Last Saturday at the Women’s March in Chicago.
I have had this awful cough for three weeks. It’s viral, not bacterial. And it isn’t in my chest. Its like bronchitis and it gets worse at night. Sleeping laying down has been difficult until Dr. Z prescribed some codeine cough syrup and some other drugs. The last couple of nights I have been able to sleep pretty well and the cough is getting better. Slowly.
When I was in the classroom I would get one of these endless coughs every couple of years. Teachers catching colds and coughs is just a thing we put up with. When I first started teaching I would catch the cold by the fifth week of school. By the time I retired it might be delayed until October or November.
We haven’t seen the sun in Chicago since last Saturday’s Women’s March. Mother Nature made sure the sun was out that day and the temperature nearly hit 7o degrees. Now we are back to Chicago’s gray and cold.
“I’m feeling depressed with no sun,” Anne told me last night between my coughing spasms.
“SAD,” I said. “It’s a real thing. It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.”
And since November 8th I have been observing TAD. Trump Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing. “I just want to roll up in a fetal position,” a friend posted the other day. And nobody is more of an activist than she is.
“I still cry,” another friend posted.
Following last Saturday’s four million people march, I ran into friends who were in a state of total euphoria. Even the worst pessimists were feeling up.
This supports the results of a recent study that found a relationship between feeling good and activity.
The links between moving in any way and feeling happy were consistent for most people throughout the day, according to the data from their apps. It also didn’t matter whether it was a workday or weekend.
The researchers also found that people who moved more frequently tended to report greater life satisfaction over all than those who reported spending most of their time in a chair.
In general, the results suggest that “people who are generally more active are generally happier and, in the moments when people are more active, they are happier,” says Gillian Sandstrom, a study co-author who was a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge and is now a lecturer in psychology at the University of Essex.
In other words, moving and happiness were closely linked, both in the short term and longer term.
I’m suggesting that the cure for TAD is to get moving. I’m thinking Dr. Z would agree.
Naomi Klein, writing in The Nation, makes an important point.
Trump may appear strong, but the decision of Wall Street and the captains of industry to take direct control of government (Rauner in Illinois) is also a sign of weakness.
This is the backdrop for Trump’s rise to power—our movements were starting to win. I’m not saying that they were strong enough. They weren’t. I’m not saying we were united enough. We weren’t. But something was most definitely shifting. And rather than risk the possibility of further progress, this gang of fossil-fuel mouthpieces, junk-food peddlers, and predatory lenders have come together to take over the government and protect their ill-gotten wealth.
Let us be clear: This is not a peaceful transition of power. It’s a corporate takeover. The interests that have long-since paid off both major parties to do their bidding have decided they are tired of playing the game. Apparently, all that wining and dining of politicians, all that cajoling and legalized bribery, insulted their sense of divine entitlement.
So now they are cutting out the middleman and doing what every top dog does when they want something done right—they are doing it themselves. Exxon for secretary of state. Hardee’s for secretary of labor. General Dynamics for secretary of defense. And the Goldman guys for pretty much everything that’s left. After decades of privatizing the state in bits and pieces, they decided to just go for the government itself. Neoliberalism’s final frontier. That’s why Trump and his appointees are laughing at the feeble objections over conflicts of interest—the whole thing is a conflict of interest, that’s the whole point.
To quote a popular saying on the French left, “The hour calls for optimism; we’ll save pessimism for better times.” (“L’heure est à l’optimisme, laissons le pessimisme pour des temps meilleurs.”)
Personally, I can’t quite muster optimism. But in this moment when everything is on the line, we can, and we must, locate our most unshakable resolve.
And the best thing for fighting TAD? We need to get moving.
You can listen to the Klonsky brothers on radio. Friday, February 3rd at 11AM on Lumpenradio.com and 105.5FM in Chicago. The pilot show is called Hitting Left.