Points of Light

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Ah while ago, someone dear sent me this poem.

It’s been pinned to my bulletin board ever since, but I never thought I would look at it this morning and think “1933”, as in “but this cannot be happening”.

I could rage, I could snark, I could drink (in fact, I have already done a fair share of all three in the past hours), but I want to focus on something productive, something good.

I had scheduled a fun post for today, but I postponed it.

I woke up this morning at five because one of my children cried. I made the mistake of checking the news as I went back to bed. I could find no more sleep.

What do I do in face of international hate-mongering, division and fear taking hold more and more across the Western world? I fear for friend and colleagues in the U.S., and beyond.

The analyst me raises her eyebrow and says, “See, that’s the logical result of latter day capitalism in its dehumanizing effects, and the result of funding cuts to education and the arts”.

Art is empathy is communication is participating in beauty and truth. If I have never learned, never been allowed, to see and feel beauty, of self and others, or to feel and be beautiful in correlation with (and not against) others, who will I become?

The bloated yellow creature is one thing – a horrible footnote -, but I think about those who enabled him: who cast their votes, who saw off the branch the sit upon and that keeps them from the alligators below, in an act of ignorant spite: at what peoint have so many people been lost to hate and fear? How to reach them to cross this seemingly bootless divide again?

And what about those of us (the majority of visitors to this blog come from the U.S.) who are othered, who are now more firmly put into the political rhetoric as the “they” and not as the “we”?

How to write now? How to be a little point of light, with Auden, communicating with other little points of light, being visible to them and being present, as witness, aid, companion?

I don’t favor escapism, but sometimes, we need a break to recharge (so, yes, that fun post will go up tomorrow. We need that, too). So it will be respite in beauty here, but also discourse in beauty, and in sound, and in scene: in communication.

Relating to art and having it influence our lives, thougths and emotions. Constituting our humanity by sharing this vulnerability and our being moved. Finding ways of thinking ourselves anew, closer, brighter, kinder: This will be my resistance now.

It wasn’t that highly political until yesterday. Today, it is.

And I will not stop fighting for this tiny bit of light, and towards a hopefully brighter times to come.

9 thoughts on “Points of Light”

  1. “Bill Kristol [Republican analyst] @BillKristol .Here’s my deep analysis of the race, based on careful study of county and precinct level results: OMG.”
    I say the same: OMG!
    Your point of view is good [very nice poem, indeed, too!]. I’m trying to do the same, but it’s almost a year since the “sudaca Trump” of Argentina triumphed in the elections. The seven plagues of Egypt are almost here and there’s more to come! I haven’t been able to overcome the depression and anguish over that yet, haven’t been able to write or finish novels yet. Hope I can change the chip soon.

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    1. if it’s time for the chip to change, it will. You need to recharge, only then you can go out there again and recharge others – and I am sure you will, at some point, in one way or another! Hugs to you.

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  2. Americans had a great chance to choose a candidate with a long and consistent record of fairness and liberality. We all agreed that these were values we could support. In caucus after caucus states voted overwhelmingly in favor of this candidate, but the DNC (the Democratic National Committee) used a series of dirty tricks to advance their agenda and *their* candidate. Then the super delegates made it clear that for Democrats’ votes to matter we had to support *their* choice. They made it clear that no matter how we voted that their votes would override that of the people. The head of the committee did many unethical things (including playing the anti Semitic card) to make sure that *their* candidate got the party nomination. Bernie Sanders would have been a perfect foil for Donald Trump. He was – and is – a consistent champion of minorities, the environment, women and LGBT folks. He had no scandals, no lies, and no corruption in his record. But an arrogant disregard for what the majority of Democrats wanted gave us Candidate Clinton. Now we have to live with the consequences of that decision. We can wring our hands for a bit, but then we have to dust ourselves off and get on with it. Voter disaffection is a mighty powerful force.

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  3. This appeared recently: nybooks.com/articles/2016/11/10/american-right-inside-the-sacrifice-zone/
    and appears to explain much. In case that link stops working, here is the gist:

    A parable of the white American Dream begins with an image of a long line of people marching across a vast landscape. The Tea Partiers—white, older, Christian, predominantly male, many lacking college degrees—are somewhere in the middle of the line. They trudge wearily, but with resolve, up a hill. Ahead, beyond the ridge, lies wealth, success, dignity. Far behind them the line is composed of people of color, women, immigrants, refugees. As pensions are reduced and layoffs absorbed, the line slows, then stalls.
    An even greater indignity follows: people begin cutting them in line. Many are those who had long stood behind them—blacks, women, immigrants, even Syrian refugees, all now aided by the federal government.
    Meanwhile the Tea Partiers are made to feel less than human. They find themselves reviled for their Christian morality and the “traditional” values they have been taught to honor from birth. Many speak of “sympathy fatigue,” the sense that every demographic group but theirs receives sympathy from liberals. “People think we’re not good people if we don’t feel sorry for blacks and immigrants and Syrian refugees,” one Tea Partier tells the author. “But I am a good person and I don’t feel sorry for them.”

    Now we know how many people feel that government has failed to serve them but served other interests instead – and how many feel strongly enough to vote that way. Brexit showed the same, and I fear that France will also.

    “Finding ways of thinking ourselves anew, closer, brighter, kinder: This will be my resistance now.” — one comfort is, that this is how one wants to live in any case. “Be the change you want to see in the world” is a challenge if measured against the world, a fulfillment personally. All courage, strength, and success to you.

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    1. I remember an interview with a Tea Party activist from Michigan about what drove Tea Party disaffection. He was white, middle class, unemployed, and on welfare. He was tremendously ashamed of being on welfare, but without it his teenage sons wouldn’t be able to play hockey…

      Srsly?

      Non-Tea Party people tend not to think Tea Party people are good people when they are so utterly clueless about their own sense of entitlement.

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    2. “the loss of privilege feels like discrimination to those who were previously entitled to it”

      I fear those who call themselves ‘good people’ – I stick with those who humbly say they keep trying, and failing, and trying…

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  4. A great radical feminist said something I will never ever forget. She said “What you resist persists.” Sometimes we just have to turn around and go the other way and choose another path. Trump might very well serve for a single term. I don’t know. Our job is to take stock of the situation, and do our best to live our lives well, to be not overcome with discouragement, but to live by our values and take seriously our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Yes, I agree with you, this is America’s version of Brexit, and I think Europe will soon begin to swing the same way. Democracy is a messy business, and sometimes we take the right turn and sometimes we take the wrong one, and that;s the breaks. Its a beautiful sunny day here in Colorado, and I am going to play with my dog, have a nice meal and listen to some good music. We win some, we lose some, and then its out job to win again.
    My salutations to you.

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    1. it’s our job to win again, yes. and to live our lives by our values, just as you say.

      and to try to make sure that everyone has the chance to play with their and not be treated like a dog, to have a meal on their table, and access to music.

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