I’m finding it hard to focus today. My intent was to sit down and continue researching for the two lectures I have to write for our trip to Asia in the spring. But my thoughts continue to wander. I see posts from friends and colleagues who are furloughed and don’t know when the impasse will end and when they might hope to get paid again. Missing three weeks of work, even as a retiree, has an impact when you’ve planned on it.

Its not just the lost wages….even though for many people in the federal workforce the loss of their pay is devastating. What really upsets me is the callous disregard for the impact that this political theater has on the lives of real people. It’s not a reality show…not a game. It’s real life in the real world. This is not about a national crisis…except the crisis this administration has created by playing politics; by lying about the sham “emergency,” by putting partisanship and personal ego ahead of the nation’s real needs.

All you have to do is to talk to people…to look around…to experience the anger and frustration and fear that the administration is engendering. The collective mental health of our country is suffering…we see it, feel it, live it.

I am angry about what is being done to our nation. I am worried about the future for our country. I am disillusioned and disappointed to see that the nation I served has so lost its way. I’m frustrated in the lack of leadership from across the political spectrum but I’m ashamed of the moral cowardice and spineless toadying of Republican politicians who are so afraid that taking a stand might upset the “base” that they forget what service to our nation is supposed to mean.

It frightens me that the “base” is so eager to embrace the lies and the bigotry and the deceit almost as much as it distresses me that those same lies and deceit have become the accepted currency of political discourse today. Perhaps the base is so scared of the future…of change…of all the difficult issues that we face….that they want to believe that if we wall ourselves in we can hide from the world. We can’t.

It is more than enough to make me want to rant and rave. To make me want to throw stones back. It is hard at times to believe that decency can win. And it won’t if we don’t fight for it. Not by trafficking in lies and hatred but in remaining true to what we believe; by being unyielding in our determination to effect change, to engage in rational discourse and to offer our energy, our activism, and intellect to stand against forces that threaten to destroy the fabric of our nation.

I served in too many places where I saw the struggle…and at times the despair…of those who hoped to build a society that mirrored what they saw in America. I worry that we are becoming more like them…mired in political chaos and plagued by failed leadership…than they are like us.

I refuse to believe that this is our future. I refuse to accept that we will not turn this around. But it won’t happen without our effort. THIS ….this I can focus on. I want to be part of the effort to shift our nation’s course before it is too late.

2 thoughts on “Focus”

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