Sitting in my wonderful apartment in Paris, I felt very far away from the 2016 Presidential Election and the “peaceful exchange” of power during December and January. I was sure that being back in the United States would make it more real, less dream-like. Almost instinctively, I didn’t watch any news on TV except the PBS News Hour. I had come to really appreciate the news stations in Europe that just report the news without opinions or jeering or humiliation – on either side. It was refreshing, allowing me to make up my own mind. The PBS News Hour is much like that. Reporting the news and an expansion on the important stories during the hour.
Still, I had news apps set to send me alerts of breaking news. I had called myself a ‘news junkie’ before I left for Paris. Now I just wanted to stay on top of the news, know what’s going on. Last night’s news had me looking at Trump’s hair for more than 2 minutes—I think his wig, or whatever it is that he wears, had slipped and made a big ball on the left side of his head–while the announcers reported on his first full day in office. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
This morning, I woke up very depressed. Of course, other physical health things that I’m feeling a bit powerless over are happening to me and certainly add to the blues. But I haven’t felt this kind of depression in a very long time. A lot of my good friends have been suffering since the Election. I was far away and, even though I feared the worst, I just wanted to stick my head in the sand and “give the guy a chance” As mostly billionaire white men were asked to be in his cabinet, I started fearing for the people who voted him in. How are they going to feel when they start losing subsidies and whatever little health care the ACA had given to them?
Later this morning, I got an alert from the NYTimes about another executive order signed. Suddenly I just couldn’t take it any more. I have no control over what’s going on in Washington but I do have some control over how I’m going to feel each day. I went to my iPhone settings and turned off all my alerts from my news sources. I may stop the domestic digest of the NYTimes and only get the International digest. I can handle that much better.
While I was writing, my friend Barbara sent me a YouTube clip “Make American first, the Nederlands second” It made me smile, I need to smile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX_uFqc3WHI&feature=share
I also believe that the antidote to my depression is action. I will have to do something. Something that I’m able to do after a hip replacement surgery. As a university student, I was very active protesting the Vietnam war. I was a follower then. I wouldn’t have admitted that at the time. I couldn’t think very clearly for myself. Plus, I was not alone. Being a protester in the north against the War was almost a social event. It’s important to me that I think clearly, that I do my protesting in a way that fits with my values and beliefs and my capabilities.
This is an on-going saga. I’ve got four years to perfect my protesting. One thing I will say about Trump. He is definitely a unifier. He has unified my friends and so many others, witness the Women’s Marches all over the world, in a way that hasn’t existed in a very long time. More to be revealed…..