Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's time to bid farewell to this year, 2016. 

This was an eventful year. It was filled with many disappointments. But it was also punctuated by the gift of an opportunity for a fresh start. I am grateful that I received such a gift. Gifts and opportunities do not necessarily come around very frequently. I think it's only natural that we come to appreciate this truth more and more as we mature and experience the inevitable ups and downs that life will bring all of us.

I am more optimistic about the possibilities of my own future than I am about the future direction of my own country. Perhaps some of my readers might think there is an inherent contradiction in maintaining optimism in the face of the dark cloud that I feel has gathered in this country. I feel it's positively laughable that someone like Donald Trump has managed to become the President elect of this country. I believe Trump is but one example of the drift of this country in the direction of authoritarianism and a toxic individualism that is rendering qualities like professionalism, kindness, integrity and generosity to others virtually counter-cultural.

Using public transportation today gave me some fodder for morbid reflections about what may be coming to this country. As I rode the Metro home today I found myself experiencing one of the textbook indicators of people who have been traumatized, namely hyper-vigilance. A man riding in the same car as me was continually muttering about a number of things. I couldn't make out all of his words. But I could most definitely *feel* the tone of what he was saying. The man was filled with a lot of rage. Being the only white guy in the car seemed to make me an easy target for this African American man. He made references to God, the world, white people, etc. (What will be the normative rules for speaking about our multicultural society once Trump assumes that position which I refuse to name?) I made sure not to make eye contact because I felt very real concern that this man might take it as some sort of provocation.

By the time I exited at my station I had heard this man for such a long time that I felt genuinely spooked by his behavior. As I walked home I repeatedly looked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't behind me. Such are the actions of someone experiencing a spike in anxiety.

It never surprises me when I experience such moments of anxiety in the presence of someone who seems quite likely mentally ill. Such incidents remind me of the terrible harm I experienced as a kid when I was expected to be 'okay' while living with my mentally ill mother and my deeply dysfunctional dad. I am fortunate I survived what I did. It is unreasonable and highly toxic for adults to expect children to become healthy adults themselves when they are forced to live among the mentally ill.

I am sharing this story from my own life now because I am deeply concerned about what 2017 and beyond will bring us in the United States. I wonder how many people who voted for Trump (and for other Republicans in general) remember what their virtual saint Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s. Reagan deinstitutionalized countless mentally ill people in this country. And by doing so he helped sow the seeds for future serious issues in our country. There is plenty of coverage about the excessive number of mentally ill people who wind up in our jails and legal system where, due to the nature of how our systems work, they often do *not* find the type of help they need. Ronald Reagan, in his depraved "wisdom", help unleash this crisis.

Now let me ask you this: Given the comments Trump has made about people with disabilities (the reporter), women, African American people and we honestly think that the issue of the mentally ill population in this country is going to improve under the "leadership" (I'll always put words in quotes when I believe Trump is fundamentally incapable of what I am referring to) of Trump? How many encounters will people have like the one I had today? Despite the anxiety I felt being in a train car with this obviously distressed individual I also did feel empathy for the man. 

I can't imagine how this man's life circumstances could possibly improve in the next four years...not when the GOP is eagerly chomping at the bit to throw at least 20 MILLION Americans down the socioeconomic ladder by taking away their healthcare once Inauguration Day comes and goes. By taking away the healthcare of millions of Americans and ignoring this mental health crisis made possible by the stupidity and callousness of Ronald Reagan the GOP is DIRECTLY, TANGIBLY and SEVERELY undermining the quality of life and the future possibilities for all Americans. Do you want to take public transportation and fear for your safety? Do you want to see mentally ill people homeless and wandering the streets of small towns and big cities all across America? Do you want to see these people being an immense drag on the safety net of this nation? Do you want to see them so angry, demoralized, sick and despairing that they make additional poor choices like voting for people who have as little empathy and integrity as Trump? Do we really have so little empathy left for our fellow citizens that we're going to sit and watch the Trump steamroller of destruction lay waste to everything in its path???


Three and a half years ago I began documenting my journey out of a very dark time in my own life. I am grateful for the friends, family, gifts and, dare I say, grace that helped me move on with my life and seek out a new path.

In 2017 I intend to actively pursue this new direction. Life is too short to not follow a direction that we can each feel passionately about.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!