Dec 27, 2018
by Stephanie Hiller
As I write this, the night before Winter Solstice, I find myself staring into a complete unknown about which I have no projections. What will be the next state of the unraveling of American democracy as we have known it?
Will Sonoma Valley’s tourism-and-wine economy continue to thrive as interest rates on credit cards rise exponentially and our national and personal deficits swell?
Should we move the Urban Growth Boundary in order to build more housing?
Where will the next raging inferno occur?
Will county and state come up with an agreement about the Sonoma Developmental Center, and what will that look like?
Will Trump get his $5 billion wall, to protect us from the hordes of gangsters and criminals who walked a thousand miles to destroy our country? (Does Trump believe the outrageous statements he makes?)
Is the economy as strong as Trump claims, or is it headed for a collapse?
What about Russian interference in our elections? Has this been overplayed? Don’t countries regularly try to interfere in each other’s elections? Haven’t we have done this ourselves? What are the latest allegations about China? Is the US planning to have a war with both Russia and China?
Are you going to sign off Facebook?
Who else is collecting and sharing your data? Amazon?
Will Alexandra Ocasio Cortez get her steering committee for a Green New Deal? Are you supporting this effort?
Will housing prices ever come down?
Will the minimum wage go up?
The Women’s March is organizing its third national march, to be held January 19 in locations across the country. Here in Sonoma, the event is being organized by Angela Ryan, Angie Sanchez, and Amy Gallagher with help from a handful of others who participated last year.
What will we be marching for? What against? There is so much! I used to feel that if we would just prioritize one major issue, everything else would fall into line. That issue could beclimate change. Last month three separate reports – the IPCC’s, the UN’s, and the President’s own Commission on climate change – all stated that the effects of climate change were showing up faster and bigger than anyone had predicted. Yet climate change can actually be reversed by growing perennial grasses, and planting gardens instead of laying cement. Are we doing it? During the 1980s we could have replaced gas-guzzling cars with electric. Did we?
As the end of the year rolls into the New Year when you will be reading this, I find myself entirely without answers, with no assessment of the human predicament or this American moment, no sense of direction, a blank slate awaiting a new script, a new story.
It is what Buddhists call facing the groundlessness of our existence, the “fundamental ambiguity”. Hidden under the edifices we create to convince ourselves of our immortality — the skyscrapers, the packed libraries, the twisting freeways — time flows on, silent, inexorable, eroding the constructs we put forth as we try to contain it.
We stuff ourselves with goodies and try to forget the profound anxiety we feel.
Is this Armageddon? the Second Coming? Who will save us? On January 21 we will have the total eclipse of the blood red wolf supermoon. Some evangelists are saying it marks the end of the world. Astrology King (whoever that is) calls it a time of Change and Opportunity that may also fill you with uncertainty about the future…like I just said.
“Make no mistake. These are history-making times.
“We can be wise as we steward the transitions underway. When we choose to flow with the cycle of destruction, creation and sustenance, we choose connection. We become nuanced and aware of when we are acting, or reacting, and how.
. . .
“So, resist. Take to the streets. Vote with your dollars. Reinforce our struggling democracy. Support organizations and our judicial system, as they protect our most vulnerable neighbors.
“And also, insist. Build and create. Look to local economic development leaders fighting to ensure well-being for all Americans. Invest in those working for equitable health and wealth.
“And just as importantly, love. Sustain and persevere. Care for yourself now more than ever, fiercely and often. Protect the small moments of joy and laughter, to remember when you feel you can’t go on. Practice loving people while working to end their destructive behaviors — even if it’s messy at first, and again.
“And then start over.”
So, it goes. Happy New Year, Sonoma!
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