Saturday, January 21, 2017

Replacing Class with Crass; Thoughts on Inauguration Day

I must apologize to those of you who read my blog for great book recommendations. For the past two months I have been suffering from a deep malaise and this overwhelming feeling of being out of touch with the universe has deeply affected my ability to write. In fact, it has stifled my usual joie de vivre causing me to hunker down in my home, avoiding social situations and wondering what I can do to push through it.

Yesterday, determined not to watch the inauguration of Donald Trump, I arranged to meet a dear friend for lunch. On the way to and from the restaurant though I felt compelled to listen to my local NPR station to see if, just maybe, there was an outside chance that Trump would rise to the occasion and allay my doubts and fears for the future of my country. Remember when Hillary said, "when someone shows you who they are, believe it?" I should have listened.

The rhetoric of the Trump inauguration speech was darker, more jingoistic, and more threatening to our allies around the world and to those of us at home who dissent, than even I would have believed. I had to get off the road and send text messages to my friend Don and my sister Cynthia, people I knew would understand my outrage.

Never in my voting lifetime has a president come into office inheriting such a well-oiled machine. If he does nothing at all, we could roll along swimmingly with the lowest unemployment rate and the lowest crime rate in eight years. What universe is this man living in? It's "1984" revisited. How have we come to this? From the pure class, the soaring speeches, the nuanced, thoughtful editorials, the compassion and heart of a Barack Obama to an avowed non-reader, ignorant of history (think of the original meaning of America first), a crass, vocabulary challenged, tweeter-in-chief.

Claiming to speak for the forgotten people of the heartland, he signed his first bill last night, one that rescinds a ruling by President Obama that would lower interest rates on FHA housing loans - loans specifically designed for first time, low income buyers. The savings? One quarter of a percent!

And then there are the cabinet choices, the two most disturbing being Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, a man whose history with the minority community is an abomination, and Betsy DeVos for Education, because we all know that teachers are overpaid, underworked, and should do more testing to justify their phenomenal salaries. NOT!

But this morning I was gifted with a miracle. Don and I turned on the computer and watched the live action at the Women's March on Washington and around the world as gloriously beautiful nasty women from all walks of life, a rainbow coalition of Black, Latina, Asian, and White, gathered in peaceful protest. I knew it would be, to use a Trump adjective, huge. But I was awed by the way it made me feel, the way my heart, Don's heart, lifted. Our lethargy and despair ameliorated by witnessing this pink sea of humanity vowing to be watchdogs, to keep our country on track, to refuse to let evil win. I now know that we have not been alone. I now have the audacity to hope.


Lesa said...

Sally, I've felt the same way you did. I almost went home sick Friday because I was so dejected, not even watching the inauguration. A good friend talked me down. But, I've posted on my blog, posted on Facebook, and I've been calling Senators and Representatives. I've been funding causes, and I will continue to donate. We can't give up and hide at home. That's just giving in. Hugs, my friend. All those people marching today, in peaceful marches on all seven continents, should give us strength.

Sallyb said...

You're so right Lesa. I won't give up and the women's march filled me with such pride. I too find myself sending checks here and there where I never did before. Planned Parenthood, Equal Justice Initiative, ACLU, and The Carter Center have been my latest. We are not alone!

Linda said...

...and now we hear about "alternative facts." Say, what?? My journalism professors must be rolling over in their graves.

Gloria Drake said...

Well said. I was proud of my sister (a veteran), my brother and his wife (fairly wealthy), and my adult daughter who wore a minister's collar and her fiance (librarian) as they peacefully marched in three cities this weekend. Such a social statement. Seemed to help give people a voice and an outlet for the dissatisfaction so many of us are feeling.

Sallyb said...

Thank you Gloria, So pleased to see that you are still following me. Have I seen some of your reviews in LJ or is that another Gloria Drake?

Gloria Drake said...

I check in pretty often to your blog because I find it useful and interesting both. And yes, I began reviewing for LJ last April and have about 10 reviews under my belt at this point. Really challenging to condense a piece of work into 200 words, but this has been a good step for me even though I also love my 'day job' as a reference librarian. Not ready to take on a blog though. Thanks for checking in. -G

Sallyb said...

Oh, I totally understand. I was a reference librarian too, loved it. Trying to put the feel of a wonderful book with such a limited amount of space is truly a challenge. I'll stay on the lookout for more of your reviews. Congrats!

Mij said...

So glad you made your comments about Trump here. I am so bolstered when I can make contact with someone who is as dismayed as I am with him at the helm.

I, too, was buoyed up by the women's march.

I do a couple of things to help me through the next 4 years: I record two shows, and then watch the first 15 minutes or so of each one the next morning during my tea--Late Night with Stephen Colbert, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And I purposely meet up with like-minded friends for coffee now and then so we can have our own little support group about "ee-gads, he's our president".

I will end with a plug about something I hope comes out of this mess: that we abolish the electoral college somehow.