After my second cross-country tour with Thirty Seconds to Midnight, I’ve been decompressing a bit and resting up. Actually, I returned home mentally tired and lazy. No energy to do much of anything. But, with the great weather we’ve been having here in Maine, a couple of stogies, and three new books, my energy is returning. So, I thought I’d share some of the observations gleaned from stops in 25 cities from Nashville to Seattle.
First of all, #45 has everybody I know and met….on high alert. That’s a good thing. To me it means people are paying attention, but to what? Well, they are reading the New York Times, the Washington Post, and watching CNN, MSNBC, and even Democracy Now. So, they get it that #45 is probably mentally ill, in the advanced stages of dementia or Alzheimers, and a self-centered narcissist. Most believe that Putin and the Russians interfered in the election despite there is still not a shred of proof. Now I must admit, most of my friends and the people who show up to view my film are what would be referred to as “progressives,” “far left,” and long-time activists. All of these people realize that #45’s proposed budget will end the middle class and throw this country into chaos and severe austerity. And yes, they know that #45 and the Republicans want to add $54 Billion more to the already bloated $500 Billion war budget, and they know that the country is $20 Trillion something in debt.
After eight years of Obama’s bombing and destroying entire countries in the Middle East, the Peace Movement in America is on life support…and that is being generous. Most of the people I know and have met realize that tensions are sky high between the U.S. and Russia and China, two nuclear armed countries. Everyone is confused about what to believe…”fake news” is on everyone’s tongue. Without getting into all of the issues that divide us as a country, I’ll just share what I believe to be the overall “mood” of these people.
Everyone feels overwhelmed and powerless to stop the trajectory this country is on. Many are depressed and report that many people they know are depressed. One good friend told me that a husband and wife, both doctors, report seeing an increase in patients who are depressed. Most of the activists insist they will keep doing what they have been doing just because they feel that have to keep up the struggle.
Three individuals out of over a thousand who saw Thirty Seconds to Midnight on two cross-country tours expressed the opinion that climate change is a hoax. These statements were met with groans from others in the audience. The vast majority of people who saw the film agree that in addition to nuclear war and nuclear power, climate change is the third threat to life on the planet. But….hardly anyone seemed overly concerned that these threats were imminent and existential. “Near Term Extinction” wasn’t something anyone seemed to be aware of even though nearly all agreed that nuclear war, nuclear power, and climate change were serious issues.
Whenever I was asked, “but what can we do?” my answer is always the same. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it and do more of it. If you are holding a protest or vigil one day a week, do it twice. If you are contacting your elected officials, double your efforts. If you are writing an occasional OP Ed, increase your efforts. Use pseudonyms if you have to. These actions give meaning to your life and they continue to open minds. It is satisfying to know you are doing something meaningful. It is reassuring to know that you are walking in a long line of the “good angels” human history has produced. It is comforting to know we have taken the moral high road in this human experiment.
I always conclude with the following. If indeed, extinction is “near term,” then enjoy life to the fullest. Keep your family and friends close, and “illegitimi non caborundum est!” That’s Latin for, “don’t let the bastards get you down.”
In Peace and Solidarity,