Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mid-Week Musings


I had been up all night watching election returns and as first light streaked the darkness, I turned off the television and began an internal monologue. My first thought was of old-school Irish wakes where liquor numbed the pain. Trouble was, I knew that no amount of spirits would counter the shock I'd felt earlier that evening. I needed a defibrillator, not a liquid stimulant, so despite the hour, I strapped on a miner's light, grabbed a can of pepper spray and headed to the river trail. I walked until the sun was high in the sky and my legs were as exhausted as my brain. I still could not sleep, but my mind had cleared.

I come from a family of political junkies. My father was raised in Detroit and his first jobs were with the UAW and the Railroad Retirement Board. He left Detroit, and for a period of time was a political operative in the wards of Chicago. He and my mother, a woman born too bright and forward thinking for her era, were New Deal democrats who believed our country had the means to improve the lives of all its citizens. Election night was a high holiday in our home, and because learned behavior is hard to put aside, I, to this day, carry on some of those early traditions. The big question then was always "Who won?" My dad kept a telephone tally of votes and the Chicago machine knew long before the newspapers who had carried the night. Since the televised results of the Kennedy/Nixon election, I do not go to bed until I can answer that question. Now we know.

I'm one of those people who talk with their dead. I've been keeping my mom up to date throughout this election and on the morning of the 8th I let her know it was in the bag. She'd listened to my lament when roars of "jail her" mirrored the "zeig heil" heard in the Reichstag of Nazi Germany. She, metaphorically anyway, held my hand when I described the terrible scar that was exposed when the scab covering festering bigotry, racism, xenophobia and misogyny was ripped from the underbelly of our country. And despite the hard work of men and women hoping to see history made, I had to recant and tell her I was wrong. There would be no transformational moment for women's leadership in the United States.

Autopsie are already underway. When they are completed the press will find no fault with its participation in this drama, and our chief law enforcement agency will sweep their interference in the electoral process under the rug. The lies and mendacity of politicians will continue and Congress will make sure the wealthy, rather than those in the Rust Belt, are taken care of. Campaign coffers will fill with a speed that would embarrass even King Midas, making Secretary Clinton's speaking revenues look like a weekly allowance. However, the group most responsible for this debacle is that portion of the body politic who did not exercise their franchise. They simply did not vote, allowing hot air to rush in and fill the vacuum, and they are about to get their just desserts.

My intent is not to trash our President Elect. He won and is entitled to a period of grace. The world is looking at us and our response to him. Let us handle it with as much dignity as we can muster, and while it will be hard, the office, if not the man, deserves our respect. When I saw those being considered for his Cabinet, the Rape of the Sabine Women rather than the Last Supper flashed before my eyes. My plan is to swallow hard and carry on the fight as best I can. We live in a constitutional democracy that demands our participation every single day, not just in election years.

Liberals need to identify young leaders who can inspire new voters and realistically advance the party without making promises for which there are no funds. The days of "promise them anything but give them Arpege" are over. Demographics are changing and we will have a non-white majority by 2043. I think it behooves liberals to make sure they find a home with us. My hope is that all Americans will hold political parties to the promises they make, and "throw the rascals out" when they do not deliver. Voters need to inform themselves. I'm still amazed that there are groups of people who vote against their own best interest. You should be able to articulate why you are opposed to a government program, and "John says" is not an acceptable argument. With this election women - yes women - have ceded the Supreme Court and their bodies to John. Next to go will be the right to die. You, no we, can stop the erosion of the common good, but it will take active participation on our part. Voting every 2 years is the place to begin, but the state of the nation demands more than that. We can't count on others to carry the water for the rest of us. Start by making yourself known to your representatives and holding them accountable, then join groups that have real political clout. Roll up your sleeves, volunteer and make your voice heard. A single voice can be powerful but voices heard in unison can change the world.

19 comments :

gloriadelpilar_1994@yahoo.com said...

Ah Mary : Amen .

Elaine B said...

I am one of your followers from Canada Mary. I just want you to know that I and many of my friends are deeply troubled by the turn of events on Tuesday night. I completely agree with everything you said here. Hugs from a concerned Canuck friend.

Sparkly Jules said...

Thanks Mary. I"m still in shock. My whole university campus is in shock, depression, and grief. There have been protests. I've seen professors cry. And the counseling office is offering emergency walk-in counseling, 8 hours a day. It's pretty bad. I don't know what to do about the months and years to come, but I'm giving every spare penny I have to groups that do the greater good--Planned Parenthood is going to be first. I may lose my ACA "Obamacare" insurance in the next year (and I'm a cancer patient), then I'll be giving to local free clinics and the ACLU for sure, even if it's only $20-. If I can squeeze in some time to volunteer during grad school, I will, but probably not. I'm horrified. Thank you for being so generous and thoughtful with your comments. I wish I could.

Hugs,

Jules, a Progressive (who's lost faith in her party and the system)

Pat seibert said...

Hear hear. Thank you for a voice of reason. I had a similar upbringing in PA and am probably similar in age. Thank you.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Just a reminder that anonymous comment will not be published. This policy has been in place for 8 years and it will not be changed.

Dolores said...

Long time GOP (FOUR decades!) voter here who left the party as soon as Trump became its spokesperson because the vision of the world he presented as 'good' was so horrible and mean. My German Mother lived through WWII and she saw many similarities with Hitler, but she hoped against hope, that his call would find no listeners. Now this! She passed in April, and I still haven't had the nerve to tell her :-)
I know she would be so sad for her adopted homeland. I am just heartsick.

gigi said...

I love this. Love from Detroit!

From the Kitchen said...

I am still in shock and careful about who I'm around. I simply do not want anyone being patronizing or explaining their protest votes. So very much at stake now. I'll have to take my head out of the sand soon, just not yet.

Best,
Bonnie

Eileen said...

Dear Mary, I have enjoyed your recipes and your musings. BUT in my opinion a food blog is no forum for political opinions or dwellings.
This is part of the problem, too many opinions, to little tolerance, too much "I will affect change with violence and insolence", these issues are are destroying what is left of American values.
Regards
Eileen

Mary Bergfeld said...

Elaine, you are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. I would, however, note that I have never suggested anything that even remotely resembles violence or insolence. Our President Elect is the one who did that. Have a great holiday. I know you'll be able to find a blog more to your liking.

David said...

Mary, As a moderate I'm a bit stunned but not particularly surprised at the outcome of the election. There is no middle ground at this time in American politics. Compromise is a bad word. Neither candidate was to my liking but it is what it is. We all need to take a breath and see how the new administration performs (or doesn't) in the first few months. I'm trying to be hopeful and I would encourage others to do so as well. If the worst of this 'populist' movement comes to past, then we will all have to stand up and protest in any effective manner. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

pk keller said...

Have you never tried a new recipe and were pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out? Let's cool our temperatures and comment on how it tastes after it is finished cooking.

Mary Bergfeld said...

pk, your analogy is specious at best. We are not talking about cup cakes here. Later today I'll be posting the list of things the President Elect has said he'd do. His words, not mine. By the way, my temperature was normal this morning. Mid-Week Musings has been a feature of this blog for over a year now. It has always been a departure from the food and cooking topics that I usually post, and anyone who is familiar with my blog knows that on Wednesday's I speak my mind here. That's not going to change.

Claire, UK said...

I'm a long-time reader from the UK. I too like to stay up and watch election results roll in, but had to go to bed in the early stages of the count on this occasion, due to having to be in work the next day (and being a few time-zones ahead of you!) I woke in horror to the result and still cannot quite believe it. We have had a similar national schism, fuelled in large part by racism and xenophobia, in the form of Brexit earlier this year, so I feel I have some insight into the anger and anguish that you must feel. It's a terrible thing to feel so divided from such huge swathes of one's countrymen and women.

Nickie Jim said...

Well said. And may I add, "Actions speak louder than words."

Claudia said...

I'm rolling up my sleeves, Mary. And making some noise. Looking for the cracks that let the light in.

Annalise said...

Eileen,
Everyone has the right to voice their opinions in their own space, even if that space is most often used to discuss recipes. And if the "American values" you fear losing are racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny, then you've been reading the wrong history books. If you believe in the founding ideals of a nation that believes in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and offering the American dream to oppressed people the world over, then you should be pretty scared right now. It's been a while since I've read the constitution, but I don't remember it having section that mentions promising rights only to those of a certain gender, skin color, and nation of origin (in fact, 7 of the men who signed the US Constitution were immigrants).
Regardless, Mary can discuss anything she wants on her own blog, and most of us applaud her for taking action and letting her voice be heard. We need that.

DemelzaPoldark said...

Hi Mary,
I am another one of your Canadian readers, and I too was shocked by the outcome of your election.
I have enjoyed reading your blog posts & will continue to enjoy them in the future. The Eileen's of the world will find a blog more suited to their beliefs.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Demetza, thank you for your support. It is appreciated. Hugs and blessings...Mary

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