Acquittal. On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, the federal government lurched further towards illegitimacy when all but one Senator of the “Republican” party voted to vote down charges that Donald J. Trump – current dictator and supposed President of the United States – of the following charges:
Abusing his power by illegally extorting an ally nation out of legally-obligated military aid while they are in a very real war with Russia;
Obstructing Congress’ constitutional obligation to oversee the Executive Branch and investigate these alleged illegal acts when he refused any and all cooperation on the matter for the entire Executive Branch.
All of this despite public acknowledgment of the facts and fear of political consequences by the very Senators who voted to acquit.
Like many Americans, I felt an all too familiar set of feelings. I felt that drop in the stomach and rising static in the ears. I felt a certain fuzziness of being. In other words, I began to experience a stress response. Though not physically under attack, I understood implicitly that this event marks a dangerous escalation of action for this country and therefore myself. However, I remind myself that this event was predicted – as bad as it is – and that I remain physically safe at this moment. The stress then has no place within me but moving me forward into this new world. It is a world where it must be assumed the American regime can and will do what it wants, only to be rubber-stamped by congressional enablers and hostages or resisted by the American people on their own volition and by their own means.
These are increasingly dangerous times. Fascism is undeniably on the rise in America. An unarmed American has to pass through metal detectors at every state capital, school, and public event, but masked gunmen can walk around at will with government protection in “protest” of those who would defy their whims. Government efforts, meanwhile, focus on making civil disobedience a felony when it comes to the all-mighty pipelines!
For this American, these events have been the greatest challenge imaginable. The refusal to deny what is happening or be complicit in it has quite likely cost me any satisfying legal career for the foreseeable future. I am perhaps the most educated poor person in America – seven years, three programs, almost six figures of debt, and four-figure wages so far to show for it. Full disclosure: this has been very hard for me because I was one of those “talented” kids whose early accolades for barely anything almost ruined my sense of value – almost. That said, I can’t apologize for not running the rat-race required to rise above the sycophantic, status-driven avarice required for most lawyers to find a real place. This in a world where there are no lawyers really able to explain the functions of local governments for ordinary residents.
That said, the disinformation era has been a time of great emotional turbulence for me and many others for a host of personal factors. Only because I have learned to face my challenges and accept who I am and why, can I watch my country try to end itself and not follow suit. America still is a great place with many great people weighed down by a ton of bad habits and issues with some truly awful people to support those patterns.
Something needs to be done; we all have a role to play in doing it. We all need to maintain our health, but what is health in hell? No amount of mental fortitude will stop a bullet. Only a mass uprising can overthrow a regime. Only a relatively peaceful one can do so with legitimacy in a country which still believes itself a democracy.
So we each must care for ourselves, but how is that done? Well, in order to learn how we must become students of life itself. Forget all the clever categories and follow only the ebbs and flows of various moments of life. Just be. Then you can be who you need to be – who the world needs you to be.
Perhaps, like me, you are often anxious on some level. Maybe only a little; maybe a lot. Either way, that is how you feel. It is not the wind or rain, or the political opposition. You alone hold that feeling. In time, you will notice that this feeling doesn’t fill you completely. It is not all feeling, but one of many. With anxiety, we can intuit that we are afraid of something. What are we afraid of? Is it something near or far away?
This is the truth we learn as children and then forget as soon as possible: there are no monsters we do not create for ourselves. This is just as true of political disaster as shadows in a closet. Certainly, there are facts to support the arguments that Trump is an unusually morally reprehensible person, generally, and a disastrous political leader specifically. But is he the real danger? I’m sorry, but as large as he is and energetic as he can seem, he is more laughable than frightening by himself.
In my case, at least, what I am really afraid of is the lone gunman who believes these malicious lies about me or others as enemies of “real Americans” or the destruction of the drinking water in my community. I fear abject poverty in a wealthy country. But all of these fears remain abstract possibilities, not current facts. And in that very thought, the anxiety has already begun to melt like the Greenland glaciers.
This is not the true end of anything, but neither was there ever a clear beginning. What matters is the new ability to move forward, if only a little, towards something better. Isn’t that what America’s always really been about?
Let’s do the thing!