To find out about how to manage the unrelenting heartache, headache and pain of this Trump presidency, talk to someone who manages chronic pain.
I have chronic migraine disease, which means I have a only handful of hours per month without pain. The pain varies, and I'm not always collapsed on the bed with an ice pack in a dark room, but every single day, I'm managing pain.
Yesterday, while fighting a bad migraine and preparing for a meal and meeting with the women's spirituality group I've been in for fifteen years, I suddenly realized that a lot of my skills for managing pain were assisting me with my Chronic Trumpache. So I thought I'd share my strategies and tools with others who may be, as I am, in constant pain about the state of governance in this country right now.
Chronic pain gets you down. And all the well-meaning though scream-worthy advice about just getting over it (or it will get better soon, or just give it time) makes not one scrap of difference. Treat your Chronic Trumpache seriously, intentionally, but without wallowing in it.
1. Turn off the radio, TV, and electronic screens. Go news-free for a while. Walk around, listen to music, smile at the cute kid in the stroller.
2. Balance being busy with being slothful. Whatever slothful looks like for you - a guilty-pleasure book or magazine, a bubble bath in the middle of the day, a couple hours in the sports bar (drinking in moderation, of course), meditation, prayer.
3. Get exercise. I'm better able to manage my pain since I joined the Y three years ago - even though I don't get there as often as I wish I could. Exercise doesn't make the pain go away, or even lessen it. But it raises my low spirits and strengthens my muscles and enhances my self-esteem - all important in pain management.
Chronic pain can be isolating. Ranting on facebook or twitter or in an email may help a bit, but having a friend who understands and who will have a cuppa with you when you're stuck is much, much better. For Chronic Trumpache, there are also outlets for resistance and action that will help in reducing those feelings of helpless rage.
Here are links to the action pages of a few sites I like:
Organizing for Action
Southern Poverty Law Center
Your self-care goal for chronic pain is not to eliminate it, but to manage its effects on your body and your spirit. Even moving to Canada will not eliminate your Chronic Trumpache. So it's best to accept that it's affecting you. Your anxiety, fretting and agonizing only make it worse, only tighten your muscles and fracture your spirit, adding stress upon stress upon stress. When you accept that it's chronic, you are free to choose your self-care.
Then you can go back over the list above (turn off the news, balance busy and quiet, get exercise, meet a friend, resist and act) and begin actually managing the pain of Chronic Trumpache.
We all know what happened to the Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination made by then-President Obama in January 2016: the Republican-controlled Senate refused even to give him a hearing, never mind allow a vote. It was an unprecedented, un-Constitutional move. Republicans, who now feel vindicated because they got their conservative nominee from Trump, are convinced, I'm sure, that they did the right thing.
And it was the right thing, if protecting a party's power, politics and influence at all costs - and at the expense of two centuries of precedent and the Constitution itself - is right.
But it's not right.
I'm so infuriated and frustrated with the Republican obstructionism and refusal to pay even minimal homage to good governance practices that we've seen since 2010 that I can't watch or listen to Mitch McConnell and his ilk without shouting at the TV or radio. i can just imagine what Democratic Senators feel. Surely they are sorely tempted to give the Gorsuch nomination as difficult a time as they can. Surely they wish they had the power to do Gorsuch what the Republicans did to Garland.
As an article in The Atlantic says, "Senate Democrats must now decide how hard they are willing to fight over the high-court seat that Republicans blocked President Obama from filling after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year."
Of course, it doesn't matter how hard Democrats fight. They don't have the votes to win, and they risk forcing Republicans to eliminate the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees: a change that will surely come back to slap them in the face in the future.
But aside from the possibility of future face-slaps, it's not right.
Understandably, the temptation is to do to them what they did for us. Eye for an eye, etc. Yet if it wasn't right or good governance or Constitutional for the Republicans to block the Garland nomination as they did, neither is it right for the Democrats to use any means possible (however ineffective it may be, ultimately) to obstruct and fight the Gorsuch nomination.
That's not to say that Democratic Senators shouldn't question and argue and do all they can to reveal any real reasons to fight this nomination. Their responsibility is to vet nominees.
The Republicans tossed principle over the Potomac. It wouldn't serve the Constitution or the Senate or the country for Democrats to, in their own way, do the same. It seems to me someone needs to stand up for constitutionality and principle now and I hope that someone is the Democratic Senators.
I can't shout righteously at Mitch McConnell if my side goes as low as his side did. And frankly, righteousness is about all I have, just now. Righteousness in the form a belief in power that gleans instead of plows under, and in civic duty as encompassing compassion, inclusion, and fairness, and in a kind of governing that welcomes compromise and behaves tolerantly
Stay righteous, Democrats.
This blog chronicles my work and thoughts as a writer. - Carol D. Marsh
* Book Talks for your organization, church or reading group.
* Discussion groups on: social justice, being in service, leadership
Click here to CONTACT ME
© COPYRIGHT 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.