeing every goddamn day.
And I'm not just disgusted. I'm disheartened, I'm saddened, I'm embarrassed, I'm shocked (still, amazingly), I'm heartsick...
...and I'm angry. I mean, there are times when I feel so angry that I can barely process it. I seriously want to cut a bitch sometimes. I feel stabby way too often.
I've been feeling this way for a while but it really culminated over the past couple of days. Two things:
First, the Vulgar Talking Yam and his pet ghost were in my city. MY city, the one I love so much for its progress, diversity, efforts to make things better for all its citizens, and our beloved Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The "president" and vice-president (my former Governor, thank science, but I'm sorry America) landed in my city and then traveled to another city a few miles east, where I also used to live. It is a much more Republican county than ours, so it didn't surprise me that they moved their rally so that they could get more rabid supporters to pack the high school gym.
I know there is no scientific or rational basis to this, but it bothered me greatly knowing that they were both here. Almost as if there were a disturbance in the Space-Time Continuum. It felt like bad mojo was in the air. When I heard the jets take off after the rally, it made me feel rage to hear them flying over our airspace. I walked out onto the deck and flipped the double bird at the sky. I felt a little bit better.
Second, a low-level White House aide made a joke about how Senator John McCain isn't backing the choice of Gina Haspel for CIA Director because of her compliance with our recent horrible history of torture. She said, "It doesn't matter...he's dying anyway."
HAHAHAHA that is so fucking funny. The guy with an inoperable brain tumor, the guy who spent five years as a POW in Vietnam, is dying!
But what's really funny is that that aide still has her job. And even more hilarious is that the White House refuses to apologize or censor her for her comments! Is that a laff-riot, or what?! Wheeeee!
Listen, I've had my issues with Senator McCain in the past and I still bear some animosity towards him for foisting the Grifter from Wasilla upon our nation. But the guy has served his country for 50+ years, including in the military, which is a helluva lot more than Cadet Bone Spurs can say.
As others have pointed out, the fish rots from the head. The current occupant of the people's house has built this. He has lowered our level of discourse to such a degree that his yampeople are calling for the jailing of political opponents (who haven't even been charged with a crime), the death of free speech and even the death of journalists, the demonization of refugees fleeing oppressive regimes, and perhaps worst of all, the death of facts, truth, reason, and justice.
He has lowered the level of discourse to the point that I can no longer discuss issues and politics with anyone who watches nothing but FoxNews. That sounds like a simplistic and unfair statement, but I assure you, it is not. Those who watch nothing but that for their news are subjected to a litany of propaganda that puts Goebbels to shame. (I think I just Godwinned myself but I stand by the comparison.) When truth and values don't matter any longer, as James Comey said, "Who are we as a country?"
These things make me angry. But what makes me angriest is that I feel the suck of the "president's" negativity in my own mind. When he feels threatened, he lashes out and attacks like a cornered animal. I'm getting a glimmer of that sort of lashing out in myself and this is unacceptable to me. It is one thing to have a reasonable discussion but lashing out at others online is the lazy, dumb way to make myself feel better. It also provides a very fleeting satisfaction.
I don't want to be that way. I refuse to allow him to bring me down to his level. That is not the best of me.
Don't worry. I'm not going all kumbaya on you. I have zero tolerance for bigotry, homophobia, lies, and refusing to believe the facts. I'll call that crap out all damn day. But I'll pick my battles and be strategic about it. Personal interaction counts for much more than just getting into arguments on social media.
My main goal is to maintain my chill. I'm sure I'll still have my anger-like-liquid-hot-magma moments, but I will do my best to be like Spock.
We'll see how that works out.