Throwback Thursday: Politics in 1982

I haven’t been posting a lot on this year’s election, mostly because I’m willfully ignoring it, mostly because the whole spectacle makes me queasy. I feel like ever since 2000, I’ve plunged myself in these roller-coaster elections and tried to influence the course of events with my willpower alone. Now the whole thing seems kind of a waste of time. I know who I’m voting for. No one and nothing will change my mind. And so, watching people I detest say detestable things in debate after debate seems masochistic in the extreme. I know a lot of people like the reality-show absurdity of the whole process, but I for one don’t enjoy watching horribly unqualified people bloviate and then having nightmarish imaginings of said people in the Oval Office. I don’t need the extra stress.

And yet sometimes, even when trying to avoid politics, I find a lovely¬†moment in my fickle reading that manages to put everything in perspective. This passage comes from May Sarton’s journal¬†At Seventy, written in 1982, and therefore does indeed bring with it that security that comes from knowing that everything that’s happening and is going to happen will do so from the safety of the past. You can be the judge as to how much things have changed since then:

There is never any depth in Reagan’s perceptions of the world. He behaves like an animated cartoon, wound up to perform futile gestures and careless witticisms. It made me feel sick when his reaction to the despair of blacks about this administration was to engineer the other day a visit to a middle-class black family who had been threatened five years ago by a burning cross. So the TV cameras were marshaled, and Reagan and Nancy were shown kissing the family one by one. He made a few remarks about “this sort of thing” not tolerable in a democracy. But what is not tolerable is such a cheap ploy. Meanwhile, forty-eight percent of young blacks are jobless, and the administration offers no help. The black family behaved with perfect dignity, but the whole false “scene” was shown up clearly for what it was, a public-relations media event, an insult to the black community, neglected and shoved under the rug.

Throwback Thursday: Finishing the First Semester of My PhD Program


Journal entry (no date):

First semester PhD in English literature is over, plum-consarnit. I have nothing to do for 5 weeks besides think about my own thoughts, feelings, insights, etc. I can go Christmas shopping, I can send out my stories and think about this or that. I have a reading list to work on for next semester, but do I have to worry about it right now? Not really, no. It might be best to take those books home w/ me for Christmas so that my mom doesn’t catch me checking out the hippie books. All is well for a whole semester. Yay! Freedom! Let freedom ring, sing a song, sing a freedom song. Ugh, dear God, eighth grade choir. How far I have come since then. How I never thought I would finish, how I remember walking home on my final day, opening the gate to the backyard, realizing I would never have to go back to that terrible place. And I haven’t.