Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dear 2017: I regret nothing

Photo by Ari Helminen via Flickr

I regret nothing! 

Well, almost nothing.

I am ready to wipe the filth of 2017 off the bottom of my shoes, sweep it up, and put it out with the trash. This has been the worst year I’ve ever experienced. I’ve lost so much that seems essential to a good life. First, my optimistic respect for my fellow Americans. Granted, millions have had a change of heart. But it’s too late for them to be trusted, for my part. I’ve also lost my pride and love for my country. Despite millions of Americans fighting against it, we are falling into fascism. I’ve lost any and all appreciation and understanding I once had for Republicans, conservatives, and evangelical Christians.

It’s difficult to live with all of this. The small amount of comfort I once had--the little voice that used to console me--that people, in general, were good and kind and would choose freedom over despotism...well, that's shattered. It's time to wake up to the fact that people are, in fact, as I always suspected: racist, bigoted, controlling, fearful, greedy, vile, ignorant creatures. 

Rational people are far outnumbered by the wilfully stupid. Fairness is a minority view. The understanding of freedom, the love of it, is hard to find.

Welcome to the real world.

But I have no (mostly) regrets. I don’t miss the so-called friends I’ve lost on social media. It was rather a shock to find out that I went to high school with so many people walking on the edge of fascism just waiting for a push to the dark side. (And the number of racists! Holy shit, I live in a cesspool of bigotry here in Florida.) I don’t for a second regret calling my father out on his despicable allegiance to Trump. (This, too, was something of a confusing, frustrating, bizarro-world revelation.) I have no qualms with my labeling of Trump supporters dumber than rocks.They are. And I'll continue to say it to their faces. 

I’m ready to move on, though, into 2018. But just because I’m ready to put 2017 in the sewer where it belongs doesn’t mean I’m not taking some things with me.

I plan to continue to call out fascism. The conservative, racist, authoritarian, white nationalists won’t go away quietly and we need to stay vigilant. The way in which the oligarchs have stacked their hand against democracy does not fill me with optimism. I don't see this ending well. But, if we must go down, we must do so enraged.

I’ll no doubt continue to be disappointed in those who remain on the sidelines, who don't see what all the hoopla is about, and who wish I would just shut up about it. I’m having trouble understanding the blinders these people wear. Is it my studies of history? Is it my depressing amount of empathy? Am I just smarter? Older? Whatever it is, there are others like me out there. I’m glad that I’m not alone and have found allies to stand with against what is to come.

This past year was truly awful. I feel as if I fell into a boggy mire of horror. I struggled for a full year to convince myself that this has really happened to my country--this is not a nightmare. I let this year stall me, batter me, and pull me under.

That's my one regret--that I let it get to me, stymie me, and hold me back from accomplishing what I should have.

I feel strong enough, finally, to stand up and stop letting what’s happening to us weaken me. I’ve been in a very dark place since November 2016, and I know I’m not alone in that. I’ve stuffed myself with food in search of some comfort. I’ve lost sleep. I stopped exercising. And I failed to write the books I needed to write. I've walked around with a nagging sense of hopelessness and disgust.

No more. I will not let the despicable slime that is Trumpism, fascism, and white nationalism hang over me like a suffocating blanket for one more day. I am so done with 2017.

Happy New Year, bitches.

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