First of all, I have to apologize to my readers for getting somewhat(!!) off-track in recent weeks. I have spent little time on writing fiction in favor of voicing my displeasure (on Twitter)at the actions taken by our new President immediately after his inauguration. I suspect that like many of you out there, writing is not only a pleasure but an avenue of release for me. If I am worried (I am) or stressed (I am), I relieve my anxiety by voicing my ire on paper. It’s as though, by putting my thoughts down in black and white, I am getting them off my mind and making them concrete and controllable and therefore not so scary. In any case, I do apologize for subjecting everyone to my rhetoric.
I am usually very apolitical in my writing. I agree with the adage that you never discuss religion or politics if you want to keep friends. And I am passionate in my belief that no one has the right to attempt to impose their belief system on another. Rational discussion, if agreed to by both parties in advance, is one thing, but imposition is quite something else.
It wasn’t always that way. When I was younger, much younger, I was considered the family revolutionary. Virtually any cause was supported, as long as it didn’t agree with the establishment viewpoint. I was a militant liberal. I took to the streets to campaign for both John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. The plight of Migrant Farm Workers, the Civil Rights Movement, the Student’s Movement after Kent State, the Women’s Movement, they all earned my support and participation. And of course, I marched in protest of the war in Vietnam, even though I had family that fought and died over there. It was the Age of Aquarius and the age of idealism and I was a San Franciscan. I was a card-carrying member of both NOW and AIM and I applauded the occupation of Alcatraz.
Then I got married and had a child and learned the practice of restraint. I learned to “go along to get along.” I had a family. It wasn’t just me anymore. Idealism was at war with reality. I learned the things I said and did had consequences. My husband’s conservative family did not share my “more progressive” ideals. I learned that it was better to keep my opinions to myself and avoid open hostilities.
Then I was no longer married. I was a woman raising a child alone and security had a higher priority than self-expression. Every decision is prefaced with “how will this affect my child”. I spent years in limbo, head down, one foot in front of the other, my only concern how to get from point A to point B.
But I guess that rebel streak, that flaw in my makeup, if you want to call it that, never really died. It just sat there, under the surface like a peat fire, smoldering, waiting for a chance to flair up into flames. Trump’s election proved to be the match.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still, to a large extent, apolitical. I don’t subscribe to the political party system. I am neither a Republican or a Democrat, although I am registered as a Democrat. That is only because, in California, a person who registers with no party preference receives a ballot which does NOT list all the Presidential candidates. It’s an idiotic rule, but it’s the law. Therefore I am not registered as an Independent, which is how I vote. I vote for the person…not the party. I am more liberal in my beliefs than conservative, hence my registration as a Democrat. Did I want Hillary to be elected? No. She has no self-respect and is only a figurehead. Did I want Trump to be elected? No! He has the self-control of a six-year-old in the middle of a tantrum and is the town bully.
This last election is an example of what can go wrong with a two-party system with an electoral college in charge of the final decision. The public was not really presented with a choice. I was not who we wanted to have for a President, it was who we thought might do the least damage.
And look what we have as a result. We have a President who did NOT win the popular vote. And now he is determined to make the entire country pay for that injury to his pride. In his first week in office, he has made it clear that he has forgotten, if he ever knew, who he works for. He believes he has the right (and power) to overturn the Constitution of the United States and burn the Bill of Rights. And it is this that has frightened me the most. I do not like being frightened. It makes me mad to feel frightened, and now I am fighting mad. James Madison said that oppression would come to America in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy and I see that happening here and I can no longer be silent no matter the cost. I may be only one voice but at least there will be one voice raised. It was Martin Luther King who said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I love my country. It is not perfect but, until now, I have been proud to be American. This matters. I really believe that to remain silent about the crime is to be complicit in the crime. I will not be complicit.
But I also will not attempt to impose my viewpoint on others although I won’t guarantee that my viewpoint will not influence my writing. After all, writers are in the vanguard and freedom of speech and of the press are the cornerstones of our democracy. At least until those rights are stuck down. What I will do is take my viewpoint to a different blog. If you are interested, if you agree that something must be done, if you, too, do not wish to be compliant, you can follow me over there to fightbak.
Also published on Medium.