My family trip to Maine has been a good overall break from 24/7 internet and a decent mental health reboot as well.
I still don't feel 100% better, or the "best version of myself" that I can usually count on Prozac to deliver. I'm still feeling hung up on memories and elements of my past, missed opportunities, and roads not taken. I am convinced, though, that I needed more books and sun, less Trump and Congress, and quiet time to think.
I've also had time to reflect a bit on the difference between substance and superficiality in the context of patriotism.
I've been reading a book about Louis XIV and seventeenth century France, which was deeply entrenched in the Sun King's monarchy. It made me think about the revolution that was to come 100 years later, and false notions of patriotism.
I suspect there is only so long that Americans will continue to tolerate the income inequality and effective corporate oligarchy we all now live in. There are only so many times the Trump administration can brandish flag pins on the lapels of their Italian suits and only so many jingoistic air-brushed pictures of bald eagles we can ingest before the people will feel compelled to reclaim American patriotism on more substantive terms.
Because of course, there is a big difference between the America Trump wants us to see, and the America that actually is. Eventually even his most ardent supporters will realize this and turn on him when he inevitably fails to deliver the economic relief he promised.
I don't believe in vilifying Trump supporters, and I also reject the idea that failure to support the Trump agenda evinces a lack of patriotism. The fact is that all Americans, whether they support Trump or not, are deeply endangered by his naked greed and stunning ineptitude, and will be harmed by them and their attendant chaos.
I think eventually, if perhaps only in hindsight, resistance to the Trump agenda will be seen as the patriotic pushback that it is. Our constitution is the bedrock of our democracy and Trump has absolute ignorance of and contempt for it. No amount of flag waving can distract from the fact that Trump has no idea--and does not care--what's in the founding document of the nation he is leading.
This of course is a very dangerous thing, but fortunately it is also unsustainable in the long term.
At least this week, senators like our own Lisa Murkowski--a Republican I have voted for many times--showed us true patriotic governance through fidelity to her constituents with her health care vote and refusal to be cowed by Trump's twitter bullying and threatened reprisals against our state.
Personally, I think she made Alaska and America proud this week.
As we continue to trudge together through this dark slum of an administration, there are a few bright lights that continue to shine. We would be well-served to acknowledge these real lights of patriotism when we see them, and continue to be our own light whenever we can.