‘Where were you hiding?’

I’m almost out of words. I hope it’s a temporary condition. I’ve been fighting some sort of infection for the past few weeks that seems to be mirroring the infection that is affecting all of us right now. It ebbs, somewhat – and we catch our collective breath and get back to watching award shows and football games – and then the flow of hatred and insidious lies returns in force, set upon the deconstruction of advances that we, as humanity, have made – at great cost, in almost all cases. Progressive change isn’t easy, is it? History (and CSNY) tells us that freedom comes at the cost of sacrifice. I feel like there are too many people out there right now who don’t seem aware of that demonstrable fact.

My persistent illness – like the one plaguing us all – is making it difficult to be constructive (definition: serving a useful purpose, tending to build up). Not that any analysis of the things that are happening at the behest of the IMPOTUS and his cadre of ill-educated and self-serving cronies is likely to fall into the category of constructive criticism. That would require finding something of salvageable value in the acts which they have undertaken in the past 10 days. There is none. None.

I have been trying to put together my own next steps. Words – ever my usual go-to, the vehicle of my voice (such as it is) – aren’t cutting it.

In response to the act of terror that happened yesterday in one of my favourite cities (an act that came on the heels of a Presidential act of terror that impacted our southern neighbours – like us, an immigrant-built nation), the Mayor of New York (with best intentions) reiterated that post-9/11 mantra: ‘If you see something, say something.’

There’s too much to see and I’m all out of things to say right now.

That might be the fever talking. And I’m sure the anxiety attacks that accompany the constant coughing and shortness of breath are being fueled, at least in part, by the fact that I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep since some time back in November.

I am feeling like a broken record, though. Emphasis on the ‘broken’. Especially when I see posts by apologists – or those trying to justify and salve the feelings of those who leap to defend their choice of candidate. Even now.

I’m part of a Facebook group that does a fair bit of talking about women supporting women. Most of the time it does a pretty good job. It has certainly opened my eyes to some of the realities out there that differ, drastically, from my own. It’s been a good tool – helping to take me out of my ‘bubble’ – you know, the one we all create around ourselves that supports our every utterance and sense of personally-held rightness.

But there’s a hesitancy to call out those in the group who voted for the IMPOTUS – ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion’ and all that rot. Nope. You don’t get to justify having voted for that guy based on one of any number of fallacies. There is no justification. If your education and experience failed you so greatly that you truly believe he was the only option? If your individual self-interest overrides the rights and freedoms of entire populations and the betterment of society as a whole? We have nothing to talk about.

I’m a teacher, by nature and by training, but I’m all-too-well aware that you can’t fix stupid when it runs that deep.

I also have a number of American friends and acquaintances – to whom I’ve expressed my empathy and solidarity. But I’ve also stated that if they want to hang out with me anytime soon, they’ll have to head north to do so. I won’t be spending any money south of that border for the foreseeable future.

One person I know commented that avoiding the US allows ‘him’ to win. I disagree. It is one way among many that I can manifest the choice that I have made to oppose this man and his mouthpieces in all that they seek to accomplish. I refuse to normalize anything about his policies, decisions, words or actions. Visiting the US as if nothing was out of the ordinary? Not happening.

Besides. It’s our 150th Birthday. Lots to do around these parts this year as we both celebrate and reflect on what that century-and-a-half has brought – to those of us lucky enough to live here, and to the world as a whole. We’ve got our own work to do, if we want repair the inequities of our shared past and to prevent a similar uprising of nativistic and racist hatred that is incongruous with the Canadian values I know and love.

I’m no good to anyone at the moment – not feeling as lousy as I do. Once this bug is out of my system, though… I’ll get back to work. The immediate and total reclamation of facts and truths and history are the necessary bulwarks of the moral courage that is required to re-balance the world. Sometimes old tools are the best. Soundbites (as we’ve seen) are overrated (and often misspelled. Looking at you, Twitler-in-Chief). Time to get serious and force the dialogue forward.

Until then, a little bit of The Alarm – as prescient as they were in 1984 (they were talking about Margaret Thatcher, of course. Somehow, even the Iron Lady seems a walk in the park, comparatively). Mike Peters et al knew a thing or two about writing songs of freedom and protest. Let them stand, for the moment, as a placeholder for more to come.

After all time building up
Comes inevitable knocking down (one by one)
Comes receivers, liars, gamblers,
Pickpocket entourage (two by two)
Selling out is a cardinal sin
Sinning with a safety net
They say all things come in threes (three by three)
Here comes the third degree

Where were you hiding?
When the storm broke
When the rain began to fall
When the thunder and the lightning struck
And the rain and the four winds did howl

All cards are marked
All fates will collide
The truth is the truth
Or the truth is surely a lie
Get back in your shelter
If you can’t come down off the fence
And one more question
Where were you?

Where were you hiding?
When the storm broke
When the rain began to fall
When the thunder and the lightning struck
And the rain and the four winds did howl

There aren’t many places left to hide. As my mind screams for those unable to join family, or find the refuge from war and persecution that they’ve sought for months or years, my heart cries for the friends and families of the members of my Canadian family who lost loved ones as they joined together in community and peace last night.

Artificially constructed lines and designations and systems of belief cannot override our humanity any longer. Motivated self-interest and selfishness, touted as the birthright of a mythical American Dream, cannot be the legacy we leave those who come after us.

So for those who yet support the IMPOTUS, some advice (speaking into the void, though I am. Can’t say I didn’t try…): Best rethink the solidity and reliability of demagoguery as a facade behind which to hide. People who seek to lead for reasons of self-interest, who rely upon the twin ideological pillars of fear and discontent, are not, historically, the most stalwart of defenders.



17 comments on “‘Where were you hiding?’

  1. Ditto to all that. People can have their own opinion but not when hate turns to injustice, discrimination, oppression and violence. It is heartbreaking, and now Quebec…silver lining is you are writing again! 🙂

    • colemining says:

      Hi Booksy- This one took it out of me. It’s getting harder to churn out the same message over and over and over and over. Thinking about changing up the medium… if I ever shake this virus…

      Anyway- thanks for visiting, and hope all is well with you. I appreciate your support, as always. xo

  2. Ste J says:

    I think this latest fiasco and how it is splitting those in power may well be the all too late wake up call that will be needed to do something. Well we can hope it is but who knows anymore….

  3. I was so sorry to hear of the attack, Cole. As if the world isn’t going mad enough all over, another atrocity to reinforce that things are only getting worse. I’m still trying to get my head round the ins and outs of it all and what I’m coming up with I don’t like. Would it sound strange to you if I said there feels something contrived about what is going on? Like everyone is pulling everyone else’s strings and there’s no way any of the everyday punters are going to benefit from the performance.
    I hope you feel better soon, my friend. Take care.xxx

    • colemining says:

      We’re still in shock, A-M. An unfortunate wake-up call about the reach of hatred and ignorance, and how its normalization south of the border is creeping up here more and more.

      I’m with you as far as the unreality of the whole thing. It does feel as contrived as one of those reality programs that made the IMPOSTUS notorious enough to act as spokesman for the darkest corners of anachronistic nightmares.

      I don’t see a way out, at the moment, and things get worse by the day.

      Thanks for checking in. I appreciate your words, as always. xo

  4. Dear friend,
    I can understand your feelings… this poem by Christopher Fry is the hope and inspiration that keeps me going… I hope it may comfort you, and also that you start to feel better…

    Dark and cold we may be, but this
    Is no winter now. The frozen misery
    Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
    The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
    The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.

    Thank God our time is now when wrong
    Comes up to face us everywhere,
    Never to leave us till we take
    The longest stride of soul men ever took.

    Affairs are now soul size.

    • colemining says:

      Thank you, my dear Valerie, for your thoughts and the poem. With so many people continually referencing the whole Game of Thrones ‘winter is coming’ idea, it’s wonderful to be able to think about Spring. Hope that it comes soon to us all (figuratively, of course. I know you’re well into summer 🙂 ).

  5. bethbyrnes says:

    Cole, I have been remiss, not commenting here and my only excuse is that I was off all social media for weeks. I am sorry to hear you’ve been battling a bug. My family in San Diego was too. After I promised the newcomers perfect weather, it has been cold and rainy all winter.

    I don’t forgive, justify, or rationalise the choices of benighted low-information Americans who either voted for this horrible person or who didn’t vote on the idea that both were equal choices. They were not. Mrs. Clinton isn’t perfect but she bears little resemblance to the fictional witch the far Right here created and sold to their gullible constituents and the greedy media. I feel very sorry for her, as every day she has to watch these monsters destroy America and I am sure she feels culpable.

    Personally, I think we are in for 16 years of hatred, greed, stinginess, and lies. It is really entrenched now. Mr. IMPOTUS (love that, thank you) is slashing all budgets for the arts and humanities, science, environmental protections and health services along with most community assistance organisations, but expanding the military. With the help of Mr. Ryan and Mr. McConnell, two evil-doers who live for the day they can take food out of babies’ mouths.

    Mr. Trump can’t undo this country by himself. He has plenty of help. I am quite discouraged about it and see no remedy. We are now living in 1930s Europe, here. It is frightening.

    • colemining says:

      Beth- sorry to hear that the weather has been so lousy down there. We’ve had a peculiar winter hereabouts, as well. It’s an early Spring happening this weekend, which is lovely, but also means that it didn’t get cold enough for long enough to knock out all the moulds and such, so there are many varied illnesses floating around.

      I watch, each day, with horror at what is happening. That’s not hyperbole. The appointment of that DeVos person to Education makes me feel physically ill. As I see the far right instituting more and more policies that work against progress, it is hard not to despair at the devolution. Ryan, McConnell, Pence and that racist-in-chief Bannon, are more terrifying than the train-wreck that is the IMPOTUS. He demonstrates every day that he is nothing more than a tactic of distraction to draw attention away from the real machinations that are destined to take you back to darker times.

      I am a little in awe of the dignity and class with which HRC has met the new realities. I’m not sure that I would be as gracious in her place.

      I feel for you – and for all of us, we will all see significant impact from this insidious idiocy – my friend. You always have a place to escape to north of the border, should it come to that.

      Thanks for your visit! xo

      • bethbyrnes says:

        You are so right, IMPOTUS is a foil. The changes being enacted are those the far right has been salivating to implement for years. DeVos and Pruitt were my two horrors and now we have them both. It’s outrageous. I have often thought of moving to Canada, if Canada would have us, which I doubt. xo

  6. I, too, am speechless. For the moment. However, we need to speak out, to yell that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that he is a danger to the country. When he attacks the free press, he attacks our right to free speech.

  7. The Hook says:

    Your spirit is too strong to stay down for long, old friend.

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