On Speaking Up, Speaking Out, and Returning to a Rhythm


On Speaking Up, Speaking Out, and Returning to a Rhythm

Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.” —Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Equanimity, logic, a semblance of order is returning to my life. The days of hysterical disbelief are behind me now, though I still cannot watch TV news, nor listen to NPR. My conduit to the political reality is BBC News, the outrageous delivered in palliative tones, so that I can absorb what is being presented without driving off the road. I check Facebook sources before reading, and have found that I am better off limiting my time and energies in that regard. Yes, lucid thought has almost returned.

That is my wish for all who are affected by this election – those who are pleased, as well as those who remain astounded. When it appears that our president-elect has made a rational decision – as in not prosecuting a political opponent, I am amazed that some of his worst critics now say that he is reneging on his campaign promises. While I am not yet in a place where I rely on his word, why would one be critical of such a move? The “I-told-you-so” rejoinder seems to have outstripped common sense. Would that all of us can return to judiciousness soon.

And that is not to say that becoming more measured is the same as accepting statements, beliefs, actions that violate our beliefs. Rather it is a way to channel energies and efforts in ways that can be heard and not criticized nor denigrated as ravings of sore losers.

Yes, we must continue to speak up and speak out, even if our voices shake. And eventually, they won’t shake, and our grammar will become accurate, and we will be able to form complete sentences. And maybe we will be able to remain calm, and polite, and open-hearted. And maybe we will be heard.

So I am hoarding what sanity remains. I will focus my political efforts. I’m not a joiner; I won’t be going to Washington in January, though I truly support those who will be there. I will speak up and speak out if I see anyone denigrated, including myself, and work hard not to denigrate those who don’t agree with me. I will work, with my time and my money, for universal health care, and try to figure out what one person can do.

And get on with the rhythm of my days.

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com


On Thanksgiving

On this day, after so much, W.S.Merwin gives us pause:


with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

On PantsuitNation, Facebook, and Surviving This Election

Closed safety pins on a blue jeans denim fabric

On Pantsuit Nation, Facebook, and Surviving This Election

Like many, I am shell shocked and grieving for this decision our country has made. Those five stages of grief, I haven’t worked through to acceptance yet, not in my heart, though my brain tells me what has happened.

My world has been held together by my friends, my lovely daughter, and by a Facebook group of women and men called together for a cause – thank you Pantsuit Nation. You’ve been a lifesaver. As the voting period began, I was struck by the number of women, of all ages, who reported tears as they voted for Hillary, so symbolic was it for them. And then, the outpouring of disbelief and heartache on Wednesday.

I surprised myself that I cried for two days, thinking that I was old enough, and jaded enough, to understand that life works in mysterious ways, that good does not always triumph. But, really, I never thought that this could happen.

But happen it did, and even with the bitterness of Hillary garnering the popular vote, the Electoral College is what we have. And so it goes. We cannot say that the president-elect did not tell us who he is. And those who hide their racism behind whatever excuse they use, as Frankie said to Grace, “I call your bullshit.”

And now to channel this throbbing energy into something positive, toward a direction that can neutralize the racism and misogyny that believes it has full throttle by the election results, I am doing something, however small. I’ve set aside contribution dollars for those groups that will need support now more than ever, and I’m wearing a safety pin. Not much, I know, but it is something. And something is all each of us can do.

We will get over this. But we will never be the same.

Another Sunday  www.cynthiastrauff.com

On Permission to Do Nothing


On Permission to Do Nothing

Week two of sabbatical – and I’ve done nothing but read. Nothing! And I must say that it’s delightful, and a bit alarming, how quickly, how easily, I have slipped into self-awarded, self-induced indolence – if you call lying on the sofa reading indolence. (At one time I had hoped that it would be named an Olympic sport.) And, surely, there must have been a time where I did not have a book in my hand, though I don’t remember it.

I read with the World Series playing in the distance. These games make me nervous, so sad always am I  for the losers. And, as happy as this former Chicagoan is for the Cubs, my heart goes out to Indian fans, and Cleveland, a city that could certainly use a break.

I’m staying away from TV as much as I can these days – no news and no talking heads – and I will not deign to comment on the political ads polluting the airways. How many millions of dollars wasted, flying into the pockets of media outlets and political opportunists, while bridges and schools crumble, and ordinary people worry about the future of our country.

There must be a better way. Can we not look to Europe, where politics, though as vicious, plays for less cost, in so many ways? Norway, now my ideal of campaign reason, has banned TV and radio political ads. Can you imagine such a return to sanity here? And their voter turnout is 81%.

I voted early this election. I had always relished going to the polls on election day, loved that sense of this one day that was set aside to play our role in maintaining our democracy. But this year, the stakes are too high to take a risk – a flat tire, a broken toe, who knows?

We’ll have a new president when I post my next blog. Would that our wounds could heal.

www.cynthiastrauff.com  Another Sunday