Twitter thread by Chris 'Cal' Carnahan @xtrixclex
For me there are two feelings I can't shake in regards to @POTUS. They play off each other and augment each other. The first is a sense of shock at the violation of rules/laws. It might be from military service, but I identify personally with America.
I have a set of expectations regarding our hospitality, our professionalism, our pragmatism, our concern for others, and when I see violence done to those things in a tweet, in a word salad speech, in a horrific policy it sends a signal to my brain saying something is wrong.
In a normal setting I would intervene like many folks did with that racist lawyer guy in the coffee shop. I’m appalled at that kind of thing. I would stop it. But here when the bully has 50 million followers and the coercive power of the state how does one intervene?
Well normally, one would call first responders if some violation of the law was going on or if it was just belligerent rudeness people band together to address it. We are supposed to have someone to call in this situation who will act. We are supposed to have a Congress.
But we don’t. They have bailed. They have rationalized. They have justified. They have done everything except to protect us and our norms. As a result I have a sense of helplessness. I can set that aside in most cases because I know we have term limits. I know we have midterms.
But that sense of helplessness is then suppressed. It isn’t confronted. It isn’t resolved. The rational part of my brain knows this is temporary. That we can fix or replace almost everything he destroys. And yet still there is a sense of helplessness lurking.
So I try to do what I can. I call Congress to complain. I march. I protest. I research. I post. Sometimes I feel like if I can make just one more connection, if I can make just one more argument or snarky insult someone in power will hear and react. But I know that is not true.
I know that the biggest fight right now is to be patient. I know that. I know that the special counsel’s office of prosecutors, our allies, our IC, etc are on this. I know with close to 100% certainty that this will end spectacularly badly for trump.
The Trump operation was big involving multiple countries. That is hard to replicate again. But what they did by compromising journalists, corporate media CEOs, congressmen, and some law enforcement highlighted just how vulnerable our democracy is.
There are only a handful of powerful journalists and anchors. There are only a few leaders of law enforcement. There are only a few leaders in Congress. There are only a few major social media CEOs. That is all it took to enable this. Compromise or pay them off and we get this.
We have the fiercest military the world has ever known. We have nukes and chemical weapons to destroy the entire planet many times over. But we’re vulnerable to corruption. We can have our country stolen from under us if we cannot abide by the law.
Even when we have bad laws, if we cannot abide by the legal process to have them changed we leave ourselves vulnerable to this. But we’re better than this. We’re more resilient than this. We can do this.
Here’s why I believe that. While we may be growing bored of @POTUS insane tweets and tired of thinking about politics and world affairs so much most of us have not lost the sense of right and wrong. I see it every day online and off.
I see it in words of encouragement from strangers on twitter. I see it in the way we reach across party lines to help each other in emergencies like floods and fires. I see it in inter religious communal prayers, I see it in protests.
I see it when conservative Christians stand with trans women and men. I see it when people stop a woman in a hijab from being harassed. Our energy may ebb and flow. Some days may be frustrating. But Trump can never change who we are. Never. No crime lord can.
So the question becomes: what can be done about that sense of helplessness, about that sense of vulnerability? What can we do to better ourselves as we patiently ride out the storm together? I have a few suggestions.
First and foremost is self care. Reach out to your friend, family, or anyone who will listen when you are feeling down. Seek professional help from a psychologist or trusted clergy counselors if necessary. Try meditation or prayer. Run. Work out. Play. Relax.
Second, read the constitution. Read just a little each day. Read it so you can know it better than @POTUS. Read it to remind yourself that we’re in a social contract that benefits us. Read it to remember the importance of the rule of law. Read it because it’s a gift to us.
Third and this is something I need to work on much more. Limit your time on social media. I keep an eye on the news in a hyper vigilant way. I feel threatened so I scan the headlines for threats or alternatively for reassurance. That isn’t healthy.
A better course of action, unless you are a journalist and this is how you earn a living, is to allot a specific time to keeping current and a specific time for commentary or interaction. Then leave it. That one more RT is not going to win the hearts and minds of trumpalos.
Finally from me, though feel free to add in your own advice or share ideas that work for you, spend some time in gratitude each day. If possible spend some time in nature. Find something awe inspiring to help you connect again with humanity. Dance, sing, whatever.
- Cal, June, 2018