Sunday, February 26, 2017

Another Political Interlude

Even the most stalwart have to take a break from bartending and cocktail experiments and pop our heads up into the real world now and then. Depending on your political orientation, your socio-economic situation, and your general level of human empathy, sticking your head out of the foxhole can cause all kinds of reactions. My general level of anxiety since inauguration day has increased and each week seems to bring a new revelation which ratchets up the level of unease.

Since many friends are in the same boat, I have shared one of my coping strategies with a few of them. I offer it up generally in case you're having those 3:30AM internal wake-up calls that end in listening to those voices inside your head asking, "What's Bannon going to pull next?" If you're tempted to look at Twitter at that point, your night is basically over. So, my solution has been this:

Keep a journal.

Yeah, I know. It's a writer telling people to write. But the simple fact is, getting it out of your head and onto paper can help. Like flushing the toilet, it puts the shit where it belongs. I've got a lovely goat-skin hand-bound volume that was gifted to me that now sports a title page I emblazoned "The Trump Dump." I record the daily idiocies, and potential supposed treasons that are clustering my mind to the point of calamity. I can sleep at night. Some nights. Journaling may not work for everyone, and honestly, I have no intention of ever going back and reading through it, but it might help.

The other thing I've started doing is reading some history. I'm searching for a larger context in which to place this moment in time, as a check and balance for the constantly churning news cycles in which we are immersed. It's both calming and humbling to read the writings of people grappling with the sweep of events and trying to shape a better world. I came across this quote from Thomas Jefferson about President Washington:

For his was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example.

Jefferson was, of course, writing with some years of hindsight, but I honestly cannot imagine anyone, much less a fellow former President, writing something even passingly similar about Donald Trump.