deza: (Secret master librarians)
[personal profile] deza
There are times I feel like my life is not my own any more.

January 19 2017, I started compiling a list. Creative type that I am, I named it The List. The List is a publicly available catalog of curated news reports and government documents. Those who study authoritarian regimes suggest keeping a list of abnormal events after a demagogue is elected, as a way to remind yourself that this is NOT normal and to keep from being overwhelmed into acceptance by the onslaught of attacks on our rights.

Lately, I've been averaging adding 25 articles a day, every day. After the first month of the current Presidency, The List will hit 800 items before this entry is due.

I am terrified by the choices being made in the halls of the United States government. I've worked in those buildings. I know some of the people named, and many more of the statistical losses summed up in statements like "Most of the seventh-floor workers at the State Department were told their services were no longer needed." These are not anonymous people to me.

I'm not a political pundit. I'm a librarian. Curating The List is one of the few concrete things I can do to help fight back against the dysfunction that partisan politics made possible.

The more I do this, though, the more I feel like I'm losing myself. My husband has commented that all I ever talk about is the latest political outrages. We used to talk about everything under the sun -- now my world has narrowed down to The List. Most of the entries on my FaceBook wall aren't silly love poems and pictures of my dogs any more; they're news reports for me to add to The List or news from sketchy sources that need verification before I add them.

I could give up on The List. The world will not end if one lone librarian fails in a self-appointed task. I am not creating anything of substance. All I'm doing is making it easier to track the deviations from what used to be the norm of the political process. I could walk away and get my life back.

But what if...? What if this political stewpot really does spark World War III? Take your pick of governments that have legitimate reasons to engage us in warfare. Our President and his people have threatened to invade Mexico, put legislation in place supporting a Provisional War with Iran, threatened to attack China over an East China Sea sandbar, instituted the Muslim Travel Ban, and threatened to leave NATO if other countries don't start paying us protection money. And that's not even touching on the disasters brewing at home that could easily result in a new Civil War, like the continuing stripping of the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux who are in the way of a very profitable pipeline development, the threats against the State of California because of a protest against an alt-Right speaker on the UC Berkeley campus, the growing political unrest over the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, the denigration of science in general and the systematic repeal of environmental protection laws. And that's if we survive the changes to our planet brought on by political denial of an inconvenient climate change and continued support of fossil fuel reliance instead of alternative energy.

What if The List is one way future historians can track why this country fell?

Can I walk away from that? Having given myself this responsibility, can I just set it down and still live with myself for making this choice? Can I live with the person that keeping The List is making me become, so obsessed with the political situation there's precious little of me left any more?

I don't know. I don't know if I should save myself and not say anything while I watch the world go to hell in a handbasket held by Trump, Bannon and company. I don't know if I should continue doing my little part towards preventing the overwhelming change from becoming normalized and accepted. There are no easy answers.

This was my post for LJI. The topic was the trolley problem, the ethical question as to whether the needs of the many truly outweigh the needs of the few (Spock voice "or the one" /Spock voice). Sorry to have it be political, but this really has been eating my life for the last month.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-22 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] j0ydivided.livejournal.com
I've been keeping a list, too. It's one of the few useful things I can do.

Keep doing what you can. Stop if it becomes overwhelming, but try to push back, as much as you can.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. Keep on keeping on, right?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-22 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com
I think what you are doing is a good public service. I am sorry to know that it's affecting your personal life.Try to take a break and then get back to your list. (Though looking at the statistics you have stated, I wonder if it's possible to take a break.) *Hugs* Best wishes.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. I tend to not open The List at all on weekends (which means the Monday morning update is YUGE).

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-22 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-name-is-jenn.livejournal.com
I thought about making a list, but just the thought of it became so overwhelming when day after day, I saw dozens of stories/articles I'd want to add to it.

Maybe you can compromise, if that's a possibility. Instead of finding dozens of articles per day, add five or six to The List.

I hate to say stop altogether, because I feel like we need as many people in this fight as we can get. But you won't be able to fight if you kill yourself in the fight. Do what you can do, but don't burn yourself out.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
I wish I could narrow it down to only a few articles a day! Hard to do when there is just so much out there that needs to be tracked.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-23 07:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
I'm sorry this is eating into your personal life so much, though I understand why you feel it's important and must not be forgotten.

If nothing else, it's the fear that over time we may normalize this behavior, unable to see it for how awful it is and unknowingly opening the door to more of it. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Exactly. There's plenty of outrage now when something like the Muslim Travel Ban comes out. But how long can we sustain that outrage? Will we get as worked up over yesterday's reports of Border Patrool boarding a domestic flight and IDing all the passengers before letting them off the plane?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-25 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
They're counting on us not being able to sustain it. This is why they are working so hard to keep the shocks coming fast and hard. It wear out the opposition voices and normalizes they're betrayals to the country and the people.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-23 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
A great poet once said, and I paraphrase....sometimes what is needed is a good, long walk around the pond.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
That's what Pokemon Go is for. ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mamas-minion.livejournal.com
My wife has been making a list of the issues with the current regime. I no longer want to hear the litany of outrages. I had said when he won that this was the end of the U.s. and I still believe that be true, but I you should take a break wallowing in this stuff is only going to lead you to a bad place.
Edited Date: 2017-02-24 03:04 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Where do you draw the line between maintaining awareness and "wallowing"?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mamas-minion.livejournal.com
with the things that are happening I am not sure, there seems to be no end to the stupidity and then there are the systematic removal of rights. maybe awareness must be maintained at all times with these idiots.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
What a dilemma! As noble as your desire is, if it is affecting the rest of your life, the quality of your life, isn't that counter productive?

This is a hard one.

Hugs

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
It's the nature of philosophical questions to be hard. What would the point be in examining your life if all the answers were easy ones?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
Oh no! Too hard a question for me on a Friday! (Wink)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dee-aar2.livejournal.com
Aaaww ... you are really doing some good work there ... but when you have identified that it is chewing at your personal life ... you might want to stamp the brakes and realign the tracks. You don't want to bring the exercise to a complete stop because of the frustration build up.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
I do take the weekends off. Monday morning updates are YUGE.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garnigal.livejournal.com
The List is an amazing and much needed tool in this changed world.

But you and your happiness is also important and much needed. Balance is hard, but do something for yourself, and for your family too.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. I'll be stepping AFK in a few hours for the weekend.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
Your List, and others like it, provide a public service, especially given the short collective memory of the American electorate.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-24 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alycewilson.livejournal.com
That's an amazing thing that you're doing! It might help you to know you're not alone. Representative Michael Capuano (D), Massachusetts, is doing the same thing: http://capuano.house.gov/news/curtain.shtml

You can sign up for his e-mail list to get a weekly update.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-25 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
I am terrified too. Especially with Bannon stating the press is an enemy of the state. Trumps saying the removal of undocumented immigrants is a military exercise, and other things the new administration is doing. You are not alone in your obsession. I always advocated for water and the environment and my heart is breaking daily.

I think it is noble of you to glean and verify articles for your list. I for one appreciate it. Hugs and peace~~~

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-26 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devilz-workshop.livejournal.com
The importance of the list if truly more important than your happiness means you are a soldier. Stay strong but do give yourself a break. Happiness is important as well.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-26 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morettaallstar.livejournal.com
It's a scary place to be in right now. But you're doing a Good Thing. Thank you for sharing.
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