The World as we Know It

“Russia and the US are uniting to push China out of power,” I said half jokingly a few weeks before, when Trump, as one of his first public statements as America’s 45th President Elect, “mistakenly” spoke on the phone to Taiwan and ruffled China’s feathers quite a bit. Some saw this as a blunder, a typical “stupid, thoughtless Trump” jab. I believe it was absurdly calculated; a new foreign policy.

Erdogan, Putin, Netanyahu and now Trump. Suppressing and discrediting the press, creating their own narratives verging on conspiracy theories, use of cacophonous conflicts that should discredit them but merely give them more wind to fly on, masculine-macho leadership style and mob mentality disdain of liberal elites which has given rise the the world’s movement toward isolationism and populism.

With Trump’s appointment of US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman who is pro-settlements and pro- Netanyahu, we begin to see our country will not only be in the business of offending (as with China), but we see the alliances that the US new foreign policy will maintain and attempt to strengthen.We will treat Russia as we do Saudi Arabia, overlooking human rights abuses and abuses of power, for the sake of ulterior motives. The president elect knows exactly what he’s doing.  

With the dossier released in the past week, we begin to give more credence toward the notion, as Nicolas Kristof questioned in an article for the New York Times on Sunday, “is our new president a Russian poodle?”

It sure seems to be angling that way- most notably with the Trump beginning to discredit the CIA weeks before the dossier was public knowledge. Was he priming us with distrust of the CIA by denying daily briefings, so that he could later say that the CIA was, like other American media outlets “Fake News”? With reported constant contact between the Trump team and Moscow since the election and rumors that Trump’s first foreign trip will be to meet Putin in Iceland, we’ve got to wonder. And to top it all off, we’ve got the baseline weirdness of Trump’s initial strange and unexplained immediate loyalty and alliance to Russia from the very beginning of the campaign trail. Taking all of this in, the alleged dossier seems to be making more sense than a lot of other things in the world right now.

“Either trash the i-phone or change the verbage,” I tell Ben over coffee and current events as I eye the microphone on his phone.

I’ve spent 3 days inside during the “Great Kansas City Ice Storm of 2017,” which was really just an excuse for us all to stay inside and lick our wounds for a three day weekend and read good books. It was a weekend of soaking in the onslaught of news from the week,  a mood of three dimensional pain and chaos that is the world.  Trump is ripping the wrapping paper off, and showing America for exactly what we have always know we were, but always preached a radically different tune. We are a nation built on genocide of Native Peoples, slavery of Africans and big business and big egos over the dignity of human life. Trump is merely shining a light on this, and changing the rhetoric so we can stop saying “politicians are in bed with corporations,” and merely say, “corporations’ interests are the hard beds we sleep in night and day.”

When I finally ventured out into the world after the weekend ice storm, I bought fresh vegetables at the grocery store and saw people of all different races, genders, expressions, classes and life stories. And there were beautiful smiles shared. And there were frustrations at traffic jams in the middle of the potato chip aisle. And there were apologies, and indifference, and intrigue, and disgust. And maybe, looking back on it, it wasn’t so sad. It was only human. I’d just forgotten what a messy idea humanity was over the weekend. Maybe over the past few weeks.

This morning, I got an email from One Struggle KC this morning, the local Black Lives Matter movement:

‘I contend that the cry of “Black Power” is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.’

Martin Luther King Jr., 60 Minutes Interview, 1966

 

12/31/16

The cat’s sitting on the kitchen table while I write. His tail keeps edging its way onto my keyboard, making typing a bit more of a task.

Last night my cat ran in the bathroom and had shoved himself halfway down the toilet drain before I pulled him out, flailing and wet and screaming. I couldn’t believe how he fit himself down the toilet drain. He was burrowing– he just kept going. He was on a mission. I held him up in the air and just looked at his shaking, wet form.

Why did you do this?

Don’t cats try to avoid water?

Why do I have the one cat that actively tries to shove himself down the dirtiest, wettest thing in the house?

–Where was he trying to go?

I looked at BC, “I’m going to give him a shower,” and he nods at me indicating I should do whatever I need to do.

I took the screaming, shaking, wet cat into the shower, and began to heat the water up so that it was warm for him. The bathroom started to get steamy, and I began to lather the cat up in Dr. Bronners. He looked like a little wet rat. A little bit helpless, he wasn’t sure why he tried to escape down the toilet bowl himself.

He screamed when I put him in the shower, and clawed his way onto my face to get ahold of the situation himself.

That’s when I woke up and realized I needed to quit my job at the shelter.

I’ve applied for a couple new jobs this morning. And play with the cat and read books like it’s my job. I’ve been running on near empty for going on three years now, and I can’t do that. One year on, one year off. That was always my motto.

I am sorry to say that I was seeking adventure and challenge when I took the shelter job a few months ago, when I should have been focusing on how to take a break. AmeriCorps NCCC in California and JVS in Kansas City were both challenging and consuming years.

I have learned a lot in the three months I’ve been at the shelter, and am so happy I tried it, because now I know even more what I am looking for in a job.

And the pay wasn’t half bad, either.

Walking into the kitchen, I find my cat licking the oil off our daily oiled cast iron pan, in a rebellion of the recent diet we put him on. Some just know how to work the system a little better than others.   

 

 

 

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