Life Goes On…But Should It?

People sometimes deal with adversity by saying, “What can you do? Life goes on.” It’s a way of trying to compartmentalize the bad events so that we can continue to live our lives in some semblance of normalcy.

I’m not usually good at doing this, but the events of recent months have forced me to either get better at it or just curl up in a ball under the kitchen table. I guess I’ve found a sort of balance: Some days I just ignore the latest outrage from Washington and go hunting for dragonflies; other days I curl up in a ball under the table and wait for it to be over.

Peace and Love from Flickr Creative CommonsIn less than a year, I’ve watched my country evolve first into a laughingstock for the rest of the world, and then into something almost incomprehensible. In 2017, America is no longer respected as a global leader, but is instead seen as a nation being overtaken by hate and anger. We’ve lost our way, and those who should be leading us are failing miserably.

And if our leaders won’t lead, then it’s up to us to lead ourselves. And we can start by treating our fellow citizens with respect and love. And we need to let the rest of the world know, without a doubt, that this is not acceptable. And that most Americans are decent people, many of whom are horrified and scared, especially after the events of last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I’ve been struggling with how to react to the daily assaults on decency and freedom that have become our new “normal” in America. For the most part, I’ve kept my opinions to myself in public. But I can’t do that any longer. I know I run the risk of losing followers who would prefer that I stick to posting about butterflies or dragonflies. I will get back to writing about my nature escapades, but this is important.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

I worry that keeping silent is almost as bad as approving of what’s happening in our national nightmare.  So I just want to go on record: This. Is. Not. Normal. The American government has been overtaken by a terrifying mixture of immoral and hateful racist sympathizers that do not represent the majority of people who live in this country.

The most despicable elements of our society have been encouraged to crawl from beneath their rocks. They are emboldened by the words of a president who either doesn’t understand the enormity of the damage being done by his words, or even worse, is trying to tear our society apart at the seams.

Peace sign child's hand - Flickr Creative CommonsI don’t have answers to the many difficult problems facing this nation. But I do know that we have to be able to talk about what’s happening here. We can’t just allow ourselves to become numb or to stop paying attention to what’s going on. And we are doomed unless we learn how to have civil conversations without resorting to canned talking points fed to us by the right- and left-wing media stations. There’s far too much shouting and far too little real conversation about important issues.

I’ll continue to live my life as normally as I can in these trying times, but it’s getting to the point that I wonder if that’s a mistake. Maybe we all need to pull our heads out of the sand and start speaking out.

Because as long as we’re silent, we’re complicit in the downfall of a once-respected nation.

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Note: images for this post via Flickr Creative Commons.

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8 Responses to Life Goes On…But Should It?

  1. Littlesundog says:

    I am the odd duck who looks at all of this differently. We all want to hate Hitler and blame him… but looking back historically at the bigger picture of the people and times, there is much to be gleaned about how change took place as a result of people pulling together for change… though it took painfully long. Rarely, do we look back at hard times historically and find the gift or thankfulness in what it brought forth.

    Personally, I am sick of the lies and fake news. I am sick of division because we each think our woes, race, religion, gender or whatever difference we are, define us. I am sick of the cruelty culture that has existed most of my lifetime, and the continual perpetrating of hate and pain in this country. Trump is not one man responsible. What is happening is simply democracy…

    I thought Obama was “unfit”. I did not have a throw down, threaten, speak ill of him, and mock him, which is more of the cruelty culture that we live in. Instead I had hope all along that things would improve. I was disappointed at times but I tried to have understanding for his decisions.

    I am a proud American. I support America. I respect the position that each of our president’s have held. I love these words (quoted by Brene’ Brown in her book, ‘Rising Strong) by Theodore Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

  2. Good on you Kim, I watch from over the fence in Australia and my heart goes out to you. It could happen in any country and does. I think these events will make you stronger, more people will take part in voting and people will unite and hopefully you will get back on track soon.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Thank you for saying that, Kath. My heart is so heavy with sadness lately over what’s happening here. I feel helpless to do anything meaningful and am having trouble sleeping. Many of us thought this would be over by now, but it just won’t end.

      I’ve lost what little faith I had in our elected representatives to do what’s right for the people of this country, as they’re beholden to their corporate donors and therefore what we want doesn’t matter to them. I wish I could share your hope that people will unite, but all I see is both sides getting more entrenched in their beliefs, with nobody willing to have real discussions about anything. We all just shout at each other…there’s no listening anymore in America.

      • It will play out and you will all be the wiser for it. You are not defined by your leader I have visited the USA many times and love the people and places I was lucky enough to visit. Hang in there and hopefully this will pass soon.

  3. Donna Madrid-Simonetti says:

    Bravo! WE, the majority, need to use our voices & speak up.
    It’s gonna be a long haul!
    Goodness will win.
    Thanks for speaking up, Kim.

  4. pat clair says:

    Very well written Kim. Before you old enough to know bad things happen, my generation saw our president shot, his brother shot, and these were live on television. Think we were not scared? Martin Luther King was a great leader and they shot him too. Life is always worth living always. We have always had good presidents to lead us and make us feel better-This man we have elected will pass away and because he is so unfit, a good man or woman will replace him. Just keep speaking up and keep the faith!

  5. I absolutely love this post! Beautifully articulated Kim! These are exactly the thoughts that have been on my mind, so happy and relieved that you are saying (or writing) them out loud. Well done.

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