Showing up

I’m here only to be here. That’s the discipline. Discipline is showing up.

Children, grandchildren, great-grands, I don’t even want to call this history, but today the House passed a bill that will make millions of people lose their insurance, and thousands die. The Republicans pumped themselves up before the vote by playing the Rocky theme song and drinking Bud Light. The Democrats, on the House floor, spontaneously burst into “Na na na na, hey hey, good bye,” as soon as the vote was over–presumably because they believe this insane vote just won them the 2018 midterms.

None of this is made up.

One writer called the “American Health Care Act,” which is essentially a giant tax cut to the rich that will gut health care for everyone else, the “worst piece of legislation to win passage in Congress — albeit by the narrowest 217-213 margin — since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.”

I’m too tired to be clever or to make poetry out of my outrage. Just literally tired. A good tired, honestly. Tired from fighting. This week I hosted a meeting about overturning Citizens United and tomorrow will host another about impeaching Trump. Went to a meeting on the same topic tonight. Will just keep getting up and doing it again, over and over, till it’s done.

We are trying to tamp down the greed and get rid of the crazy and make Americans remember who we are and what we stand for. What freedom and equality actually are. It might not work. But we used to know those things, so maybe there is. You have to have something to go on.

It both frightens and energizes me to think of you reading this in twenty, fifty, seventy years. I hope to God you’re living in a good world. I hope you read this and it all seems unreal, the story of an aberration, that hazy time when Americans utterly lost our way, before we found it again.

When I was a child, I believed that all the problems had, basically, been solved–I believed we had figured out how not to have any more wars (Vietnam was over), how not to be racist anymore (Jim Crow was over), and then later, when the Berlin wall fell, how to have peaceful democracy everywhere. I believed in adults and in progress. I don’t know why I thought everything was so rosy. Nowadays we call it privilege, which it certainly was. It was also the ultimate solipsism, I guess: I assumed that because I was growing and maturing, the world was doing the same along with me. We were headed to the World of Tomorrow, which would be a wondrous place! That’s what we were taught.

I hope that you have some of the same feeling of safety, now, whenever you are reading this, that I had–but without the complacency, the effects of which, in 2017, are threatening to end us all.