Signal To Noise

Like everyone else right now, I’m trying to process what’s happened. I feel profound sadness. I’m mournful for what was and fearful for what will be.

There was much about a Hillary Clinton presidency from which I would have benefited; I should be honest and admit that. What Clinton proposed for student loan reform, achievable through executive action, would have changed my life by lowering interest rates, changing repayment plan options, and offering three months of relief from payments. Her plan for colleges, likely to increase enrollment significantly, would have improved my job prospects at not one, but two employers. There were other issues that affected me, but these two were direct and would have been profound. As someone who wants to start a family, these were things I wanted.

I’ll be fine. I work three jobs to make ends meet but, at the end of the day, I can eat and live comfortably.

The same can not be said for many in this country who now face an unknown future with the GOP’s plans for health care, immigration, and other legislation.

I fear there is a mentality in this country that it’s not enough to win; the losers have to be punished. But in this case, we’re all going to suffer, particularly future generations.

We’re all confronted with the challenges of climate adaptation and Donald Trump’s response is to choose a climate change skeptic to head the EPA. Trump’s plans for energy and the environment should, to put it mildly, scare the shit out of you.

Despite this, I have remember that I have the privilege every day to go into work and see people from around the world, coming together, and learning.

The day before the election I went to a concert in New York City and in wandering around, found myself humbled by the remarkable diversity.

I’m struggling to come to terms with those who support a Trump presidency, and I recognize that’s half the country and a number of people in my life.

We all make decisions based on the available information. Given what we knew about these candidates, people voted and made their choice. That’s hard to swallow with the litany of items that were alarming about Trump.

Trump has never held elected office and will be preparing for the presidency in the midst of numerous lawsuits, including a trial in which he faces fraud and racketeering charges in only a few weeks.

No one, even Trump voters, knows what his presidency will look like. His policies are vague and have frequently shifted. We don’t what we’re getting with Trump but it’s likely to benefit few and hurt many based on what we know.

If there’s one takeaway that is sticking with me from the election it’s that I need to re-prioritize.

I’ve started to reconsider the role social media plays in my life. While I like to remain connected to family, friends, and acquaintances on Facebook, it’s been difficult for me to do so without engagements that range from pointless to infuriating. Forms of media have their limits, as do people, and I’ve reached mine.

I’m bothered by the hypocrisy of Christians in supporting and electing Trump.

I was raised Catholic. While I can’t say a lot of the teachings have stuck with me, the basic tenets about how to treat others remain. My parents instilled strong values in me. If I see something wrong or notice a problem, I’m obligated to say something and try to correct or improve it.

I have to do the same with this election and these horrific views that are being endorsed by the results. I have to speak out, even if it’s in the form of protest in removing myself from those near me, including family. I’m making a statement that while I accept what’s happened, I don’t have to tolerate it or choose to be surrounded by those that actively participate in divisive and destructive impulses by voting for an unfit and dangerously unqualified candidate. Maybe it’s extreme to put supporting Trump into that category but when you vote for the man that the KKK endorsed, you might need to take a hard look at things in unflattering terms.

It isn’t as simple as a matter of not seeing eye to eye. It’s choosing to focus your energy to help those that need it the most and leaving behind those that knowingly make decisions that will negatively affect others and bring little satisfaction to themselves aside from being on the winning team.

Despite framing it this way, disentangling myself from social media was a decision made largely out of exhaustion and a need to re-energize. Even when not absorbed by a debate, I’ll be following other threads and comments. I tried unfollowing people but I find myself drifting back and observing disheartening conversations.

The constant noise has been tiring and I’m overloaded. I’m trying to focus on getting back to what matters most to me, once I figure out what that includes. I need to move past the possibilities that I hoped would exist while recognizing others face far greater obstacles and instability in the coming months and years.

 

“Signal To Noise” by Peter Gabriel

“You know the way that things go
When what you fight for starts to fall
And in that fuzzy picture
The writing stands out on the wall
So clearly on the wall

Send out the signals deep and loud

And in this place, can you reassure me
With a touch, a smile — while the cradle’s burning
All the while the world is turning to noise
Oh the more that it’s surrounding us
The more that it destroys
Turn up the signal
Wipe out the noise

Send out the signal deep and loud

Man I’m losing sound and sight
Of all those who can tell me wrong from right
When all things beautiful and bright
Sink in the night
Yet there’s still something in my heart
That can find a way
To make a start
To turn up the signal
Wipe out the noise

Wipe out the noise
Wipe out the noise
You know that’s it
You know that’s it
You know that’s it
Receive and transmit
Receive and transmit
Receive and transmit
You know that’s it
You know that’s it
Receive and transmit
You know that’s it
You know that’s it
Receive and transmit.”

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