In Case We Lose


I am a peon. It’s interesting to look at the English Oxford Living Dictionary for the definition of this word:

  • A Spanish-American day laborer or unskilled farm worker.

    1. North American A person who does menial work; a drudge.
      ‘racing drivers aren’t exactly normal nine-to-five peons’
    2. historical A debtor held in servitude by a creditor, especially in the southern US and Mexico.
  • B (in South and Southeast Asia) a low-ranking soldier or worker.

    1.  An attendant or messenger.

It’s hard to be honest about my situation, because my male white privilege has shielded me from the blunt truth: despite my academic skills, acquired through decades of study and sacrifice, despite my somewhat sedentary 33 year career as a professor, despite the fact that, in retirement, I carry no debt, despite the fact that I, a sometime gay activist,  have always kept more than one foot in the straight world, despite all these things, I am a peon. I work for the man. The man lets me live.

And now, on the eve of this historic election, where all these things that I believe about democracy are literally on the line, I realize that I am essentially powerless to stop an avalanch of scheming, trickery, outright illegal activity, and treasonous behavior that threatens to and may possibly overwhelm our constitutional democracy. And this onslaught of criminal thievery has been going on essentially in public for decades. So also, add ‘naïve’ and ‘ignorant’ to the appropriate epitaphs for me.

So what will happen to me if the predicted “blue wave” turns out to just be a lap or two on the shores of crass greed and materialism, white nationalism, and mysogyny?

Well, we know what I will see happening. The hateful and gleeful destruction of anything ‘liberal.’ And as Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump and others have chosen to define ‘liberal,’ this means that hate and disdain will be heaped by the ruling party of the USA on South and Central Americans, Jews, even a hint of feminism, any expression of alternative gender or sexuality, and there will be collusion with international villians Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea. And not to mention that in addition, our president will accuse the Democrats of doing everything that he is plainly doing. And not to mention the continued willful advancing of global warming and environmental degradation. It’s as if all the values that all those brave soldiers in World War II fought and died for are being just thrown into the gutter and pissed on.  I’m eighty years old, and I may never see the daylight of another Obama administration.

I will not change. I will die espousing the values of inclusion, cooperation, compassion, and hospitality. I know this about myself. Not even if you lock me in a cell and spit on my body. And other than physically protecting myself, I will not resort to advocating violence in my action, writing and speaking.

Ok, but what will happen if the blue wave is more than a lap or two. What if the blue wave gives us traction to surf a little? What if pockets of liberal value are strengthened?

I don’t know what will happen, exactly, but I know what it should mean for anyone who professes liberal values. Now I don’t believe in telling anyone how they should react to either a hopeful election result or a further deterioration into greed and insularity. Feel your feelings and do what you must. But for me, I am through with spending a lot of time being either depressed, terrified or furious. I am practicing determination. I am practicing modeling those values I hold dear, those values of inclusion, cooperation, compassion, and hospitality. I’ll admit that I truly struggle with not casting hateful thoughts towards our president and senate majority leader, just because they have so heartlessly abandoned any pretense that they are not simply about winning at all cost. But it’s in a way not a personal hatred, it’s just that I cry before the wounding rape and possible death of democracy.

Ok, I know the system was bad, even under a Democratic administration. But honey, it wasn’t THIS bad! If you think otherwise, you need a brain transplant.

So, final point. I am sobered. We all should be sobered, and I think many of us are. No matter what happens, there are decades of heart-wrenching sacrifice in the service of a better government and country ahead of us. To the children and grandchildren of my generation, who will have to rebuild a new world, no thanks to us, I say from the bottom of my heart, I am shamefully, dreadfully sorry that we failed you so badly. I won’t be around much longer, so I can’t even do much to rectify the situation. And on top of that, I am a peon, always have been, despite my credentials.

May the peons of the next generation throw off the mask of ignorance and rise to the responsibility of creating a better world for all of us.

Meanwhile, I will not live in trepidation, rage or sadness, I will continue to live my values.

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Author: Jim Andris

Retired gay married early adopter. Cooking, cleaning, fixing. Makes good music occasionally; U name it. Churchy dude. Likes to think about things, too much, sometimes. Dump Trump. Trying not to do too much harm. Revisiting blogging. Looking for a new handle on things. Exploring genderqueer.

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