Why does this week feel like the End Times? (Rant Part 1 of Many)

I’ve been thinking about the Women’s March a lot this week – not just because people are still uploading their pictures or because estimated totals are still rolling in (although, yeah, those signs are amazing and I just can’t believe so many humans attended). But because this week has sucked (personally and professionally for me as well as politically for basically everyone). And the March memories have been a comfort me.

We are 8 days into Trump’s presidency and shit is already hitting the fan (I guess whether you agree with that statement depends on your political beliefs and whether you were or were not hoping he would follow through on a single campaign promise but it seems like even people who supported him before are upset now so it feels universal):

  • Those goddamn cabinet nominees. UHG. They all feel like the kind of suggestions you get in a meeting where someone says “There are no bad ideas” and then someone jokingly yells out what is clearly a terrible idea but it gets written down to prove a point. He seems to be choosing people to run departments specifically based on whether they have previously made public statements about wishing they could dismantle that department.
  • The environment is maybe the thing I’m the most worried about at the moment. Because in two years (at the midterms) or four years (at the next presidential election) it may be too late to reverse whatever damage is done to the environment and climate change will be severe and irreversible. He’s already approved work to resume on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline and, again, it’s day 8.
  • Women’s rights – by reinstating the global gag rule he’s rolling back women’s rights and medical safety across the globe. His VP spoke at the March for Life. And it’s clear he’s made other groups who are hoping to put an end to a woman’s right to choose feel safe introducing legitimately illegal legislation. Of course, it’s Texas  which already has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world trying to make abortion a felony.
  • Alternative goddamn facts are a thing now.
  • He did not, as many had irrationally believed, forget about the wall.

(This list is already too short and out of date and I started it YESTERDAY)

But somehow I’m optimistic. Terrified but optimistic. There are SO MANY of us. And if we work together I have a hard time believing there’s anything we couldn’t accomplish (barring nuclear war or the heat-death of the universe). I am hopeful that we can at least start turning that around at the midterm elections.

I was just so heartened from so many different groups marching together, talking to each other, and supporting each other even when they didn’t agree on all points.

*** I find it crucial to note that I have also seen the same misunderstanding pop up a lot in response to the marches, something vaguely along the lines of “I wanted to go but I’m Pro-Life and knew I wouldn’t be welcome even though I believe everyone should be able to do whatever is best for themselves.”

A) First and foremost Pro-Life people were welcome at any of the marches. The only thing I’ve read is that they were taken off the list of hosts for one.

B) What you are describing is Pro-Choice. Pro-Life is when you don’t think that anyone should be able to get an abortion no matter what. Pro-Choice is when you think everyone should be able to decide for themselves even if you personally would never choose to have an abortion. Because that is your choice and no one else’s. ***

Books I Don’t Want to Read

There are a lot of books in the world that I know I should read because they will, theoretically, make me a better person. Not, like, self help books (although I’m sure some of those would be beneficial too…how do people ever save money?). Books that will teach me about parts of the world I’ll likely never see, in the first person, in the past or the present. Books that will broaden my empathy and understanding.

But I don’t want to read them because THEY’RE UPSETTING. And not in the way Gillian Flynn is upsetting. Upsetting in a way that stays with me for a long time after I finish reading them because they are about the real cruelties that humans regularly inflict on one another. And usually they show how both the perpetrators of violence and their victims are, in fact, victims of the same circumstances. And the whole world is to blame.

We’ll call that the introduction to my book club’s newest choice, An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. I haven’t finished it yet. I’m actually nowhere near finishing it… I’m on page 19 and I’m stalled. The book is about a woman of Haitian descent who goes with her husband and their baby to visit her parents in their upper-class home in Haiti and gets violently kidnapped while they’re on their way to the beach. And…that’s all I know because all that happens in the first 19 pages. Other than that all I know is that one of my friends from book club texted me “So the word “gun” was just used as a euphemism multiple times in this book and I’m now hoping it can’t possibly get much worse… Upon further reading, I’m not even sure it was a euphemism and that makes it so much more disturbing.” And although I have reasonably deduced what happened already, really, I just don’t want to read that.

I also felt this way about Half of a Yellow Sun (a wonderfully written book about the 1960s civil war in Nigeria that made me empathize with a rapist and then gradually grow to hate everyone on the entire planet and want to never go outside again). Every time they left their house I was like “Nooooo! Stay home! Stay safe!” And they never listened. And that was a long ass book to worry through.

This one too.

So I’ll let you know more when I finish it… So, in like a year probably.