A dear friend of mine posted this to Facebook recently:
Thoughts from the wise, please?
I feel like a little kitty cat that Trump is leading around with a laser pen. I’m scrambling around like crazy as he leads me here, there, and everywhere–trying to keep up with both the things he does and doesn’t want me to see. But he knows I’m going to exhaust myself, and collapse into a pile of sleeping cat!
How do we refuse to play his game, but also stay aware, informed, engaged, and hold our elected leaders accountable?
I asked her if I could have some time to think and then reply, because I have a lot of jumbled thoughts about this. It’s pretty much all that I have been thinking about lately. Of course she said yes, so here it goes.
I wouldn’t presume to call myself wise, (well, I would, but I would mostly be joking) however, I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you, and with anyone who can find some value here in these tough times.
It’s only been a week, and we all feel like we’re in a Looney Toons cartoon, where up is down, and crazy characters keep popping up literally out of nowhere to do things that seem impossible. I finally understand how that coyote felt. What is even happening? I too, have been channeling the cat with the laser pointer, or sometimes feeling like I was thrown into a fight with a King Fu master with no way to even see the punches coming, let along block them, so instead I just wildly flail around.
It isn’t easy to get away from feeling that way, and to distinguish which of the terrible things that are happening are things we should pay attention to and which we should ignore. A couple of things I try to remember:
Trump is an entertainer. He is not a smart man, or a talented man, or really good at anything except getting and holding people’s attention. He has done that in many ways in the past from the WWE to the beauty pageants he ran, to the reality shows he participated in. Now, as our POTUS, he tweets and yells, and does all kinds of seemingly nonsensical, infuriating, and terrible things. This is partly to distract us from the fact that he is merely the Wizard of Oz. He wants us looking at him, and how loud and scary he is. But, we better not look behind the curtain to see who is there. Because who is there? Steve Bannon, noted White Nationalist, who listed his role models as Hitler, Darth Vader, and Satan. Trump’s greedy, sociopathic son-in-law who is supposed to be running his blind trust, but is reported by White House Staff to be a closer aide than Chief of Staff Bannon. And of course, Putin.
These are the people actually considering, crafting, and writing the executive orders, and even bills that have been submitted to Congress. Trump is just there as the smoke and the mirrors. Those other guys though, despite the fact that they are serious trouble, many things can be done to get them out of there. That already gives us something to focus on. What should our phone calls or letter writing be about? Getting the son-in-law out of there, bringing legal action about the conflict of business interest. In fact, that could eventually be an impeachable offense, so lets make our voices heard.
We can write and call our Representatives to put pressure on the White House regarding Russia, and that probably won’t take too much effort. Congress is just as distressed as we are about POTUS’s new best bud from Moscow, and is already working to keep the Russian sanctions. We can show them our support in that. That standing up to Russia truly matters to the American people.
What about Bannon? Sadly, he “serves” at the leisure of the POTUS, however, we can continue to make a fuss. Politics work in funny ways, and there will come a time when POTUS wants something from someone, and to get it, he has to give up Bannon. We just need to keep reminding them, we want the Neo-Nazi out of the White House.
One of the most impactful things I have done for my own edification and education lately, is to read Sun Tzu “The Art of War”. That may sound strange, as if I’m seeking conflict, but you should give it a try. Have you ever heard the expression, “Pick your battles”? This book is the how-to guide for picking life’s battles. Not just the battle against authoritarianism either, but much of what is in here is easily adapted to be about inner peace and self care. If you are looking for the book to get you through, this is the book.
From it we learn, that to win, we must believe in ourselves. I love that. You know why? Look at Trump’s face. He doesn’t believe in anything at all, much less himself. Another gem: “appear strong when you are weak.” This is a classic totalitarian move, and essentially the only move Trump knows. Because he is always weak. Because he is a loser. I don’t mean that as an insult, but as a fact. You can see that his children don’t actually like him, his wife doesn’t like him and he doesn’t like her, he just got a job that not only is he grossly unqualified for but he knows he’s unqualified, and everyone knows he’s unqualified, and he has the lowest rating nearly in history. He feels small, even physically small. He obsesses about his body. So he is loud, and he tries to seem strong, because he is oh-so-very, very weak.
The last, of many pieces of wisdom “If the mind is willing, the flesh can go on, without many things.” It will be hard. It will take a while. Many of us will lose things, and many of us will give them up, in solidarity, or so that others may have them. But our minds are strong, because we are right, and we will keep going. And, no matter what, eventually we will win.
When you are able, you can call you representatives about issues that you are passionate about, such as immigration or education, and a good place to monitor what is actually happening is the website of Congress to see what actual legislation is being passed, and what you should be calling about. Forget the smoke and mirrors. “Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.” Let us all work together at whatever capacity we are able, so that whatever we need we all may eventually have 🙂
Never forget, those people you are calling, they work for you. Treat them like the employees they are; courteous, but like you expect them to do their job. And if they don’t, take note. Next round of hiring is in two years. If we want accountable leaders, we need to stop hemming, and hawing, and being dazzled like they’re celebrities or royalty and remember who they are. They are people who should be hemming and hawing over us when we call 🙂