Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

False Expectations Appearing Real

Warning: if you see fear as a good thing, you probably will not like what comes next. Return on Saturday, and I'll be back to more 'normal' posts... i think.

 Petroglyphs from Lava Beds NM where long ago humans tried to leave a message for those who would come after.

Because of what I've been reading in Facebook, blogs, and articles, I felt I needed to cover one more outcome from this election-- fear. Fear is anticipating what has not yet happened. It is often encouraged by spin doctors who benefit from having people living in fear as they are more easily manipulated. Someone experiencing terror finds it hard to use clear thinking.

I am not saying that fear is never valid but when it is, it should be a physical and real danger. When there is a very real physical risk, like say a tornado approaching your town, fear can serve a positive purpose by increasing your adrenaline to get your body in action. It can cause you to move to your basement or a shelter. Fear though that you might be hit by a tornado when none are around can prove debilitating. What does adrenaline do when the risk is not one you can address physically?

Fear has been stirred up by the recent election. Despite what some believe now, that fear went both ways with those who believed a Clinton Presidency would be the end of our nation, take away all freedom, bring the government to collapse, increase our debt to an impossible level, destroy our culture, over-regulate, use power to go after enemies, and start new wars. Trust me, many feared all that and more. Well, she's not the one now to fear.

What could President Donald Trump actually do to this country? There are many fears regarding that. I'd like to start with the big one for many progressives-- that he will quicken global warming and destroy the earth through rising oceans, increasing big storms that decimate natural vegetation leading to droughts, leading to massive migrations of humans and animals. In his four year term, he can hasten global destruction. 

The irony here is many of those, who fear global destruction and too much CO2, fly around the world, think nothing of taking a cruise (boy do they pollute), and drive many miles at a whim.  

Progressives want the government though to at least say it can do something about what might be a natural periodic event on this planet. Trump denies climate change exists hence making him a leader for them to fear. 

Much of the science of global climate change is based on observations of fossil discoveries along with projections. It depends on making certain assumptions because if it's happening, by the time it is measurable, it would be too late. For those who don't trust the conclusions, who believe it's all about bringing on Communism or destroying businesses, they see it as a hoax, and Trump has been in that corner.

Personally, one of the reasons I voted for Clinton was environment (think pipelines and mining), but I am not convinced we have as much influence on the earth's warming as we might wish. Some say a long period of low sun flare activity (which we are in) may do a lot to cool us.  Currently, where I live we have yet to have a freeze, which is unusual but then the measured temperatures for any region isn't all that long, and this might be par for the course in a long range cycle.

What I think environmentally important is protecting wilderness areas, air quality, and water quality. However, let's be honest-- in the years of the Obama Presidency, Flint happened, Standing Rock happened, fracking happened, and nothing very real about climate change. Gasoline prices dropped to unbelievable levels encouraging people to drive more. Obama had the majority in Congress his first two years, and he did nothing beyond talk. He has not supported the Native Americans trying to protect their water supply as that pipeline is ongoing as I write this. 

It's hard to say what Hillary might've done. Maybe a carbon tax to encourage some to fly and drive less, but big money is what gets most politicians elected. In the end, they cater to it. Such a tax would bring in revenue, but likely, given the current low price of fuel, won't do much to discourage travel unless it was so large that it destroyed the economy. Some of the regulations intended to lessen pollution end up with other side-effects that are undesirable. There are things that can be done but getting rid of all fossil fuel is not happening no matter how many extreme left leaning sites claim it will. And whether we end up with a catastrophic change may involve more than what the US does. So should we fear it? Is it something real that endangers us, that we can do something about-- especially with so many proposals years in the future.

Another Trump fear that I am seeing expressed is that minorities are being violently attacked after the election, and it will get worse. This is working on the assumption that the racial divide began with Trump running for office. The only ones believing that read only left wing newspapers. It's been ongoing-- as has been the violence in too many communities. How much of the fear about Trump regarding this is stirred up and how much is a very real danger to anybody? 

The Black Lives Matter movement has stirred up fear among the minorities that the police are hunting them down. Now this is not to say we don't have bigoted cops, but seriously, does anyone really believe blacks are being hunted down by the police? Maybe Hillary did when she said in the debate to a question:
Lester Holt: Do you believe police are implicitly biased against black people.
Hillary Clinton: Lester I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone not just police.
I wish those believing that about the police would give a little thought to what they face. It might give some perspective-- as police fears are based on anticipation of dangers they regularly face. The fact that their fear leads them to sometimes overreact is another example of the problem of fear.

In the aftermath of the election, the violence has gone both ways, with the extreme left also attacking those who supported Trump-- or even someone they thought supported him. The recent accusations that he has caused bullies to grow larger in number ignores the rest of the story. Yes, there are bullies. Yes, they are in many groups. But the President doesn't cause that. It comes out of a rage and anger that is there before either a Dem or Repub gets in. If you don't believe that, then you have to believe Obama has caused it for the last eight years. Seriously, you don't believe that do you?

Trump went to black communities. He talked about the need to protect the people in Chicago where stray bullets and gang wars cause so many innocent deaths. He claimed the left has let the black community down by destroying jobs and the fabric of the family through policies that sounded good but did harm. Now whether he could do any of what he wants or said he wants, who knows. That was always the risk with him. But a lot of the fear here is being stirred up by certain elements, who gain from that. The people who live in some of those neighborhoods have plenty to fear now-- with real physical threats, not an assumption of them to come.

Some see Trump as a path to Hitler. It seems that's always pulled out and they bring out the books to prove their point. Except we elect Presidents every four years. We have a Congress who can stand against the President-- and has with Obama. Our Presidents can be impeached. This is not Hitler anymore than Obama was the Antichrist. The hysteria of the left and right always leads to such accusations but get a grip. 

Regarding the Antichrist, evidently some are saying Nostradamus predicted Trump as the last one, who will usher in the Apocalypse. That requires having a spiritual belief that such a thing has been predicted and might be spiritually brought on. It requires reading couplets that can be taken many ways and interpreting them to suit yourself. It requires ignoring earlier predictions of doom like 2000 or the end of the Mayan calendar.

While I have had my own ideas on the damage of fear and how it has been fed, I read something very good at Facebook by a professional grief counselor and writer, Dr. Debra Holland. She had said it can be shared. I think it is good to share here for those who don't want to be afraid and are looking for tools to help them get past this. And yes, I realize there are drama queens/kings who get off on fear. This is for those who see it as negative, but they just can't let it go, read this and think about it:
     I read a lot of Facebook posts this morning that were full of grief, as well as fear and anxiousness about the future. Since I’m empathic, I was very impacted by the pain and fear and disappointment people were expressing. This post isn’t about those who are grieving, whether the election results and what that means to them, or some other loss. This is post is about fear, specifically what I call fear fantasies—some vision you have of the future which is causing fear and stress and anxiety in the now.
     Did you know research shows that 96% of what we fear DOESN’T come true? What fear, anxiety, and stress does is take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. YOU (and perhaps those around you) pay the price for your fears.
     The past is over.. The future has yet to unfold. All we have is the NOW. We have no guarantee that we’ll even be alive tomorrow. Yesterday, I did grief counseling for a company that had an employee die from being hit by a car on Halloween. This is one of many counseling jobs I’ve done for sudden deaths. I see all the time that we have only now. As for our nation, for all we know, aliens will descend in the next few months, and the whole world will be completely different from what we expected. Yes, that’s tongue-in-cheek, but it makes my point. We don’t know what the future holds for us as individuals, for our communities, for our nation, for our world.
     You can spend today in fear. You can spend today in shock. You can spend today projecting meaning onto millions of voters of either side that probably has little to do with each individual person who voted. There are a myriad of reasons people vote the way they do, which might not be at all what you think. Every American wants the best for our country, even if they disagree with the who and how.
     I’ve long believed that aside from voting or political activism, there’s nothing I can do about what happens in Washington. I STRONGLY believe that there’s plenty I can do to impact the world around ME. Regardless of the beliefs and actions of the people who govern us, I can live my beliefs. I can be a person who’s loving, kind, caring, tolerant, supportive, and giving. I can make the world a better place through my thoughts, words—written and spoken—and deeds. I can touch the lives of others. I’m not perfect, so I’ll slip up, but I’ll do my best to be a good person.
     After the time on Facebook reading about my friends and seeing the gamut of emotions, especially the pain and fear, I spent time in reflection and prayer for everyone who’s afraid or in pain—regardless of the reason. I prayed for our current and future presidents, that they would make wise decisions. I prayed that our country would heal and thrive.
     After that, I spent time with my animals. I cooked (which is not common for me,) I gardened. I straightened the house. All things to control my own environment and nurture myself—good to do when you can’t control and nurture the world (no matter how much I’d like to.) Later, I’ll write, I’ll exercise, I’ll nap—all things to take care of myself. And to take care of others, I went through the collection of bills and pulled out all the ones for charity (a lot come this time of year.) I sat down and wrote checks for all the ones I support, then I prayed that what I sent would be multiplied and bless people. As I did all these things, I stayed mindful of my blessings. I focused on all I’m grateful for in my personal life and in my country—all the things I tend to take for granted.
     After many years of dealing with people in crisis, I’ve seen those who are the most resilient. They manage their finances in a way that they have savings, little debt, and live below their means. They focus on their families and other people they care about and what they are grateful for. They give back to their communities. They acknowledge the impact of painful events on them or their families, but they don’t create more fears about what will happen because of the events.
     Please...today and in the coming days, practice resiliency. When you catch yourself fearing for the future, STOP. Take a deep breath, and then another. Remind yourself that you are making up a fear fantasy; it may or may not come to pass. It probably won’t. And if it does come true at a future time, deal with it THEN. Don’t let those fears rob you of peace for the NOW. Focus on what you can control—your mind, your body, your immediate environment, your finances, your personal goals. Follow your intuition, not your fear. Take steps toward your goals. Forgive. Be kind. Try to see the best in others, not the worst, and certainly don’t imagine and project the worst. Practice gratitude. Be loving. Through it all, remember to keep breathing.
 As something else that could prove helpful for living through difficult times, you might check out one of her books-- Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude.


Rain Trueax said...

And I am not suggesting Trump won't do things you or I won't like. I am saying fear won't help deal with it right now. React appropriately when it happens. Marches or peaceful protests right now, donating to causes that are effective, writing letters are good-- none of that takes fear. It takes a clear head and doing what might actually help. Clearly there is a movement out there that is encouraging hysteria. There are always those that profit from that.

Tabor said...

Fear is normal and natural with the collection of evil ones he has keeping the gates. I also agree that we need to focus and fight issues and not people. I have changed my donations to more appropriate venues following this election. I have joined a group of locals who are being more proactive. I will still carry a fear that he will destroy the corporate media in a year. They feed at the trough, so I need to support public news and I will. I also think that free speech will be suppressed with law suits that go nowhere. This is just the start. Global climate change is too big a battle to fight when people are losing their healthcare, their opportunity for education and training for new jobs, etc. I am thinking and working local now.

Rain Trueax said...

we saw a powerful show last night on netflix which you might enjoy if you haven't already seen it. It was on PBS in spring of 2015. James Patterson. Murder of a Small Town. It's what has been going on already. Under Obama this has been happening and for some reason it didn't scare people. Chicago has been happening. Flint. Standing Rock. I feel like nobody really knows what Trump will do other than his statements on immigration (some of which the mainstream media has left off the whole thing. But what he actually does is hard to say but it will be to the right on issue. When you lose an election, it's how it happens.

I totally believe in acting locally. Also donate to the candidates we believe will do what is right-- whatever state they live in. What has gotten me is to learn that only 5 states have Democratic governors and legislatures. This is amazing to me-- especially since what a lot of them run on is what people fear Trump will do. The anger and fear is going to go on a long time, I guess. Of course, it did on the other side when Obama won and then went to work getting his agenda through.