I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there. I’ll tell you all about how I became a dupe watching Cersei alight the iron chair.
I read an article a while back regarding the eerie similarities between our current political and environmental climate and the fictional world in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series (and the HBO series Game of Thrones). When I read the article, I was entertained by the clever parallels and focused on Martin’s wit in writing a world that so accurately captured the emotions and complexities of the reader’s world today. But since late January, when our very own Cersei was “elected” by a “free democracy” to sit as commander-in-chief, I’ve been feeling less entertained and more like the poor suckers in the scene above, watching in devastating shock as a narcissistic tyrant climbs the stairs to power.
January and February tend to be my roughest months of the year when I tend to lean towards apathy and sadness. This year I think I’m in good company when I say life has been more difficult and complicated. I just want to curl up with the bears in a cave somewhere and sleep until the sun comes out. Survival mode kicks in and I focus on my routines of work, study, self-care, and sanity-keeping. I spend less time blogging, writing, taking photos, etc. Thus my hiatus from the blogosphere.
Part of my shock and sadness comes from the knowledge that a portion of the country (approximately 26 percent of the eligible voting population) voted for a Cersei figure. I don’t believe there is a simple answer as to why they did and I plan to do my homework in order to understand all sides. It is tempting to point fingers at the poor and dirty children who helped execute Cersei’s plan.But what about the society that created a generation of poor, neglected children so desperate they turned to a figure of influence loudly promising them control, money, and safety?
By considering their perspective, I’m looking to understand, not to discount the perspectives of the remaining majority of the kingdom. In fact, the more perspectives I can consider besides my own, the better I will understand (I hope). But I also want to remember that “kings rise and fall” while standing on the backs of their obedient and dutiful workers. While trying to understand the human emotions and motivations of the game, I want to figure out how we realize our own collective power and take back our fair share.
“Winter is coming,” in a very literal way, as our planet revolts against our neglect. We need to figure out how overcome our differences, validate each others struggles, and work together on our most pressing problems before the ice and snow of the North crashes down to destroy us. One of the only bearable ways to undertake such a serious, scary, and yes, dramatic endeavor, is (for me at least) to find inspiration from a magical fantasy world where the underdogs rise up and free slaves, ride dragons, and unite against their oppressors.
- First do no harm. Act in an environmentally conscious way, support environmental advocate groups and companies, and learn and avoid those that do harm.
- Take care of myself so I can help take care of others. If I’m going to participate in a resistance, I need to remember not to lose sight of our basic needs like health, financial security, hygiene, food, shelter, etc. I can only help others so much if I neglect my needs.
- Read other perspectives. Reading fosters empathy which encourages direct and open communication with any so-called “others” including Muslims, LGBTs, members of a different political party, members of a different race, class, professional status, pretty much anyone different than myself. The more I talk to others and learn about their perspectives, the better I’ll be able to work on our problems and organize for solutions.(So far, I’ve read Kindred by Octavia Butler, & Listen Liberal: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank- I recommend both).
- Support my local library. During times of uncertainty, the library has always been a safe haven where I can find resources to help me answer any questions. These days it is also a place where I can find information I trust is accurate, where facts are just plain facts. It is also a place where everyone is welcome, where communities can interact and come together, or sit back and witness democracy in action though some try to silence it.
- Listen. That’s it.
- Find out who my local senators and congressmen/women are. Contact them when I see a need for change.
- Read up on the 1%.
- Read up on the history of propaganda and political rhetoric.
- Join/support local protests, demonstrations, marches, etc.
- Volunteer/Donate to Planned Parenthood.
- Drive less. Bike or walk more.
- Research reliable news sources and read only those.
- Limit social media exposure/Balance it with human interaction. On the internet, communication and privacy breaks down, empathy disappears, and I feel more isolated.
So these are my goals so far in response to this weird time. I’m sure I’ll update and revise as I go along. Please share what you are doing or what is helping you during a strange and scary time in US history. Thanks for reading.