02 July 2017

Dark Now

Every morning I awaken to another horror. Today I read that a suicide car bomb in Damascus has killed eight, and recognize that as children there die, our government hasn’t a clue how to intervene in this conflict. This past week a doctor prowled Bronx-Lebanon hospital with a gun.  In the end, two people were dead, including the gunman who shot himself, and six more were wounded. Early Saturday morning seventeen people were wounded in a shooting at a club in Little Rock, Arkansas. but gun control is anathema to the Republican majority. The latter part of this week was despoiled by Trump’s repulsive and sexist attack on Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and the attempt by Trump’s craven and absurd lackeys to actually defend his actions. And this is just the some of the horror during one week at the end of June 2017. There was blaring across the pages of my newspapers the usual reports of venal corruption and corporate greed. There was news of the Republican health care bill that promises only hardship and hardship for those in need and extra money for those who really have little need for it. The week prior the news of the shooting at a baseball diamond consumed the media as did the normal amount of dreadfulness and political obscenity led in the charge by the President of the United States.  And just this morning Trump posted a video of himself attacking, violently wrestling to the floor and then pummeling an image of a man with the logo for CNN as a head. Bob Dylan said, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there”: to my mind, for all intents and purposes, it is dark now. Very dark and very dangerous.
     I wonder what the effect of the steady violence might be having on our children: of course, there are children everywhere! I do not think that many of them could avoid the daily reports of violence and mayhem in the world and in the nation. Few could avoid reports of the President’s obscenities. For the children, newspapers, radio, television and social media are ubiquitous and central to the daily life of many of the young; there is really few places to hide. I cannot begin to speak of those who live daily amid the violence of our time though I try to imagine the hopelessness which they experience and the energies that are required to just barely survive by attempting desperately to keep on keeping on. The effect of the constant assault on the consciousness of the young must result in the experience of trauma: the interruption in being. Suicide, of course, is one response to the trauma. There are other means of dealing with this experience of this trauma: the development of a posture of reckless bravura that strikes out with violence against the violent, invasive environment the daily confront; a sensory withdrawal into the self that results in a blank coldness; or the creation of a hard, protective shell that wards off future assault and feeling. Another response might be to mirror the behaviors they observe in the adults: to lie, cheat, steal and commit violence. If bullying has become an issue on the internet, then the bullying perpetrated by Trump the internet sanctions this violence by the children.
     I recently saw a picture of six-year old Ruby Bridges entering the William Frantz Elementary School in 1960 escorted and guarded by Federal marshals. As she climbed the stairs a mob of white mothers screamed curses and epithets at this child and then pulled their own children from the school so that they would not have to be educated alongside an African-American child. White teachers refused to teach this six year old, and Ruby Bridges spent the year as a sole student at that school.
     I read Trump’s tweet attacks; I witness his ignorant, self-serving, false claims for his abilities and achievements; I read the daily papers and contemplate the cruelty and stupidity of the Republican majority (Paul Ryan excusing the President because he is ‘new to the job’). I see Trump’s dangerous incompetence that is fueled by a raging narcissism.  Behind that very brave six year old I see those white parents led by the President of the United States and the Republican party and its repulsive leadership. I despair for the future. It is dark now.  


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