This is about betrayal of trust and vulnerability today. I am beginning (on day two) to sense a theme in these posts on personal truths...
I am unabashedly liberal.
OK, not that THAT particular nugget of information is going to shock or surprise anyone, but today, election day, it matters. I am frustrated with the party that claims to represent me. Every time the Democrats get control, they work very hard to do the right thing, to reach across the aisle, to build bridges, and the Republicans burn those bridges down. So, fearful of getting punished at the ballot box, the left inches to the right in the mid-term elections and progressive causes (and largely Democratic candidates) lose big.
What ever happened to real liberal, progressive candidates, people who are apologetically progressive, people who are unashamed to say things like "health care is a right, not a luxury to be enjoyed only by the wealthy. Single payer is the way to go."
Where are the people who say "we can build schools now or prisons later, let's choose schools. Let's support the people who are going to teach our children how to read and learn."
Where are the people who will say "you know, it is the job of the government to serve and protect its most vulnerable citizens - children, elderly, people with disabilities. Telling a family that services for their autistic kid are being cut is neither humane nor responsible government."
Telling people with developmental disabilities to buck up and get off welfare is not going to work without education, training and skills classes. You know what? Not everyone is able to provide for themselves and their families. People have mental illness, people have physical illnesses, people sometimes just lack the capability to handle their own affairs and they need help. Putting them on a bus out of state is not the answer. In fact, it is cruel and evil, like putting grandma out in a storm to die of starvation because the family's tired of caring for her.
I am not supporting a welfare state for all who want to just sit with their feet up watching game shows all day, but recognition that not everyone is able to care for him/her self.
Paula Poundstone has a great routine about her mother telling her how she learned to swim as a child. "We didn't have swim lessons at the Y, my parents took me out in a boat in the middle of a lake and threw me into the water. I learned to swim."
To which Paula responded, "they weren't trying to teach you to swim, Mom."
Oh jeez. Yeah.
Not everybody, when tossed into the deep end of life, is going to be able to swim, even enough to get back to the boat. Who's job is it to watch out for those folks? Family? Perhaps, if they are skilled enough to understand what the problem is. Sometimes Families go on like this for generations. Neighbors? Maybe. But there are limits to how much interference anyone will take from their neighbor. The churches? Again, perhaps. It seems to me that education is the job of the state, even education about basic things like life skills - how to shop for groceries, how to pay the bills, how to feed your kids healthy meals.
I don't know. I guess this morning I am just frustrated. It is election day. My candidate for governor is getting beaten about the head and shoulders by conservative whackjobs and those who identify themselves as "moderate progressives." Moderate progressives right now feel to me like guilty conservatives, enlightened bigots, perhaps the most dangerous group to actual progressives. Because they want to support progressive ideals, but they don't want to pay the price to do it. They've got a little bit of wealth, and they don't want to share it with the poor. They are the generation that was raised by solid blue-collar, union members of the progressive left who grew up, went to college, maybe even business school, went out and got a job in an office and started to vote to cut the kind of aid that made it possible for them to be where they are: Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, government funded student financial aid, affordable state universities.
I guess what this all boils down to is a feeling of betrayal. I suppose it should not surprise me, considering what I am learning in therapy about my earliest lessons in trust, that THIS is the issue that is foremost in my mind. It is about betrayal. I thought you were on my side. I thought I could depend on you. I thought you'd keep me safe. I thought you would do what you promised to do. I trusted you. And you betrayed me.
And I know that the political operatives who are doing their thing today trying to get elected, or trying to get their candidate elected/ballot issue passed are not behaving in a way specifically designed to let me down and betray my trust, but every time someone changes a position to get more voters, or says one thing and does another, it adds another block to the wall of my distrust. It works to keep me feeling hurt and betrayed.
I cannot rely on outside forces to supply me with security and self-worth. I get that. But really, I do wish people would not be such assholes sometimes. This begs the question then: is it reasonable to get mad when I feel betrayed? I suppose. But on the other hand, am I putting unreasonable expectations on people to do what they say and be reliable? Am I holding them to a standard of perfection that I could not meet? I don't expect a breakfast cereal to make me tall and thin and blonde and a tennis star, but I would like people to do what they promise to do.
I guess it all comes back to my own damaged perception of trust and security. I suppose if I had learned trust and security as an infant, I would be better able to handle thin spots in it as an adult. But I never did. So now I am trying to learn that. And it's very hard work. Stay tuned.