As I reflect on what has happened since the inauguration, I realize that the next four years are going to be harder to deal with than I had ever imagined. The first several days in office, and we are already introduced to things like the new presidential cheering section that follows the President to force other people to laugh and applaud at what he says. We are also forced to deal with the new lovely term ‘alternative facts’ and the danger they can pose when people start believing them to be true. And of course, this is just the icing on the cake; he’s already working to dismantle policies that could have detrimental effect on American citizens and our environment. I hate to say it, but all of this has just made my mind spin.
Part of me wants all of this to stop. Just days after the new government was installed, part of me doesn’t want to listen anymore. My social medial feeds, already full of political posts are also now full of arguments between friends on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for our country. And while some of the conversations are civil, many get out of control pretty darn fast.
I thought I had put down enough of a plan of action in my post just after the election. But now I realize I what I said I would do is not enough. As I said in that post, I don’t want to be political. I don’t want this blog to become a political activist page. Certainly standing up for what you believe in is a spiritual pursuit, but it is not my role to be a politician or political activist 100% of the time. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I know there are others that are just so fed up with it that they are ready to ignore the entire government and any action they take in the next four years.
But that’s what the current administration WANTS us to do.
I am betting that one of the reasons there is so much media coverage on the numbers of people present at the inauguration vs the Women’s March this weekend along with the other hotly debated items is to push people to do just that – stop. Stop considering about becoming part of the democratic process by letting their voice be heard. Stop pushing forward because no matter what you believe, the polarized social networks are now just so in-your-face about things that it’s just too hard to have a dissenting opinion. The more the pundits speak, the more zinger tweets that get shared, the more spin gets out there and the more the real issues get buried.
A meme I saw last night put everything into perspective for me. It took me a moment to remember the episode (I’m not as strong on Star Trek as I am Star Wars), but it was a meme based on an episode of “Star Trek the Next Generation.” In the episode, Captain Picard was being tortured by a Cardassian. During the torture, he was shown four lights. But he was told that his torture would stop if he would only agree that there were five lights that he was being shown, not four. All he had to do was say there were five lights, and he could live in luxury for the rest of his life and all the pain would end. The meme speaks for itself what the conclusion of that episode; he was rescued, and as he was leaving, he yelled at the Cardiassian that there were four lights.
And thanks to that meme, I realize that it’s time for more evasive action. I needed to do more; to reevaluate my plans in how to deal with the issues coming up in these next four years.
While thinking about these things, I came across two posts from John Beckett on Patheos.com. The first was about maintaining the Sovereignty of your Mind. In that post he spoke about what I realized when I saw the above meme. This truly is going to be a fight for the hearts and minds of the American People in the next four years. And many people are going to give up; they are going to see all of the chaos caused by the media about the minuscule arguments, and it’s going to take its toll. We need to be aware of that, and we need to be aware of that now. We have to set our minds up to filter through the noise so that we can see the real issues that will need to be addressed.
Secondly, John spoke about having an agenda for the next four years. And again, he is spot on. Even when we start removing the noise from the media, we aren’t going to be able to save everything. We are going to need to have our own agenda. No one can make these decisions for us. We are going to have to think deeply about what decisions we want to voice our opinion against, and what ones we can live with. We need to also ensure that we remain healthy. We still need to maintain a healthy balance in our lives, or else we will just burn out. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we haven’t even completed the first mile yet. Pacing is going to be key, and having that balance between activism, spiritualism and other efforts in life is going to be our pacer.
Thanks to an app called countable, I will be more up to date on what congress is actually doing without relying on media news feeds or listening to social action networks. So my words will be more in line with what is actually going on, when it is going on, and will be appropriate responses. I’m cutting down my intake of social media even more, and plan to keep my news intake to a minimum (10 minutes on NPR during a news update should be enough.)
I still firmly believe that human rights are not something that should be a political football; that they transcend politics, no matter what your race, creed, religion or your sexuality. I also believe that we still need to be caretakers of this great earth of ours. She is a giver of life, not a resource to be mined uncontrollably. At this point I don’t care if you call me a liberal, a conservative, or whatever. These fights transcend politics. They are things that should be embedded in our hearts, and our actions day in and day out should reflect them.
I wish sometimes that I wasn’t the type of person that pushes through conflict. I sometimes wish things were easier than what they have to be. I wish for it, but I already know that this is one wish I shouldn’t have granted. It’s the one thing that won’t change. We live, we struggle, we grow from the struggle, and the growth allows us to get ready for the next struggle. I guess this time the struggle is simply something outside my comfort zone. The cycle sounds simple enough, but it is the basis for all of the growth of this planet. It is so embedded in our DNA that it’s a part of growth itself. And even though it’s a hard cycle to continue, by doing our best to honor it we also honor those that were a part of putting this cycle into motion.