Red, White, and Good News

Is it too soon in my blogging career to attempt a political post? In case I sound like Cher Horowitz in debate class, disclaimer: I do kind of live under a rock. Be it our decision to “cut cable” several months ago (of course we still get Bravo), or kiddos, or a general lack of interest in the insanity going on out there in the world, this is where I’ve chosen to live for now. That said, I am not well-versed in politics, and I probably won’t watch the State of the Union tonight because most likely it’s past my bedtime (8PM). This is also why I subscirbe to the Skimm. Maybe tomorrow I will make more of an effort not to skim the Skimm but there is one thing I know will not be included in Trump’s assessment of what he has brought to office whether I watch, read or skim about it.

I really think we can actually credit his first year in office with some of this #metoo and #timesup success. The timing of it all just has to be in part thanks to him. Of course, I do not mean it was intentional on his part. What I do mean is that by electing someone to our highest office who has a questionable reputation in that regard, people have really gotten to see a clear example of how we can say that something is vitally important to our character, and then watch as something contradictory plays out instead.  I think watching it play out so flagrantly has brought on a generalized sense of shame. As that blanket of shame fell, it has landed in some areas- on industries and people- that already had too much shame to carry, so their buckets overflowed, and tipped over and things have been spilling out ever since. Otherwise, why now after years and years of silence? It seems like it was this person, in this office, at this time. And time was up indeed. Progress noted.

Also, have you ever been told that sometimes the best way to figure out what you want is to experience what you don’t want? People give this kind of advice when you are looking for a job. They say, “Look, take the job because there are bills to pay, but as you work there, take note of what you like and don’t like, and then go after what you really want.” I think that’s maybe where we are. The last election came and felt like: ugh, need more choices. But, alas, there are bills to be paid and to be passed, and things need to get done. But, there is no denying that we are inside a powerful experience. My hope is that this experience is revealing something to us in a new way, a way that slices right through all the noise and stands out clearly. Something that shows us the kind of character we really do value. Hope for the experience to lead us to clarity and vision= good things. Noted.

This is not to say that these hashtag movements are pristinely perfect either. This unprecedented access for individuals to speak out in public forums is certainly significantly heftier on the positive side of things, yes, but I do worry there will also be some downside to the ease with which someone can be called out and smeared too. If I learned anything from “I, Tonya” and believe me, I did, it’s that there is generally fault somewhere in condemnation too.  Remember how two wrongs don’t make a right? It’s a hard lesson to learn (and to teach) and I’m not sure where that puts us, but I think we are at least moving in a better direction.

I think we can applaud the heart of the intention while also being cautious that we haven’t found the perfect solution if that solution is publicly humiliating and shaming people. We can be proud that taking action against this kind of total Insidious Ick is right, while we learn that it is also tricky business. We can see that secrets, shame, and silence are not okay.  We can safely say that as a general rule of thumb those very things-secrets, shame, silence- are little soldiers battling people for freedom- personal and otherwise.

So P.S. even when times are crazy, it’s helpful to remember that it’s not impossible to find a gift of goodness when you consider something maybe you hadn’t. And while the good, the bad, and the ugly play out in bad news, fake news, and crazy tweets, we can keep looking for the goodness.

ART: Jasper Johns: Flag /Jasper Johns: Map /Andy Warhol:Moonwalk /Roy Lichtenstein: Oval Office/Keith Haring: American Flag