Monday, October 23, 2017

Fear itself

If blogging has seemed rather light in this space of late, I agree. After a month in Spain, mostly walking on pilgrimage, and a quick week in rural Nicaragua meeting hopeful people working with El Porvenir to bring clean water to their communities, I'm having trouble re-acclimatizing myself to the shit-show that is the Trump/GOP United States.

That's not surprising. When people ask me what I learned while walking, the first thing I mention is that I realized I hadn't had a restful night's sleep since a year ago November 8. I am sure I am not alone in this. Rage at my fellow citizens for trashing the country's hope and heritage, shame that hope and heritage proved such a feeble bulwark against hate and authoritarianism, and terror of hate compounding into war at home and abroad -- all these unquiet emotions preclude tranquil dreams.

I wouldn't have enjoyed or trusted a Democratic presidency, but I wouldn't have had to worry about active government enthusiasm for polluting air and water, about seeing Puerto Rico strangled by willful neglect after the storm, or, probably, about nuclear war.

But here we are. And I am not alone. Rage and fear are rational responses to escalating cruelty and insanity. Researchers have been asking a broad sample of us the question "what keeps you up at night?" They have created a fascinating snapshot of our current anxieties as reported at Smithsonian.com. We used to worry about (largely over-hyped) crime and terrorism; at this moment, we seem more frightened by corruption in government, environmental degradation, and economic unease often related to health care.
I suspect that "corruption" is a kind of stand in for a general sense that the government is not doing its job, as well as a call out of theft by political leaders, though the article does not explore this. The researchers do warn that their findings tend to mirror what's prominent in the news -- if they had run the survey soon after the Las Vegas massacre, they'd have expected fear of mass shooting to rank highly.

They will continue to have plenty to study. If there is anything the regime of the Orange Cheato reliably offers, it is unceasing alarms about the dangers of the day.

As usual, the only remedy I know for fear and impotent rage is action. Resistance keeps us human and as sane as we can be in a world gone mad. Resist and protect much.

5 comments:

Brandon said...

On "escalating cruelty." This proposal is cruel--and demented.

Celia said...

Sadly accurate chart. :-( But fortunately we keep on trying to alleviate it but it is overwhelming at times.

joared said...

Resist and persist is where we continue to be. Chart does ring true, unfortunately. You described the situation well. A breather away from U.S. madness is occasionally necessary for me with my commentary.

janinsanfran said...

Brandon: I doubt very much that one bad shooting in MD will move the state to bring back the death penalty. That state ended it through legislative vote in 2013, not likely to be overturned, though they do now have a Republican governor.

Brandon said...

It was the proposal to use heroin and fentanyl for execution that stood out. If that's not cruel and unusual punishment, what is?

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