“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: https://culturalcrossroadskc.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/finding-common-ground/).
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:
- 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.