My Fighting Days Are Probably Over

Captain’s Log    5,224

I am coming up for air.  I think this has been the longest “spell” of not writing ever.  I have been too anxious to write.  That has morphed into despondency.  I am verging on generalized apathy now.

I have been fighting for justice and human decency since October 15, 1969.  That was the day I wore a black armband to school to protest the Vietnam War.  The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam.  Even though I was living in small town Iowa and was still in high school, I did what I could.  I wanted to be older.  I wanted to be in college where I knew I could make a much bigger noise.  But I had to settle for the armband.  What I really wanted to do was bring our soldiers home.


I was called into Father Walding’s office with another brave student (also wearing a black armband) to explain ourselves.  What was to explain?  He knew exactly what we were doing.  We were chastised.  I was told my mother would be called.  Considering what my big sister had done to cause trouble at that school 10 years earlier, I didn’t think my mom would be too upset over a black armband.  My cohort’s father owned a large grocery store in town and he was a VIP in the community, so I knew nothing would happen to her.

We refused to back down.  We talked about the work of Jesus and how he stood up to the Pharisees and the Romans.  Catholic schools come in handy when you need to play the Jesus Card.  Father Walding threatened us with GPA reductions and all sorts of other things.  We held our ground.   When boys defied this guy, he took them into the gym and they put on boxing gloves to settle the score.  He couldn’t very well do that with us.  Not nice to punch girl students in the face.

I think deep down Father Walding was proud of us.  I think this trip to the office was all about posturing and making noise.  One of our favorite nuns who was also politically active watched us come out of the office and she winked at us as we walked by.  Had she been able to get away with it, I know she would have worn an armband too.

He never called my mom.  He never complained to my friend’s dad.  He never did anything.

I grew up a lot that day.  And I continued to make political noise for years and years.  I marched.  I chanted.  And I have never missed an opportunity to vote for anything.  Ever.

Progress is usually made in baby steps.  Looking back, I have been able to see how far we have come as a nation that celebrates diversity and extends humanitarian aid to those in need.  It was certainly not a perfect country, but I felt safe.  I felt that I mattered.  I felt that I had actually done something to make a better world.

After this week’s disastrous election, I feel like I have been thrown all the way back to the starting line.  Those who espouse bigotry have taken a mighty foothold on our democracy.  Their anger and bitterness has been fueled by a man with no moral compass whatsoever – a man who steps on anyone to get what he wants.  A man who brags about how wonderful it is to grab a woman by her genitals because…..because he’s white, male, and privileged.

I woke up today to read the news about Muslim women being attacked, the word FAGGOT painted on a gay man’s car, swastikas painted on buildings, NO NIGGERS written on the walls of a high school bathroom, the KKK planning a parade to support Trump in North Carolina, and on and on.  Those who have held their hatred in check have been given permission to act like untamed animals.  And it’s only going to get worse.  Mark my words.  There is a lot of the iceberg left to expose.

I no longer feel safe here.  I am afraid to say anything for fear that some maniac will vandalize my car or my home.  I am shutting down.  I feel like I am drowning.  I feel like one of the early Christians who met secretly in the catacombs of Rome.  Even at the Peace Corp reunion a few weeks ago, people there were anxious about giving away too much of their political leanings.  I went to a literary fundraiser last weekend, and a nice lady told me to feel comfortable because everyone there was leaning left.  I breathed a sigh of relief and was actually able to choke down a piece of cheese.

How sad.  I read an article about a little boy who lives with his two moms in Brooklyn.  He asked his pre-school teacher if Donald Trump was going to kill him because his moms are gay.  Imagine that fear!  Imagine that his little mind cooked up that huge ball of fear when he should be learning how to create magic with his set of Legos.  What is this madness doing to our sweet and innocent children?

I lived through the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I will never forget the fear we all felt when Kennedy gave the ultimatum to pull the weapons out of Cuba.  The entire world was watching.  It could have been the end of us.  I feel that way now.  I feel that this could be the end of us at any time.  I have no doubt that we will enter another World War very shortly.  No doubt.  And it will most likely be with China.  Guess Trump will have to have his clothing manufactured somewhere else.  Fucking hypocrite.

So I am torn.  Do I pull my weary ass out of my almost-retired chair and take up the mantle for human decency yet AGAIN?  Or do I keep my head down and settle into an easier life of puttering through the garden, painting furniture, reading a lot, traveling, etc.?  I don’t honestly know if I have the will or the gumption to be a warrior.  I don’t honestly know if I even count anymore.  Do I make a difference anymore?  I am not fishing for praise and encouragement.  I am seriously unsure of where I fit and how effective I can ever be against a madman and his confederacy of dunces.  When everything you have worked for seems to be evaporating before your very eyes, it’s hard to feel encouraged to keep going.



Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

32 responses to “My Fighting Days Are Probably Over

  1. Carrie Duff

    I keep coming back to this post….it haunts my dreams and thoughts. As the days continue on toward the inauguration my stomach is twisting more and more into great knots of despair. This morning after FINALLY a restful night sleep and dreams of reasonably talking it out with my Mother. She comes to me there – still – thank the Goddess. we talk things out, cry things out and sometimes just walk…..she and I decided this might be the the best President we have had in 20 years because of his ability to morph into anything he wants to become, yes I know but think about about that for a moment. or this will be a monumental disaster and the entire world will think us fools and then we will have many many hearts and perhaps bodies, if there is a war, to mend. But either way it WILL BE PEOPLE LIKE US who will keep the faith alive for love, peace, compassion, understanding, nurturing and we will be the ones pulling it all back together again. So, even if we cannot fight again or march in the traditional sense. we can BE HERE, PRESENT, AWARE, VOCAL, SUPPORTIVE OF THOSE IN NEED, TEACHERS AND NOT GIVE UP. NOT DESPAIR, NOT FORGET THAT WE ARE THE KEEPERS OF THE FLAME –NOW! YES, MY SISTERS, THAT MATTERS AND PERHAPS……. IT MATTERS -MOST OF ALL THAT IS OUR SWORD – NOW! LOVE TO ALL, BLESSED BE.

  2. Susanna

    After leaving platitudes from the beyond did I mention that I’m still on the planet and this is one scary dude, he is going to undo all the good we have worked for, he is filling all the key positions in government with racists, racketeers,hateful SOB’s and he is a lying, hateful, fascist. Ok, just wanted to get that off my chest.

  3. Susanna

    I wanted to read a channeled response to this disaster. I read one thing that seemed interesting. It said nothing can be healed unless it is exposed. Could be we are in the throws of an eruption of discontents that are living in fear, pulling in, afraid of globalization however that behavior is not going to win in the end. Also read one sage say, there is no going backwards because there are too many people demanding forward movement and the demand is now that the watch dogs of the US need to step it up and become very involved on all levels…especially locally where true change always comes from. So I’m keeping myself informed, not being passive, calling a fascist a fascist and holding the light for our country as we watch nasty old fear muddle through…for a while.

  4. Carrie Duff

    Pretty sure there are gardens in communes just saying!!

  5. Carrie Duff

    I too wore the bracelet for those lost soldiers while I was in 8th grade so long ago. Protested in a sit down in my school- did we attend the same high school perhaps in O.C.? This will be a far different “war” for us here anyway. These people protesting are not making one wit of a difference and that young student who was hit by a car walking on the freeway while they were protesting was just stupid, seriously, a car!!. This is not organized protesting like we’ve had in the past, this is not protesting out of LOVE, PEACE and FREEDOM in my way of thinking this is a knee jerk reaction and something to do out of anger or???. Somehow we need to find a way back to something that resembles love, compassion and reality before all of our friends or worse yet all of US!! are in interment camps. Yesterday the news interviewed the kids protesting at SDSU and one of the guys said ” no I didn’t even vote”! I am so scared of these things people are doing, these crimes against humanity, the KKK, the FAGGOT comments, I am scared for my friends, my loved ones, I want to run and hide. I am not sure there is anywhere far enough or worse, fast enough. We are turning back to the days or the suffragettes, slave days, hiding in tunnels, running through the swamps and the dogs are catching up, I am with you but I don’t know where to go next. For the very first time in my entire life I want to put my head in the sand, not turn on the TV, not read an article, not listen to any of it and go with my friends, far away. Commune in the Forest anyone? I am already packed.

  6. Joanie

    I vote for puttering in the garden.

  7. Julie Weger

    Know that you are not alone. My sentiments exactly. I’m dissolutioned with our our country. I feel sick to my soul. I cannot believe what’s happening in our country today.

    I’m praying for our beautiful country and its people.

  8. So sorry for your obvious pain. Please believe and trust that all will be well. You are loved and you will get beyond this.

  9. I cannot physically march. This horrendous political result makes me ill, and like you, I know that war is the inevitable outcome. It may be that’s the only way we can see real change take hold.

    You and I have a small degree of protection in our race, but not our gender. I am loath to see the repercussions to my grandchildren, especially the girls. Two of my three granddaughters are multiracial. 😦 I have other mixed race family that voted Trump, seemingly not unaware that they were painting targets on their backs and the backs of their children.

  10. Patty O'

    My two cents: I agree with Mageb; you’ll be back. But take your time and use it to stick to getting your hard-earned retirement. That will give you more time to decide what you want to do. I’ve already learned that my marching days are over for ANY reason. A lot of things are now beyond me. But I can still sign petitions, write letters, donate to things that are important to me, and perhaps volunteer at an office where I can stuff envelopes or collate or whatever while sitting down. If anything I am more determined then ever. My decision to DO something began in Dallas over the body of our beloved dead President. We CANNOT let the maniacs and fanatics and bigots win. Harrumph!

  11. I think you speak for an awful lot of us with that post. I never thought I could despair more than I despaired during the Cheney years. But I was wrong. This is bad on a whole ‘nuther level.

  12. goatbarnwitch

    I hear you and can relate to so much of what you said. I wore a POW/MIA bracelet in 8th grade and participated in a sit in to stop the Vietnam war in my freshman year in high school that shut the school down. I have written for and worked with a local nuclear freeze organization and worked in an abortion clinic to help women make the toughest of choices. I too came of age with the cold war as a constant companion…. I am tired also and very very depressed with where we have landed this week. I think helping those who have the energy to take action is an excellent idea along with living the most peaceful and positive life you can. And of course there is always “plan for the worst and hope for the best”

  13. Mrs D

    What you can do is mentor people like me, mid-30s, equally frustrated with the state of things and trying to help navigate myself and my young family through this uncertainty. I have the great fortune of living within spitting distance of my state’s capital, and don’t they say all great things start at home? Be my cheerleader. And who knows, maybe bringing back some of the “old school” tactics are just what we need right now. Trouble is, there’s too much uncivility out there. There’s no good place to start, just that we start. What a mess!

  14. Penny Tushingham

    I have always hated and stayed away from politics because I felt it was all a bunch of egos and BS. This year certainly confirms that.

    I choose to try and keep positive thoughts (not about politics) and to do under others as I would want them to do me.

    You can still make a difference each and every day by doing something positive for someone else. Smile at people who are believe in Trump’s type of values. That will get their goat! The time will come when we get to say “told you so”!

    We are luck to have each and every day. My goal is to make the most of it in at least a little positive way. I won’t let Trump bring me down.

    Pen Pen

  15. You take a break then pick up the sword again…this time at a different angle. I sure admire those protesters, but I need to find another way to protest.

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