“We need to hear stories from older women. There’s a wealth of wisdom and real resilience there, but they’re silenced.” ~ Hanna Gadsby
“Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.” ~ Amitabh Bachchan
For the last few years I’ve been learning to be a crone. The origin of that word has it a negative connotation, as illustrated in many fairy tales with wicked witches who capture and eat children. Baba Yaga is the prime example of an ugly, ill-tempered crone. Thankfully in the last decades, crone has been redefined as a wise older woman who has much to teach others. That’s the part of me I embrace, a woman who has experienced much, learned from her mistakes, and now has wisdom to share.
One of the big mistakes I’ve made has been to keep my mouth shut when I should be speaking out about how I view situations in the world. When I’ve broken my rule of silence, I’ve created controversy by stating my true opinion. Standing in the eye of a storm of controversy is an uncomfortable place to be. And yet, today, I’m going to change my rules and begin to express exactly how I feel about a number of topics beginning with our current political landscape.
Over the past two and a half years, I’ve felt disbelief that there are people who can’t see that Donald Trump, by his own statements and actions, has proven to be an immoral misogynist, racists, narcissist who only cares about making himself look good. He has incited hatred and violence. Investigators and reporters are discovering just how deep his corruption goes. He’s not fit to be our president in any way shape or form. And yet, I can’t deny that before the electoral college made him president, I was asleep politically and the shock of such a person rising to the Oval Office made me wake up. I firmly believe that it is no accident that he became president. Some force bigger than us is looking out for our best interests. They know we resist change until we’re forced to do so by being confronted with dark events or people.
Before the 2016 election, I thought I was becoming enlightened because I studied and listened to spiritual teachers like Marianne Williamson and tried to practice what they taught. A few years before the 2016 election, she and other teachers of her caliber, were urging their followers and students to become politically involved. The idea is that if enough of us who desire a new society become active participants, instead of hiding away from all the bad things happening in the world, we will actually be able to transform our society. That’s why she became a candidate for president in the 2016 election and is running again for the 2020 election. She wants to bring her ideas for a more peaceful and humanitarian society to the national discussion. She believes that we need to educate ourselves and not only vote, but engage with our elected officials, and possibly even run for office.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I said to myself. I hate politics because whether it’s at the office, school, or in government, it always seems to be about jostling for power, control, or for financial gain. It never seems to be about what might be best for the people involved. But as I walked through the door on election night after teaching my class and was greeted with the news that Trump had won the election, I changed my mind. My unease got worse when the news pundits said that Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump the electoral college. That wasn’t right! The electoral college is supposed to support their state’s vote count. Then stories began cropping up in the news that the Russians had interfered in our elections and that was the clincher. Marianne was right. I needed to pay attention and stop insulating myself from what I perceived as negative news.
I was finally ready to pay more attention, even though it was detrimental to my nervous system. However, I knew I could find a balance between being an informed citizen and discovering a way to release all the negativity I stored up from the seemingly never ending horror of current events.
These past two and half years of trying to find the balance, I’ve come to some important discoveries. First, I still need to limit my news intake. When I get stressed out by the day’s events, I read a book, meditate, watch a movie, or enjoy listening to and laughing with comedians like Stephen Colbert. Surprisingly it also helps to listen to more than one side of any news story. It’s difficult when my take on a situation is challenged by a pundit, or reporter, but it has helped me form a more well rounded picture of what’s actually going on.
Another thing I decided to do was to sit down and read The Mueller Report. In the past when these types of reports came out, I would assume they were written in legalese, which makes my head spin. But, when I began reading the report I was happy to find that it is in plain language that anyone can understand. Just reading the introduction and first few pages made me cringe. By accounts from people in both parties, Robert Mueller is a man of high integrity which means that as the report states, the Russians did interfere in our elections. In fact the Russians began their attack as early as 2014. Instead of declaring actual warfare, they are using information, and social media in their march to expand their influence. And it seems we’re not the only country they’ve targeted.
Another thing has become clear to me as I’ve become more aware of what’s happening politically; the Republican party has been quietly advancing their agenda for thirty or forty years by voter suppression, gerrymandering, blocking any legislation that doesn’t suit their goals, and placing as many of their cronies around the country in positions of power as they can. They use propaganda language to influence people’s thinking using words like liberal as a dirty word, calling us snowflakes, and using other nasty language against their opponents. Their tactic is to strike first, because we often believe the first thing we hear. The person put on the defensive looks weak. The leaders of the Republican party are bullies who think that if they control people and circumstances on the outside, they’ll be safe.
Here’s what I know about bullies after 48 years of teaching and observing them at work. They become bullies to protect themselves because they are deeply afraid. In reality bullies are cowards. The only way to stop them is to stand up and challenge them. When we do that, they eventually crumble. They have an opportunity to learn a great lesson from being forced to face their own fears. But as history shows, most of them don’t repent. They either destroy themselves, or they are exiled or killed by their opponents.
Now, I’m not saying that Democrats and progressives are perfect. Some are just as afraid and dictatorial as conservatives. Nevertheless, there are many more people on their side who use their political positions to be FOR PEOPLE rather than to gain power or prestige. I’ve listened to several of the many Democratic candidates for president and am happy that they are willing to address the tough questions facing our country. That’s refreshing. I’m sure there are moderate Republicans who are more people oriented than the current group in power. I hope they stand up for what they believe in. Also it would be nice if we all began true dialogue to dispel this us-VS-them mentality. I believe one day that will happen.
I wrote this post as my pledge to take my head out of the sand, face the situation in the United States as forthrightly as I can, and do something about it in ways that suit my talents. Writing my authentic feelings about the situation is one way. To be informed is another. That’s why I’m reading The Mueller Report and I encourage you to do the same. If he testifies before Congress, I’ll be watching.
But remember, I stand by your right to disagree with me. I just hope you do it as a caring informed citizen.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments. Welcome to my new followers.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.