Monday, January 30, 2017

On politics and marathons

Well, it has been quite a week.

The Bannon-Trump executive order tsunami has been nothing short of a shock-and-awe campaign. It's designed to overwhelm and intimidate. It's orchestrated to create chaos. It marries destruction with deception and distraction.

More importantly, its intent is to fatigue us. Its goal is to make us say "Enough. I am not reading another political post. I'm blocking the friends who continue to post political rants. I'm out."

The new administration has used large scale egregious assaults on the fundamental tenets of our democracy to mask lower-profile self-serving maneuvers. They know we'll feel compelled to focus our energies on the violations that threaten the nation's founding principles, and they hope that in doing so, we will have to let some lesser grievances slide.

They believe they can wear us down - make us turn on each other - make us collapse in a heap of resignation and defeat.

They are wrong.

There's a thought that has been going through my head all week. It's the same thought that carried me though the early years of Bud's autism diagnosis: "It's a marathon, not a sprint." The Bannon administration has been sprinting through the first week in office, but we, who resist them, must stay focused on the long game.

What does that mean? It means we stay mindful. We launch immediate counter-attacks on the most egregious violations, but we don't lose sight of what's going on behind the curtain.

It also means we pay attention to our own personal sustainability. We don't try, individually, to fight every issue every day. We communicate, we share information, we take leadership on some issues, and simply lend support on others.

We take breaks. We rest. We post pictures of our dinners on Facebook. We share our joys and our trivia along with our outrage. We don't judge each other when we post vacation photos or memes about our favorite albums in high school or videos of cats (especially not videos of cats).

We understand what it takes to finish the race. We react, we resist, we rise, we rally, and we rest, each as we must.

While you call Senators, I binge on Gilmore Girls. Then I'll write postcards while you get a pedicure or watch the Super Bowl. That is how we win this thing.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Today, I'm reading this article to stay informed, though it puts a knot in my stomach. I'm also encouraging friends to call their Senators to urge them to oppose the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, because she poses a threat to public education and, specifically, to the rights of children with disabilities.

Next time, I'm going to take a break and tell you a story about the best thing that happened to our family in 2016. It's not about politics. It's not controversial. It might even make you feel good.

If it does, and if you have it in you, maybe you can run the next leg.

6 comments:

Ed Scahill said...

Thanks, Mary. The power of the pen...or, er, the power of the internet.

Ahavine said...

Great blog Mary. It is hard to keep that in mind but you are right each of us must respond and nurture ourselves as well. Thanks for posting.
Helen

Daisy said...

Right on! I feel guilt at times because I am not involved or active enough. Thank you for reminding me to take it at my own speed and take breaks. It's a lot like motherhood - especially for those like us.

Lemon Cartwright said...

Nice :)

As a side note, I was also really discouraged by Zunger's insightful but terrifying article. Tom Pepinsky has written a nice counterpoint to it, arguing that from the outputs of the Trump administration, we can't really tell whether the actions are a deliberate evil attempt to destroy America, or are the actions of a bumbling, incompetent narcissist.

While it doesn't change the horrific effects of what Trump has done this week, it was slightly reassuring.

https://tompepinsky.com/2017/01/30/weak-and-incompetent-leaders-act-like-strong-leaders/

MOM-NOS said...

Lemon Cartwright: Thanks, I needed that.

Melissa said...

Yes! I turned off all social media on Sunday and am committed to do so every week, to give my brain a rest from processing all the horror. I'm in the strange situation of being ready to deliver a baby any day now... so while there is so much I want to do, I can't right now. I couldn't drive an hour to Atlanta to march last week, which was really sad. It feels helpless just watching it all unfold, just praying that somehow, someone will intervene! But we will "stay woke" and keep watching what's going on in the headlines and behind the scenes.