A Shared Opinion …

There are a number of opinion writers who I read regularly, and Charles Blow of the New York Times is one.  His column on Sunday struck a chord, for much of what he says mirrors my own thoughts very closely, especially when he says, “I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.”  I initially intended to only provide a few snippets from this column, but after I studied and pondered it a bit, I decided to share the entire column after all.  Give it a read … I think you’ll be able to relate to much of what he says …

You Have a Right to Weariness

The struggle for goodness and decency is an eternal struggle, not a seasonal one.

Charles BlowBy Charles M. Blow, Opinion Columnist

Do we have a right to weariness in an era of animus? More precisely, can we afford it, or is exhaustion a luxury reserved for those whose wealth, privilege and status insulate them from the losses the rest of us could suffer? Does patriotic defense of country require perpetual, obsessive vigilance, or is it permissible to retreat occasionally for one’s own mental and spiritual health?

These are questions I ask myself regularly, and ones that are frequently asked of me, if not in those exact words. People are trying to figure out the proper posture to take in a world riven by deceit and corruption, a world in which the leadership of the country represents an assault on decency.

This is a conundrum, I must confess.

I, as much as anyone else, feel trapped by our current predicament. I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.

I feel compelled by what I view as history, fundamental and consequential, playing out right before me with nothing short of the life of the republic at stake. And yet, at a certain point, words begin to fail, or the obvious has already been stated. Once you have pointed out that Trump is a liar, you can then note only that he is telling more lies. The same goes for his racism, bullying, anti-intellectualism, corruption and grift.

At some point, it becomes clear that the abnormal, outrageous and unacceptable have become a constant, and even the rolling boil of righteous folk’s indignation reduces to a simmer.

People often ask me, “When will it end? What can we do to get him out of there?”

My answer always is, “I doubt it will end soon, and there’s very little anyone can do to change that.”

I hate to bear that message, but it is the only one I can deliver if I wish to be honest rather than popular.

As much as there was to celebrate last week, with liberals winning control of the House of Representatives, and doing so with such a diverse slate of candidates, it was also clear that Republican control of the Senate means that any hope of removing Trump via impeachment has shrunk to nearly nothing. Even if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate remains highly unlikely to remove him.

Democrats are even debating how far they can take oversight in the House without turning off people politically.

The only hope is that the Robert Mueller investigation may deliver something so damning that some Senate Republicans view it as unacceptable. But there is no evidence as of yet that anything would sway them.

Trump is taking steps to severely hamper Mueller’s efforts. Last week, he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. The F.B.I. is currently investigating corruption at a company where Mr. Whitaker sat on the advisory board.

At this point, it may be more prudent to view what comes from the Mueller probe as fodder for the 2020 presidential campaign. It may not pave the way for an impeachment conviction by the Senate, but could well pave the way for an electoral “impeachment.”

It is very likely that we are stuck with Trump until the 2020 election, and even then the Democrats can take nothing for granted if they wish to defeat him.

That is the root of people’s distress. How can Republicans in Congress abide this behavior and use it for political positioning? How can so many of our neighbors condone open hostility to minorities, the press and the truth?

Or maybe the questions are for us. How could we not have registered fully just how hostile a substantial portion of America is to inclusion and equality? How could we not have registered the full depths of American racism and misogyny? How could we not remember that American progress has always been like a dance with a disagreeable partner, stumbling backward as well as moving forward?

I remember calling my mother when Trump was elected, and she was not nearly as distraught as I thought she’d be. Her stated reason: We’ve been through worse. She is an elderly black woman from the South. Her sense of history and heartbreak are long and fraught.

Recently, I’ve delved even more deeply into this line of thinking, reading about how black people positioned themselves during both Reconstruction and Jim Crow, when the political structures were largely arrayed against them.

I wanted to know how they survived and made progress against open hostility. The recurring themes are to never lose hope in the ultimate victory of righteousness; to focus your fire on the things you are most able to change; and to realize that change is neither quick nor permanent.

The struggle for goodness and decency is an eternal struggle, not a seasonal one.

Don’t beat yourself up if you need to tune out every now and then and take a mental health break. There is no shame in it. This is a forever fight. Once you have recharged, reapply your armor and rejoin the fight with even more vigor.

20 thoughts on “A Shared Opinion …

  1. The New York Times has several opinion columnists that I faithfully read, Charles M. Blow is one of them. When I read this on Sunday, it felt like a gift from him to me. I am nonetheless weary, but feel less guilty to be so. At the time I first read this and reading it again now, the same thought came to my mind. Many years ago when my younger self questioned my Gram about how something that had happened could be allowed, she sadly said : “Only when the unacceptable becomes acceptable.” Those words are more true now than ever. Thank-you!

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    • When I first read it, I thought “Eureka!!! That is precisely how I feel!”. Like you, I am weary and feeling bedraggled, but I don’t feel guilty, I just feel angry at myself. I keep reminding myself that if we give up this fight, we lose, and that I need to keep my mind and body well enough to keep on. Your grams words were so wise, and I said something similar to Keith just a few minutes ago … I think I said “when the unconscionable becomes the norm”, which is just about the same, and yes, they are as true today as they have ever been.

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  2. Jill, good read. I think the wearing an opponent down is part of the strategy. The man is relentless as he opens the floodgates of demeaning and untruthful commentary.

    The media should have been and can still be selective on what they report. I feel they focused on so much manutia that it just made us numb. They should focus on the big and number of lies. I like the fact the media is now saying – this claim is offered without proof or is untrue.

    He has worn us all down in attempt to normalize things. But, there is nothing normal about this man’s Presidency. His cult probably loves that he storms about. But, I see an unhinged man, who is not trusted even by his own party. He has damaged America in the eyes of the world and has disrupted important roles and processes that keep us safe. Keith

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    • I agree with you. Wearing us down and also bombarding our senses to the point that the inconceivable eventually becomes the norm are both part of the strategy. And I also agree about the media. They harp on the petty and suddenly his every word is made to be important. Some of his words, I suspect, are simply an attempt to get a reaction, to gain attention. It’s funny, for after his election, the press admitted that they had contributed to it and that their constant coverage of his every move had only served to give him free advertising, more attention. But they are still doing it! And … we’re still letting his every word make us angry … or at least I find that I do. An unhinged man sums it up pretty well. I strongly believe that he is taking us down a path of destruction and surely do hope that once there is a democratic majority in the House, his agenda will at least be slowed to a shuffle instead of the warp speed he’s on now. I just fear what damage he will do between now and January 3rd!

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      • Jill, I just followed up on my email to Senator McConnell and my two Senators regarding bringing to a vote some protection for Robert Mueller’s investigation, which McConnell is disinclined to do. His voicemail is full, but do call his Kentucky offices as well as your senators, if you agree. Keith

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        • I absolutely WILL!!! I was disgusted, but not surprised, when I heard that McConnell is still refusing to vote to protect Bob Mueller’s investigation. He knows darn good and well that Trump plans to shut it down or at least curtail it, but apparently Trump’s opinion matters more than his constituents. I will call tomorrow. Thanks, Keith!

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  3. Good piece, but I hate to have to say it, racism is only one piece of what the male sTrumpet is doing–just one piece! He is raising the value of all sorts of hatred, deepening the fear of others who come knocking at the door for help, destroying families, destroying the global economy, threatening world peace and national peace, destroying centuries-old partnerships and alliances, promoting state dictatorships, giving government money away free to people who have absolutely no use or need of it, and… need I really go on. White power, white privilege, white rule… Soon he will be championing apartheid, slave labor, and state religion. There is nothing this man and his followers will not do. They will willingly destroy the world for their own greed and pleasure.
    The worst part, Trump is not the issue, only the present focal point. There are millions similar to him, and hundreds of thousands worse than him. The world has not seen the worst populism has to offer, not even the worst of Donald J Trump.
    Don’t Just Talk!!!!!
    Find a way to act!!!!!
    Actions speak louder than words…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right … racism is only one of the horrors he is bringing out in this nation, but it seems to be at the core of much of it, such as his immigration policies. Perhaps a better word for it would be either ‘populism’ or ‘nationalism’, both of which have taken on new connotations in this century, for they both incorporate racism with other -isms.

      “Find a way to act” you say. I don’t know that way, my friend. In truth, I strongly suspect that an unwinnable war is the only thing that is going to turn things around, and you and I both know where that leads.

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  4. I’ve heard the view that the rot started with Gary Hart who had to relinquish the play for the president because of an extra marital affair.
    The dirt was dug up and Gary had to give up , but these days we take such things in our stride , it political performance that matters now not sexual performance. Reading about Gary I was impressed with his abilities and interested to note his nefarious fling was with Donna Rice which seems to prove sex transcends politics , religion and intellectual prowess.

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    • I’ve heard the view that the rot started with Gary Hart who had to relinquish the play for the president because of an extra marital affair.

      I recently saw a report that the Republican dirty tricks program had set Gary Hart up (sorry, I didn’t keep the link). This does throw a different light on things, though Hart still has to take the blame for acting in ways that made such a setup possible.

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    • Y’know … an extra-marital affair, while I am NOT condoning or minimizing it, does not bother me nearly as much as the sexual predatory ways of Trump … harassing young women in beauty pageants that he sponsored, and women who worked for him, speaking of women in the manner he does. Most likely at least half of all presidents going back to the first one had an affair here and there … look at Kennedy! But it’s the denigration of women, the view that they are on earth only for the gratification of men and are otherwise naught but second-class citizens … that is what I find abominable.

      And to your last point … yes, I think it’s long been obvious that sex transcends almost everything, at least for a few moments.

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      • I loved your reply especially ‘ at least for the last few moments ‘ it made me smile . Whether Mr Hart was guilty or not ( these days guilt is not so broad as it was ) the point the BBC were making was that the main criterion for the high ( another debatable point) office of president a clean living ( wow) morally upright citizen ( there may still be a few around) no longer exists .
        I’m going to have to stop writing as I see faults before I’ve finished the sentence .

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