by Meredith Hinshaw-Chaney
As we have all learned at some point or another, inaction is the outcome of a world without constraint. It’s one thing to know it intellectually and quite another to experience it personally.
In establishing a blog that encompasses everything, have I created something that contains nothing? I must begin the process of elimination, of creating beauty in scarcity. I have to whittle down the blade of this blog. I must write with an Exact-o.
The essential question is: to write about Trump or not write about Trump? Is it even possible to write about the world outside his influence? Would it be immoral to try?
We are all standing inside the Trump panopticon, and it’s frankly not so much a panopticon as a house of mirrors. We cannot escape the all-seeing eye that bathes us in the harsh light of Trump’s id; it reflects and refracts in such a way that we cannot fully identify its origin or its intent.
So what do we do in a world obsessed with mirrors, where meaning only seems to come from speaking to one’s own reflection? It only makes sense to join the resistance and speak out against all the batshit crazy stuff we are bombarded with.
Let’s be honest: if we don’t call it out, every minute of every day, we run the risk of normalizing unacceptable behavior (like calling unbiased news organizations harbingers of ‘fake news.’). We have to stand in place, fix ourselves before the mirror, hammer in hand, ready to strike.
On the other hand, if we simply shout and stomp our feet, we turn the house of mirrors into an echo chamber.
(I think about this in terms of the Women’s March. What a powerful moment in history! So… was it just that? A moment, frozen in time, like a scene caught inside a snow globe? I don’t want to sound cynical, but at the end of the day, what good came of the Women’s March, other than making each protester feel good about herself?)
We all seem to be trapped within this constructed reality of our own making. So what do we do? Are we really ready to quit cold turkey our algorithmically-generated reality, delivered via Facebook “news” feed?
I was initially inspired by the reports of rowdy town hall meetings until I realized that little will come of them. This is the result of the alt-reality we have created. Politicians, staring at a room full of impassioned and dissenting voices, dismiss them as “fake constituents.” The actual human beings physically present before them are being denied reality.
It’s the house of mirrors writ larger than life, with the politician seeing only himself in the reflection and ignoring all others as artifice.
Our reigning truth is now defined as opinion occluding fact. Call it the tyranny of the toddler brain.
So what are we supposed to do, really, when the court jester is king and the truth bearers are barred from the kingdom, as Trump did this week in excluding the Washington Post and New York Times from attending a press conference (which is nothing more than a mouthpiece for baloney anyway)?
If it gets worse, as it undoubtedly will, those leaking information will increase in number and the American samizdat will be born. And maybe that’s not such a terrible thing.