Here’s a confession, which isn’t really a confession, because it’s a bit obvious to all who know me (and heck! probably strangers on the street): I am a financial and political dunce. I could have done with money management lessons at school which may well have saved me from the cost-per-wear LIES, and perhaps I may have understood that savings and pensions and things are there to keep you safe, and that keeping safe is a good thing, not just a boring thing, and then perhaps I would think twice about frittering money away on things that are short-term totally excellent, but long-term don’t keep you warm/fed/dry etc etc. Been paid? Great! Prolly time to go to a Christopher Kane sale to get a massive skirt which will look really good the two times I wear it! And if there is some tax to pay, well, hmmmm, prolly someone/anyone/Mark might spring for that….after all, it’s no good using your money to pay the taxes if you don’t have a floor length ballgown skirt to swish around in, right? Too bloody right.
And the same with politics, really. I’ve lived in nice sensible countries whose governments seemed to have a vested interest in keeping people safe and educated and well, and the people around me have earned enough to keep us all collectively afloat and fed and so it’s been easy not to get terribly engaged about adulty political things. We’ve had strong women leaders in my lifetime and relatively pleasant race relations and I always felt that the parties were all saying much the same thing and that there was probably a system in place that would keep basic things going regardless of who was in charge, like electricity and schools and fairness and smooth tarmacs and regular rubbish collection.
Perhaps, even, there was some sort of deep-voiced Kindly Overlord who kept an eye on the politicians and the governments to make sure things were ok and that the good was nicely balanced with the not-so-good things. There might be challenges along the way – Westboro pro-lifers and shameful homophobes and redneck racists muttering a bit of filth now and then, perhaps some sort of difficult situation going on in Taksim Square and some terrible business with Yazidis and abstract anomalies such as Darfur and neo-Nazis and Mugabe and North Korea; but, probably, the Kindly Overlord would sort that shit out once it go too bad or too close. Anyways, there was always a petition to sign to express my concern and indignation. But LO! The scales have fallen off my myopic eyeballs and I am getting that creeping feeling on your skin when you realise that:
a. I was wrong about everything, and
b. no one is in charge, and
c. the world has changed significantly and it’s going to end really badly for everyone.
I took two of the boys on the women’s march, and I made signs that I copied from instagram and the kids made their own:
I saw that our placard messages may have been a bit mixed, what with me championing tolerance and love and feminism while the kids just stated the bald truth about That Man – which at first made me feel a bit like perhaps I have been a bad mother for ignoring the nuance of these things, and that the kids should show a bit of respect and that maybe some sort of balanced non-Trump-bashing kind of approach might have been a better way – after all, Love Trumps Hate. But then Trump had his first week in office and preceded to tear apart all those things that I thought were a given, and really, there’s no nuance here. Nor is there any Overlord, alas. We are on our own and there are terrifying people with their hands on the wheel.
What, I ask you, do I say to those who think this swing to the self-righteous, liberal-hating, intolerant and unkind right is good and Godly? What do we do? What do you say to the people who see the Muslim ban as a perfectly justifiable way to be safe, just like the guns they are proud to own? And those who keep posting the pro-life videos about embryos but then who want to push out of their borders the kids and families who have fled their own homes by ugly wars? I really don’t know. What do you say to those who thank Trump for championing traditional marriage, while ignoring his own very liberal approach to fidelity and sexual assault? I am confused and troubled and for the first time in my life, I feel like political dunceness isn’t ok anymore.
Then we read this for bookclub:
If you thought We Need To Talk About Kevin was alarming, then try to read this one without throwing it across the room in despair. You want believable apocalypse? Completely likely and realistic dystopia? An account of the collapse of all the systems we all believe in? Read that one, my friends, grab those kids of yours close and apologise to them. And then, let’s talk.
we are living in crazy times!
Ugh we are….
Have you seen the latest episode of Sherlock? The opening scene is how the world feels right now.
I haven’t, but I will. Thanks, cybertwin
Oh my goodness, an absolutely BRILLIANT post. Thank you for putting, in your marvellous prose, so many of our thoughts into words. It really is unbelievable to anyone who has been lucky enough to live – until now – in a mostly liberal society. I can’t even READ about That Man’s shenanigans without breaking into hives, so it would appear that I’m going to have to read that book. 😦 (And, sadly, don’t see the UK’s TM as being any kind of paragon, nor a foil.)
Also, I can tell you that I was quite persuaded of the fragility of the banking system, for one, after I got sucked into one of those interminable informative-videos-which-end-up-trying to-sell-you-something. 45 pretty apocalyptic minutes, but VERY convincing.
Thank you very much for saying so – I am not very comfortable wading into politics…but how can you not? I can’t even read the Sunday paper inserts because it all seems a bit irrelevant and frivolous. I’m sure that will wear off, though. Agree about TM – think she’s a bit dreadful. Sure, her job would suck right now, but then, don’t be a PM unless you are up for some shitness in your job, right?
for any Christian there is an obligation to perform acts of mercy: To feed the hungry.
To give water to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
To bury the dead.
That might help some. Also, the US Constitution says Freedom of religion and the practice of religion. I was taught that means you can practice your choice of religion but that right extends only to another person’s equal right to their religion which means you must not force your religion down my throat. And the US Constitution clearly states that the government shall make law respecting the establishment of religion which I was taught there is NO overriding religion in the US. Despite this some people wish to change this. Hopefully that will be fought in court and the Constitution will hold.
The Pope was pretty clear that fussing over unborn potential babies and ignoring living breathing born children was not Christian. But some people do not like the Pope. I simply think it is a non-Christian action. Please ask people of different opinions why this is ok? politely.
Start discussing White Male Nationalism with your children and why it is not consistent with your values. Be care to avoid direct comparisons to Hitler because there are differences but talk about the values your family supports. On gays: If you think marriage is for only one man and one woman for heavens sake do not engage in a same sex marriage! Check the religious freedom thing above. That also applies to abortion and contraception. Do not use either if you do not believe in them or have religious qualms, but do not make your religious views laws to be thrust upon believers of other religious beliefs.
Teach your sons about consent, what is assault, and that they CAN control their sexual urges. Do it now. Also about responsibility for any progeny and pregnancy even if contraception is used because that can happen. Cover sexually transmitted disease for good measure.
This is really terrible difficult, and scary and uncertain. ‘Adulting’ is hard but very important and I am glad you are joining the fight. THANK YOU FOR STANDING IN DEFENSE OF TRADITIONAL AMERICAN AND BRITISH VALUES. PS: Pray that man does not make a grab at the body of the Queen or any Princess….. Pray HARD.
There is so much to love about this: thank you! I cried a little bit. I’m going to arm myself up with your brand of common sense and teach those boys and keep questioning and asking. Really really appreciate your views! Xxx
THANK YOU! You brought me to tears saying this and holding my hand through the net. I had been afraid I had way over stepped. You are one of the lights in my life and it brings me great joy to see the strength and courage of your generation.
PS: I adore it when you post and you make a huge difference in MY mental health and coping skills! So THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!