I am so tired I actually can’t even think clearly to write what I want to write. But I need to get this out of me. Holding it in makes it even worse.
What I want to say is that this past year feels full of chaos and angst, when I am on the verge of an exciting new vocation – my herbal medicine endeavors. I would love to study plant nutrition, too. I would love to just be surrounded by all this plant goodness and learning and helping people.
But, instead, I feel beaten down by all the things going on in this world, and especially this country. I’m tired of the chaos. I’m tired of the shifting stories (a.k.a. lies). I’m tired of the drama. I’m tired of the grief. My heart is dashed to pieces, daily.
I’m trying to hang on through this, waking up every morning hoping it has ended. And I used to NOT watch the news, but now I’m afraid to avoid it, wanting to keep an eye on a democracy that has been downgraded from a full one to a flawed one, ready to rise up to fight, if I need to.
I’m a lover, not a fighter. This is so hard, watching a president breaking decades-old alliances and cozying up to authoritarians, because that’s what he is and can relate to. If you listen carefully (really, it doesn’t have to be that carefully) it slips out. Like the other day when he said he wanted “his people” to sit up at attention when he speaks, just as Kim Jong Un’s people do to him. (Supposedly that was a joke, but most jokes are people’s way of saying what they want to say and having an out if it doesn’t go over well.) And when a news reporter (of a conservative station) described the two dictators meeting. There it is, right out on the table. A dictator. He’s doing his damnedest to make that happen. And where are all the checks and balances in congress? Bueller?
I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography. It profiled the rise of Hitler and how he slowly worked his way into his position of power. It didn’t end well for Bonhoeffer, who as a pastor joined the resistance and was eventually killed. He tried to be a voice, while the rest of the Christian Church succumbed to Hitler’s tricks and lies, and was silent.
We all know the poem….
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
It was written by Martin Niemöller, a pastor who lived through it.
The first time I read that poem was after walking through the Holocaust Memorial in Boston. It’s a powerful memorial, if you haven’t ever seen it. After getting overwhelmed by all the rest of it, I saw this poem as the last thing. I felt like I had just been gut punched.
Many people think comparing the current president to Hitler is ridiculous. But history repeats itself, if you don’t learn from it, if you don’t watch for the signs. And there are signs.
Anyhow, I’m exhausted. And I really hope there is a happy ending.
As I wrote this, pressure from the public, the church, and republican congressmen (finally!), has caused the president to reverse a policy of separating children from their parents at the border. A policy they first denied was happening, then said they were just following existing law and it was the democrats’ fault. (Just so you know, I’m an independent, and I don’t like this blame game when either side does it.) I’m already running on fumes because I couldn’t sleep the other night after finding out about all of this. Then, last night, hearing about the concentration camps (let’s call them what they are) for the little children, I woke up this morning ready for a fight. As I set off to plan it, things changed. I’m thankful for that. But I’m still watching to figure out what I might be able to do to plug into the work of reuniting these children with their parents. And I will be praying that they can grow up to be healthy and whole, despite the trauma our country has put them through. Shame on us, when politics and policies matter more than human rights and little children are used as pawns. May God forgive us.
photo credit: JenGallardo It’s Been a Long Day via photopin (license)
Addendum: It’s painful to come back to read this. But I’m leaving it for prosperity. Because it’s how I felt during this time, and I still feel beaten down and exhausted by the harshness we are seeing in our world right now. But I am holding on to hope for a more expansive world where fear is left behind and love permeates everything. And all these wrongs are righted. A girl can dream. And dream I will continue to do.