Ever since Father’s Day I have been thinking about the standard in which we measure parents. The bar is an interestingly high one if you ask me. There are fictional terms applied to both mother and father and I can’t fathom who could live up to those heights. As much as we recognize ourselves to be individuals, much of our own parenting mimics those who raised us; generational gaffes or successes mirror back and forward endlessly. I always consider myself lucky in that my parents lived a long life, spent many of their days loving me, and shared their passion for art, music and enjoying the outdoors with their children. But beyond those gifts, they peopled my life with more family than one can count, and now that they are both gone, I am extraordinarily grateful to slip into any one of those extended family photos surrounded by cousins. After 15 hug-less months this June gathering felt like a dreamy step into a future impossible to consider pre-vaccine. Surrounding the 96 year old matriarch, who not only endured her confinement but did so with grit and humor, made our time together lakeside pure heaven.
“It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded” (Grant).
Last week, everyone read The New York Times article, everyone nodded a yes, and I too thought, this is exactly what I am feeling after this past year. Before I read the piece, I had coined the sense as ‘mopey’. Just that downcast and defeated feeling after a hard year of cynicism and despair might leave you moping around your living room.
“The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct by officials. Offenses by officials also include ordinary crimes, but perhaps with different standards of proof and punishment than for non-officials, on the grounds that more is expected of officials by their oaths of office” Wikipedia.
Perhaps there is the catch… in the very notion that this President took an oath to uphold anything expected. Or is his reign a venture into a new America where one man rules unchecked and applauded like the clown in the Dunk Bozo booth at your local fair where gawkers stand in shame listening to off-color taunts? Patterns are clear. Regardless of whether you voted for Trump or not, can you say that he is a role model for you or your teenager? Someone you would trust with your college-age niece? If you say yes, are you for sure 100% sure?
Maybe you admire his fuck-you approach, his drain-the-swamp rhetoric, his glossy but vacant third wife, or the fact that he is someone you imagine you might be able to beat on the links? I get it, no really I do. It’s not that complicated. You’re an all caps person too. Someone who likes to scream on social media with font size oversized: am I right? Someone who runs your business or manages your affairs by insults? He’s your guy.
I really can’t say that I fully understand how electricity works, but I know how to turn the dimmer switches in my living room. While I’m not a constitutional scholar, I know enough to know not to bargain over illicit political gains via a party phone, but more than that, morally speaking, I know not to insult a beloved community member whose widow is facing her first Christmas without her person of almost 4 decades, and I think most of us get that is just shitty behavior which I would not tolerate in my classroom or home or pew yet every Republican suit-wearing political secretly smiles about. (Do you really smile and like his frat boy locker boy prattle? Please explain!) His party will not call this guy to task over anything. Not high crimes or misdemeanors or crash and unrelenting rudeness or documented infidelity or tantrums in the Oval office or ignorance on basic knowledge or any of the misleading misinformation that he tweets by the hour. Seriously? I’m struggling.
I wish they would though. I just wish someone close to him might remind him that he is leading a nation. Our great nation. And I get that it bothers him that people disagree with his version of climate change, military policies, international concerns, maybe even what to eat for dinner, but many do. Disagree. Take health care for instance. People have differences on the topic, so that to bridge that gap, a sensible debate is needed to navigate though it all. But that is a distant dream, one born from my ultra liberal and highly educated stance on the basic needs of humans to grow and develop and become the very best that this nation desperately needs to face our challenges.
Please don’t assume I’m happy about these headlines. I’m not. I am frustrated by the party divide, our paid-by-us politicians (including the President) who do nothing except fan the fire of division. I want a better world. One where all the students who sit in my class room arrive with a full belly and warm clothes, coming from a home of books and love that let’s them imagine a terrific life ahead for themselves, where whether through trade or commerce they build their future and extend our community in ways I can yet imagine. Ways that bred betterment.
What I don’t want is a President who is supported by the world’s favorite dictator. Any of them who he admires.