I am living in a reality that seems to bear little in common with my former life.
There, I lived in a serene, calm alternate reality which shattered when the November 2016 election bomb exploded. Our new President stood for everything I abhorred. How could this happen?
There was a time when teachers, year after year, tried to impart civics and history in boring classes that made no sense. Memorizing dates felt useless. I squeaked through with a “C.” Perhaps, if they had drawn parallels between eras and escapades, themes of money and power may have proved far more interesting. But no. I entered the world of adulthood thinking politics was a necessary evil and, in the end, everything would turn out, at a minimum, okay.
There was a time when I became a part of the women’s movement. As a woman, I knew women were people, too, not second class citizens or Stepford Wives. I supported Martin Luther King and all those who stood for the end of racism and bigotry. I believed those movements made their points and this country was far better for it.
There was a time when I worked in government—for the county, for the community college, and for the state. Misogyny ran rampant.
“You made a face!”
“Although you left the meeting first, you should have cleared away the coffee cups and napkins.”
“Sure you made top marks on the state test, but you don’t know your place.”
Endless similar comments throughout those special jobs. I took it until I couldn’t and left. I worked for a corporation. My promotion denied because I was too assertive and my “Yes we can” attitude countered the corporate culture of “No we can’t.” I walked.
There was a time when I had my own business, worked with people from all walks of life, was respected for my expertise and then, I retired. I learned to write and became a writer, found peace and centeredness, and a “carefree” life among family and friends.
Then, BAM! CRASH! POW! Trump was elected and my comfort zone exploded. Suddenly I realized that my country was filled with self-centered, me-first-and-only people who hate with a vengeance, live in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset, and are willing to accept boldfaced lies as truth and reprehensible behavior as normal. Aghast, I went into a depression that lasted until I decided I would not give this new administration and its minions the power to destroy me. I needed to find out how my country had come to this and fight back.
My awakening to reality, with a capital “R,” started with baby steps. I read everything about the election I could. I researched the Electoral College and their powers. I watched movies, “The Untold History of the United States,” and “Civil War: The Untold Story.” I joined on-line groups populated with others who were also stunned, as well as my local Indivisible resistance group. I became a member of the Good Men Project and engaged in the social interest conversations and phone calls. I listened. I learned. I realized that with all my life experience, education, and critical thinking skills, I didn’t know just how much I didn’t know. My eyes opened to a new reality.
In this Reality, my country is experiencing the devastation brought on by two centuries worth of the industrial complex’s manipulation of our education, media, and government to silence, bury, and deny their greed-driven brutal actions against humanity in the name of a thriving national and global economy. By pitting friends and neighbors against each other in day to day struggle in a purposeful endeavor to divide the people and encourage chaos, corporate-financial overlords have benefitted by undermining the tenets of our democracy.
I don’t have the checklist as to which conglomerates support the degradation of our society and which have fought against it. But, I have enough information to figure out that the bad guys have the upper hand. How?
In any reality, people are people. Period. That people differ by birth or by choice, variations by sex, creed, religion, skin tone, origin, language, height, weight, and or special needs is a given and NONE OF IT MATTERS. Who loves whom (adults in consenting relationships) doesn’t matter. Love, kindness, and caring matter. ALL PEOPLE MATTER.
In this Reality, I, we, are fed all kinds of crap to destroy this truth. “Race” is a made-up pseudo-science term coined by a French physician Francois Bernier’s in 1684. It became the perfect vehicle to establish a common enemy or accepted “fall-guy.” Today, righteousness and nationalism depends on creating an “us” and “them.” As a result, racism and bigotry invaded and persist in our lives—all because of willful, calculated power grabs and insatiable greed at any cost. All of which, is intended to benefit only the wealthy.
In this Reality, spending time on obscene legislation, diatribes, hate-mongering, and violence are chaotic distractions. Behind the scenes, corporate dollars buy the destruction of our environment, edicts that leave our most vulnerable without care and subsistence income, and lower corporate taxes. If successful, the government, the largest private employer in the country, will go bankrupt, creating unprecedented unemployment—with the exception of the military, which is where the industrial complex makes its money.
With increasing joblessness, there has to be a new model to replace dense and inadequate housing. Maybe it’s getting back to the land, where a family has the wherewithal to take care of themselves. If climate change is not addressed, there will be less food and more people. The stressors, already present in Africa and the Mideast, are the kindling for civil war. It is in our power to forestall that with foresight and planning.
In this Reality, people are disposable. The workforce is shrinking due to automation. Jobs that are available are often not unionized. Low wages and less benefits result, erasing the middle class. Management is often untrained and abuse their position and power. Workers are at their mercy and have to submit. Don’t think the managers forget that for one second.
As an aside, the beauty of the ACA is that anyone can get insurance regardless of a “pre-existing” condition. Before the ACA, workers, despite abusive conditions, were forced to “grin and bear it” because they or someone in their family was sick. In short, modern slavery. Living without health insurance wasn’t an option. I know, it happened to me. Killing the ACA will, once again, engender slavery.
In this Reality, the jobless, the infirm, the elderly and the disabled are starving, homeless, and hopeless. Money at the top of our economic food chain does not trickle down. Nor does it create jobs as top management turns to automation. I now know that depending on the industrial-complex and our institutions to right government and society’s wrongs is futile. It’s up to the people to take this country back. I, along with millions of others, are committed to bringing this country back from a plutocracy/kleptocracy/fascist state to Democracy.
In this Reality, denial mocks the reason this country exists—the Declaration of Independence:
…all men are created equal, … endowed … with certain unalienable Rights, — …Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — …, Governments are instituted … deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation …to effect [sic] their Safety and Happiness.
And our governance—the Constitution’s preamble: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…
In this Reality, I’ve learned to question everything and everyone. All motives and words are suspect from the pulpit to the President. People in authority are there for a reason. They must earn trust through transparency of purpose, intent, and action
In my alternate reality, denial was easy. I believed in “happily ever after.”
In this Reality, I take nothing for granted. As my awareness grows, even though surprising, devastating, and painful, I’m both angrier and calmer. Things do happen for a reason. If this country is going to serve the people, as it was envisioned by the Constitution, breaking out of the industrial complex stranglehold and moving forward is my, this country’s, only option.
Photo: Getty Images