Personal Journeys with Gramma

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I Don’t Wanna: Reconstructing Reality to Make Yourself Feel Better


Children under the age of seven generally can’t tell the difference between reality and what they wish were reality. A few adults are capable of the same. I once encountered a woman who could reinvent events in her mind and then solder the new version into her brain so completely that she could’ve passed a lie detector test. According to research, lie detectors can identify only people who know they’re lying and feel some remorse. The lying woman simply laid the blame for the irreparable wounds she caused at other doors. Everyone else was to blame. She could explain she was the victim well enough to convince uncritical ears, because she believed it. Trump can do as well.

Most of us experience times when we don’t want to deal with ugly problems—taxes, illnesses, death. Some of us “don’t wanna” so badly that we turn away, plug our ears, and sing “LA, LA, LA” loudly enough to drown out our concerns. Many women have been taught they shouldn’t bother their pretty little heads. But looking on the bright side doesn’t mean you pretend there is no dark side. Even an optimist knows that once you drink the water in the glass, it’s empty, and if the glass is half-full of contaminated mining sludge or lead, you won’t want to drink it at all.

Many people are confused. Sorting the truth from the distortions demands attention and thought, when we’re already burdened with enough to think about. But when the conversation turns to treason (treason!) and the erosion of citizen protections a century of administrations have worked to create, it’s time to pull up your big kid panties and stare the threats squarely in the eye.

Foreign dignitaries roll their eyes as they chat with the American president—an automatic reaction that betrays the words they say as hollow politics. Foreign talk shows discuss the fall of America as a super power. The USA has become an international joke or, at best, a fear. We can no longer claim to be an example of democracy gone right. Our Constitution guarantees the “blessings of liberty” such as the right to peaceful assembly, the right to free speech, and the right to a free press, but these rights are openly threatened.

Republicans many trusted to defend patriotism turn a blind eye to slurs against the country, the Constitution, and our working people who earn the billions the administrators enjoy. Most Republicans don’t want to investigate whether our election was manipulated by Russian intelligence services. Why? They believe they have something personal to gain. They know lots of Americans live in a pretend world where politics should be as simple as superhero plots.

Is it more patriotic to dismantle the Constitution or to defend it? If the middle class has to pay more for or loses services such as good roads and adequate health care, who is benefitting? Is the ability to use degrading names for minority populations we don’t like or to close our doors to people we don’t understand worth what we’re paying for the privilege?

This recess time, contact your senators and representatives any way you can. (Many are hiding behind assistants and claiming they can’t handle too many phone calls.) Notice who is actually listening to you. Who is actually EARNING the money you pay him or her to represent your best interests? If you’re shy, send money to support one of the activist organizations as they demand accountability.

I’m with you. I “don’t wanna” mess up my beautiful spring days by worrying about whether my children, grandchildren, students, or young friends will end up living in a totalitarian state—maybe speaking Russian or Chinese, if they can attend school at all. I resent that Bannon can casually mention he expects war—meaning a war with a power like China that would end up killing people—us, at home. War. I don’t wanna read the news written by reputable journalists each day, but I do it.

I resent the fact that we, the people, are stuck trying to finance and run a country we pay others to handle professionally for us. I resent that there are so many people who want so badly not to have been wrong that they refuse to see warning signs about the consequences of their votes. Of course, most will eventually realize they made a bad bargain, but how deeply will we be mired by then? When the time comes for me to vote, I, for one, won’t forget the names of the people—Republicans or Democrats—who were there for me—if my vote still counts by then. History won’t forget, either.

One comment on “I Don’t Wanna: Reconstructing Reality to Make Yourself Feel Better

  1. Frances Sullivan
    February 19, 2017

    Powerful. We find ourselves at a critical time, don’t we? I pray that history will show Trump not as a leader in the traditional sense, but as a guide post pointing us to many of our least attractive traits. Am I naive to hope that through this almost movie-like script of parodies he stars in, we can learn to chose a higher road?

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