Thursday, February 6, 2020

What Future for Them?

When we call our son for a phone visit, he and 4-year-old Paul are watching “Cars 2.” 

“Can you say ‘hi’ to Lealea and Tato?’” asks Tucker.

A dear little voice complies with a greeting, but, when Tucker suggests pausing the video to talk to us, not surprisingly, Paul declines.  My son, however, is willing to miss out on the action; the movie is one of Paul’s favorites, so it’s had plenty of screen time.

While we chat, in the background, Paul says something about Lightning McQueen, the snappy red racecar hero of the movie. I can picture my son snuggled up with his boy on the soft gray sofa in their living room, Lightning large on the TV before them. I want their lives to remain healthy, safe, and happy, as comfortable and normal as this afternoon on the couch. 

But to me right now, normalcy seems suspended.  

The impeachment hearings have not haunted my kids and their spouses, any more than Reagan’s Iran-Contra affair haunted me when Tucker and Casey were little. As I was then, my kids are worried about their little one’s colds, Eleanor’s double ear infection, Paul’s happiness at school, Lexi’s propensity (and astonishing ability) for destroying the sturdy board books that survived Paul’s babyhood.  Just keeping their toddlers safe at this age is a challenge. And at the end of a work day, getting the kids fed and to bed leaves little energy to rail at Mitch McConnell’s collaboration with the White House, the GOP Senators’ betrayal of their oaths to the Constitution and before God, and the strategic distractions of the defense team lawyers.

So agonize on their behalf.  What will reverse the heightened crumbling of democracy, social justice, tolerance, alliances, and the planet’s systems under this administration? 

My incomprehension and anguish are entwined. Many of the GOP Senators who voted to acquit the president were born within a decade on either side of me. They experienced the sixties and seventies too, the revulsion to war, the surge in social movements and environmentalism, the reverence for this miraculous planet and its workings. We understood that stewardship, not dominion, was our role. As I did, these senators must have worn tie-dye and bell bottoms and sung ‘”The Age of Aquarius,” with its yearning for “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding.” 

What became of that idealism and the hopeful future it promised to shape? 

When the hearings began, I knew, as everyone else did, that Trump would be acquitted.  This was not a surprise. So, why am I so furious and unnerved? 

 - Because I listened to Chaplain Barry Black open the fourth day of Senate hearings with the prayer, “Eternal Lord God, You have summarized ethical behavior in a single sentence, ‘Do for others what you would like them to do for you.’ Remind our Senators that they alone are accountable to you for their conduct. Lord, help them remember that they can’t ignore you and get away with it, for we always reap what we sow.”

 - Because I heard Adam Schiff quote Alexander Hamilton in describing the rogue president the impeachment clause was designed to guard against:

 “When a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper . . . despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may 'ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.'"

 - Because, having watched much of the House hearings and testimony, I heard the House Managers provide credible evidence of Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

 - Because I heard the House Managers outline the repercussions of acquittal as this president perceives himself vindicated, and, freed of the threat of impeachment, is emboldened, unfettered by honor, facts, or moral behavior. 

 - Because I read Republican Lamar Alexander’s statement, “There is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven,” and yet conclude that compromising national security by pressuring a foreign power to influence an election and obstructing a Congressional investigation were merely “inappropriate.”

Is it possible the Republican Senators were unmoved by all that, or didn’t believe it? I don’t think so, and that’s what sickens me. At our peril and that of democracy, they chose their ambitions and loyalty to Trump over country.

So, I worry for Paul, Lexi, and Eleanor.  For Hazel, Miles, and Charlie.  For Ava, Taylor, and Mariela. For Lily, Maddie, and Mia. I pray that in casting a vote in November, Republicans and Democrats alike consider, not just their own present, but the future their little ones will inherit.    


gail m said...

Of course I don't know the answer to all this, but it is never over. Nothing is. Life does go on in some form. And maybe it is as it should be, with young families attending to sniffles, and younger ones angry and full of activism, and older ones full of sad wisdom, sending money and marching alongside the young ones, and ones who are benefitting from the gluttony and rape of the planet continuing to do so -- except for some who will stand up and look around and say, hey, this is not fair, and turn away from their upbringing. Or some who will be affected by a kind teacher or read a book with a new idea that they'd never been exposed to in their home, or travel and see things from another's point of view, or see how the whole world does not enjoy the bounty that they do, and maybe things could be evened out al little. Has there ever been a revolution, or is it just evolution, as MLK, Jr. says, how the arc of the moral universe is long, but it does bend toward justice. I try not to WORRY because I believe that worrying is like a prayer said for the opposite of what you want to have happen. I try to keep the faith, to continue to believe in a world that does work for everyone. Yes, this impeachment sham is a huge ugly disappointment, but life is not over. We must focus on the beauty and the love that is ours to see - and to spread in whatever ways we can, when we can. Love you, Lea. xo gail

Lea said...

Thank you for this optimistic, thoughtful, wonderful reflection Gail. Yes, light and hope work better than worry... but the worry is so human, so hard to tamp down (as is judgement...much as I try to quell that!). XO

Lea said...

from Conrad: Love your blog, Lea! - I have shown highlights of the State of the Union Address to my students and asked them to use critical analysis strategies to read between the lines and decipher what was really going on - smoke and mirrors, distractions and aversions, bold mistruths and bullying. We are now acting out of fear.. people in positions of power and influence are “protecting” their own - they fear the other side - it is “us and them” and neighbor against neighbor. We are all children with a Father above, who looks at us and expects us to strive for goodness, though he knows not all will do that. When Jesus spoke for Light, he was killed, as were so many others, both before and after Jesus...

The best I can think to do is teach Love, love for God, which means love for all people, even those who oppose Truth and Justice. High calling…

Famous MLK quote: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

NOT cliche!! - We must hold fast to love, acceptance, beauty, truth. We must teach all within our sphere of influence and lead by example. The stakes are high -what an understatement!

Lea said...

Another terrific post, Lea. And, you were able to say it in such a gracious way. We desperately need some grace at the head of our country. This bullying behavior in our President is dis--grace---ful (haha).

From Lindsay:
I love your reference to the Age of Aquarius. My eyes stung for a moment at that. And, it is important to reach across the aisle as you did to Trump supporters. I have heard from one recently, one of our classmates, who said the economy is great in his defense. But, I say for whom; not for a lot of Americans.

Thank you for speaking out...
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons (Desiderata).

Thank you!

Laurie Stone said...

Its a nightmare. Trump's now very angry, bent on revenge, and untethered. He can do anything he wants, with only a small cadre of hopefully more level-headed people to try and stop him. God bless, Mitt. He was the only surprising, bright star of the whole thing.

Lea said...

Hi Laurie, I wrote Mitt a note of thanks and admiration. He is being nailed by the GOP, all those Senators who, in private and even publicly, have voiced their concerns, but had not the courage to speak out even with so much at stake. And, how shocking that LT. Col. Vindman (and his BROTHER!) was fired...not to mention Marie Yovanovitch. Yes, contrary to Collins' view that Trump would learn his lesson, surely they could have foreseen this White House bully now bent on revenge.

Anonymous said...

Just did a catch-up read on your last 3 blogs. You live life so fully, dear Lea - feeling and acting on your rage. I feel like I am only a sputterer!
I stand with you in spirit and send you cyber hugs and real love. Keep at it! xxx Tricia

Lea said...

Far from a sputterer, you who worked in war zones on a peace-keeping mission! XXOO