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Everyday Issues

A long time ago (at least, it feels like a long time ago), every once in a while, something would happen and we would all react to it.  Sometimes it was something good — Princess Kate’s wedding — and sometimes it was something horrible — a mass shooting — but in all cases, we were hungry for connection; we were hungry to read each other’s words and feel comfort or collective joy.

But now the issues come fast and furious, every single day.

There is something new to write about every day; a new fear, a new outrageous action, a new protest.  It feels like this administration is strangling out everything else in the world, smothering out the day-to-day moments until the online world feels like one, enormous, on-going scream.


When we first brought Linus home, ChickieNob whisked him away to her room and closed the door.  When I came up a little while later to check what was happening, I found them curled up together, watching an episode of Buffy.  Linus was attentively listening to her explain the basic plotline for the show, and the names and relationships of the various characters.

Linus the Guinea Pig

I don’t want that memory smothered out by someone else’s hate.  But it’s hard to remember to write about it when I peruse the news sites prior to opening an empty blog post.  Every sweet moment flies out of my head, replaced by the enormous, on-going scream.


I finished Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (so good — it made me think back to my own, albeit-non-boarding-school high school experience) and started American Wife.  I borrowed the book from the library, and it smells like someone kept the copy in a nest of old pantyhose for several years.

I wanted to read it because my understanding of the book is that it’s a fictionalized account of Laura and George Bush, or a more liberal first lady speaking about her husband, a Republican President.

I know very little about Laura Bush.  My only Laura Bush story involves a wedding registry at a Crate and Barrel.  We had just come from the doctor’s office — this was before we started treatments — and we were trying to get a referral for the RE.  I was miserable, but we had to take care of a wedding gift.  It took about twenty minutes to get the registry up on their ancient computer, and we were just about to scroll down and see what they wanted when the Secret Service came in and said we had to leave because they had to sweep the store so Laura Bush could shop.

This is a pretty common occurrence in DC, like traffic stopping for the motorcade, but it’s annoying when you have one errand to run and you can’t complete it.  She browsed for all of five minutes, and then left without buying anything.  In the meantime, while we were standing outside for the sweep, the computer reset and we had to start from scratch bringing up the registry.  We gave up after a few minutes and our friends got a crepe pan — out go-to gift at the time.  So, sorry friends who got a crepe pan that wasn’t on your registry.

Anyway, I got this book because I was hoping that it would give insight into how we can live in this world for the next few years.  How we can get along with family and friends who have different views.  Maybe it’s only fiction and I’ll be disappointed to learn the answer is just suck it up.  Or maybe there will be a kernel of something useful in the pages.  Because right now, my instinct is to join that enormous, on-going scream every single day.

What other sound can you make right now?

There are so many stories out there that tell you how to vanquish hate.  You throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom or you destroy all the horcruxes.  But fewer stories that tell you how to keep someone close that stands on the other side of a deep divide.

Right now, that divide is so wide, I fear that not only will our hands never stretch and reach over that space, but that divide will remain for generations to come; the echoes of it repeating long after the original scream is gone.


1 Working mom of 2 { 02.01.17 at 10:19 am }

I know. It even feels wrong to ask/answer “how are you?” and the like.

Things are MUCH worse than we imagined. And at such a fast clip. I’m not worried about the divide. I’m worried about what will happen to people on one side while the other side cheers their dear leader on to unspeakable acts.

2 Delenn { 02.01.17 at 11:20 am }

I was just going to write a post like this. And with Buffy in it too!!! 🙂

Congratulations on your new addition, looks so cute!

3 Chris { 02.01.17 at 11:20 am }

I’m worried we won’t all survive long enough for it to be undone. In the past I’ve always figured well, in 4 or 8 years…but now I wonder if we wake up a week from now. And if we’ll have free elections in 2, 4, 6 and 8 years…Scream is the only sound.

4 Journeywoman { 02.01.17 at 11:21 am }

Can I just say that I’m looking at the screen shot and thinking “oh, Once More With Feeling!”

I’m trying to figure out what to do with the scream. I can’t seem to stop it and I can’t seem to stop and hold my hands over my ears.

5 Emily { 02.01.17 at 11:28 am }

It’s worthwhile to keep in mind that the other side felt the anxiety and doom that you now feel eight years ago and again four years ago.

6 Mel H { 02.01.17 at 11:50 am }

Yes and yes. And also, I’m a big Curtis Sittenfeld fan (though I haven’t read her newest). I’ve read both Prep and The American Wife numerous times and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the latter.

7 Turia { 02.01.17 at 12:47 pm }

Yes, yes, yes. I am still aggressively controlling how much I read online because right now my mental health is directly linked to the quantity of news I consume. We can’t do everything ourselves. I am trying to do what I can, where I can, and to recognize when I can’t. A marathon, not a sprint.

Ask Moxie’s new space at post Trump help always has good posts about sticking to the routine and keeping things normal for the kids. I am still writing in my five year journal and in P’s book. Because I know I will want to remember that she first climbed the step into our kitchen this week, no matter what is coming down the pipeline.

8 Jill A. { 02.01.17 at 1:52 pm }

Do you want to learn not to hate and to understand those who have different views and values from yours or do you want to simply change them? Do you want to know why someone was at the March for Life, not the March for Women? Or do you want to work for abortion rights? The first question is – what do you want to do? What are you trying to accomplish?

You want to not live in hate? As yourself this question, “How do I not live in hate?” If you don’t have a good answer, you do research. Just like anything else you don’t understand. There is a wealth of information out there. No matter which “side” you are on, half the country is on the other side. Half of the country. We are not talking about obscure aboriginals here.

Literally, ask yourself this question, out loud, “What do I want? Do I want to change people or do I want to understand their attitudes?” What answer does your brain give you? If you are like me at all, any question I ask myself, I answer. I may not like the answer my brain throw back at me, but when asked a direct question, my brain does not say, “I don’t know.” It always comes up with something. That’s your gut reaction.

Do you want to understand the idiot defacing synagogues? Do you want to learn to not hate that person? Do you want to change that person? Do you want to stop that person? What do you want?

At which point your brain answers back, “I want to go play with Linus.” And you rationally decide that makes perfect sense, you obviously need a break, and you go give Linus some cuddles.

9 JillD { 02.01.17 at 3:20 pm }

This! This is the good in the world and I think it should be a requisite for everyone to watch

10 em { 02.01.17 at 3:42 pm }

Actually, it’s about 1/4 of the country that’s on the other side of this. 1/2 the country didn’t vote & so it’s very difficult to say where they land.

I needed this post badly, Mel. I needed it to acknowledge the scream and then think about alternatives to that. Thank you.

11 AMW { 02.01.17 at 3:51 pm }

I love this entry. Thanks for writing it. (I especially love that your daughter is watching Buffy.)

12 torthúil { 02.01.17 at 6:27 pm }

I like what Jill A wrote. Thanks Jill A. 🙂

My only advice (which is sort of like her advice) is: do whatever it takes to keep a cool head. In my special ed class, we do not try to problem solve until we are calm. If you are not calm, then do what you can to be calm. Then deal with whatever. I think those principles work for the outside world too.

And remember, as Emily suggested, everybody sees current events through their filter. Everybody. What’s your filter?

13 a { 02.01.17 at 8:27 pm }

The thing is, I understand perfectly well what people are feeling. They’re feeling that life is not fair because they don’t have the opportunities that they feel they should. But when you point out that other groups have similar feelings about different situations, they say “Too bad. Pull yourself up. Opportunity is everywhere and you’re just not working hard enough.”. So I have a hard time being sympathetic, and yes, it will begin affecting relationships.

I need a pet to reduce my stress levels, clearly. Linus is adorable.

14 Jamie { 02.02.17 at 3:06 am }

Yes. Very much yes. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the daily barrage of breaking news and rapid changes. It makes me feel nervous. Please tell us what you think of the book when you are done.

15 Ana { 02.02.17 at 11:34 am }

I completely relate to this, and appreciate the comments above with some helpful perspective on how to cope. I like the idea of asking yourself what you want—maybe your top 3 things? And focusing your efforts on those, and just leaving the other stuff aside. Taking a break from the type of social media that feeds you 24/7 outrage may be in order—FB/twitter and the like make you feel like you need to be ANGRY and DOING SOMETHING every minute of every day and that is NOT sustainable! I can’t be angry ALL the time, I can schedule in a block of time for action/resistance and allow myself to get worked up during that time, but the rest of the time, I just gotta get my shit done, and try to find some happiness, you know?

16 Working mom of 2 { 02.05.17 at 1:32 pm }

Um, really? What did you find so scary? Accessible healthcare for all, LGBTQ rights, protecting the environment? Yeah, that’s really comparable to putting a Nazi on the national security council, appointing incompetent ideologue buffoons with conflicts of interest to the cabinet,threatening the independence of the Judiciary branch, unconstitutional bans based on religion ruining hundreds of thousands of lives, talk of internment camps and registries,potentially starting multiple wars, cozying up with Communist Russia, etc. etc.

17 Justine { 02.06.17 at 10:56 pm }

Still reading the Jonathan Haidt book _The Righteous Mind_. Not sure if I am buying the genetic basis of difference, but the ways in which people are more and less prone to fear, and the ways in which that determines your moral matrix and your political leanings … all of that is pretty interesting. That said, I don’t feel like I’m very good at talking with people who aren’t like me. Mostly, now, I’m avoiding it. It would be easier to talk with them, I suspect, if we didn’t have someone insane at the helm.

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