The Banality of Silence

The Banality of Chaos began as a project to document the contrast between living in a world dominated by social and political chaos and the banality of my day-to-day life. To explain how immoral politics end up dominating our lives. No one’s life is fully separate from the chaotic milieu we live in, but for many of us our lives are separate enough that if things get too complicated we can pretend the world outside isn’t as bad as it is. I find that difficult to do. I expected my inability to step back would allow me to document both the chaos and the urge to ignore the world. I have failed. I have a litany of excuses for why I haven’t written, but mostly it’s a sense of powerlessness which has left me paralyzed. I thought apathy and the simplicity of going along to get along were the risk, but I’m not apathetic or just going along. I’m overwhelmed and I’m depressed. The problem is that it’s a rational response to the state of the world even if it’s not useful.
 
I’ve been depressed for nearly fourteen years. I’ve written about the intersection of political participation and depression before, but it’s worth explaining how it paralyzes me into watching as an immoral right-wing agenda is implemented. Depression manifests a little bit differently in everyone, but for me it’s a cycle of sleeplessness and exhaustion dominated by self-loathing and doubt. I wake up wishing I were dead. I don’t want to do anything, but I drink some coffee and trudge through work. When I’m done with that I practically collapse. I’m out of energy to do anything else. I sit and I think and think until I can finally sleep. I sleep five or six hours then the process starts again. The days blur and the lack of sleep catches up to me. My psychological exhaustion becomes physical. The sleepless hours give me time to mull over every thing I’ve done wrong and everything that’s wrong with the world. I don’t go out, so I have hours to scroll through Twitter reading about every outrage and every immoral policy. I’m frozen without the energy to do anything but read. Knowing doesn’t help when you don’t act. I desperately want to do something, to protest, to spend my time doing something helpful, but my cynicism tells me there’s nothing I can do.
 
I may be cynical, but I like to believe that my analysis of my power in the world while tragic is reasonable. There seem to be a few mechanisms that people use to wield power in our society. The most effective is the forty year project of right wing billionaires to build a wholesale alternative to our political ecosystem. The most visible piece of that project being right-wing media inculcating an ideology in an entire class of the population that has served to produce policies that benefit billionaires. I am not a billionaire, so the most effective route to power is already off limits for me. That leaves the usual protests and calls and small money donations and speaking out. The problem with small acts is that most of them seem pointless. The next few sentences are either reasonable explanations of my powerlessness or the ideological underpinning of a certain kind of apathy. Analyzing the most recommended ways to wield power I realize I am some combination of temperamentally unfit, too socially isolated, or they are insufficient to effect change. The top of my list is protest. I have a vision of protest that is much rosier than most, but even I see that protest while sometimes effective is often not. I am also not someone who goes to a protest and manages to do anything but stand there petrified by social anxiety. I live in a relatively rural area, so there aren’t a ton a protests for me easily attend even if I were better suited to them. I accept protest as a marginally effective way to influence politics, but also acknowledge my own uselessness when attending a protest which when combined with the difficulty of attending one justifies, in my mind, me not protesting much. Perhaps even more heralded than protests in terms of effectiveness are calls to legislators. I live in a state with two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor who while not perfect are at least not supporting the immoral Republican agenda. I also have a Democratic congressman who while even more moderate is still not supporting the immoral agenda. So me calling my own politicians isn’t helpful because while if they running things we might have disagreements we agree on opposing the Republican agenda. The value of calls for non-constituents to politicians seems likely to be low. You don’t have anything to hold over their head unless you’re a voter or a billionaire. I could donate to a campaign either with money or time. It seems to me that while money from someone like me who can only afford to donate a few dollars can build up, the avalanche of money we’re facing means that it will always be an unfair fight. That means figuring out how to win without having tons of money. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that I’m being ultimately helpful by not giving money, but it does seem like giving money isn’t effective enough to warrant me giving up my limited income. I could volunteer my time when election season comes around, but the problems of my location and my social ineptitude suggest that that wouldn’t be terribly helpful either. As I write this some of these are seeming more like excuses than others, but I do think there’s a kernel of truth to them. The final three on the list are speech, voting, and organizing. I do vote, but that has obviously not resulted in the world I want which suggests that it’s insufficient. I am socially isolated. I write things like this, I tweet, I post things on social media and just like in my daily life no one hears me speak. I don’t have a cadre of friends to persuade, so my speaking isn’t effective even though I do it. If you don’t have anyone to organize it seems completely reasonable to think you can’t organize. That leaves me at the bottom of the list without any effective options. I could call politicians who have no reason to listen to me. I can donate some of my meager income to offset a tiny fraction of the billions poured in by right-wing billionaires. I can speak into the void. Regardless of whether or any of those things are effective, what paralyzes me is my sense that none of them are.
 
For most people the resolution seems easy. Each us may be relatively powerless individually, but collectively we wield a great deal of power. The sense of individual powerlessness is overcome by the righteousness of the fight and together we will make the world better. I don’t have that source of energy. I see the righteousness of the fight, but in the face of my own inability to change things I relent to my depressed exhaustion and watch the world fly by. And like most things I let fly by I feel terrible about it, but still I watch. Which only makes me feel worse about myself. I shout into the void of the internet when I feel up to it, but mostly I just contemplate and absorb and do nothing. I’m not sure what I should do. I know I’m a problem. I know there are things that I can do that however pointless they feel to me are supposed to have an impact. A more resolute depressed person would just act without the usual reward mechanism in place, but I am not that resolute. I don’t feel that it’s fair to describe my position as apathy, but I’m aware that ultimately it’s effectively the same. I do care. I’m deeply bothered by the political chaos. I’m losing sleep and regularly on the verge of tears, but my caring isn’t helping anything.

Escaping the Chaos

I recently managed to spend most of a day free from the political chaos. A banal day. I hope it offers some insight into the banality amidst the chaos. I went on my daily walk early. I left about twenty minutes before seven. That gave me time to add a little length to the walk to burn off some of the dumb calories I had eaten the night before. I ate almond butter straight from the jar. I mention that because it allowed me to start the day on the right foot. I felt good about myself when I got home. Especially compared to how shitty I felt when I left. I forgot my brother needed to take a shower, so when I got home I started my coffee and he told me he still needed to shower. He showers on a schedule, every other day. He hates showers for whatever reason. In the winter it’s because the bathroom is cold when he gets out of the shower. So I took a quick shower while he finished his podcast and then he jumped in. He insists on waiting thirty minutes after getting out of the shower before going anywhere so his hair can dry. Luckily he got out of the shower around half past nine so we didn’t have to leave later than planned. Good thing we didn’t, the trip took a bit longer than I had expected. The night before out trip I downloaded Dan Carlin’s latest Hardcore History. We listened to that as we drove out of the valley toward the coast.
 
I already listened to the podcast, but mybrother hadn’t heard it yet and it’s kind of perfect for a long drive. I turned that on and we pulled out and headed toward the highway. The drive was serene. My brother seemed to be a good mood, happy that we were finally doing something. That made me happy. The first hour of the trip as we drove through Salem, turned by the casino, and headed toward Hebo was nice. The drive on twenty-two between the casino and Hebo is one of my favorite drives ever. The road is well maintained and gracefully twists and turns through the lush coast range. It’s a glorious drive and I enjoyed myself. We didn’t even get stuck behind any slow cars other than one truck for about two minutes before it turned. The weather was great, it’s been raining for about ten days. The clouds started to clear the day before and it was clear as we drove. My brother took photos of the mountains and hills with snow on them from the car as we drove. He took photos of the old dirigible hangers and the air museum as we came into Tillamook. As we drove through town we passed a guy playing a bagpipe wearing a kilt. It seemed a little out of place and we had a good chuckle about how odd it was. Our first stop was the cheese factory. I’ve been what feels like a million times before. But I like getting the free samples of cheese and picking up a bag or two of cheese curds if I’m nearby so we always stop. My brother took video of the whole cheesemaking process which took a bit. I’m not sure why he did it, he’s done it before so he didn’t need the footage but it’s fine. Then we tasted some cheese, bought some cheese curds, and some aged smoked white cheddar. As I was checking out I saw they had mint tins shaped like their mini cheese loaf buses and couldn’t help myself. I bought one, I figure that’s my little souvenir for the trip. We weren’t going to get to the restaurant until late in the afternoon, so I had my brother get some ice cream to hold him over until then. He’s irritable and anxious when he’s hungry. He doesn’t operate well eating late, so we got in the line for ice cream.
 
In the ice cream line the trip flexed it’s first minor challenge. I helped my brother pick the waffle cone bowl he wanted and find some good flavors. Then things got hairy for a minute. The server scooped ice cream into the bowl, forgetting the waffle cone bowl. I had to speak up. It wasn’t a big deal, but that and the people milling about, talking over each other made my brother anxious. He had to get out. I finished getting his ice cream for him and met him outside. Not a big deal, but it’s the sort of thing that justifies getting paid to go on a trip like this. We walked to the car, I figured he could eat his ice cream in the car and I could smoke a cigarette before we went on. I had to go back in and get napkins for him though, so my cigarette idea didn’t work out. The trip was back on track though. my brother was enjoying his ice cream and we headed toward our next stop. My brother wanted to stop of the Tillamook Smoker factory store. We’ve never stopped there before, but it was on the way and I figured why not. The factory store is a random room in the factory offices, but they had some cheap meatsticks and jerky. My brother picked up a couple meat sticks and I got a can of that weird jerky chew stuff. I’d never tried it before and it was only fifty cents so what the hell. I tried a pinch and gave the can to my brother. It’s not bad, but I think my assessment from childhood is correct. It’s for like ten year old rednecks who want to feel older and cooler. We had about forty-five minutes of driving after that up to Cannon Beach.
 
On the way up the 101 we passed a sign that said ‘give your valentine crabs.’ I laughed, it’s not hilarious, but it’s a nice little joke for a sign on a place selling crabs. We got to Cannon Beach and I steeled myself for trouble. The problem is that I’ve never been before and I wasn’t sure how the parking and sightseeing would go. I actually have been before, once when I was a little kid but that doesn’t count right? The problem is that the map makes it seem like you might have to walk a bit to see Haystack Rock. That’s what we came to see. In the end it was easy to see. My brother did get a little bit prickly about the idea of sand. He exaggerates the normal problems with sand into an earth shattering problem. Taking a couple photos only took us five minutes and wasn’t too bad. We drove through the tourist shops in downtown Cannon Beach toward a parking lot I found on Google Maps. It’s up in a state park and it’s supposed to offer a better view of Tillamook Rock lighthouse. The lighthouse is a good distance out in the ocean on a rock, so getting a bit closer seemed worth it. We’ve visited and photographed almost every lighthouse on the Oregon coast. The drive into the park is a narrow road that seems to be one lane but serves as two. It’s a little bit nerve wracking, but we got there fine. We stopped and wandered around a bit while taking photos then we got on the road toward Astoria.
 
I planned to stop at a candy store in Seaside so that my brother could look for bacon soda. He bought a bottle of Rogue Spirits Voodoo Maple Bacon vodka a couple days ago. It’s good, but it tastes more like maple than maple bacon. I figured bacon soda would mix well with it. My brother’s leg hurt as he was getting out of the car and I could see the long day was getting to him. We spent two minutes at most in the store. They didn’t have any soda. Now I worried about my brother getting anxious before we ate and had our drinks. We had another half hour or so of driving to do. I was getting hungry too. I hadn’t eaten anything other than a bite of my brother’s ice cream and the cheese samples all day. Once we got in sight of the bridge in Astoria my brother perked up and starting taking pictures so I felt we’d be okay. I drove into Astoria, made a wrong turn and had to turn around, but we found the place after a couple minutes. It’s right on the pier in Astoria, so we stood outside and took some pictures while I smoked before going in. We came in a seated, sat, ourselves right by the big windows facing the Columbia river. It’s an amazing view. you can see the ships coming in or out from Portland and sea lions popped in and out of the water. My brother took a video of a coast guard ship coming in. It took a minute, but the server came over and gave us menus. We ordered beers, a delicious cream ale in a giant mug that my brother liked. The lounge serves food, but my brother wanted to get pizza that’s actually from a place nearby. He got a little anxious waiting for the beer while we were figuring out whether we could order pizza in the lounge. I managed to keep him mostly calm. We could order pizza in the lounge, so we did. It took a while to get to us. The first one they made had a hole it, which as a man who makes a lot of pizza I’m sympathetic to. We drank the cream ales, then ordered a second round. My brother got the Fort George seasonal which was a session IPA. Still hoppy, but much less than a lot of other IPAs. It was a delicious beer from the sip I had. I ordered a Strawberry Blonde which was pretty thick and a sort of hazy pinkish color. It was good, but the aftertaste was a bit odd. I drank half and gave the rest to my brother because I was trying to keep my calories in check. A good slice or pizza. Two actually. My brother ate three.
 
The final step in the plan was to drive up the hill in Astoria to see the famous column. My brother was feeling tired and overwhelmed from the long day. And a little bit drunker than he wanted to be so we almost didn’t go. I told him we could take a couple of quick photos and be on our way so I went ahead and drove up. We took a few pictures and were on our way. The view is amazing from the parking lot, but I wish my brother wasn’t afraid of heights. The paintings on the column are pretty and worth seeing anyway. We headed home on highway thirty which would take us through Portland then onto to I-5 and finally home. The sun was setting as we left Astoria. I hoped was that My brother would take a nap and not feel miserable on the trip home. I also wanted to make it to the freeway before it got super dark. That way I wouldn’t die on a curve I couldn’t see coming because blinded by the headlights of oncoming traffic. I didn’t die and pretty much made it to the freeway before it was dark. My brother spent most of the trip home awake and miserable, so things didn’t go perfect. He quivered and said he wanted to be home for a good chunk of the drive, so I had to both drive and comfort him. We got home about nine and a half hours after we left. The podcast ended as we got off the highway into town. Six hours plus of driving and a pretty good day done. It seems to take a lot to escape chaos, but I managed a few good hours of it.

Depression and Activism

It feels like I’ve spent the last two weeks curled up in my chair scrolling through Twitter while repeats of bad television play in the background. The ugliness of the world breaks me, but ultimately this is normal for me. Every month or two I spend a few weeks unable to do anything beyond the minimum of my responsibilities. It hurts even more knowing there are awful policies to fight and to be unable to do anything. I recently heard Naomi Klein talk about resisting cynicism, resisting believing things are hopeless. It’s good advice, but when you’re depressed you can’t help but feel like nothing matters. That there is no hope. The problem I face is balancing my own sense of hopelessness with my desire for a better world. I know that it takes action to improve things, but depression is paralyzing. It would be easy to excuse myself. To tell myself I have depression and it’s okay to be paralyzed into doing nothing. It’s a comforting thought, but depression isn’t something that let’s you lie to yourself. If I could do that I probably wouldn’t be depressed. It’s a vicious cycle of self-recrimination. You can’t do enough because you’re depressed, but you then feel shitty because you’re not doing enough.

This is the point where I should offer some glimmer of optimism or some kind of answer. I have neither. I know my depression, so I’m semi-confident I’ll be feeling slightly less paralyzed in a few weeks. Writing this is the glimmer. When I’m depressed the messages of not being alone always ring hollow because I look around and I definitely am alone. The best I can say is persist through the loneliness and maybe you’ll be able to act.

Gerrymandering and the Death of Our Democracy

If you’re a political junkie you know how bad gerrymandering is. It distorts fair representation. It allows unpopular policies and parties to dominate our political system, but it’s worse than that. The primary check on the presidency is impeachment. The courts can attempt to check the president, but if he chooses to ignore them it comes to impeachment. The courts have no real check on the executive if the president knows he won’t be impeached. Impeachment has never been a particularly good check on power. If a president is popular then impeachment is unlikely because it demands self-sacrifice. When we have an unpopular president he may not be unpopular in gerrymandered districts. Trump’s popularity could go even further down and he’d still be popular Republican districts. Congressional Republicans would have no personal incentive to stand up to him. Gerrymandering, on top of being undemocratic, may result in the death of our democracy.

Dispatch From a Sister March: An Anxious Guy Marches

As soon as I dropped the guy I care for off to go with his mom to Portland I started getting nervous. I thought I’d go on a long walk and forget the whole idea. I put on my jacket and decided to brood some more. Brooding is chain smoking smoking cigarettes, so after a couple minutes I went out to smoke. Rain made the decision for me. It was going to be an awful walk either way and I had to walk because my stationary bike broke. I could at least walk in Salem. I wanted to pick up a box of popcorn anyway and going to Salem for the march was going to be my excuse to pick one up. I got in the car and headed for Salem, it was a bit early but I had a plan. I was going to use some of the time to pick up that popcorn, then I’d drive down by the capitol building. That was my bare minimum. I figured even as anxious as I am I could stand to drive by a thing. Plus it would soothe of my fears. I worried that it’s Salem which is pretty conservative. And Portland is so close that most people would drive up for the bigger march. I’m sure some did, but there were at least a few hundred people milling about when I drove past. I was chain smoking at this point. Cigarettes are amazing for anxiety. In the moment at least, I’m sure they’re a terrible crutch. That led to step two of my plan. I needed to walk and it would be a pain to find parking nearby, so I drove down to Waterfront park and left my car there. I didn’t need to go that far to find parking, but it was a good walk and it made getting out of Salem at the end easier. I parked in an empty parking lot and headed toward the capitol. The rain and wind meant that there weren’t many people out in downtown Salem. As I got closer to the capitol building the sidewalk became more and more crowded. People with signs, people with their kids. I saw a little kid with his Mom and reflected on how different his life growing up must be to mine. My parents wouldn’t protest anything. They’re conservative Mormons so they don’t particularly care for Trump, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they voted for him. Then again, my Mom may have left the top of the ticket blank since we discussed her doing that. I got up to the capitol mall and there were a few hundred people when I got there. It was about twenty minutes before the scheduled start. I found a corner of the sidewalk that seemed far enough away from the crowd to smoke and lit up. I was sort of hiding behind a lamppost as much as you can hide behind a lamppost. It was cold as hell, but I was happy to be there, to be doing something. I chatted with a woman who came to smoke near me in what was now an unofficial smoking area. She said she moved from Seattle a few weeks ago and was happy with the turnout. We had the same fear, that no one would be there when we got there. I finished smoking and went to stand in the crowd. They were playing typical protest type music. Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, etc, before the speaking section of the event began. I snapped a couple photos of the people together with the capitol building in the background. It’s bad angle to fit a golden pioneer statue at the top of a building in with a crowd below it. I stood listening to the music and checking Twitter. I wasn’t the most active participant but my body was there and I figured that was something. Especially coming from someone as anxious as I am. About that time I started to regret not wearing my thermals. It was drizzling and cold as hell, the wind gusts brought occasional flurries of hard rain. Regretting my clothing decision became an obsession for the entire event. Around eleven they started, someone said something I don’t remember exactly. The entire speaking section was plagued with improper microphone technique. The microphones worked the entire time, but people jostled around and went up and down in volume. It make it hard to hear them in the back or even in the middle. Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke first. She had the best microphone technique of the whole event and was the most capable speaker. Then a couple other people I forget spoke, the basic premise being unity and love over hate. I don’t mean to diminish what they said, but it slipped straight through my mind. It was hard to concentrate and to hear them. About halfway through the speakers I slipped to the side to smoke another cigarette. I was starting to feel a little boxed in. I initially stood in the back, but as I left to smoke I realized I was actually in the middle of the crowd. And more people were still pouring in. I smoked and walked to the new back of the crowd. I stood like I had for most of the event. Shivering, with my hands stuck in my pockets and my mouth feeling glued shut from the anxiety of it all. I kept reminding myself that I was there at least and that was something. They tried to rally the crowd into chants, but it was a pretty unenthusiastic crowd. The people running it weren’t all that good at starting chants either, so the crowd was flat. People were milling about, running into people they knew, and taking pictures of signs. It was a good time despite the cold and rain. The actual march section of the event held more enthusiasm. Around noon we started moving. The march consisted of going west about four blocks then around one and straight back up. It did bring out more noise from the crowd though, so it was enjoyable. Plus I’m sure moving instead of shivering kept my body a little warmer. By the time we started marching I had been out in the rain for an hour and a half. My jacket soaked through and the sweatshirt I had on underneath was getting damp. The worst was my feet. My shoes and socks soaked through from standing in the muddy grass. I felt my feet starting to go numb. My shoulders were stiff and sore. I wasn’t miserable though, but a little uncomfortable. The march was nice, we walked down the street and cheered, whooped, and chanted. Other people did, my anxious mouth still wasn’t moving. Earlier I did have a short chat with a guy about the interstate popular vote compact. Besides that chat and the one with the woman when I got there I didn’t say a word the entire time. I took an undue amount of joy in walking in the middle of the street through red lights. While we were marching you could see how big the crowd had become. I guessed a thousand and a bit. People are terrible at estimating crowd sizes, but the police estimated a couple thousand. I felt two things while marching. I felt like I wasn’t alone in the anger and upset which was a nice feeling to have. It was healing in a sense. The second was that the march wasn’t doing much for anyone in Salem. We completely avoided the downtown area where people might see the march. The weather meant everyone was inside anyway. The only people who saw the march were the people marching. I suppose we contributed to the global number. I’m sure some people read about it in the paper, so it might be meaningful. Still, it felt rather masturbatory. I’m glad I went though. We got back to the capitol mall and people started dispersing back to their cars or lingering around. I was wet, cold, and figured I needed to be home soon to be there when the guy I care for got back so I headed home. As I crossed the street from the capitol mall there was a young guy standing in a Make America Great Again hat. His hood covered it, but he looked sort of creepy being the only one there. I’d say mass shooting creepy, but it was more pathetic than that. I don’t know if he expected a counter protest to occur or wanted to revel in pissed off liberals, but it was weird. I figure if our protest did nothing else we at least made one asshole stand in the cold rain for two hours. And that’s something.

Inauguration Migraine

I’m at the end of my second day of a migraine. It’s subsided a little bit which is how I’m sitting in front of a bright screen with feeling like dying. My head is still throbbing though. My headaches relate to my level stress. I get a stress headache from sleeping poorly and clenching my jaw too tight. Then when I’m unlucky it will explode into a debilitating migraine. Besides listening to the back catalog of various true crime podcasts at a low volume, there’s nothing good to say about migraines. The entire month has been stressful. I wrote earlier about tackling depression with the autistic guy I care for. Right after that I received a stress inducing letter. It was a notice of a coming inspection. One of the oddities of working as a live in caregiver is that you live in public housing without being on public housing. A person on disability benefits relies on food stamps and housing benefits along with their disability. Rather than receiving a single payment which would make more sense. As a caregiver I can live in the apartment of someone on public housing. I’m not expected to pay rent which is a great benefit to my job. The downside is that you live in an apartment that must follow the rules of public housing. I don’t mind for the most part. It does mean that you have to allow an inspector in every couple years to ensure your apartment is up to the HUD standards. An inspector is a massive invasion of privacy. Even if they’re not, strictly speaking, investigating you. The prospect left me anxious as hell. When the time came my apartment passed the inspection without a problem. The inspection was two days ago, that afternoon I developed this wonderful headache. That left me wondering what stress brought on this headache. There are a few possibilities. The state of the world is making anxious. So is another meeting I’ll be having soon. I could detail the awfulness that is Betsy DeVos, Steve Mnuchin and on and on. Or the Russian interference or intelligence community de-legitimatizing a president angle. But consider Rick Perry. The man literally didn’t know what the Department of Energy did when Trump appointed him. They manage nukes. That shit is terrifying. Even if you don’t think it’s likely even someone as crazy as Trump would hit the nuke button. Hitting the button because you’re a moron isn’t any better than doing it on purpose. That said, I do have a personal anxiety bothering me. The disadvantage of relying on the social safety net for work is that it’s always under siege. That means your income fluctuates on a yearly basis and it’s impossible to make any sort of plans. This year, it appears, the hours I work will be cut. They’ll assess he needs fewer hours. Not because he needs less care. Two years ago they increased the hours of care they assessed each person needed, but they didn’t line up long-term funding for those hours of care. Now they’ve realized it’s a problem. So it’s likely that along with Trump being a terrible president I’ll be working less soon. It’s a crescendo of awful. Luckily it’ll hit it in a couple weeks. Once I do I’ll either be able to start looking for a second job or adjust my already meager budget. The first six weeks of 2017 have been and will be terrible for me. This brings me back to my migraine. Looking for work while Trump attempts to gold plate shitty Republican policies doesn’t bode well for me and I have a migraine for my troubles.

A Gish Gallop of Awful

The last few day of Trump news has been a Gish Gallop of awful. A Gish Gallop is a debate technique where a creationist overwhelms a debate with a long list of refutable points, so that it’s impossible to address each point. This creates the appearance that their argument has withstood critique. The overwhelming number of awful stories about Trump and the Republican congress make it difficult to find your footing. Without your footing mounting an effective resistance is difficult. The solution is the separation of labor. There are three or four primary evils of the coming administration. If we separate each evil and let those with the power to resist we can mount an effective resistance. Trump’s corruption is emblematic of why the division of labor is important. The only chance of making corruption an effective  point of resistance is the Republican House and Senate  becoming convinced it’s a problem for them. That won’t happen soon, so we’re better off leaving that issue to attorneys general in Democratic states and legal advocacy groups that have the power to do something about it.  The media loves corruption stories so there’s no doubt they’ll continue to stream out. But as a matter of politics for people opposed to Trump they’re a dead end. The Russian hacking and the possibility that the Russians have compromising videos of Trump is a similar dead end. It requires Congressional investigations to be effective. Then giving Congress a sense of urgency to impeach Trump. Leave that issue for foreign policy hawks and the media who again love the spy novel drama of it all. The issues we can win on now and in the future is the political agenda of the Republican congress. They clearly didn’t plan on winning. Their plans are sitting on a shaky foundation within their own caucus. The ACA repeal appears preventable. By fighting on that one issue, then on Medicare and Social Security cuts. And on and on. We can win the fights now to protect the social safety net due to Republican disorganization. Then we can win coming elections as defenders of the services voters rely on. Finally we stop Trump and end this madness.