The first thing you see when you walk inside our house is the book collection. Last time it was tallied up for insurance purposes, roughly three thousand paperbacks and five hundred hardcover books graced the shelves surrounding the living and sitting rooms downstairs. They mostly belong to Soulmate; I tend to keep my far smaller collection upstairs by my bedside…mainly because I’m lazy.
We met in college and very clandestinely shared a room in the women’s dorm near the campus library. The library was our public hangout. Our college was just getting computers when we began…and phone service to the dorm rooms when we left. There was no Internet back then and very few of my gang really watched television. When not studying or going to Mass, we mostly read a lot. It was a different world then. Frankly, Soulmate and I never truly left it.
May I confess something embarrassing? I only learned how to use the Internet just a few months before my surgery last year. The skill set was long overdue, and my recovery period would call for a distraction beside the dusty tomes of nonfiction I regularly consume. I still struggle with social media, but daughter-unit did take the time to show me the wonders of Netflix and YouTube (I caught up with Alphaville and Modern Talking vids at long last).
For these reasons, and a few more, it is far easier for Gen X’ers like us to turn the overheated social media chatter off. Our daughter tends to keep us up to speed with the latest trends when not busy crafting with her sewing machine. We grew up without the distractions (save for MTV…priorities people!) but we sometimes do miss out because we are not tuned in 24/7. I do envy the choices that Millennials and younger have open to them through the technology, but I also know from experience that stillness and quiet often leads to a good bit of clarity.
We got some clarity this week. As I write… a new Deep Throat-type figure has emerged onto American history, and just a few days later, more figures whispering from the shadows are claiming that they are not responsible for what the current occupant of the White House has been doing, but by golly they have been saving all of us from what he really wanted to do!
Now put your phones down and think for a second. What does this truly mean?
My takes only here:
The subordinates have gotten a good look at the internal polls for November and are starting to save themselves.
A prosecutor, elected official, or senior legislators may demand a resignation from someone in return for putting out a dumpster fire, and the subordinates are starting to save themselves.
Someone is about to do something big like firing a prosecutor, unleashing a firestorm on par with or bigger than Watergate, AND THE SUBORDINATES ARE STARTING TO SAVE THEMSELVES!
Titanic, meet Iceberg. It’s just a matter of time now and there is already a queue for the lifeboats. When you see the rats fleeing the ship, it’s most likely a goner. This is going to end, and probably far sooner than any of us truly expect.
Now this does not mean that we do not have problems on our front burner. The latest news for us to worry about as of this writing is another legal effort to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the workplace (Bring it! Even the most conservative Supreme Court Justice in modern American history will not want their name linked to a labor law decision that would potentially rival Dred Scott for its infamy.)
The potential appointment of another arch-conservative to the high court is a far bigger threat in the long-term, but there are only so many things we can do about that one. We now know that elections do matter, and the best response will be the show up and vote for those who have our backs every single time. The damage has been done, and it will take a good twenty years or so to fully clean up the mess, but we have done this before and we will do it again.
This community has survived legalized bigotry and AIDS. We will survive our generation’s brush with fascism in the same manner: by openly living our truth and encouraging the next generation of LGBTQ+ people to go us one better.
But friends, I feel it is safe to say that the change in the weather may perhaps augur a change in direction. As we run up towards November, you are going to see and hear a lot of noise over your social media accounts. Turn it off for a few, step outside for a walk over the newly fallen leaves and take in a big breath of that crisp fall air mixed with the smoke that only comes from Tennessee hickory wood.
Change is coming. Very soon…
Julie Chase is the pen name for a local 50-something trans woman.