Though I go out of my way to not make partisan politics part of my efforts here, I watched in terror as the election results came in last Tuesday. A cold realization settled over me like a shroud watching the scoreboard toting up how many people don’t view the world like I do. I told myself, ‘Time to go to bed. You’ve got to be up early for work tomorrow…maybe it’ll be better in the morning’.
I did wake up early but didn’t want to go online or to the television. I had lit all my candles at Hope’s doorstep for the America I live in; the country I love. In less than 3-minutes, I turned the TV off. My candles were out.
As of this morning (11/13/2016), the scoreboard reads one candidate gathering 15,805,136 in the popular vote, while the presidency went to the other with 13,300,472 votes and the Electoral College. Game over.
Post-partum election depression found me as surely as Gollum found Bilbo. On the outside, I functioned through the past week. Being a grown-up, you don’t take the day off when it’s a bad day. But on the inside? I felt catatonic. I was in deep and the surface felt so far away.
I haven’t written much of my dad – I didn’t learn many things I wished he could have taught me, but what son does? But I do remember him talking about his idea of the ‘loyal opposition’. From certain perspectives, to hold such thoughts hurt him professionally, but to do otherwise would not have been him. It was the idea that he had a place, a purpose to serve – even if it was outside the wish of those in power as an active voice for ‘the other’.
A voice from North of our borders was Michael Ignatieff, a former leader of the loyal opposition in the Canadian House of Commons, who said in a 2012 address at Stanford University: “The opposition performs an adversarial function critical to democracy itself… Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same law.”
I think the loyal opposition is a critical element in our Republics’ survival. But to take my place in the loyal opposition, I knew I couldn’t stay curled up in a fetal ball in some grotto. I had to start swimming up to the surface.
To do it, I set some boundaries for myself. I stopped watching the news for several days. I drove to or from work in radio silence. When I felt rage or sadness ambush me, I quickly found a spot to breathe; to focus for a minute or two in order to temporarily expel the darkness. I took out my rage by throwing myself into mindless tasks. I found some of my favorite music and came up for air via my headphones. And most importantly, I did my best to let Rick know what was going on inside. It was clumsy and a little halting at first, but as the week went on, I regained better verbal handles on my insides while my other half went through his own version making his way through a very similar swamp. People, even the people that love you, can’t help if they don’t know. In the beginning, he did a lot by just being there…letting me come to grips with myself. As the week progressed, we got to the point where we were talking about it…grief is a process.
Having been born and raised in a conservative Republican household, Abraham Lincoln quickly became a personal hero as I came into my own. Though there is some debate about if, when and where Lincoln said it, there are few folks who haven’t heard the remark.
Where do I find myself? Chicago streets have been filled with demonstrators the last few nights. From what I’ve seen, similar protests have spread to other cities around the country.
Meanwhile kids that don’t look white (or male) are getting bullied by classmates acting like thugs emboldened with a self-granted license to come out into the daylight and show their true colors.
So while I don’t have Dave Chappells’ unique perspective as he talked about the recent election on SNL (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9E2MwAArWc), I agree with much of what he, Michael Moore and so many others are saying post-election. I am being restored to my earlier resolve to stand up to bigotry, racism, sexism and all the other ‘isms’. I will be there for my disabled friends and I will continue to go out of my way to show unaffected acts of courtesy when I run into a fellow citizen who happens to be Muslim.
This is my country…patriots don’t run. Imagine the surprise of Lord Howe on that morning in 1775 just before the battle of Bunker Hill when the greatest fighting force in the world was suddenly confronted by a 160-by-30-foot earthen structure erected overnight by the colonists? What would have happened had the colonists instead, ran or worse, just rolled over?
So I’ll take my cue from the rag tag force that fateful day and stand up for what I believe. And I’m going to do it inside the system we have. As it’s been often said, our democracy is the worst system of governance ever devised, but it’s better than all the rest. I concur.
On a different note and in closing, let me thank each of you for your readership and support over the past 5-years. With Thanksgiving approaching, we’ll be spending our holiday with the family at ‘the farm’ in Indiana. Beyond hugging those I love best like I’m never going to let go, looking up into the night time sky is high on my list as well as walking across the road to visit Uncle Lee’s grave. The hole he left in my heart is still mending, but he isn’t really gone. I think that would make him laugh and slap a knee – all in the same motion.
So that said, with production schedules and timing being what they are, I am going to again exercise my personal privilege and set down the pen through the month of December. If I have [sadly – sic] infected you, there’s plenty to read in the archives so please enjoy yourself in wandering my shelves while I take some down-time to heal and reflect on the year past. With ever a hopeful eye towards the future, I look forward to seeing you again in 2017.
Be well. Travel safely and be excellent to each other while I do the same.
LEONARD NORMAN COHEN
(September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)
In Rolling Stone, Richard Gehr writes: “Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died Monday at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page Thursday evening.
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.” A cause of death was not given.
Inside Leonard Cohen’s Late-Career Triumph ‘You Want It Darker’
After an epic tour, the singer fell into poor health. But he dug deep and came up with a powerful new album
“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”
Before his death, the songwriter requested that he be laid to rest “in a traditional Jewish rite beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents,” his rabbi Adam Scheier wrote in a statement.
“Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed,” his manager Robert Kory wrote in a statement. “I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come.”
Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet…”
Source for the full article can be found at: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leonard-cohen-dead-at-82-w449792 with additional research at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen and http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/singer-songwriter-leonard-cohen-dies-at-82/articleshow/55363865.cms attribution for additional article and photo.
In honor of Mr. Cohen, his own rendition is featured, but I also point to other stunning versions of what’s become a Cohen classic is K.D. Lang’s performance of the same (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_NpxTWbovE) while another personal favorite is Pentatonix and their rendition (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRP8d7hhpoQ).
Judge for yourself. Whichever presentation speak to you, we’re better when we pause and listen to what we hear. The Republic depends on what we do now.
God bless us, every one.
It may not have been a box office smash, but it is nonetheless a powerful story well told. “Based on the history of Jones County, Mississippi during the Civil War and the immediately following period, the overall story follows the history of Jones County, and many of the events portrayed are true. The film is credited as “based on the books The Free State of Jones by Victoria E. Bynum and The State of Jones by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer”.
If you can find it, view it. It will add to you. It did me.
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Gollum watches the Election retitled from (Source): http://ihdwallpapers.com/gollum_in_hobbit-wallpapers.html; Popular Vote Totals (Source): http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/democratic_vote_count.html; Michael Ignatieff (Source): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyal_opposition; PIC (SOURCE) The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/michael-ignatieff-gets-full-time-harvard-job/article19305712/; Dealing with the stress of a disappointing election by Elizabeth Scott, MS in a post on Healthy Mind by VERYWELL (11/9/2016): https://www.verywell.com/dealing-with-the-stress-of-a-disappointing-election-3145037?utm_campaign=list_stress&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cn_nl&utm_content=8070229&utm_term;
Fooling the People – Did Lincoln say it? Prevailing opinions is yes, he did (in September 9, 1885—at an other Prohibitionist convention, not the Lincoln/Douglas debates). Interesting article on History News Network. Always a proponent of you, finding your own Truth, jump to the link and read some interesting back-story (at least to a history geek like Yours Truly). Conclusions?
SOURCES: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/161924; http://abrahamlincolnassociation.org/Newsletters/5-4.pdf and “You can fool…” quote by Abraham Lincoln – Graphic (Source): https://www.pinterest.com/pin/543035667540474785/.
Battle of Bunker Hill from: http://theamericanrevolution.org/battledetail.aspx?battle=5 and painting by Battle of Bunker Hill by Howard Pyle, 1897. Patriotic Barn with Fall Foilage (SOURCE): http://hammond.com/imagescards/fullsize/patriotic-barn-with-fall-foliage.jpg
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