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.
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