I’m not gonna try and smooth it over.
It’s bad.
I don’t know what exactly to say about it, or to do about it.
It feels like there’s practically nothing that I can do about it.
Here’s the only thing that I can think of so far:


a. don’t pretend that it’s not as bad as it is.
b. don’t just quit thinking about it.
c. don’t move to France or Canada.

Just know it. We have another four years of a president that I don’t like, don’t trust, and actually feel a fear for in my body. It feels bad. But, I’m, uh, gonna keep feeling it. I think it’s what I need to do. Not at a level, which makes me unable to function. Just enough to keep me in reality. It’s real, and I want to be a part of reality. I want to keep it real. Keep it real: go to the party,


and keep on feeling it.

party sister2

One of the things that makes me want to just quit thinking about all the stuff, the world affairs stuff, is that I feel so powerless. So powerless to ever do any kind of thing to effect any of it. I get this sense that if I am going to be politically responsible I’ll have to go join some kind of street canvassing team and wear an ugly shirt and start harassing people to donate money to the democratic party, or turn crusty and wear a political patch. And anhh my chest sinks with the feeling of how pointless and ineffective that all seems, and then I just think, “uuughh. I’d really rather just watch MTV. I’m just going to watch MTV. Or a dating show. I don’t care. I want a cute new dress.” When I start on that trail, I can get pretty far with it,”oh, dude, whatever. It doesn’t really even matter. It’ll be fine.” “It’s cool. Whatever.”

Does it matter? Under it all, my deepest hunch is, um (whispered under the sheets), “yes. It matters.” Get this: I think that we don’t have to worry about it all right this second. Just stay alert and tuned in. Just feel it. I think if we can do this, if we can keep feeling it, then there will come a moment when we will know exactly what to do. Imagine a pun falling out of your mouth before you get the chance to even think about it. That has happened to me once or twice, and it’s always so much funnier than if I had tried to plan it.



doesn’t mean:
-dying under the weight of it
-shouting or talking in angry voices about how much of a goon that man is
-yelling in the streets

it might mean:
-knowing that it’s wrong. It’s wrong. Confidently and very calmly hanging onto this understanding. Having the facts gracefully on hand inside of my mind. (For example: he put the Patriot Act into place, which allows for my house to be searched without a warrant and without my ever knowing it. Or for the government to force librarians to report on the books that I have checked out. For example).
-not getting confused or insecure about my perception of what it real: the administration started wars against people who did nothing to us. Nothing. Check the facts. They didn’t threaten us. Check it out. I want to be calm about it like the way that my mother is when she is actually very angry with me, angrier than yelling, soberly, deadly angry. She gets filled with a weight that I know can’t be charmed away. The kind of anger that informs me that now I’m going to have to deal with reality. I’m going to get a copy of the Patriot Act.

I met kids last night at Oberlin (in Ohio) who stood in line for five hours to vote. Lots of them. We are going to figure it out. We will have to pull ourselves together and be a lot smarter, and more healthy, and effective, and in touch with the force than we have been. It sucks a little bit, because we will have to work harder, and probably give up some of the things that we liked. Laziness? The luxury of getting to trust that everything will be okay, even if we just coast along and do nothing in particular to make it so? Um, getting to sort of trust our leaders a little bit?

But, as I am writing this, I realize that, well, “wiser”, “more efficient”, “more totally on top of it”, those are all the things that I have wanted to be anyways. I want to have the brilliant wave of the cosmic forces coursing through my arms and inner organs. I WANT IT. I want to roll with it. Wherever it takes me. There will be sacrifices. I can deal. I figure out how to, little by little. The main thing is don’t lose your sensations, your sensitivity, your sense that it matters. Once they get that out of you, they really have you.

Rachel Nederveld2

We can do this. I promise. Just hang on tight.

November 5, 2004

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