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Do What You Can

A couple of years or so into a new age in America, and I’m still starting almost completely over every day. It’s not just that the mistakes, scandals, and decline are so fast, but that even two years in I don’t recognize my country. Or myself.

The phrase “crash and burn” keeps coming to mind especially as I check news each day, but that never quite fits. You see, in order to crash, the vehicle has to have forward momentum. Or maybe this time it’s rushing backward. Only Trump and the GOP were digging a hole in the road behind the starting point before they were even elected in 2016. If you’ve seen “Ready Player One” (movie, not the book version) maybe you can kind of see the picture in my head. On the fateful day in January last year, I couldn’t bear to watch the inauguration, but I now picture them all piling into the vehicle with us, choosing “R,” and putting the pedal to the metal. The vehicle speeds backward, plopping neatly into the hole the GOP had already started, but it’s not a sleek ramp, the way to the finish line, like in the movie; this is bad. Then they dig some more, making the hole a bit wider, a bit deeper. They keep plugging away, lowering us farther and farther down and back. And instead of seeing what they’re doing, how they’re making everything that was good bad and everything that was bad worse, they cheer their regress. They convince people in the vehicle with us to cheer with them, but we can’t understand why. And then the vehicle is on fire. And we’ve shit our pants. And instead of seeing what is happening, some of them are wagging their smelly, shitty asses around and doing some kind of victory dance. And we still can’t understand why though we can understand why everyone outside the vehicle is keeping their distance now. We’re in this hole, sinking, and everything is fire and shit and . . . ignorance. . . as if this is supposed to be what we wanted.

There have been people all around me rooting for the fall of the United States of America, for the country to be run by a Russian fascist regime. I can’t wrap my head around why? Why were they so excited for the GOP’s tax scam to go through. They’re not getting jack shit. Neither am I. This is a huge gift from our children and grandchildren – some who’ve not even been born, yet – to the oligarchs and their future generations. I mean, we all like giving gifts – it feels good to see people we love smile when we give them something – but this? Why? This doesn’t feel good. We can’t afford it, and those who receive it don’t really appreciate it. They don’t need it. It’s even more of what they have. They have so much already. Our children will suffer for them to have even more money they don’t need.

We pay taxes so that our resources are pooled for bridges, and schools, for clean water and air, a safety net for hard times, and retirement savings and health insurance. We pool it so that each of us, all of us, can get more together, for ourselves, for our kids. We didn’t pool it to give to the rich people. We pooled it for everyone, rich, poor, and in between, to share the benefits together.

The president and GOP lawmakers have quietly started work dismantling our social safety net programs and our education system. They’re going to see how much of our Social Security and Medicare they can take. They’re tossing out environmental protections and research funding and shrinking our national parks so they can take more oil and gas to give to businesses to make money for their shareholders. They’re appointing judges who will stand with them, who’ll say what they’re doing is perfectly fine. This is not okay.

People tell me to “have faith,” but often I find these are the same people who sat on their asses doing nothing while our society regressed literally before our eyes. Maybe they were praying, which, as far as I’m concerned is doing nothing. Disagree if you like, but it is nothing if there is no god; and thousands of years into religions, there is still no evidence of a god or supreme being. You’ll understand, then, if I don’t leave the future of my family, my country, and the planet in the invisible hands of the imaginary being people pretend to talk to when they could be taking action to bring about positive change.

Every day we wake up a little farther down in the hole. I can’t see over the edge anymore, but I keep my eyes up and looking ahead. I will keep working, keep plugging away. There have been little victories. We didn’t lose all of the ACA, yet. They haven’t managed to take our Social Security or Medicare. Yet. Courts are still protecting a lot of our DREAMers, for now, and they’ve struck down the travel bans a few times. The president’s lawyer/fixer is in trouble with the law, and we have reason to believe there could be criminal charges. Mueller plugs away at his work, and while we haven’t convinced Congress to work for us, yet, it could still happen. Maybe even before we vote them all out in less than seven months. We can’t let it get us down.

I’m not the optimistic, carefree person I used to be, but with a bit of effort, I can remind myself that we’re not the first country in the world to go through this. I hope we’re the last. We will work through this, and we’ll take actions to be sure it can’t happen again. And we’ll be stronger.

Every day I wake up and look around, determine where I am and where would be a good place to start, where I can jump in and help. Call and write to your lawmakers. Learn from others. Find out what others are doing and what you can do to move forward. Choose to keep going knowing you aren’t alone. We’re stronger together. Meet with and march with people who are going the same direction you are. Vote. Just keep starting from today and doing what you can. Set your sights on a way up and out of the hole, a direction forward, and take a step. Then take another step.

Do what you can.

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Link: “Rallying Nation” – by Mary Jordan and Scott Clement (Video by Zoeann Murphy, contribution to the story also from Emily Guskin) at The Washington Post.

Quote from article on reason one person (Desmond Beach, an artist and teacher from Baltimore) is concerned and now an activist, “Trump has allowed people to be racist in a way we have not seen in decades.”

Quote from article (Jasmine Stephens, a substitute teacher and activist from Voorhees, N.J.), “People who are apathetic — or who care but don’t do anything about it — are a huge part of the problem.”

Link: “Mission to find a stolen wallet changes one man’s life” – by Steve Hartman at CBS News. Will we make our choices from a place of compassion for our fellow humans or from a place of selfishness or malice? Jimmy chooses compassion, and he’s changed lives.

Link: Only Love – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters. Love, not hate, can get us back on track.

Link: Facts Matter – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters

Link: Truth Ism – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters

Link: You Are The Hero – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters. First part. Don’t wait for someone else to save you; you are the hero you’ve been waiting for.

Link: Save What We Love – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters. Second part. Love, not hate, can get us back on track.

Link: Work On That Pitch – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters. Don’t just tell me I’m not doing enough. Tell me what you want that I’m not already doing.

Link: They Built This – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters

Link to original Tweet from LiberalBookwormJim.

Link to original Tweet from Bryce Tache.

#DoWhatYouCan #StrongerTogether

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