No More

             I have decided that I will no longer watch cable news. None of it.

Ever since Donald Trump has been the center of the American political landscape, his antics, name-calling, insulting, lying and disregard for the feelings, rights, and needs of broad swaths of Americans has dominated the cable news operations.

Instead of giving us real news, cable news programs – on both the left and the right – have inundated us with talk-show segments, talking about the same event in every segment. We have not gotten real news, but rather the opinions of others.

It has been maddening and spiritually and emotionally exhaustive.

The opinions proffered by cable news guests have only served to make people angrier, more cemented in their views, and more intolerant and increasingly violent. The programs have left many, including me, weary and drained.

Emotional opinionating is not helpful. It does not help us to be able to sort out fact from fiction. It makes us angry and as a result, people who flail instead of fight. The administration has done a magnificent job of gaslighting us all, helping us to remain in winless conversations and also to remain ignorant of all else that is happening in this administration.

Hearing people argue is not helpful. As we draw near to the midterm elections, we need to know what is really going on, including the issues driving policy decisions which will affect us long after the current president is gone.

When any individual bullies and lies, as does the head of this administration, the human response is to fight back in kind. But that kind of fighting is ineffective. This administration is masterful at manipulating emotions of people through its vitriol. It is masterful at saying just enough to make the cable news operations report what is being said over and over again, thereby keeping attention from the important changes that are being made.

This administration – including its Congress and now its courts – are leading this nation toward autocratic rule. Those who are presidential sycophants are more interested in showing loyalty to the president rather than doing what they swore to do – to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. They are working to undo all of the gains that hard-working people concerned with justice for all have achieved. And all we can do is listen to people argue about the president’s bullying et al on cable news.

Enough.

Ella Baker, the Civil Rights leader responsible for the formation and growth of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) said: “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” We cannot. And neither will we have the strength to fight against bigotry, hatred, economic amorality, Xenophobia, racism, sexism, capitalism, militarism, and so much more if our spirits are weighed down by our immersion in someone else’s drama, being shaped to do just that – demoralize us.

I refuse to allow this spate of time in American history to steal my spirit, not one more day.

There are things that have happened that we will have to fight against, and others that we will have to make the best of. To do that, we need to be spiritually and emotionally strong. Cable news is like a virus that saps the very strength we need.

For me, not another day will I allow myself to walk around in anger. We need strength for this journey, and I choose to nurture my strength, even as I neutralize my weaknesses caused by anger.

I will not allow this administration or its cable news partners to steal my resolve, my energy, my strength and my belief in fairness, justice and the need to fight for both not another day.

A candid observation…

Good Ol’ Boys Clubs, Challenged

Herman Cain reacted angrily yesterday to the candid disclosure of an encounter he allegedly had with one Sharon Bialek some years ago.

Flanked by her attorney, Gloria Allred, Bialek shared the details of an encounter with a powerful man that to many women, probably sounded quite familiar.

If you missed it, she said she had heard Herman Cain speak at an event; she and he sat next to each other during the dinner portion of that event, and she was impressed with his presence and message. When she lost her job at the National Restaurant Association a short time later, her then-boyfriend suggested she meet with Mr. Cain, who was the president of the NRA at that time.

She said she called Mr. Cain and asked if they could meet, and when he said yes, her boyfriend made a reservation for her at a Washington hotel, the location of the NRA. When she got to the hotel, she found that her room was an extravagant suite, not a “normal” room at all. She said she thought her boyfriend had gotten the room to surprise her. Later that evening, she went to dinner with Mr. Cain, and explained her need for a job and how she wondered if he could help her.

It was after dinner that Ms. Bialek alleges that Mr. Cain put his hand on her leg and moved it toward her genitals, and took her hand and moved it toward his crotch.  Some time in the course of the evening, Mr. Cain had told her it was he who had upgraded her room (he asked her how she liked it). Ms. Bialek said she was surprised that he had done that, but even more surprised when he allegedly touched her in the car.

He stopped immediately, she says, when she protested, but the incident bothered her. Somewhere in the midst of all this, in the midst of her surprise, she asked him why he would do such a thing, and she says he said, “You want a job, don’t you?” She told her boyfriend about it, and one other person, but did not press charges of sexual harassment. Part of the reason was that she was embarrassed, part of the reason is that she wanted to protect her relationship with her boyfriend, and part of the reason was that she was unemployed at the time. The law is concerned with sexual harassment in the workplace.

Herman Cain has come out swinging, after a week of saying he will not discuss the “false allegations” that are being made about him, but as I listened to Ms. Bialek, I thought two things: 1) she has got to be telling the truth because she knows she will be attacked from every direction, and 2) what she described is so much a common story of women in the workplace.

The “good ol’ boys” have gotten away with a lot over the years, and few people have challenged them.  More than once, I have had women tell me of similar encounters they have had with men on their jobs, and they have said nothing because they’ve been threatened. “Tell someone and I’ll get you fired,” I had a couple of women share with me.

Some of the women who have faced this have been high-powered women, on the rise, wanting their ascent not to stop, and others have been in far less glamorous situations.  In addition to wanting to save their jobs, the women have been afraid to have their whole sexual history smeared all over the public arena.

Because of their fear, many women have kept their mouths shut, much like many rape victims have done. I have talked with women who have been sexually abused by family members, but stayed quiet because they were threatened, as well as women who have been sexually harassed in their places of work.

Too few women have stepped forward, and so the good ol’ boys clubs have gone on virtually untouched.

Interestingly, the sex scandal at Penn State is blowing up at the same time the Herman Cain situation is getting bigger and bigger. There again, it at least appears that the “boys” of the good ol’ boys clubs have taken care of each other. Why in the world would none of those high ranking college officials go to the police so that the alleged sexual abuse of young boys could have been stopped?

It’s the same mentality. Good ol’ boys sticking together. We saw it in the scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church; the priests protected each other. We’ve seen it in the workplace, in churches, everywhere.

Sharon Bialek is a brave one for coming forward. She urged other women to do the same. The only way the tight grip the good ol’ boys have on so much of society, in so many ways, can be broken up is for it to be challenged and exposed.  The good ol’ boys have kept a tight rein on what goes on and what is prohibited in this society and indeed, in the world. They have made it difficult for women, for minorities, for anyone, really, to move as easily in this society as do they. So many in our society are afraid to challenge them, but challenge them we must.

Hopefully, Bialek’s experiences will be able to pass the truth test, and hopefully, Bialek herself will be able to handle the onslaught of criticism and disparaging remarks that are sure to come her way. Rush Limbaugh has already started, and there will be more. Ms. Bialek pleaded with Mr. Cain to be honest with what he has done, and “then move on.” She came not as a disgruntled Liberal, but as a proud Republican.

This isn’t about politics for her. It’s about the character of a man who would be president.

How much better it would have been if Mr. Cain had, from the outset, owned up to the fact that he had been accused of sexual harassment, and that he was sorry for any pain he might have caused. That would have been honorable. Everyone makes mistakes, yes?

But to react as he has, and come out fighting as he is, makes me wonder if he has too much pride to own up to his mistakes.

The good ol’ boys clubs have run roughshod over so many people for so many years. It’s high time that they are challenged with a fury and intensity the likes of which we have not seen before.

That is a candid observation.