Don't Be Distracted By Trump, There's Work To Do
Contributor
Written by
regina barreca
January 2017
Contributor
Written by
regina barreca
January 2017

After sitting through every moment of the very long and unspectacular Trump inaugural festivities — cheering only during the Rural Tractor Brigade — I started to feel as if it might be tough to sit still through the next administration.

Four years of somebody who says it isn't raining on him when it is raining on him? Four years of somebody who says the audience is bigger than anything anybody has ever seen when even the reporters from conservative newspapers are saying the stands on the parade route were mostly empty? Four years of "alternative facts" instead of verifiable truths?

Under Trump, four years will transform itself from a first-term into an endurance test.

Remember when three months sounded like a long time? Remember when a season seemed as if it would last forever? As a kid, I would look out every June and see the summer stretched in front of me like a cat sunning itself and think of how endless the length of time would be until I had to return to school.

After turning 40, however, three months became 15 minutes. I could take a nap, take a walk, have a little lunch and that was it. Done.

But as of Jan. 20, that all changed. Time has entered a new dimension. I'm not saying Trump has made us enter the Twilight Zone, but it might be close.

Listening to the new administration for the next four years will be like sitting next to a crackpot at the bus station when it's past midnight and your ride won't leave until dawn. It will seem as timeless as infinity.

My pal Mike Creveling said I shouldn't worry about it. After all, Mike said, "High school flew by, and it too was four years! Pretend we're freshmen. Focus on sex, appearance, status, desperately trying to 'fit in.' Oh. That's what HE'S doing!"

Maybe sitting still for the next four years is the wrong idea anyway. My dear friend Niamh Emerson, a former student and naturalized citizen working at Yale, says we must "march every day. How? By not laughing at the sexist/racist/homophobic jokes, even if everyone around is telling them. Write to your congress people. Make phone calls to their offices. Volunteer if you can. Demand equal pay at work. Now is the time to speak up. Demand that your local newspapers report the facts, not the alternative facts. But most of all, be kind. Show the world the beauty and grace of this country."

I agree that sometimes the only possible response to a story is, "I'll forgive you for telling me that joke if you forgive me for not laughing."

This is not about distrusting dialectics. This is about being wary of the very concept behind "alternative facts." Wrote George Orwell in 1943, "If the Leader says of such and such an event, 'It never happened' — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not such a frivolous statement." This is not from Orwell's novel "1984." This was his observation as a writer of prescient non-fiction.

Gresham's Law — an economic theory suggesting that what is shoddy and second-rate will drive out what is good and valuable — applies not only to money, but to language. Counterfeit concepts will supersede manifest reality.

How might we look at the next four years? Carí Jackson Lewis, an African-American lawyer and fellow Dartmouth graduate, suggests, "We must treat this administration as we would a chronic illness. We must be thoughtful, deliberate, thorough, dedicated, collaborative and effective. We must correctly diagnose the disease, and then dedicate our efforts to finding the cure. We must treat the core issues — institutional racism, gender bias, lack of educational and employment opportunities and debilitating economic inequality — and avoid being distracted by the symptoms thereof. ... We must inoculate ourselves against complacency and stand steadfast against despair."

I proudly drive my John Deere, but I'm not driving it into the ground between light and shadow, science and superstition and heading directly into the pit of man's fears. I'll try to stay on the high road — and out of the rain.

Shamelessly yours, 

Gina 

www.ginabarreca.com

http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-barreca-no-time-to-be-complacent-0127-20170124-column.html

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Comments
  • Berna Bolyn

    Hi  I'm new on she writes and just read your article on Trump and I couldn't agree more.  Trump has inspired me to start writing  again and I have a life time of personal experience to know about some inside operations of  his recent picked.  I wrote a self-help- and some short stories and in the process of writing my memoir.  My life experience and background has given me a kaleidoscope of information and insight to many of the things that is happening in our country now,how  did we get here what we may possibly do to survive and overcome the next four years.  I have written a lot, and have more to write but I have a condition called optical vertigo that affects my long-term writing capacity and I start making small visuals mistakes.  In short I need some help in editing work.  I sent the editor of she writes a e-mail in regard to this but have not heard anything back yet.  If you could direct a new member I would greatly appreciate it.  The and a Truly  Berna