I realize that I am far too sporadic in writing here. But I have long struggled to find my voice in writing. I have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of chaos in the world that has become a loud constant hum that drones on and on in the background. I keep trying to find the quiet—where the world makes a little bit of sense again.
Political Rhetoric, a new norm?
In particular, I am dismayed by this slow demise of what was normal political rhetoric that has become unsettling—where the unspoken leader of the free world freely and openly lies but calls other world leaders liars instead. And about 40-50% of the American people believe the other world leaders are the liars. The constant barrage of insults, demeaning names and comments—which the media than tries to prove how false it is—but too many people believe this leader when he says it is “fake news.”
Though, this forty-fifth president has given license to let hate speech, bigotry, and overt racism come into the light—as acceptable—where it lurked in the shadows in the past. I could bore you with all the statistics that bear this out. But I am unsettled by it all. I read the news daily and feel discouraged at the ways in which people can be so mean-spirited to one another. The vile and despicable acts that are far too quickly becoming normalized.
Parallels to the Past
I could draw so many close parallels to what is happening in America to what has long been the experiences of too many Indigenous Peoples and Nations in the US and Canada. The ugliness that has become too unsettling to too many Americans—has long been the experiences of Indigenous peoples for centuries. The anger, the hate, the violence, all of it disturbing—while too many turn blind eyes to it all or are shocked that it could happen in the first place. But it has in the past, and now seems to be ok again to hate certain groups and children, and the world has to learn to cope with it all.
I can only take the news in small doses every day. A quick read in the morning, before I get down to my task at hand—writing. And the news is always so loud—so much outrage that is real and imagined too often. I don’t even watch the news on cable as much anymore either—it is filled with too many apologists for the president. The news is also filled with too many yelling heads—that produce good sound bites, but never fully fleshed out or critical arguments. Who has time for that without falling into despair at how little a vote, let alone a voice counts for in the current American political climate and culture?
So, then what is the answer? More correctly, what is the answer for me? I can only do what I am doing right now—write. I can try to start to flesh out some of these parallels, but I am a single voice. And not a very loud or important one at that—I can only point out the parallels to the past and hope those present today realize and make changes that society so desperately needs.
Finding my answers
Beyond writing, I can research and teach how to engage one’s own thinking amidst the onslaught of overwhelming bombastic news in the world today. I can hopefully teach students how to view a number of perspectives without given into the notion of seeing the “other side” as the enemy. And I am preparing to do this in the fall, as I’ve done for years now.
But in all of this work, I have learned that I need to find something to soothe my soul and thinking as well. For me, beyond writing, solace comes from cooking good food again. It also comes from hanging out with Chloe (and all my dogs of the past). And finally, from gardening—just to watch things grow. I am still that little kid so fascinated by the sprout-as it emerges from the earth.
So, amidst the chaos of the world right now—don’t lose hope or faith. Find what will sustain you in actions—not just reading and reflection. Listen to someone else’s story—enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with friends. And most importantly do something where you can see the growth of your efforts—like tending to a garden. And we will at some point emerge from the fog of chaos and life again—I promise.
How will you find your solace among the world’s chaos?