I don’t know French very well, despite owning an apartment in Paris, but as long ago as 1955, when I was there for a month as a traveling student, I picked up some phrases that all conveyed more or less the same thought: I’m cool. One of them was ça m’est égal. Another was je suis en balance.
After just one week of Trump as President, I find myself in need of these phrases, simply as a way of maintaining some equilibrium. In all of my eighty-three years, I have never experienced such a whirlwind of opinion and activity and energy and fury in the public sphere, not even during the Viet Nam War or after the murder of Dr. King. Every day, more information pours in on me, every drop of which seems important, urgent, demanding my immediate attention. I have gone to two demonstrations in four days, which is two more than I went to in the preceding thirty years. I seem to be blogging more or less constantly, driven by a compelling fear that I am not doing as much as I ought. Each day, two or three or a dozen analyses of the situation are written, every one of which strikes me as more insightful and important than anything I have written.
We are in for a long war. Burning out in the first three weeks is very definitely a bad idea. I need to find some way to keep acting, writing, protesting, fighting week after week, month after month, never losing my cool, never becoming off balance, but nevertheless carrying on relentlessly. There are quite literally tens of millions in this struggle as well, and I am convinced that it is a struggle we can win.
In the days ahead, I shall try to maintain some equilibrium. One of the things it might be useful for me to do is to think and write about what winning the struggle would look like, so that if we start to succeed, we will know that we are, and will be encouraged to carry on.
Meanwhile, I am binge watching Covert Affairs and doing “fiendishly hard” crossword puzzles.