On Sunday night I woke in a cold sweat, jolted out of a nightmare. I am terrible remembering my dreams; the one thing I remember about this one was Steve Bannon sitting behind an ornate desk. Suffice to say, imagery of Bannon in a position of power is enough to qualify as a nightmare in itself.
On Monday night, acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired for acting as an independent check on executive branch excesses. In the middle of night, I woke with a start. I didn’t know what triggered this, but I was terrified that the president had gone on a noctural rampage and fired the entire Justice Department and all of the state Attorney Generals, including New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been a vocal and vociferous opponent of the president (I later remembered that state AGs are elected at the state level, so the president doesn’t technically have the power to hire and fire.).
Needless to say, my anxiety about the state of our nation approached an unhealthy level this week (Fueled by too much internet, I’m sure.).
But on Tuesday night, after a lovely dinner with friends and Trump’s
final rose ceremony announcement of of Neil Gorsuch as his SCOTUS pick, I was tired, frustrated, fearful, but mostly angry. It was 11 pm, I was two beers deep, and I felt the overwhelming need to do something. So I pulled out a pen and paper and began to write. I wrote letters to my liberal, progressive Members of Congress, thanking them for their vocal opposition to Bannon’s horribly oppressive and offensive Muslim ban (let’s call a spade a spade here), but also urging them to translate these words into actions on the Congress floor. I wrote Paul Ryan a rainbow-striped postcard, in which I implored him to resume consulting his moral compass at any time he felt was convenient in the near future. I also wrote a rather lengthy letter to our new president in which I told him he was ‘shitting on the Constitution’ and discussed his casual erosion of our democratic institutions. I held little back. Then I went to bed, and for the first time in three days, I slept like a baby.
It’s been trying times lately. But Tuesday night reminded me of how important writing is to my processing process. It’s something that has fallen by the wayside in graduate school; I spend a majority of my ‘professional’ time writing, so more writing is the last thing I want to do at the end of the day. But writing is the way that I work through my feelings and puzzle out my questions. It’s also where I find humor and beauty and grace. So my month-late resolution is to write (and blog) more. I’m hoping that everything I write won’t be explicitly political in nature, that I’ll find funny or quiet things to write about, but I’m studying policy and politics and they’re what I’m planning to devote my life to professionally, so no promises. Regardless, this has felt good and I want to continue down this path.