September ordinarily offers me hope for better days, for making “plans for the Fall”. Summer is ending, school is starting, new people are coming around. But hope seems a bit foolish now. It’s hard to feel better — except that much of the worst has not happened (yet) to most of us–maybe. The extreme weather even reflects my mood. The world seems, and is, unsettled, out of sorts. Charlottesville highlighted the reasonableness of my ever-present fears. I’m not paranoid. And I’m still angry — but not looking for “wellness training”.
Surely I can’t avoid seeing what’s happening to people and the values that matter most. But what to do?
Obviously we regroup. We document. We prepare for the worst. We try to figure out what it means to resist. We listen to each other, keep exposing all the grand and petty threats. Folks have done pretty well at blocking Him (and the Republicans) from doing the cruelest deeds. They look pathetic. And the worst (declaring war? a white supremacist pogrom?) hasn’t happened. But….still, it’s hard to imagine a better, intentional near-future. Hard to get it together, hard to find a focus and keep it. Hard not to sound hopelessly naive in continuing to call for “a movement”. But what else is there?
I can’t help being afraid of what is happening across the US and the globe. The escalating crudeness and tolerance of violent words and deeds in so many places is unnerving. Now, too many suffer from Trump fatigue, and are even more likely to miss possibilities.
I keep coming back to the wisdom of Guy Standing’s warnings of increasing precarity. The insecurity that puts so many people in such danger is not only economic, it’s social disruption and moral enervation at the deepest levels. And it cycles in on itself. It breeds distrust. Maybe this is the essence of today’s populist nihilism. Everything feels off kilter.
For the next three weeks I’m in Europe, in Berlin, Prague, Bordeaux, and Lisbon. Seeing old friends, giving a few presentations about Basic Income. Looking for better ways to figure out what’s happening. What can happen. What we can do to find a new balance, to join with others, to find support for keeping going, for fighting back, for having hope.
PS I do know that Reverend Barber, and the New Poor People’s Campaign are there, as are those at Political Research Associates and the Southern Poverty Law Center. But it still seems very hard.