Saturday, November 12, 2016

Not All Stories Have Happy Endings

Eight years ago, after Obama's first victory, many Americans were giddy with delight.  Tony and I were getting ready to go to Timisoara Romania for his Fulbright.  We decided to delay leaving for Europe until after the inauguration because even if we couldn't actually be in Washington, we wanted to participate in this great moment and have clear memories of the day.

Eight years hence, we are now in a very different--and for many of us very precarious--position.  It is difficult not to feel anything but fear, antipathy, and discouragement about the advent of a Trump (I can hardly write this down) Presidency.

Many of my friends, American and European, in person and on Facebook, have expressed dismay, anger, fear, even terror for the future.  I have read lots of responses--from people who have basically said they plan to retreat into a bubble and try to just live their own lives--to people who are looking for ways to try to make things better (e.g., allocating more of their charitable givings to groups like Planned Parenthood or ACLU or trying to find ways to make meaningful civic or political action)--to kids, like my nephew, who is protesting in the streets of Miami.

In all this, this only person who has made me feel better is Rachel Maddow who said we need to remember what makes us a country.  It's not just politicians.  Rather, it's our shared heritage, including rights like a free press, freedom of speech and assembly.  It's the fact that we don't have a military that is independent of the government.  We have (hopefully) freedom of religion.  We don't have a national language or religion. There were a lot more but that's about what I could remember.  I'm not saying it very well; she said it better.  Her point, though, is that we need to keep faith with our values and do what we can to protect them.

I said in an earlier post that I thought Nixon would be the worst president of my lifetime.  I hope (though I have very little faith) that will turn out to be true.

Re my other stories.  I went to the orthopedist last week.  He said the tear was not in a good place for surgery, which was fine with me as I didn't want to do surgery anyway.  I'm going to have a cortisone shot (guided by the MRI) into the torn sport, then re-start physical therapy.  Maybe more targeted this time, I hope.  (The word "piriformis never came up.)  He also said that there was no reason not to plan a trip to Europe, so yesterday I booked tickets.  A month (February) in Budapest at Apartment Andrei, then a week in Prague.  Something to look forward to.

Meanwhile, I am keeping track of the new political world we live in, but trying not to be overwhelmed by it.

#Rachel Maddow


  1. Have just returned from a month in the USA - we flew back from the West Coast as Polling Places closed; fortuitous or planned? I'm not sure but am certainly relieved. As you say you must all continue to stand up for what you believe in and over here there is mounting pressure on our Brexit-oriented Government to stop the proposed sycophancy and hold your President-elect to account every step of the way. I have never been such a political agitator as in the last 5 months since our referendum result; millions in America are now doing the same; we live in strange times.
    On a separate note, I had a corticosteroid injection earlier this year for intolerable pain in my shoulder arising from calcific tendonitis (believed to be from an unhealed tear); the result has been amazing for me and has avoided the threatened surgery; I hope it is the same for you too.

  2. Well said, Debra and loved the reference to Aaron!

  3. Thank you Caree for your thoughts. I hope you had a good time in the US, even through this awful season. I do hope the UK holds Trump to every nasty bit of business he tries to pull. I have been politicaly active my entire life, and an agitator during the Viet Nam war. This brings back painful memories. Particularly because it is such a contrast with mthe graceful, erudice, accomplished, and cool person Trump replaces. Like Brexit, this is a self-imposed wound. I am hopeful about the shot; thanks for the reassurance. And I hope that it will allow me to strengthen the muscles so the recovery is long-term.

  4. I am finally venturing back into social media - which includes checking up on my favorite blogs. I am one of those who has been in self-imposed exile. I know that it is not realistic to continue this way. The morning following the election, I ventured down to the end of the pier of our condo complex (we are in FL at the moment). I sat and wept. So far, today is the only day I haven't cried - it's early.

    While I don't condone destruction (and there has been some), I am heartened by the protests, not just in the US, but around the world. I grew up in an activist family. I was protesting the Vietnam War at an early age, and have raised my voice in protest, and support for other concerns over the years. This is democracy in action.

    I read a letter this week (there have been just a few to choose from - wink) that has given me the terminology I need. I will never "accept" him as our president. I "acknowledge" that this is the title to be given him, but I will never accept it.

    1. Tracy, your comment resonates so much with me. And thank you for giving me the "acknowledge" and "accept" distinction. The fact that Hillary won the popular vote gives me some hope for our country.

  5. You're doing better than me. I have yet to even turn on the TV.

  6. Cam across this quote. I don't think it will make you feel any better but clearly back in 1920 someone was having the jitters about universal suffrage : “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” HL Mencken, in The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

  7. Yes well, Mencken also famously said "you can never go broke under-estimating the "American people."