On screaming and weeping

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Since I began Ruminationville five years ago, I have tried to write thoughtfully and well about topics of importance to me, which I hoped also might be meaningful to those who follow or who otherwise read my blog. Since the election of Donald John Trump, though, I have been unable to write anything that didn’t hold between the lines an Edvard Munch-style scream or a flood of tears. But as a writing teacher, among other things, I know that unfettered emotion in a piece of writing can get in the way of the intended message, so I thought I’d just better keep my mouth shut for a while until I could express myself honestly but with a necessary restraint.

The new leader of the free world’s first week in office has given us a magnificent view of the hell we are in for, and there is no escaping all manner of articles, videos, and TV news programs attesting to this fact. I, for one, have been unable to tear myself away from the news, though my preoccupation with our collective fall from grace has already had an impact on my health and well-being. It is important, then, to find ways to stay sane in a country that has given itself away to those who would be king or who would curry his favor.

I can say, though, that I will do whatever I can to resist this new regime. Writing is one way to do it; teaching my community college students strategies for being critically thoughtful about the world around them is another. I also can engage my impulse towards activism as it relates to immigration, and I was cheered beyond measure yesterday by the outpouring of outrage and compassion for those affected by Trump’s (and Steve Bannon‘s) malignant executive order and travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries.

On a related note, I have spent the better part of my professional life working with (and for the rights of) immigrants. Specifically, I have focused my efforts on those who have come here from Latin America seeking refuge from war, repression, and poverty. The stories I have heard would break open any heart, including one beating in the chest of a colder-hearted North American.

I feel a special affinity for people who come here from Mexico because I have spent a good deal of time in Puebla studying Spanish and living with the kindest family you might ever find. I can only imagine how much pain they must feel about the dictator-in-chief’s contempt for their country and about his ridiculous promise to build a wall Mexico will pay for, a promise that has prompted considerable, and deserved, ire from the Mexican people.

Within the past several days, in fact, they have risen up en masse and have said hell no — with calls for boycotting American companies there, including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Starbucks (see a Time article on the topic). To this I say hippity hip hooray. Nothing else will put a crack in a wall of wealthy, self-interested white men faster than a threat to their own interests and wealth.

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6 comments

  1. I actually believe that only economic pain will move this administration toward a sane path. Then again, I wonder if anything will. Keep writing, keep teaching, keeping being a bringer of acceptance and hope to those whose lives you touch.

  2. I have a solution for funding.Trump’s WALL. He can sell the Statue of Liberty. Put it up for grabs as an architectural folly! Maybe his Sec of Ed will buy it. She’s dumb enough.

    I’ve been following the polls. It turns out Trump is the first U.S. president to begin with an [approval] rating below 50% in the history of Gallup surveys. It appears to be falling still.

    McCain and Graham are absolutely correct when they say the Muslim ban will simply create MORE terrorism. Trump twitters his blizarre response. It’s beyond anything Hollywood could come up with.

    My greatest fear before the election, though, has come to pass. I voted for Hillary because I felt she would be a president who would provide leadership that would actively support and lead to world peace. I also strongly felt that she, as her husband did, would surround herself with a truly great cabinet.

    Trump’s cabinet is…I can hardly find the words. Let’s just say Hitler would be proud. It’s that cabinet that has me worried. Dubya’s cabinet…the war criminals…was bad enough. But this bunch…well, Leslie, I’m with you. We can write. We can try to remain sane as possible in this insane world.

    Great post, as always. Sorry to be so ‘out of control.’ As you say, it’s difficult to remain sensible.

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