This was a journal entry from almost exactly a year ago. In re-reading it, I thought it extremely relevant. We just closed the first year of Trump's presidency and witnessed another mass school shooting, leaving the general public jarred over our current system, and ready for some serious change.
Good morning from the rain and the sea. It's the eighteenth of February already, and jesus has this month flown by. I'm sitting at this small, homely cafe in downtown Santa Cruz, watching as raindrops of water kiss the pavement outside this dirty window. Each busy human scurries by uncomfortably, attempting to outsmart this rain and the impermeable weather.
Two college girls sit to the left of me, deeply engaged in some fiery political-feminist rant, speaking with all that youthful incredulous outrage, throwing their hands up in protest of our failing democratic society. Talking over each other, they each partake in a very one sided conversation, while saying the same things.
I observe, while sadly realizing what a game it all is. The phoniness of our country begins to depress me and my mind wanders to all the current social-political-environmental issues at hand this month alone.
One of these battles raps especially loud at the door to my Pathos. The current and failing fight for clean water and preservation of sacred Native lands by the Standing Rock Tribe and it's many supporters. How has it come to this, humans being forced to fight big corporate interest backed by non other than our own political leaders?
It all makes me feel sick to my stomach, and I am reminded of the heros I grew up idolizing while attending an overwhelmingly liberal "green" elementary school in Northern California. Julia butterfly, protector of the great Redwoods in the early 90's, Jane Goodall, protector of the Chimpanzees in Tanzania, and my personal favorite, Gareth Patterson, author of My Lions Heart and one of the greatest african animal conservationists perhaps ever.
These were the characters I revered as a child. I was so naive to think that we would be the generation to enact the most change the world would ever see. We would boast a thousand Janes, Julias and Gareths. We wouldn't need to hear the terribly depressing stream of news coming from the TV because things would change. We had so much time, right? There were so many of us with beautiful working brains, surely we won't be driving gas-powered cars by 2015.
Thats archaic, I thought.
Yet this generation has proved to be less involved in our political system than almost any other generation before us. Staggering numbers of voter turnout (the worst turnout in 72 years), disinterest in current affairs, over-consumption of the wrong kind of media, and a dissociative mentality at large. This is in part at the fault of the news media, which has been force feeding us sick one-sided news since we were old enough to watch the television. Most of us have an unprecidented fear of middle-easterners because of all the news propaganda we were fed as children.
This current overwhelmingly republican government is all so phony. The news is phony, the characters involved are phony, this whole Russian investigation pointing-of-fingers battle is phony. All just distractions, intended to illicit a response in those cursed with a well functioning brain.
Sadly, it seems to be working. I feel like reaching over, resting my hands on the girl's arm and gently saying,
Its all a big joke to them my dear. Don't let yourself buy into it all, that's the response they hope for. Its always been this way. Just now more than ever the past veil of amicable language has been lifted to expose the bitter racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia that was always plagued this nation. I too am sickened by it all, perhaps because its more visibly apparent than ever before.
Here in America, we have become victim to this pendulum swing of seemingly fair, progressive global unity, until it eventually and consistently shifts, swings left and explores the drama of pandemonium once again. This seems to happen with the change of each new president each time, without fail. Rinse and repeat. The pendulum just swung as far possible to the left as we watch the characters upstairs do our bidding.
We as citizens are left to watch from the sidelines as gun regulations loosen to benefit the NRA and it's league of supporting politicians. Mass shootings become more prevalent, foreign affairs become increasingly erratic. The EPA looses mass amounts of funding and our public schools receive budget cuts to the programs most in need. Health care subsidies are draining and programs such as Planned Parenthood are in danger of being shut down because the hubris ridden fat orange man we currently call the president of the "free world" is less educated on our social services than the average five year-old. His contemptuousness makes me so dizzy, I often would rather drive in silence than turn on the evening news.
As depressing as this post may be, its how I feel. Exercising my First Amendment privileges, while I still can.