Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Mr. Trump

The Unreality Show

The Unreality Show
Continues unscripted
Relentless and determined
One labored breath at a time
Inhaled then exhaled
Wincing and fidgeting
Drifting and struggling
To keep it all together
As things fall apart

Mr. Trump returned to the White House. Not quietly in the middle of the night, but with a show of defiance that reveals his weaknesses. All caught on camera and in tweets to the world. It seems he decided he had to get Covid-19 in order to demonstrate how important it is not to give in to it.

Surrender to the realities of Covid-19, and to experienced Covid-19 experts? Forget it. That might look like defeat. Yet how else is a body to heal? Much less a soul and a heart well practiced in the proud clamor of unpredictable, destructive behavior now vainly turned to his own vain advantage.

I grieve what Mr. Trump has done to and against this country. We’re not perfect, and never will be. Not by a long shot. Today, however, we’re farther than ever from what we might have become in the last four years. This is true even though the past four years have clarified fault lines we would rather not (yet must) examine.

As a follower of Jesus, I’m instructed to pray for leaders of this nation. Today my prayer joins others, beseeching God for mercy. Not by sending a special healing miracle for Mr. Trump, but by mercifully removing him from his current position of seemingly limitless power. Power Mr. Trump does not now, and has never had.

May God have mercy on us all.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 October 2020
Photo of POTUS returning to the White House found at theintercept.com

the long walk home, 3 years later

I first posted this in August 2017. Mr. Trump had been in office for less than a year. Now he’s up for re-election, and today’s world is far removed from anything that feels like home. Are we going to make it from here to there? And what will happen to us along the way?

*****

I wonder—
Do breathless trees
dusky skies
and lengthening shadows
remember what they see
beneath fading twilight
swathed in heavy garments
unsure of her destination

Is this a woman? I think so. She seems to be taking the long walk home. Which may or may not be that dark cottage hovering in the background, watching as she makes her way.

Is she alone? I think not. The trees, skies and passing shadows reveal more than what’s happening on the ground or in the background. If this world is God’s poem (thank you, Mary Oliver), we have reason to hope. Not because of the play of light in the trees, on the ground or in the background, but because of the Light that shines even in our darkest hours.

Sometimes, perhaps always, we must leave home to find our true home. Or better, to be found by God’s everyday angels in this world that belongs not to us, but to God.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 November 2017, reposted 30 September 2020
Autumn Landscape at Dusk, 1885, by Vincent van Gogh found at Wikiart.com

This uncivil war

Up and down
All over the map
Ecstatic one moment
Discouraged the next
Willing myself
To get up in the morning
And begin yet again

So many opportunities
So little time
So little access
To things I think I need

How will it all turn out?
Does it really matter?
Is my small loaf without fish
Enough for today?

A million questions
Race through my mind
As life falls apart
And trash piles up
Just outside my
Window on the world

Deep inside I know
Only a brutal housecleaning
Will tame this deadly nightmare
Of consequences we now
Live to regret
One day at a time

Is the American Dream dead? Can we survive this uncivil war? Actually, we’ve been fighting it from the beginning. Today we can watch the latest episodes unfold right before our eyes, thanks to ever-present news media, and unnumbered sources of information and dis-information.

If you’ve visited my blog during the last several years, you know I’m not a fan of Mr. Trump. Tragically, what we see today is in keeping with everything we already knew about him.

Yet in the middle of it all, there are opportunities for people of good will to work together on issues that have scarred our hearts and souls from the beginning. The evidence is clear. White citizens like you and like me disenfranchised and brutally murdered American Indians, exploited and terrorized slaves night and day, and serially mistreated every ethnic minority that has set foot in this country willingly or unwillingly.

Surely we can come up with another way of going at this. One day at a time. One risk at a time. Pondering our next moves. Not alone, but with others hungry for change. Giving up something of value in order to receive something much better.

After all, white people and their black and brown neighbors also have a history of resisting evil. Even in the most tragic circumstances. What might we learn from and with each other?

Praying for courage to change the things I can. No more and no less.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 September 2020
Azar Nafisi quote found at http://www.idlehearts.com

Governance by and for the people?

I’m sitting here
Wondering
How long
We have until
The end of governance
By and for the people
As we’ve never known it?

How long until
The end of faking it
As though we were one nation
On the streets
In the pubs
Or on the beaches
To which many
Seem wedded?

Then again,
Perhaps I’m wondering
About the wrong things
Asking myself
The wrong questions

How about this instead?

How long do we have
Until the last gasp
Of looking the other way
In nearly invisible glances
Drips end-stage poison
Into our veins
Insuring apathy forever
And the death of desire
For a more perfect
Union?

Confession: I didn’t watch Mr. Trump’s RNC “convention.” I have, however, paid attention–though not with much enthusiasm, and in small pieces.

I’m struck by how quickly our country has fallen under the spell of this man whose speech and behavior have crossed the line on innumerable occasions. It doesn’t matter whether we’re Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. Where has all our mojo gone?

Apathy is a silent poison. Strengthened every time we look the other way, or get mesmerized with The Show. Entertained even if horrified, outraged or fill in the blank. Addicted comes to mind.

Every day I wonder how much energy I’m using up in relation to Mr. Trump. Especially when I need my best energy for staying on course. Doing what I can to promote and support a more perfect union. Not for some, but for all of us–citizens, immigrants and refugees alike.

Thanks for reading, visiting, and doing what you can to promote and support “a more perfect union.”

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 August 2020
Image found at slideplayer.com

What’s going on? | Update and freebies

Onlookers raise their fists following a memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis, Thursday, June 4, 2020. Floyd, an African-American man, died in Minneapolis police custody. (Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

Unless we face reality as a nation, and maintain momentum, we’re in trouble. No matter who the next President is.

Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted people of color, the sad and sorry outcome of our history with Black Americans. Despite this, Mr. Trump and some of his followers seem content with the way things are. He has politicized the killing of George Floyd by, for example, invoking different standards for his militaristic ‘peace-keepers,’ and those seeking change for all of us.

Change won’t be easy. Yet it could be productive if we face reality and maintain momentum. I’m heartened by news reports about state officials outlawing tactics used by officers and others to subdue (kill) Black men and women.

Last Wednesday, in the midst of all this, our electricity went off. D and I were watching a riveting documentary called “I Am Not Your Negro.” It’s about James Baldwin. We finished it today, after the electricity came on. It’s powerful, brutually honest, and puts the burden of proof on us as citizens. Especially on white people like me.

Today I found a site that offers a number of documentaries and movies FREE for this month. They’re about the way we’ve treated Black Americans in this country. “I Am Not Your Negro” is offered to a selected number of cities. However, “Just Mercy” is available for anyone, along with “Selma.” Click here to find out more.

Finally, last Wednesday afternoon, the tri-state area experienced sudden, intense downdrafts and storms that ripped through cities and communities. Our county was hard hit, with huge trees blown over, power lines down, and a number of deaths.

No electricity, no internet access, no telephone, no TV. It’s good to be back!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 June 2020
Photo found at chicagotribune.com

Missing in action

Searching for myself
In this other-worldly place
My mind wanders
Down one path
and up another
Without a map
Or proper clothes
For a fading woman
Whose goal is
To get through today
Intact

Yesterday’s dreams
Sleep fitfully
In another time and space
Missing in action

I haven’t posted for several days, in part because of a few nagging health issues that required attention.

The biggest hurdle, though, has been coming to terms with my present reality. First, as a senior citizen with chronic pre-existing health conditions. And second, as a citizen of the USA, with the reality of Covid-19 as presided over (or not) by Mr. Trump.

The question I asked several weeks ago still nags at me. What will I do if I develop signs of Covid-19? What do I want, and what do I not want?

Last week I looked through old photos of my life with D and our family. I thought about what I want and do not want, should I need to be quarantined. I also consulted with a trusted friend who is going through a similar discernment.

In short, what I wrote in my Living Will eight years ago isn’t going to work for Covid-19. So I’m starting over.

I’ve decided to use Five Wishes as my framework this time. In large part because they offer a framework for talking about this with family members. I don’t want to be intubated, or moved to a hospital. What would that mean? Are we up for this?

In some ways, I’d rather stay lost in my old photos. They bring me laughter and joy. They remind me that I’ve lived a life I never thought I would have, and visited or lived in places I never expected to see. I want to be anchored to that reality instead of trying to figure out how I’ll stay alive for as long as possible.

A life isn’t made up of years. It’s made up of small and large moments. A mosaic, not a graph or timeline. D took the photo above in January 1976, the year I graduated from seminary. One small piece of our mosaic.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 May 2020
Photo taken by DAFraser in southern California, January 1976
 

Of The Empire | Mary Oliver

This morning, in response to my post yesterday, I had an email from a friend. She sent a link to an essay by Susan M. Shaw, I’ll get to hope. For now, I need to sit in the ashes and mourn.  Dr. Shaw doesn’t spare our feelings. Nor does she minimize Mr. Trump’s role. Instead, she focuses on how we’ve colluded to bring ourselves to this point in history. I highly recommend it.

In her essay, Dr, Shaw includes a prose poem by Mary Oliver. It was new to me, and right on target. I found it helpful as a roll call of how we in this nation got from there to here.

Of The Empire

We will be known as a culture that feared death
and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity
for the few and cared little for the penury of the
many. We will be known as a culture that taught
and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke
little if at all about the quality of life for
people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All
the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a
commodity. And they will say that this structure
was held together politically, which it was, and
they will say also that our politics was no more
than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings of
the heart, and that the heart, in those days,
was small, and hard, and full of meanness.

© 2008 by Mary Oliver
From her 2008 collection, Red Bird, p. 46
Published by Beacon Press 2008

I wonder what Mary Oliver would say to us today. Wishing for you some reasonably quiet time today to mourn, and ponder our culpability in this mess.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 April 2020
Image found at onthecommons.org

What’s on my mind these days

Without answers, here’s what I’m wondering about these days when it comes to Mr. Trump.

  • How and why did we come to this sad bargain that turned a self-proclaimed genius loose on us and on the rest of the world?
  • Why do I find myself wishing for his demise sooner, not later?
  • How, if ever, can I forgive the folly of this self-proclaimed genius who ignores expert advice, and leads his followers down paths of destruction?
  • As a follower of Jesus, how am I to pray for or against this leader motivated by greed, contempt and self-righteousness?
  • And what does it mean to follow Jesus when many who claim to follow Jesus think this means following Mr. Trump, or at least overlooking his lies and greed?

Everything isn’t about POTUS. It’s also, in a different way, about us. However, my blood runs cold when ‘common people’ are forgotten pawns in a deadly game of Chess held together by a made-up patchwork of throw-away lies, neglect, and innuendo.

Covid-19 didn’t change things. It made them impossible to ignore.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 April 2020
Image found at pinterest.com

Empty words

How quickly things fall apart
Cloaked in bravado and mis-speak –
Brash promises shatter beneath the weight
Of human ineptitude and fierce
Reality on the ground

And yet

Each day the drone goes on
For hours weighty with words
Full of fury plus silence about
What really matters most in this
Nation dying for straight answers

Yet again

Another wandering bombardment
Of jumbled prevarications interrupts
Painting the most upbeat scenarios
We can’t possibly believe —
Empty words drunk on themselves

No, I don’t listen to or watch the “daily briefings” from the White House anymore. They sound more like run-on election-rally speeches (without the hoopla of the crowds), than steady, well-informed updates on COVID-19 and what we can or must do to protect ourselves and others.

The poem is an effort to capture what I’ve seen and heard for myself. Living 76 years has its rewards. One is a long memory of times when our Presidents (of both parties) stepped up to the microphone and helped us join hands as a nation during times of disaster.

No, none of our Presidents has been perfect. Some have been corrupt. Yet on the whole, none in my memory has been as egregiously uncaring about the majority population of this nation as Mr. Trump. His behavior right now is not helpful, not healing, and not encouraging for the short or long-term future.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 April 2020
Photo of White House Press Briefing Podium found at politico.com

Maybe it’s only in me

Maybe it’s only in me
This welling up inside
Like a relentless canker
Reminding me daily
That I‘m not in charge

Bump it and it screams
Look at it and it glares back
Boredom or contempt
written on its face
caught in Trance-mode

plus interruptions to
make its point over and
over all evidence to the
contrary we should try
this suspect remedy or that

or maybe it would be better
to downgrade the pandemic
and reopen for business
a most humane approach
to business as usual

Yes, I can turn off the newsfeed, and often do. Not because I want to live in the dark, but because the alternative ramps up my sense of dis-ease.

We’re in a crisis greater than the coronavirus. A crisis of leadership at the very top. I fear this more than the health crisis for which there seems to be a difficult and effective way of at least slowing it down.

We need time. We need patience and good neighbors. This world and our nation will not be the same when we wake up from this global nightmare.

Together, we can make it. Divided, we’ll inflict more damage than necessary. It’s time to give our health experts the stage. And yes, Mr. Trump, sometimes the cure can seem worse than the disease.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 March 2020
Image found at greeleyschools.org

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