photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, July 9, 2018

And Miles to go Before We Sleep


It's exhausting being a compassionate, thinking, left-of-liberal American right now.

The 2016 election plunged us off of the Cliffs of Despair and every time we think we've hit the bottom; every time our current administration and its maniacal followers do something that we think is surely the worst they have to throw at us and the rest of the world...we just keep falling.

It's bottomless and constant and exhausting.

It's not about "Hillary losing". It was never about Hillary losing. It's about what "won". Not just "who" won. It's the decimation of the moral compass of the soul of our nation in the form of hatred and cruelty and ignorance that's absolutely dazzling...wrapped up in a package filled with excrement and vomit and labeled "patriotism with an extra-large side of Jesus" even though Jesus would be horrified at its contents.

Being here, behind the Pine Curtain; a historically regressive enclave even inside the merging intersections of "Old South" and "Texas", it's palpable and stench-filled. This clawing, gnawing, snarling vortex that has been so threatened and aghast at anything progressive at all that's happened in our nation in the last...100 years.

Civil Rights
Women's Rights
Any type of "socialistic-leaning big-government program"

They want to repeal all of it. All of it.
And they're giddy with the scent of blood; they can see it within their grasp.

Racists are emboldened and violence is on the rise.
We can't even pretend to be a civilized nation anymore.
Oh, sure, most of us have flush toilets and clean bath water every day or so, and there's a Walmart and McDonald's on every corner, but most of us are one paycheck away from disaster...and falling.

Our children are getting shot in school on a weekly basis.
Our people are dying of preventable things for lack of access to healthcare.
We have the highest maternal mortality in the industrialized world.

And our current administration's idea of "fixing it" is to make everything better for those who already own most of the marbles. Less regulation, less taxes on corporations, blow it all open for "the private sector" to "do its magic". Trickle Down has been disproven for almost 40 years but *now* it's going to work? The only things they are willing to give to "the rest of us" are things that will not affect them one bit-
-a stupid wall to "keep out the illegals"
-repealing women's rights in the name of Jesus
-slashing "socialistic government programs"...that their base either already relies on or will rely on but because it's "socialism" it's got to go!

On a global scale, our nation is aligning itself with people our fathers and grandfathers DIED fighting. Dictators, Nazis (real actual ones), human rights' violators of all stripes, while shunning nations who have been our allies for generations.

So, I'm exhausted and I'm disgusted and many days I'm ready to, if not desert this festering febrile clinically-insane nation as a least uproot from this rotting regressive pocket of it. Shake the red dust of East Texas off of our shoes and head to the Pacific Northwest where people aren't so...awful. When we visited the Olympic Rainforest four years ago, I knew instantly. I knew that someday we'd move there and be able to relax mentally.

Don't get me wrong. Individual East Texans are wonderful, generous, caring people and I love quite a number of them after a quarter of a century here. But as a group? En masse? They keep re-electing Louie Gohmert. That's really all the clarification you need.

Why do we stay?

Our farm is here. Our log cabin that we build ourselves in the middle of the most perfect little East Texas Pineywoods forest you could imagine, with a hill and wetlands and two creeks and huge trees. That's a big thing. Home.

My job is here. I love it and it's important to the community of East Texas as well as the livelihood for now upwards of 20 people. So that's a big thing. I'm positioning a number of staff members to take the reins when I retire in 4 years so it can continue to grow and thrive.

Some days four years seems an eternity and I want to go *now*. Right now. Just...get the hell out of here before we suffocate in racism and incivility and MAGA hats and "Trump that Cunt" bumper stickers.


We can't go yet. Because the next few years will be a long, drawn-out extension of what we're seeing happen now, we can't go yet. Even if we can. Even if we want to. We can't.

Because here's the thing. I'm a little old white lady who is reasonably middle-class and who is mostly fearless. There are a lot of people here in East Texas who are none of the above and no matter how inconvenienced I am by the steamroller of regression, the worst it will do to me is piss me off.

We need to stay because if we can help even one person who is marginalized, even one person who is affected negatively, even one person who will suffer at the hands of all this "making America great again", we have to do it.

We need to stay because someone who is white, and in a "management position", and looks like every other little old white lady in East Texas has to say, "NO. That's wrong. I do not agree with that and here's why..." Because otherwise, with no one opposing them, they will think it's right.

But some days it's a mighty weight. Some days I should be doing something productive and I just can't. Yesterday was one of those days. So I get on Trulia and browse...browse my "someday" and drink in the coolness of the rainforest on my computer screen; remembering the sight and sound of it from four years ago.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
 And miles to go before I sleep."

6.5 acres on the west side of Lake Cushman. Lakefront. Insert log cabin *here*