Mary Beth Writes

Regarding that Debate. 

I’ve been at a zoo when a cranky monkey starts throwing poop. That remembrance came to me last night. Watching Uncle Joe try to answer questions while Trump trash talked everybody and everything except white supremacists – that was damn ugly.

Remember; Biden overcame a childhood stutter. I know part of that training is for the person to take deliberate breaths, calm themselves, think about what they want to say and how they will say it. That Biden could do that last night says powerful things about his character. I think the worst Biden did was call Trump a clown. Which is up from what many of are calling Trump.

Trump’s character was there for all to see with his “Tantrum as Political Strategy” learned from Roy Cohn. “Cohn tutored Trump in the methods of transactional power laundering…” Which means if you aren’t getting what you want, accuse the other person of anything dirty and scurrilous, do it loudly and repeatedly, and while they are defending themselves take what you want. (Read more about Cohn here.) 

But here’s the thing I really want to say.

For many of us, especially women, especially baby-boomers, last night was a trigger.

We grew up when it was fine for men to have tantrums because - they had stressful jobs; you know? Women’s job was to soothe and accommodate. If we couldn’t do that, then it was up to us to leave the room or the conference table or the arena. Hopefully before they hit us or our siblings or our kids.

I have specific memories of my dad, my brother, some men in churches I attended, some male teachers - yelling at others or sometimes yelling at me. I was never hit, and my memories are less toxic than other people’s memories, but I’m not in a mood to downplay my own lived experience.

I grew up assuming that to be hyper-vigilant about men and their moods was the signature of a fully-fledged woman. Damn that.

It is no coincidence that the woman Trump and Senate Republicans are aiming to jam into the Supreme Court DOES live in a world when men’s moods are women’s burdens to manage. That’s BS.

I don’t know how powerfully I can say this, but no one should need to leave the room because of someone else’s rage and power. Last night, in honor of the always-anxious kid I once was, I stayed to the end. So did Len. If you turned off the debates because it was so awful, fine.

I want to remind us today that we shouldn’t have needed to walk away when we kids, or when we were young partners in new relationships. We do not have to apologize now for turning off the TV or staying with it to the end.

Trumps’ behavior last night was toxic crap. It is not our job to understand him or to apologize for our feelings about him. We are in trigger territory when a person - any person including the president - is sputtering threatening, illogical, verbal bile that makes us feel anxious or scared or assaulted.

Our only job is to vote and do what we reasonably can to encourage and support others to vote.   

I decided to remind us of this. We have a month left and then whatever craziness happens after the election as votes are tallied. Hang on to your hats, your heart, your self-esteem, your sense of humor, and to hope. 

That was crazy. You are not crazy.

 

 

 

Comments

That was no debate. The moderator should have manned up and shut it down. I lasted an hour. The orange faced mass Murderer really gets on my last nerve and my first nerve. I have no respect for him...everything is I, I, I except when it involves taking responsibility for screw-ups and he has had many. He does have a punchable face and the lips of a petulant girl.
Mary Beth's picture

And yet, that seems to be what so many want. Someone to be the front brat, I guess. There's leadership, for you.

Never in my 81 years have I ever seen something so disgusting and childish from a president of the USA. Pathetic and scary!!!!
Mary Beth's picture

Yup.

Thank-you for this entry. It helped put words to some of my feelings about that sorry excuse for a debate!

I didn’t watch. Feeling outraged all the time throws me off my center and I’m just really tired of that. Whenever I get a little anxious lately I just send a little more money to Biden or the senate races and do a small task to improve my life or someone’s life near me.
Mary Beth's picture

Isn't it CRAZY that we have done so much thinking and clarifying in our lives and our relationships to make them kinder, clearer, less cluttered, less distracted, less angry. Did all that, and now POLITICS is triggering us back into hunkered down survival strategies? It's nuts.

Perhaps the people who support this kind of chaos haven’t had any experience to help them understand that life doesn’t have to be like this.
Mary Beth's picture

I'm sure they haven't, but they have the resources - books, conversations, good insurance, $ in the bank, flexible schedules, people who care about them - all that and yet they choose what's dark and narrow. To choose that when one lives among choices, that is its own kind of evil.

It’s true. It’s not an excuse for the guys using their power for harm.

First, thank you for giving words to my own jumbled thoughts about this. Second, thanks for reminding me it can be honorable to stay in the room. Or not. Just thanks.
Mary Beth's picture

So many of us have "Been there, have that T-shirt."

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Three Things / Story, Eclipse, Brando

1. I scheduled my Substack story to go out at 8AM this morning. I just looked to see why it didn’t show up and it says it is going to be sent at 8:49 tonight. I’m going to leave it like that. Maybe 9PM on a weekend night is a good time to send short fiction. Let me know if you have an opinion.

2. I read this quote by Marlon Brando who said this early in his career. “I’m not afraid of anything and I don’t love money.”

Even though this is probably not exactly true of me and you, I do love the bravado.

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I just finished reading Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and I am going to talk about it for a little bit before I forget how profoundly interesting and evocative this book was and is, at least to me.

I get emails from Boswell Bookstore (2559 N Downer Ave in Milwaukee). They host artist events pretty often and Monday evening, April 15th Len and I will be there for the Author Evening with Leif Enger. You can look up more of the details if you are interested. (Tickets are free but you need to reserve them.)

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The past month has been jam-packed. The week in Mineral Point. Len’s two-day seminar in Chicago. Last week we had various grandkids here for three overnighters and yesterday our family came to Easter dinner here in our house which was clean after a week with grandkid overnighters so you know that was a piece of cake. Len smoked two hams (yes, hard to keep them lit) and I made the largest amounts of from-scratch scalloped potatoes plus macaroni and cheese that I have ever made. As in, I grated four pounds of cheese Saturday afternoon. “On Wisconsin.”

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This is what I texted to Len this afternoon after I finished the poetry class with third graders. “I’m done and back. The kids were great and I’m a limp washrag, Teaching forty 8-year-olds for 90 minutes is way more energy than Everest.” I then drank half a beer (I NEVER drink in the afternoon) and fell asleep until the Mineral Point afternoon ‘change of shift siren’ shrieked for several minutes. It’s been a full day.

How 2 Write a Poem (3rd grade edition)

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Next week is my Writers Week at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. I won this when my story “How Crow Got Out of Jail” (Read Here) won first prize in the 2023 Wisconsin Writers Association Jade Ring contest for short fiction.

Winning that contest motivated me to open my Substack account. So far I’ve published 17 stories and only published once twice. (Who noticed that?)

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