This has been a very rough week, hasn’t it.
It started with the Google manifesto and all its fallout exposing how my own professional field has yet to throw off its endemic sexism. Engineers far younger than I promoted ideas I ignorantly thought had fallen out of date decades ago, emboldened by a diseased culture lately less afraid to shine light on itself.
Then — after the initial raw terror had boiled away — the idiot president’s cavalier war-drumming left me with shameful anger at what feels like my completely compromised American citizenship. Things in this realm had started to feel manageable, if not normal, with the most decisive repulsion yet of Congress’s anti-healthcare activity, and reports that senior members of Congress regardless of party affiliation had started to openly ignore the president’s whining and ranting. As he clearly shows no proclivity to give any actionable instruction to his military or his government, on this nor any other topic, I feel returned to this coldly comforting belief — but quite shaken, just the same.
Friday and Saturday’s hate, violence and death in Charlottesville made me ashamed of pretty much all my outward defining features. Not just that I’m a white American, but specifically one of the countless who failed to stop Trump. The president, afraid to upset the white-supremacist bloc among his voters, made worse-than-useless statements about the violence from “all sides”. Some of my fellow white Americans brought their Trump campaign signs to the hate march, just to remind him who lifted him to power, and it worked. It worked on me, too. That woman’s blood is on Trump’s hands and my hands both.
I deserve Trump. We deserve Trump. All us Americans do. We could have headed him off last year, but we blew it. He and his cronies now enjoy the spoils of their victory, coasting for as long as they can on their unbelievable sweet luck, and not caring a whit who or what goes to hell under the wheels of their grift. That’s the truth of it. Everything that happens while they retain power, we deserve one hundred percent. Yes, all of us — but the more powerful and privileged of us take a proportionately larger share of the blame. We didn’t do enough. I didn’t do enough.
But here we are, and wars don’t stay won forever. I believe black lives matter. I believe even lazy but comfortable chuckleheads like me can make a difference. I take heart and boldness that the health-care came around because of the roar of the citizens, me among them, and if we had to royally screw the pooch to find our voices and discover that representative democracy isn’t some civics-lesson abstraction, so be it. Here we are, and we’re all moving forward together anyway.
This past week felt more like a stumble, like I got pulled by the hair for a while. I will get back on my feet. Please join me. I will help you up, too, if I can.