Staying Stable in the Age of Trump

This is a strongly opinionated take on the current state of the nation, and my response to it as someone living with Naked Nerves. These are strictly my own opinions and I take full responsibility for my words. Whether you agree or disagree with me I hope that at least these words make you think. Please leave me a note to express your own feelings. Dialogue is so necessary. We all have a say in how our country works and we need to make our voices heard. This is my way of doing that. You’ve been warned.

I can’t say I’ve always loved my country. I came of age during the tumultuous 60’s and 70’s, amid the Civil Rights Struggle, the Vietnam War, the fight for Gay Liberation, Watergate and many other things that made me question the goodness of this country. These things made me angry, but they also made me terrribly sad.

As time has gone by I’ve grown up and mellowed out a bit and I have a different perspective on just how wonderful this country can be. Lots of hard work by so many good people has made it that way and continues to do so. I have an enduring optimism that things will work out for the best. I get depressed when it doesn’t, but I struggle thru it and try to come to terms with the bad parts. I love our democracy with my whole heart and I always will.

But today we’re in a different world: the age of “Post Truth” and “Alternative Facts”. It’s never felt so bleak to me. Chaos reigns supreme and lies are the norm. “Truth isn’t truth”. I recall when Donald Trump was running for president I wrote to friends that it was imperative not to vote for him because he’d gain the power to destroy not just our nation, but Western Civilization as we know it. As it turns out, I was right. He’s doing it right before our eyes and no-one is stopping him – least of all the gutless Republicans in Congress. Such cowardly wimps.

The standing of the U.S. in the world has never been worse. We’ve alienated our best allies and broken our word to the world in crucial ways like the Paris Climate Agreement, and so much more. The administration doesn’t even believe in climate change. Over 95% of the world’s best scientists say it’s real but the president and his toadies in congress and on Fox news won’t listen to them and cling to their fantasies that human caused change isn’t happening and we don’t need to do anything about it. I’m embarrassed by their willful ignorance and I fear their power to cause great harm by ignoring reality.

As I write this we’re in the 23rd day of a ridiculous government shutdown brought on by our president’s temper tantrums over his absurd promise of a racist and ineffective border wall. All the data show that it won’t work to curb illegal immigration, which we do need to address. What we need is better technology, more border guards and more immigration courts to process claims of amnesty. But that’s not what’s being proposed. Just a wall that won’t stop the problems. Most of the illegal immigrants actually come in thru Canada, not Mexico at all. Do we need a wall there too?

Our nation is being held hostage over this wall. Hundreds of thousands of our dedicated Federal workers are out of work and out of money. They’re either stuck working for free, or not allowed to work. It hurts far more than just them however. It’s felt in our entire economy and it’s debasing our way of life. It makes people angry and feel afraid for their futures. It’s mean and it’s cruel – the hallmarks of this administration. I’ve never seen a President act so callously towards his people. Are we really “his” people, or are we just pawns in his games of power? We have a “Kakistocracy” – a term meaning “rule by the worst elements of society”. This is our reality now.

So what does all of this have to do with Naked Nerves? I’d say it’s obvious, but I’ll go into it a bit. This kind of insecurity in society is felt most keenly by those of us who are sensitive, and are already on the edge of sanity and survival. Whether it’s mental or physical, those of us who are seriously struggling with our health have difficulties. Having the basic institutions of society destroyed like they are erodes our sense of stability terribly. It makes us more vulnerable to the tragedies we see happening all around us to people of color and immigrants, as well as religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, especially if we’re members of these groups. Racism and intolerance are rampant, and it hurts us all.

As a lover of nature and a gardener I particularly feel the insults to our natural world that this administration is perpetrating. The destruction of our National Monuments and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge infuriate me with their injustice. These are lands that belong to all the people of the United States, not to some private mining companies or oil drilling rigs that steal our natural resources, leave a mess, and refuse to pay for any wrong-doing. They just want their millions of ill-gotten booty. It makes me cry, and it makes me very depressed. And it makes me angry as hell…

I tend to cycle often between depression/despair (mostly) and hypomania/anger (lately – too much). But these days it’s almost constant. Even tho I try to limit my news intake, don’t watch TV news and mostly get my news thru NPR and certain objective, non-partisan newspapers and websites, I still get way too much for my comfort. It upsets and destabilizes me and makes me fear for my own survival, even tho I’m not directly affected by the shutdown. But I am queer, mentally ill and living on Federal Disability insurance, and I don’t trust this government to take care of me in these circumstances. In a word – I’m Terrified – for myself, but mostly for our nation.

So what do I do to stay stable? It’s very hard, but I try to stay as calm as I can and not let myself get too outraged or depressed because it just hurts me and makes me less able to address the problems. This is just how our “leaders” want it. Keep the public ignorant and powerless and you can do what you want to them. Declaring the news media the “enemy of the people” is totalitarian talk. It’s the first step towards authoritarian rule and it freaks me out totally. White nationalism is on the rise and bigots rule the airwaves. It’s scary as hell. But when I remember there are so many people working so hard for positive change it gives me hope that we can find a way out of this mess.

Being isolated is the worst part of it. I don’t have as many friends as I used to, and feeling alone with it all just exacerbates the issues for me. But I have Louie and some family and a few good friends to help me stay sane. I rely on their support very much and I think that people who have good social support networks will do the best as things get worse, as they surely will. Being connected with other like minded people can help us keep our centers. Just writing this blog helps me feel that way. I hope my writing does the same for others. We need one another to be reasonable and to work together for a better world.

There is so much fear in our society these days. Trump says creating fear is his modus operandi. This can’t help but affect us all. But when you have a mental illness it’s much worse. We magnify things out of proportion in our mood states, and we can’t always think clearly enough to see the way out of them. I can’t say I meditate as much as I should, or stay as mindful of my circumstances as I could, but I do try. I think that these things are good ways to help us maintain clear perspectives and survive this turmoil we live in. But probably the best way to feel more empowered and like you’re making a difference is to get involved in the struggle to make America safe and welcoming again. I know how hard this is when you’re depressed, but helping others is a proven way to help yourself.

If you’re struggling like I am to live a good life in the age of Trump I hope you have good people in your lives and positive things to do to help you stay stable. Just emoting can help us feel better. Getting it out of our minds by journaling helps. Allowing the negative energy to dissipate helps. Taking our meds helps. Keeping calm and remembering the good things that are happening helps. Appreciating the beauty of the natural world and all the wonders of existence helps. And working for change helps. These are some of the many ways to survive this mess we’re in, but they take conscious effort. We need to do them if we are to save our country, and our collective and individual sanity. Let’s hope we have the courage and the will to persevere.

Trying to stay strong…

Steve

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Community of Bloggers Award

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I’d like to thank Dr Rex for nominating me for this lovely award. It’s taken me a little while to accept it as I’ve been stuck in too many awards and just don’t know how to do them all justice. So I’ll suffice by saying I’m grateful for this award and honored to receive it but I’m not going to necessarily play along with the usual rules. I do want to thank Dr Rex for her unflagging support of my blogs and her generous re-blogging of my posts and how she makes me feel like a part of her community here on WordPress. She does as much as anyone here in showing me true friendship and caring thru many of my travails and struggles and is continually there for me when I post and write my little bits of trivia. I feel like I’m somehow failing at this effort of course but I can only do what I can do. I’ve been struggling  in my life lately with feeling worthless so it’s very hard to accept awards as I’ve said before. But Dr Rex sees thru this and still befriends me in a kind and loving way that stirs my soul and makes me feel like I Am a part of this Community of Bloggers. I don’t know what higher praise I can give to her.

Of course her blog is wonderful and filled with all sorts of good information and timely posts on the state of the world and how things are going right and wrong both. I always get a boost from reading her blog and learn a lot about what’s going on in other blogs and in the world in general. You can read her work at: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/ and I hope you’ll visit her and see what she writes about. I’m sure you’ll find inspiration, as I do, in her work. In her post about this award at: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/community-of-bloggerz-award-for-it-is-what-it-is/ she writes eloquently about Community which is a focal point of her blog. She often alludes to the fact that we’re all in this together and are a part of this Community of Bloggers which she has  acknowledged in this post and in giving the award to others. I”m grateful to be included in this community of wonderful folks.

I’m not going to actually nominate people for this award because I’ve found that too many folks consider them a distraction and I feel too timid to ask them to accept something they may not want. This is my hang up I admit but it’s real and true for me so I’ll just thank all the people who have been following and liking my blog and being supporters of my work. There are a lot of folks who have given me this kind feedback on my work and I’m very grateful for this community of bloggers who have visited my site and left a note or a like or a follow. All of you deserve this award and if you’re so inclined I hope you’ll accept it and put in on your site.

You’re supposed to nominate 14 other bloggers for this so if you feel like you can do that I applaud you and encourage you to do so. But I’m just going to say Thank You to all of the folks who have made me feel a part of something here that is bigger than myself. It’s a good thing to feel this and Community is something that I’ve worked hard to be a part of my whole life. I’ve often worked jobs that were focused on community building and I still feel like it’s a part my work regardless of how I do it. One of my ways seems to be just to post my work and try to make connections with others here as I can, however it works. So thank you to all of you for being here and reading this. Please feel free to accept this award and be a part of this wonderful community with me. Thank you.

Here’s a  short listing of some of the people I’m talking about in my rambling way. Thank you for visiting me, Owl of Knowledge, Dan Riegler, Jane Adams, Dani, White Rabbit, One Anna 65, Brenda, Quarter Acre Lifestyle, Robbie, Dr Rex (Horty), and Wild Thang/Tammy. I guess 11 is my number for now, tho I know there are others who deserve to be mentioned. Consider it done if you will please. I feel like all these folks and more are a part of my community in Naked Nerves and I’m grateful for their presence here. I hope you’ll all keep coming back and I’ll try my best to keep writing things that interest you. Thank you to every one of you.

Peace and Love,

Steve