Feeling Grateful in Time of Great Despair: Happy New Year

1 Jan


2016 has been an exceedingly painful, turbulent, and awful year. Since turning 50 three weeks ago, I have been deeply troubled by the current course of the United States under what can only be called a Fascist regime, under Trump and his merry band of racists, misogynists, and homophobic collectibles, who seem to want to dismantle all of the agencies that serve people in the United States. Their collective efforts will ensure that the top 20% of Americans not only keep their wealth but will build on it exponentially — a wet dream for Paul Ryan. Sadly,  author Thomas Pynchon  captures the philosophy of the 21st century GOP:

Back when I was getting into the business, all ‘being Republican’ meant really was sort of principled greed. You arranged things so that you and your friends would come out nicely, you behaved professionally, above all you put in the work and took the money only after you’d earned it. Well, the party, I fear, has fallen on evil days. This generation — it’s almost a religious thing now. The millennium, the end days, no need to be responsible anymore to the future. A burden has been lifted from them. The Baby Jesus is managing the portfolio of earthy affairs, and nobody begrudges Him the carried interest…

There is no sense of paying it forward — no sense of leaving the earth a better place for future generations. No, the rules have changed and now it is about getting all you can and getting more than you need, regardless if others have to go without, and future generations have to suffer for it.

As I have turned 50, I am witnessing our country turn backwards and turn its back on all targeted individuals and communities. For those predicting an economic windfall under TrumpPutin, I worry you are a bit delusional. I am most regrettably predicting a recession that will be just as traumatic as the one George W paved the way for during his administration.

While it has been most challenging not to give into a misanthropic abyss, or The Princess Bride’s “Pit of Despair,”  I have also had to do some serious reflection as we are about to usher in 2017. While I am terrified of what the next four years have in store, I have to also be exceedingly grateful for the life I have.

Here is what I have that makes me share tears of joy: A life partner whom I love and adore and who loves me as we get to travel this journey of life together; such amazing family and friends who make my heart swell with love — friends who constantly make me work to be a better person. These two things alone give me hope and make me so extraordinarily grateful! I know I am strong enough to persevere and resist a fascist regime.

I know how to engage in community organizing, how to stand in solidarity for human rights and social justice. I know how to keep vigilant and NOT normalize our current condition. I also know I do not do this work alone, for I do this work with my brilliant family and friends! To all of you: I say thank you! Happy New Year. I wish you all peace and that you each are surrounded by love.


20 Responses to “Feeling Grateful in Time of Great Despair: Happy New Year”

  1. le artiste boots January 1, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    In art, as in life, the darkest dark makes the lightest light. We have seen the lightest and it will glow against these dark days.

    Keep hope alive!


    Sent from my iPad

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 1, 2017 at 7:53 am #

      Bettye, what a lovely gift to hear from you! YES, keep hope alive. Much love to you and yours, Michael.

  2. Central Oregon Coast NOW January 1, 2017 at 8:30 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  3. Jennifer Carey January 1, 2017 at 8:43 am #

    I am also grateful that in light of this election, many people seem fired up in new and powerful ways. Many of us feel the need to stand up and say “We’re still here!”

    Thank you for your friendship Michael!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 1, 2017 at 8:59 am #

      Jennifer, I’m so grateful for you and for how you show up as an ally! With great love, Michael.

  4. Kingston Estates January 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    I agree with this article completely, except you forgot to mention that A Trump Regime solidifies the growing Plutocracy of the United States of America.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

      Yes, absolutely. Sadly, this Plutocracy was started under the Reagan administration. Peace, Michael.

  5. Kingston Estates January 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    I was stewing over you having just turned 50. You’re old enough to be my little brother. I’m 53 1/2 now. The way I stand by you, share many of your opinions, and hope that I can join you in your causes, I wonder if you’re my brother from another mother. :)) I appreciate you and your thoughts very much.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

      What a lovely comment! 50 seems quite daunting right now, as I worry I am not doing enough to make the world a better place. Peace, Michael.

  6. Gronda Morin January 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

    Dear Michael Hulshof-Schmidt,

    I like a lot of folks have been grieving over the results of this election, but fortunately I am at the anger stage where I am ready to wage battle.

    In my eyes, you are a young’un,who is blessed.

    Happy New Year! Gronda

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 3, 2017 at 5:48 am #

      Dear Gronda, I’m glad you are feeling prepared, as am I. Happy New Year to you and yours! Peace, Michael.

  7. Christine Noble January 3, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Hello Dear;

    Happy New Year. First off, I did not know you were a fellow Sagi! How great is that?
    And yes, it is harrowing, the contemplation of the next four years, but there is some good that can come of it. While I do not subscribe to the whole “we need Trump to force a real revolution” nonsense, the left, or at least the soft left had become complacent over the Obama years. Not the hard left, that I have only recently joined so I cannot claim this for myself, no matter what you say of them, and I have had a harsh word or two, you can never say they are not motivated.
    But good stuff has happened for us, at least as individuals. I started my feminizing regimen in May, and while my hospitalization for depression and anxiety on the face of it is bad, I see it as a good, since it forced me to face long ignored problems.
    We have gotten through bad before, as Gen Xers our first big social moment was the AIDS epidemic, and we got through that, you and I as young queer folk. So I am confident we will get through this.

    Pax et Amor;

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 4, 2017 at 5:48 am #

      Happy Belated Birthday, Christine! I’m very sorry to hear of your depression and anxiety and hope that it will be mitigated by support and love. I love your optimism and shall have to borrow from it when I give into moments of despair. Sending you lots and lots of love and good energy, Michael.

      • Christine Noble January 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

        Thank you! I am writing more again. Hope you “stop by” to check it out. Though, fair warning, poem going up is a screed about certain elements of the cis, white male portion of the LGBT community. I feel confident saying you are not one of the “but not all of us” types, but you’re great and deserve the warning. ❤

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

        Christine, I look forward to reading your poetry. I think there is a great deal of reflection that is much needed around the amount of privilege cis white males enjoy! With great love and admiration, Michael.

  8. evelyneholingue January 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    Despite the gloom around us, I still want to believe that good can and will prevail. I wish you many moments of joy and peace, Michael during 2017.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 4, 2017 at 5:50 am #

      Thank you, Evelyne! Yes, we must remain hopeful that love and our shared humanity will prevail. I wish you much love, joy, and peace!

  9. elvagreen123 January 3, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

    Can I say that the love and peace you have with your family and friends and that you wish for others can help alleviate the terror you feel for the future because the good vibes you send out can spread and grow and help foster positivity and lift a few spirits. You are a part of the solution in my eyes. Happy New Year!!!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 4, 2017 at 5:51 am #

      Elva, thank you for such a lovely comment. I try to put out good energy and I suspect you are putting out far more good energy into the universe than I am. I hope you are surrounded by great love in 2017. Peace, Michael.

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