ON THE FENCE … and coming out of the fog

So much hanging in the balance and the fence so fragile.

Maybe this week feels to you, like it does to so many other thoughtful and conscientious Americans, that you’re not so much just sitting on the fence as you are trying to find someone to talk you off the ledge. Take heart. I may have found that someone.

Last Thursday night’s disjointed “debate” between America’s two presidential candidates is being painted with the broad brush of catastrophe. It was, indeed, a sad event.

One candidate was very predictable and true to form. If his lips were moving, he was lying. The other candidate, always held to a much higher standard, may have been ambushed by jet lag and what is commonly known as a “summer cold.” Like most of us in that condition (myself included) his voice was raspy and his head a bit (okay more than a bit) fuzzy. And as for the “moderators” …

Within minutes panic ensued, within hours the airwaves were buzzing and by the weekend, screens were filled with sky-high reaction and speculation. But then … the calendar page turned and along came Monday with the gut-punch, gobsmack, call-it-what-you-will ruling from the highest court in the land, an entity that was once-upon-a-time held in the highest esteem. With comments raining down like confetti, these were the seven words that struck home for many of us. “With fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

So it is with fear for our democracy and what, if anything, will be left of it for our grand and great-grandchildren, that I say it is time for me, for you, for every last one of us, to get off our individual and collective fences and work hard together, if we are to keep the dream alive. If not now, when? If not for them, for who?  I say that with fear for our democracy, I too, dissent. But I know, and you do too, that dissent is not enough. Dissent without action does nothing to move the needle. And the needle needs moving now.

My last column focused on keeping joy alive in our activism and I am by no means abandoning that stance. Call me crazy or that old term “cockeyed optimist,” but I have to believe there’s room for all of it even on the darkest days when we can barely muster the energy to get out of bed. My nervous system hasn’t survived this long without a little singing and dancing in the dark. At my age, in the words of America’s ultimate aging rascal, waking up not dead again today is reason enough to at least smile, if not rejoice. It means I have another day to get off the fence and do something.

One of the “somethings” I’ve added to my to-do list is tune in to Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin’s Resistance Live on Youtube. My friend Gail had been encouraging me for several weeks to check her out and finally, last Friday, in desperation, I did. And then again on Tuesday.

Elizabeth is the “talker off the ledge” I mentioned earlier. Thank You, Elizabeth, for your consistent reminder that we can’t afford to be complacent. “No one is coming to save us. It’s up to us”.

I hope you will take some time to ‘check her out’ too, and I hope you will share your thoughts in our ‘comments’ section at the bottom of this page. I hope, too, we will connect again in a couple of weeks when I plan to focus on some of what I’m coming to understand from my 20-year-old great-grandson and other GenZ friends about why they are on the fence about voting. For the record, I consider having GenZ friends just one of the many privileges I’ve accumulated over this long and crazy beautiful life.

“Your privilege is not a reason for guilt, it is a part of your power, to be used in support of those things you say you believe. Because to absorb without use is the gravest error of privilege…How much of your lives are you willing to spend merely protecting your privileged status? Is that more than you are prepared to spend putting your dreams and beliefs for a better world into action?” —Audre Lorde

And then … just in time to add the link, along came the 26th Avenue Poet’s substack offering for today, in which (another) Elizabeth reminds us that … always, somewhere, / everything is falling apart. And somewhere, always, / someone is baking bread or brewing tea. Thank you, Elizabeth.

And just for fun … 

Until next time,

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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Good morning Sulima,
Thank you for this post, and sharing Resistance Live, passed it forward!

I'd love your thoughts, please share!x