Strong Medicine

Strong Medicine November 10, 2016

Wednesday was a tough day.  I watched many of my friends and loved ones collectively melt down after the election results, still others were applauding and optimistic.  I am a registered Independent, so have friends on both sides of the aisle.  I live in Florida, where the red northern half of the state meets the blue southern part of the state at the dividing line of I-4.  My city is decidedly purple, and driving through town my neighbors display their affiliation with signs that shout from their yards. Recently, my kids and I trick-or-treated with these same folks, laughing and safe, taking candy from either side. Folks mingled in yards, walked dogs, and appreciated the sweet innocence of the best holiday of the year.  There was no conflict. No fear. Just people hanging out and appreciating the night.


It is tough to watch the cyberverse explode, Facebook is on fire with the collective anguish and fear that reminds me of what I witnessed from my conservative friends the day results were called for Obama in 2008.  Ironically, many similar doomsday predictions were offered at that time as well, while the other half of the country lit candles, sang songs, and reveled in the mythos that Everything Was Going to Be OK.

The cycle repeats itself.  The crazies popped up, caused trouble, folks blamed the election stating, see, these jerks never would have the guts to ___ if ____ had won.  Folks, I am here to tell you that violence is real, and people need little provocation.  People plan hurtful and random acts *regardless* of what is going on in the world.  Criminals will act in accordance with their nature, and use a win or a loss to justify the pain they decide to unleash.  People also choose to indulge in fear and blame when they have convinced themselves there are no other choices, and need a handy scapegoat to mitigate the pain and internal conflict that arises when they are forced to confront unrealized expectations.  This is not an appeal to create silence or to police anyone from releasing what they need in order to become whole.  Just a few thoughts from someone that lives in a swing state that is miniature version of the country at large.

From my perspective, we are not witnessing the end of America.  This is an awakening.  The world we live in does not match up with the version of an ideal nation we have crafted in our minds.  The world did not change overnight, just our perceptions.  This election is a wake up call to all of us that there are multiple versions of reality playing out at the same time in the same space.  Blue America does not understand or recognize the daily reality and context of Red America, and vice versa.  Both dimensions barely acknowledge and actively fear the other side.  This is a recipe for disaster.  It is polarizing, and creates the conditions for the political reality that we have been living in for my entire lifetime.  The fear and ignorance that both sides exhibit towards the other, the casual dismissal of voices that do not feed into one’s favorite version of consensus reality, and the willingness to blame the Other for all of the injustice in the world delivers us a nation that is governed by fools. We are terrified of ideas, afraid of the future, barking at each other and secretly hoping that this time, someone will come and save us.  It is a pattern that was started long ago.  Keep us angry, keep us scared.  Keep us divided.  Starve us, beat us, and keep moving that carrot further down the road so we keep pulling the cart.  We are witnessing the inevitable and logical conclusion of Bread and Circus. Our President-elect is a living version of The Fool, stepping straight off of a Tarot card and into unlimited power. I don’t like it, but I am hopeful that this will be the election that finally smashes the whole rotten pinata.  Not the country, not the culture.  The Game.

Wake up.  This is a game.  A mind fuck. If you are upset because the world has crushed your dreams, think about why you confused those ideas with reality.  If you are breathing a sigh of relief, excited that finally, the world has aligned itself with your vision, think again.  Political theater is designed to keep our adrenaline pumping, keep us off guard, to keep us scared so we are easily manipulated.  This day is like any other, we do not know how it will end.  The only variable we can control is whether to embrace hope or despair, and one’s attitude determines how every blessing or crisis is received.  The only useful thing to do with fear is to eat it.  Let that fear become fuel for your fire, to integrate your will with objective reality.  If you instead feed into that fear, shut down, and isolate you will lose.  We will all lose.  They will win.  This is how they always win.

So I will take the other lesson that is before us all, going on right at this moment from the warriors and lovers at Standing Rock.  Get up. Stand up. Wear your fancy dress and dance in the face of adversity.  Breathe.  Live. Stay open.  Stay curious.  Nothing is over and we are all here, if we decide to be present. When one is really sick, strong medicine is necessary. Let it flow.

Image by the author.

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