specious pretexts

I've been very distracted lately. It's hard to sit at a desk all day and watch as large things happen to the country and world around me. I feel like I should be doing something about it. I feel like I should be out joining the scientists, government workers, politicians, activists, and everyone doing something about the situation this country is in.

I've never felt so bound to a duty, especially not to my country, as I do now. I could never kill for my country, but I can stand up for her values. I can write, debate, speak, sing; bring people together and push back against the threats we face from the most powerful government on earth.

I was reading George Washington's farewell address today, and found this sentence out of many that resonated with the moment we're in:

Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.

These days we are drowning in specious pretexts, not only from our government, but citizens that act like mere subjects. Arguments are made and people split over simple pride. It's Trump's way, after all: win at all costs. But it's now that we need the wisdom to know when to fight our fellow citizens and when to work with them. We need to forget the theatrics and cacophony of digital voices to remember the common things important to every last one of us. As one people we are stronger than many divided.

We all must rise, fight, and restrain the blind extremism encroaching, before it has the chance to consume us.

In uncertain times like these it's more and more important to ensure people on social media know your political opinions. Really. Because as our president-cum-reality TV host continues to entertain and dazzle us, he'll also be doing some unanticipated things (good and bad) along the way, and we need to keep talking about it. More on this later.

The next 8 or less years will likely be tiring for us Americans because we all care about our country. We want a good life, and to grow up and move to the suburbs and have cute kids to put on the Instasnapgrams, and to overall fulfill our American Destiny (whatever we decide that is). And we need the right environment to do that in: one where we can get a good job, a nice roof, good food, a decent car to crawl our magnificent suburbs, and a healthy meatsack to keep us working and the whole machine turning. We all have ideas on how to make these things happen, but ultimately we all want the same things.

And it can be hard to remember that. These days, apparently everyone's “divided,” and the press is lying to us all (still being authentically depressing, last I checked), and we have all these feelings about how bad the world is getting.

But I don't think we've changed. We still all want the same things we did last year. We still, as a country, have lots of problems that no president, even with the biggest of hands, could easily fix. But that's alright. We just need to be aware for when things really start to get bad. And this brings me to my point.

We need to keep talking politics. And not on Facebook, but in person; when you're enjoying an otherwise pleasant day at the park, for example; or as a bedtime family debate for your little ones. Ask the cute girl you just met at the bar her stance on our foreign policy, or how she feels about domestic surveillance. Because only the powerful benefit from politics being a conversational taboo — not us. And if you can't help but get angry at someone because, for example, they think everyone should be able to eat breakfast for dinner, and then you start fuming like, commie liberal scum!, or they think pickles actually taste good, and you're like, ohmygod! backwards conservative rednecks! First take a second to ask that person about their views, then shut up and listen for a while. Listen like they were dying; like their last wish was for someone to understand why they hold their opinion about raisin oatmeal cookies so fucking deeply. In the end, if you did it right, you'll have two less “divided” people who've learned something about one another that they couldn't from the news, or Facebook, or long form essays that supposedly tell you how people think and feel.

If it's not clear yet, I'm a little uneasy of the future of our country. From this writer's vantage point, it appears the egotistical oompa loompa at the helm of our ship wants to run the US like a corporation, trample her basic laws, put his interests before the public's, discredit the institutions keeping him in check, distract us from real issues, and have a bunch of self-interested billionaires do all the real governing. And it is from this vantage point that I see myself suddenly caring, and wanting to make sure this sad little man doesn't screw it up for the rest of us. In all seriousness, I think it's now up to us, the citizens and loyal subjects, to actively participate and keep our elected officials in check. Because despite what he says, he and his cabal aren't looking out for us at all.

For now, I'll be watching from my well-fed ass for him to really cross the line. And I'll be ready to drive to my nearest strip mall, pick up a pitchfork, and take to the streets when the time comes. If you feel the same way, let me know so I can call on you, should the day come. And no matter how you feel, let's grab some coffee and talk about politics. Any chance to better understand another's viewpoint is one I welcome.