There are a lot of variations on “those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.” My response has always been, “Those of us who do study the past are doomed, too. We just feel worse about it.”
We are living in a country that past presidents warned against. We have institutionalized the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower predicted. We have the “unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics” that Teddy Roosevelt railed against. We have a Supreme Court that has ruled that money is the same as speech and that corporations are people.
Gotta admit: I might have picked the wrong time to go off Zoloft.
So, I’m doing a lot of needlepoint while watching baseball or cooking shows. I’ve slowly turned an almost-barren acre of suburban lawn into a haven of perennials, shrubbery, and trees that supports a glorious variety of birds and is regularly visited by a herd of deer that doesn’t do too much damage, now that we’ve worked out a truce.
I also clean closets and organize kitchen storage. I think the KonMari movement may well have something to do with so many of us feeling that we have no control over the wider world, but by God, when the collapse of society arrives, there won’t be any crap in my closet.
I still give the first hours of every day to writing. The revised ms. for Unremembered Lives went to the publisher two days ago and will be out in 2019. Took me four years rather than the three I typically needed to complete a novel, but I used to have four good hours when I could think clearly and focus effectively. I’m a little old lady now and two hours is evidently the best I can do. I’ve begun work on Corpus Christi. Don’t nag. I’m working as fast as I can.
All that said, I’ve never been more politically active — not even when I was young during the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement. I’ve been a registered voter since I was 21. I’ve voted in every single election at every level of government since then. I’ve sent money to campaigns. I’ve done all kinds of things you can do without much time or effort, while getting a Ph.D., raising a kid, and running a household.
After January, 2018, that simply wasn’t enough.
I now spend at least half of every day running a Facebook page with 6500+ followers, posting Get Out The Vote strategies, news updates, and snarky memes that crystallize reactions to the news so we aren’t all left gasping and bewildered by the daily tsunami of previously unthinkable statements and events.
I have never actually worked in person for a candidate, but I am now part of Betsy Rader’s campaign to represent Ohio’s 14th congressional district. Betsy is a superb candidate and she has a real chance of flipping a district that went for Trump two years ago. I’ll be holding a fund-raiser for her on August 1st.
A great deal depends on Robert Mueller’s investigation and on the November 6 election. And then there’s the 2020 election. I am braced for what I consider the worst outcome. Nixon was reelected. W was reelected. There’s a real possibility that this president, too, will get an additional four years to do incalculable damage to lives and institutions I cherish.
Nonetheless: there is solace in knowing I am just one of millions and millions and millions of citizens who have been galvanized by events and personalities we consider deeply threatening to American democracy. We are determined to resist, to add friction, to block, to subvert, to sue, to boycott, to demonstrate, to organize and to mobilize — and we will persist, for however long it takes.