Obviously, I read bad news every day and until recently, my reaction used to be, (example) so what if 15% would vote for the right wing populists with their conspiracy theories, there are 85% who will not.
Let's concentrate on what's to be done and get cracking.
But these days, a sense of powerlessness is creeping in together with this idea of how much resignation would make my life easier, with better sleep and more time for the good things. After all, have I not been active and outspoken for most of my adult life and surely, I deserve a break without stressful thoughts and fears about the future. So, yes, powerlessness, take me on.
The thing about powerlessness is that it behaves like most sensations. It is a feeling, and feelings are very self-confident, much more self-confident than reason.
As in: Oh dear, did you read that IPCC report/watch these neonazi hooligans/listen to that hate speech etc. Let's lose all hope and curl up into a ball and hide and just wallow in finding everything unbearable. Don't even begin to suggest any concrete actions.
This helps neither the planet/my community/anybody I could assist nor my tattered self. And my problem is that I don't think I have the stamina to remain curled up wallowing in miserable powerlessness for very long. Probably only until I realise that I cannot step out of this world. So it seems the only thing that really helps is to start again, with endurance.
Endurance does not mean looking away, avoiding the bad news, nursing my wounded hopelessness. It means continuing to be affected, being shocked. If I refuse that and allow myself to be powerless I know that at some point I will just not feel like part of the whole anymore. And this is a scary thought, to end up deciding that the world is bad anyway, withdraw even further into distraction and apologise for just watching. So no. I need to confront my powerlessness and respond, with courage.
I admit that this is were I get stuck because I after 35 years of calling myself a feminist/unionist/activist I am so used to the usual patterns, signing petitions, attending vigils, even chaining myself to a tree - been there, done that, bought the tshirt and look what I achieved. Nada.
There are people out there who continue to convince me that all this, alone and in combination with new amazing ideas does work, and yet I would love to remain reluctant. Partly due to my limited physical fitness, but mostly due to my seemingly unlimited supply of sarcasm.
Only, this morning my father shouted down the phone and into my ears that he has lived through it all before, the fascism, the lies, the fears, the war, the hunger, the destruction, the hopelessness and and and. His voice grew louder as he bellowed that he for one will not stand by idly while some idiotic whippersnappers waffle on about patriotism and how migrants are a threat. As for climate change deniers, he roared, he has a thing coming for them too. It starts with science. (My father will be 90 years old next January and we rarely see eye to eye.)
So. This is what I know deep down in my heart and mind: I must not allow myself to freeze into inactivity in a cold society. I must continue to nurture empathy, I must not look away.
Because if I refuse to look at or read or listen to the bad stuff, if I give into my feeling of powerlessness, I willingly let all that shit happen.
Instead. Responsibility, for myself, for others, for our planet. A wide open heart even if it hurts like hell at times to do so. To have the courage to suffer for what I believe in.
Sounds pathetic, I realise. So what.
some of the activists in this video are very dear to my heart, more about them here.