Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hold on to your light. It's about to get dark.

One thing I try to steer clear of on this politics and religion blog is fear mongering. My goal is to encourage people to think, and I don't believe that people are very good at thinking when they are afraid. With that in mind, I would like to expand on my last post, The end of the world as we know it.

The end of the world is never really the end. At least, it hasn't been so far. As Robert Wright points out in his brilliant work, Nonzero; if you take a step back and look at history as a plot diagram, the overarching plot is a straight line onward and upward. The rise and falls of civilizations are more like peaks and valleys in the overall march of human progress. I elaborated on this point a bit more in, "Fear not, citizens! The Barbarians are at the gate."

Admittedly, my initial reaction to the unfathomable reality of a Trump presidency was less than constructive. I considered all the political activity I've been involved in over the years, and the time I've spent writing this blog as a massive exercise in futility. What's the point? I am but a whisper in the noise, and of the people who do hear me, how many listen?

But then I remembered that giving up is the only way to really fail. Allowing the powerful to take everything away from us without a fight is to actively assist them as they destroy everything I value and everyone I care about. The world as we know it is coming to end. This is not the result of a single election, but the culmination of the way human beings have always operated. The question now is who and what will rise from the ashes?

How can we ensure that on the darkest of days there will still be a flicker of light in the distance?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I am going to dedicate my efforts to finding those answers and passing them on to whomever will listen, even when it seems like no one is listening at all. I have to believe that the sun will rise again, no matter how long the night may be.

The best immediate advice I could find right now is this article by Sarah Kendzior called "We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump."
"Write your biography, write down your memories. Because if you do not do it now, you may forget.


Write a list of things you would never do. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will do them.


Write a list of things you would never believe. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will either believe them or be forced to say you believe them."
As I was thinking about my goals with this post and with this blog, I was frustrated that we seem trapped on this merry-go-round of making the same mistakes over and over. We have all this recorded history with the blueprint of our demise written out very clearly; why do we still fail to see the signs until it is too late? But then I thought about how we are always able to climb out of the rubble and rebuild, and each time around we recover more quickly. Maybe that is because we do learn from our past.

So, as we hope for the best over the coming years, let us prepare fervently for the worst.

I welcome all comments, even those of disagreement. If any of you have articles you want to share, please send them to me. I also welcome guest posts.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's necessary to hit rock bottom in order to turn over a new leaf. With a Trump Presidency, the road ahead will be bumpy for a few years, and things will probably get worse before they get better. But is there a path for America's future that doesn't get bumpier along the way? Try not to get discouraged, and never give up. Believe it or not, the Robber-Baron Era that followed the Civil War was actually much worse than the status quo. But because determined people organized, the Labor Movement was able to temporarily overthrow the capitalist oligarchy, which led to the most affluent period in human history THUS FAR. There is light at the end of the tunnel. People just need to be patient, understanding, and perceptive, and they must organize and work hard to fix this country from the bottom, up.

Heather Annastasia said...

Thank you for the comment!

I am not discouraged. Quite the contrary. I will fight until my dying breath.

The reason I feel that this downward trend is particularly dire is because of environmental concerns. The Trump administration has already promised to gut the EPA and even dispose of National Parks and federally protected lands, both of which have been on the Republican agenda for years. When you consider the ecological disasters that are already happening with fracking, oil pipeline spills which have been ignored by the media, the Flint Michigan crisis (they STILL don't have safe water, by the way).

Our infrastructure is crumbling, there will be major failures of basic needs like clean water and transportation. Now add to that the very likely occurrence of a hurricane or earthquake + a completely inept federal government?

War is unavoidable under this administration.

Racial hatred has been normalized, hate crimes are going to continue to rise, civil rights are going to be rolled back, and there is an army of rednecks with shotguns and pickup trucks eagerly awaiting the order to round up brown people.

Anonymous said...

I actually believe war is avoidable with Trump. Under a Hillary Clinton administration we would have had a no fly zone over Syria that could have potentially led to a conflict with Russia. We will have a reset in relations with Russia and China and that is a step in a positive direction.
On infrastructure development let's see how his proposals work out. Trump has proposed a massive infrastructure plan as long as it's not tied to tax cuts and is federally managed I wouldn't have a problem it.
Race relations have always been an issue. It boils down to communication, when people talk and are able to humanize each other common ground can be reached and forgiveness granted. We will always be a dysfunctional society until we understand that. Families and nations operate under the same principles of communication and forgiveness without either all you have is dysfunction.

Heather Annastasia said...

Thank you for commenting. I always welcome opposing views.

I just really don't know where to begin here, I love to engage in political discourse and I love to debate more than anything, but sometimes there's nothing to be gained. I'll give it a go.

Republicans = war and recession.

That's just historically factual. I said this when W was appointed president and people said, "oh, give him a chance." I insisted that there were no WMDs in Iraq, and people said, "let's wait and see, I'm sure they'll turn up." I mean, at what point is it willful blindness to reality?

China and Russia. Really? That sounds like a good idea?

Trump on infrastructure. Bloated projects that his cronies will half-ass, steal taxpayer money to stuff in their offshore corporate bank accounts, and stiff the actual laborers (if we even manage to start any of those "proposals" before we're in a war with Iran).

And no, white supremists aren't simply in need of better communication skills.

That's like when someone says that Hitler did some good things for Germany. That person has just expressed a viewpoint that is so far astray from the reality and the gravity of the situation... I mean there's just no point in continuing a conversation once something like that is said.

At this point I think we just need to agree to disagree and see what happens. This blog my almost ten year record of being right. And that's not a brag. This isn't the kind of stuff I want to be right about.

Anonymous said...

Indian Wars occurred in every Presidency up to the 20th Century. Many were the results of broken treaties.They will not be counted.

Franco-American Naval War(Quasi War): John Adams, Federalist(Ancestor Party of the Republicans); See XYZ affair for reason of war

First Barbary War: Thomas Jefferson, Democratic-Republican(Ancestor Party of the Democrats); Tripolitians ransomed American Sailors and tried to blackmail US. When the US refused the Pasha(equivalent to king) declared war.

Second Barbary War and War of 1812: James Madison, Democratic-Republican; Second Barbary War began the same way as the first only with the Bey of Algiers declaring war. While the War of 1812 can be argued as being a war about sailor's rights, the real motive was Canada.

Mexican-American War: James K. Polk, Democratic; The Republic of Texas had a claim to Land between the Rio Grand and San Antionio(which the US inherited), which was not valid. Polk sent troops to the territory to protect it and the Mexican government sent troops to drive it out.

American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, Republican; First fought to preserve the Union(the right to secede is still debated to this day) later to end slavery.

Korea(1876); Ulysses S. Grant, Republican; Called Choson at the time, the country attacked and destroyed an American Navy Vessel. The war was fought with similar motives as Perry's visit with Japan.

Damion Uri Siladi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Spanish-American War and Phillipine Insurrection: William McKinley, Republican; American Naval Ship Maine sent to monitor alleged mistreatment of the civilians of Cuba and protect American economic interests. The ship was destroyed and the press (the real instigators of the war)of the time placed the now doubtful blame on the Spanish. US fought the war to free Cuba. McKinley announced that giving the Filipinos Independence outright would be like simply handing them over the Germans or Japanese(because of the geographic position) and harm American economic Interests.

Haiti; Vera Cruz occupation, Pancho Villa, World War I: Woodrow Wilson, Democratic; Troops were sent in to stabilize Haiti, Vera Cruz was occupied to prevent ships from Germany delivering guns to the government. Pancho Villa made several attacks on Americans(because he was not recognized as President of Mexico) forcing Wilson to send troops to capture Villa. WWI involvement was the result of Germany violating Neutrality rights.

Nicaragua: Calvin Coolidge, Republican; Like Haiti the objective was stabilization.

World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democratic; Asked for declaration of war after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Germany and Italy declared war two days later.

Korean war (1950-54): Harry S. Truman, Democrat; North Korea, in violation of a UN treaty, invaded South Korea. Troops were sent to contain communism.

Vietnam War: Lyndon B. Johnson, Democratic; involvement started after two American gunboats were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin(the reports have now been proven falsified.).

Grenada: Ronald Reagan, Republican; When a Communist government took over the country, it persecuted the American college students studying there.

Panama, Persian Gulf War Operation Restoring Freedom: George HW Bush, Republican; Noriega, leader of Panama was charged with drug traffickingand through Noriega's power, Panama would declare war(Though retaining the Canal is alleged to be the real motive). Persian Gulf War was fought to Liberate Kuwait from Iraq and protect Saudi Arabia from an Invasion(also to protect oil interests). Troops were sent to Somalia to assist in the feeding the hungry after guerrillas shot up UN aid convoys.
Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq: Bill Clinton, Democratic Party; troops were sent to Bosnia to enforce peacekeeping. Yugoslavia was attacked over genocide upon the ethnic Albanians
in Kosovo. Air assaults were done upon Iraq after it failed to comply with UN weapons inspectors.
Afghanistan and Iraq: George W. Bush, Republican; Invasion of Afghanistan was the result of the Taliban ruled government's refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden. Iraq's invasion is still under debate.

Final Score: Democrats: 16
Republicans: 10

Wow 10 years of being right. I am not arrogant enough to say that im always right. I actually get it wrong at times and I may be going out on a limb when I say this but I doubt anybody is always right. The thing about always being right is everybody is always wrong. And if everybody is always wrong it makes for a very lonely world.

Fortunately I love to debate facts with folks that are always right. I prefer to debate with those on the actual right, but my dear we can go at it. Only on three conditions, no anger, no put downs and keep an open mind. I have read through alot your post and you are very intelligent person with an excellent voice. I have found through personal experience that the folks who consider themselves sane are the ones with the most problems. The same applies to intelligence those that realize how little they know grow, while those that have it all figured out dont.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Spanish-American War and Phillipine Insurrection: William McKinley, Republican; American Naval Ship Maine sent to monitor alleged mistreatment of the civilians of Cuba and protect American economic interests. The ship was destroyed and the press (the real instigators of the war)of the time placed the now doubtful blame on the Spanish. US fought the war to free Cuba. McKinley announced that giving the Filipinos Independence outright would be like simply handing them over the Germans or Japanese(because of the geographic position) and harm American economic Interests.

Haiti; Vera Cruz occupation, Pancho Villa, World War I: Woodrow Wilson, Democratic; Troops were sent in to stabilize Haiti, Vera Cruz was occupied to prevent ships from Germany delivering guns to the government. Pancho Villa made several attacks on Americans(because he was not recognized as President of Mexico) forcing Wilson to send troops to capture Villa. WWI involvement was the result of Germany violating Neutrality rights.

Nicaragua: Calvin Coolidge, Republican; Like Haiti the objective was stabilization.

World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democratic; Asked for declaration of war after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Germany and Italy declared war two days later.

Korean war (1950-54): Harry S. Truman, Democrat; North Korea, in violation of a UN treaty, invaded South Korea. Troops were sent to contain communism.

Vietnam War: Lyndon B. Johnson, Democratic; involvement started after two American gunboats were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin(the reports have now been proven falsified.).

Grenada: Ronald Reagan, Republican; When a Communist government took over the country, it persecuted the American college students studying there.

Panama, Persian Gulf War Operation Restoring Freedom: George HW Bush, Republican; Noriega, leader of Panama was charged with drug traffickingand through Noriega's power, Panama would declare war(Though retaining the Canal is alleged to be the real motive). Persian Gulf War was fought to Liberate Kuwait from Iraq and protect Saudi Arabia from an Invasion(also to protect oil interests). Troops were sent to Somalia to assist in the feeding the hungry after guerrillas shot up UN aid convoys.
Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq: Bill Clinton, Democratic Party; troops were sent to Bosnia to enforce peacekeeping. Yugoslavia was attacked over genocide upon the ethnic Albanians
in Kosovo. Air assaults were done upon Iraq after it failed to comply with UN weapons inspectors.
Afghanistan and Iraq: George W. Bush, Republican; Invasion of Afghanistan was the result of the Taliban ruled government's refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden. Iraq's invasion is still under debate.

Final Score: Democrats: 16
Republicans: 10

Wow 10 years of being right. I am not arrogant enough to say that im always right. I actually get it wrong at times and I may be going out on a limb when I say this but I doubt anybody is always right. The thing about always being right is everybody is always wrong. And if everybody is always wrong it makes for a very lonely world.

Fortunately I love to debate facts with folks that are always right. I prefer to debate with those on the actual right, but my dear we can go at it. Only on three conditions, no anger, no put downs and keep an open mind. I have read through alot your post and you are very intelligent person with an excellent voice. I have found through personal experience that the folks who consider themselves sane are the ones with the most problems. The same applies to intelligence those that realize how little they know grow, while those that have it all figured out dont.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Heather Annastasia said...

I didn't say I was ALWAYS right about everything. That would be ridiculous.

And if you've read my blog then you would see many of my own comments when I've changed my mind about specific things through debate, which is why I enjoy discussions with people of different viewpoints.

I was obviously referring to the subject at hand, the subject that my post was about; the current situation our country is in as a result of decades of economic policies that have resulted in the rich and powerful getting exponentially more rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of us, and the erosion of basic rights that most Americans don't even realize are at risk. That is what I have been right about for ten years on this blog.

And this is a perfect example of the kind of debate that I don't find productive. When someone completely misconstrues something I said and then builds an entire encyclopedic case disproving something I never said, and even moves into speculating about my intelligence or sanity, again based on a cartoonishly out-of-context thing that I didn't say.

I work very hard to keep my posts short and concise. My focus is primarily religious and political theory, broad historical themes, economic trends and current policy issues. That leaves a lot of room to debate specifics, but I try to avoid getting drawn into debating what I actually did or didn't say because these arguments are circular and do not contribute to the conversation at hand.

Happy Thanksgiving.