Guest post: we should not get out-imagined again
This is an anonymous guest post.
I am a member of Cathy’s Occupy group, and like a lot of people, had a really bad week. By Sunday I thought I was feeling better. It seemed some of the sadness and shock had passed, and I was developing a resolve about how to move forward.
Then I had a really weird experience Sunday night. I came into the City to attend a black-tie event at the Waldorf in support of an organization I really like, even if it raises a lot of its money from the .001%.
As a labor lawyer and Occupier, it is not my crowd. But I usually find the event amusing. They serve sushi for cocktails and pour Makers Mark into wine glasses, like it is wine.
I walked in and immediately felt strange, actually felt really sick. It was like being in an historical re-enactment, precisely because everything was the same. I went for the Makers Mark early. It only made the disembodied feeling worse. Nothing, nothing, had changed from years past. The beautiful young women in the exquisite dresses were the same. The conversation among the supremely confident looking men seemed the same.
I was not the same.
I got another drink and went to my table. Then, like everyone else, I rose for the National Anthem.
I started feeling super weird though, because everyone else was carrying on so completely normally. I thought of kneeling like Collin Kaepernick, but figured my wife would kill me. Then came “My Country Tisethy” and the room just started swirling.
I sat down and took a breath. They started introducing the first honoree: Hank Greenberg. Yes, the guy in charge of AIG until shortly before it blew up the world economy. The guy who sued the government alleging that the $182 billion bailout his company got was on inadequately advantageous terms. In other words, one of the guys most responsible for elite behaviors that led to this most awful eruption of fear, resentment and hate, that led to last Tuesday.
And all I heard was the introduction of him as a “Great American”.
I walked briskly out of the room, then ran fast through the hotel halls and down Park Ave to my car. Where I sat, for I don’t know how long, and just cried. Cried like a fucking baby. Cried for having to look out my car window at what seemed now like an unfamiliar place, cried for the kid in the Bronx who doesn’t know yet about the threat people think he poses to “law and order,” cried for the family in some far off country that doesn’t know about the charade war coming their way to assuage an angry people losing its collective mind over broken empty promises, cried for all the people who, after I’m gone, will live on a chaotic planet my purposefully ignorant country cooked. Damn, I cried hard.
Then I stopped. And I felt a lot better.
It feels so weird to share this publicly, because it is really embarrassing. I really did all that. But I figured out what it was and wanted to say it out loud. It is moral injury. It is real. It hurts. It can make you cry. Don’t try to pretend otherwise. But also take solace that the only way to treat it is to do good anyway.
There are going to be a lot of opportunities. But we should not get out-imagined again, as I surely was. We should shoot really high this time, be really creative about the good we can do.
For example, if you think our national government will remain awful for a long time, you are probably right. So think locally and globally. What stops us from creating real “sanctuary cities, ” ones that are sanctuaries in such a wider sense, to all of the people he has declared hated or who otherwise just reject him? And why cant we make contact, seek advice, and give aid to the 99.9% of the world that is far more affected by this than us, and got no vote? Again, they are the ones who will otherwise get bombed when he starts dumb wars to distract from his mindless policies; and get drowned and fried when he turns up the temperature on the already sizzling planet.
And remember, 2017 is an election year in New York City. Yes, there is another election coming up which it would feel really good to WIN. Let’s demand better. The Left has never said “think nationally” … no, it is has always been Local and Global.
Feel the pain; it is real; cry; and then gather a stronger opposing force to treat it by occupying the spaces that remain up for the taking.