This column is a rerun. It first ran in 2016, soon after our current president was elected. I am dealing with medical issues and have not been able to write a new essay. Here’s the old one:
This morning the cat gingerly, tenderly, on little cat feet, balanced on top of my radio and inserted his head into the dog biscuit bag, and came out with a dog biscuit in his mouth. He carefully backed off the radio and over to the hutch where I feed him, broke the biscuit up with his teeth, and ate it.
The dog watched this action intently. You could almost hear her say, “Noooooooo!” when the cat’s head came out of the bag and there was a biscuit in his mouth. I had given the dog three of those little biscuits moments before in our morning ritual: “Sit.” (biscuit) “Spin around.” (biscuit) “Lie down.” (biscuit). Dogs are not capable of saying, “I just had three biscuits. It’s okay if the cat has one.”
Dogs do not think like that.
Nor do dogs and cats worry about who won the election. I envy them.
Our president-elect is appointing people in his administration who will work together to make the rich richer, and the rest of us poorer. This crew will also attempt to step on the necks of the poor, women, the LGBTQ population, immigrants, people of any skin color other than white, and people of faith who are other than the right kind of Christian. I apologize if I missed your group.
This oppression has gone on for years. Now there will be no stopping it. The bullies have the power.
I am sad that the idea of public service has been so far forgotten that our government has public bullies instead of public servants. Being a public servant seems like such a quaint, antiquated notion now, straight out of that 1939 Jimmy Stewart movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” which, by the way, protested against political corruption and cronyism in its day. I am trying to decide if it is any consolation that corruption and cronyism were part of the US government eighty years ago. Whether it is consoling or not, it tells me that each new generation must be vigilant and fight for freedom.
The initial stun of the election’s outcome is wearing off. I have stopped flinching every time I hear the term “president-elect.”
I heard today that the Army Corps of Engineers is backing off from at least a piece of their pipeline through sacred land in North Dakota, perhaps in response to the veterans who have shown up to stand with the First Nations people in the freezing cold.
I shall wait to see what happens at Standing Rock, and on other native lands. Pardon my cynicism. The behavior of the Army Corps of Engineers, etc., up until today, not to mention the various levels of government all the way to the top, has looked like Indian Wars, circa 1875, to me. The behavior of this country’s rulers toward indigenous peoples has been consistent for centuries. Forgive me if I have a hard time thinking that everything changed this afternoon.
Not taking much for granted these days. I am watching, and waiting.
Meanwhile, the sun continues to come up, the world is still beautiful, our loved ones still bring us joy and pain, the cat still steals dog biscuits. Life goes on, and we find beauty and joy and humor in it, and each other.
Therefore, cynical as I am feeling right now, I exhort you to love your life and your people and your animals and your plants and your world. To be deeply joyful in your good work every day, and to resist the encroachments of the evil and stupidity which are running amok in the land. Recognize one another as the embodiment of a human spirit that does not give up, and does not accept less than the human dignity that exists within each of us.
Oh, yeah: and don’t forget to breathe.
In my faith, I am taught that my goal is not to succeed, but to be faithful. I’m an old human. I’m a mess. My knees hurt and I get tired fast. Within the confines of my limitations I am called to be faithful. I am called to do what I can. These days I feel called to a joyful resistance, because what’s a life for, anyway?
If our government does not serve us, we must serve each other. We must start where we are. I don’t know if signing petitions, making phone calls, sending emails to politicians, singing songs, writing essays, and protesting will make a difference.
I will do those things anyway, because a rock could not stay silent now, and neither can I.