Malaise is a “mental” thing, too

“Malaise” is generally considered to refer to “general bodily weakness or discomfort” but can also refer to “a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness” and it is that second definition that I believe to be a general affliction in today’s America.   Although I am, personally, concerned with the malaise experienced in reaction to the policies and conduct of the current administration, I must admit that I believe the same “mental uneasiness” is also experienced by those on the right of the political spectrum – those people who voted for the current administration and who remain fans of the current president…although I also suspect that those persons are likely not aware of why they are experiencing such feelings nor are they likely to be able to define them.

I was amazed when I checked my published blog posts and realized that I had not posted anything here since February 8.  (During that time, I did post several entries in the Cultural Crossroads blog in February and April; somehow, although I could find words to speak through the nonprofit,  I felt words fail me on a personal basis.)

The stated purpose of this Balance Beams blog is to help find “balance for all” – something that I feel is so lacking in today’s American society.   It seems that there is no balance between differing viewpoints, no common ground (which was an issue addressed in that other blog:

While I was wrestling with my seeming inability to address the need for balance in this blog, I discovered an article posted on February 1, 2018, by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, which expressed my personal feelings:

Never before have more twists and turns been packed into each day of a presidency. Stories that would be GIANT news for weeks in another administration wind up being eclipsed by a tweet or an offhanded comment from the President. Every day is 50 pounds of news stuffed into a five-pound bag. And every day feels like a week — or longer.

This is SO true – like many others, I have felt bombarded and defenseless.

I decided to review my Facebook posts since February 8, to determine the headlines and flashpoints that have caused my writing paralysis – a quick review reflected these hot-button issues of the day:

  • Racism
  • Lies
  • Attacks on protections for children, women, workers, borrowers and the environment
  • Attacks on our justice system
  • Violence against refugee children
  • Gun violence
  • Separation of church and state
  • Threats to world peace
  • Threats to freedom of speech and freedom of the press
  • Hypocrisy in government
  • Attacks on our economy and trade
  • Attacks on voting rights
  • And, again, lies and more lies….and people who don’t care about the lies…

… but I never got as far as February in my review – this list contains the issues that were raised only in the last month!

The most insidious attack on freedom of speech is the numbing destruction of the ability to re-act, the bombardment of lies and attacks and loud shouts from multiple quarters at once that leave the head spinning – which command attention to a new attack before one can even respond to the most recent attack.   Life in the US today is akin to living in a video game of constant warfare, never knowing where the next attack will surface, living constantly in a state of “fight or flight.”’’

How to shake off these shackles of silence? – by making our voices heard, whether by telephone calls and emails to members of Congress and appointed officials – even the White House — or by physically visiting those offices or marching in solidarity with others.  In fact, I see that the last time I wrote to my list of members of Congress and officials was the time of my last post – I find that to be proof that the best way to keep my voice alive is by using my voice.  Before I posted this entry, therefore, I stopped to make my position known on another important issue, in this case, the immoral separation of children and parents at the border.

We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced – that way lays tyranny.   Ask any German today whether they wish things had been different, whether they wish the common people had held the line on decency.



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