[-empyre-] my experience, please let us know yours

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Thu Mar 9 07:06:56 AEDT 2017

Apologies for late entrance, under the weather; apologies for a poorly- 
worded post as well -

Like everyone, I've been following politics closely, and have been 
involved in resisting. What I want to focus on here, however, is the 
overall effect the election and events leading up to the election, has 
had. I protested Vietnam here in Providence, and recently several times 
again, I've stood on the same spot on the capitol steps, taking roughly 
the same photograph. In the late 60s/early 70s, there was a sense that 
'we' had accomplished something; soon it was clear that business as usual 
was returning with a vengeance. But we thought things like the voter's 
rights act were here to stay. When T ran in the primaries, I was sure from 
the beginning he would win - I've lived in Luzerne County, PA, and West 
Virginia; I feel I understood his racism and brutality from the beginning 
- his sarcasm was both typical and unnerving, and his constant slurs meant 
that the 'older' news - which requires a lag for analysis - would be off- 
guard constantly. T used both the oldest - insulting, bullying - and 
newest - Virilian timing - means to keep himself and his rhetoric in the 
news; at the same time, there was no (and still is no) coherency in the 
rebuttals. I don't think he planned this as a strategy; I think this is T 
to a T, but that's irrelevant. The result, however, has been as brutal as 
he is - the center and left (so to speak) suddenly involved in the 
appearance of a new world where racism, not tolerance, has become the norm 
for many. Not only have racists come out of the closet (to the extent they 
were in one), but fledgling racists have been encouraged to come forward. 
As a Jew for example, I watch, now, verbal/phone/email attacks on Jewish 
institutions escalate as more people join in the 'fun.' The worst of it is 
that so many groups and classes have been written out of the republican 
discourse, except for condemnation and tarnishing; this is clearly a white 
and fundamental-christian world that not only dominates, but basically 
refuses compromise, unless one or another 'ethical violation' forces the 

People I know are distraught; I heard from someone at CNN that everyone 
there was crying election night; a psychologist I go to said her patients 
have increased enormously as a result of the T-effect. There are internal 
and external domains; we participate in actions of all sorts on one hand, 
and try to handle our own and others' miseries (as they do us) on the 
other. The external is clear: RESIST!; the internal is more problematic, 
since many people's anger goes all the way down, and eats them alive - as 
does the depression, anxiety, etc., all brought on by what appears to be 
the suddenness of the change of direction of what I keep calling Amerikkka 
- for lack of a better word to describe a new landscape, what appears to 
be a new landscape. And even in writing this initial email, I find myself 
holding back, correcting, not wanting to offend, wanting to be politically 
correct, unsure of myself. The result for many is a kind of inextricable 
knot/not; even though we have the usual 100% hindsight, we were 
unprepared. So the questions might be - how do we proceed, from here, as 
human beings, as _persons,_ internally as well as externally? How do we 
learn to sleep at nights, to remain calm, to continue what might be 
considered a project of forbearance and empathy? I keep thinking of other 
examples of resistance (Sartre's writings for example, however his stance 
is read), going over Arendt's Totalitarianism, Frantz Fanon, trying to 
make sense of a typical mashup of daily headlines: GOP health care plan: 
Ryan downplays backlash as doctors express opposition; Afghanistan: IS 
gunmen dressed as medics kill 30 at Kabul military hospital; THE MEMO: 
Presidential code smashed under Trump; Girl statue faces Wall Street bull 
to fight gender inequality; International Women's Day: Strikes and 
protests around the world; Fire at Guatemala Children's Shelter Kills 
Nearly 20; To fund border wall, Trump administration weighs cuts to Coast 
Guard, airport security; Why Hawaii says Trump's new travel ban is still 
unconstitutional; FBI Director Says Encrypted Messaging "Shatters The 
Bargain" Of American Liberty; Sen. Tim Kaine's son among several arrested 
after protesters disrupt Trump rally in Minnesota; 21 times Donald Trump 
has assured us he respects women; Senators ask FBI for evidence of Trump 
wiretap claim; The Statue of Liberty went dark overnight; Steaks, wine and 
stacks (and stacks) of paper: The Trump White House loves its props; Why 
Trump's $1 trillion promise to deliver infrastructure jobs may not happen 
this year; and Secret Marines group is still sharing nude photos amid 

This is fast-forward news; our 'internal time consciousness' and our minds 
literally can't keep up; if Facebook creates depression on a 'normal' day 
of widely successful posting content - what is the result of a constant 
bombardment of brutality - a bombardment which is also necessary on a 
fundamental level? What is to be done?

- Alan

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