Yesterday a colleague caught me lost in the off-white ceiling of our office. I don’t know what I was thinking at that moment. I was waiting for my coffee to brew, and rather than stare at the wall I stared at the ceiling. Reminds me of Van Gogh’s white period (no such thing, of course), I said, eventually aware that he was looking up with me.
I woke up at 1:30 this morning, also looking up at the ceiling wondering what to do. So many things running through my mind, none of which I remember. One topic after the other, jumping back, forgetting, scared that I forgot. Go to the bathroom, come back to bed. Do I read? Do I write? Fill a fountain pen and write by hand, or open the laptop and finish last night’s draft blog post? What was I going to do again?
I have been trying to write about the #MeToo campaign. Not sure what I want to say. Rather, I have much to say, but the battle lines are drawn. And no one is really listening, and any attempts at moderating the discussion just draws fire. Do I really want to put myself out there? I have been struggling with that since Monday, re-writing and re-writing. Frankly, I am afraid. It seems that the only voices anyone is listening to are the extreme ones. Each side has their camps of fanatical warriors; and it is a bloody melee whenever they meet.
I think that the most intelligent and best spoken essayists, columnists, journalists, and academics are being cowered by the extremists. If you argue that #MeToo is condemning some without due process, you are an anti-feminist, a misogynist, blame-the-victim, alt-right asshole. If you support #MeToo, you are a left-wing nut, liberal scum, man-hating sonofabitch. And both sides will send their jihadist warriors to blow themselves up and take you down with them.
It was bad enough to deal with the right-wing powers in the United States, and their agenda to stifle speech they found anti-American. We went through 8 years of that with Bush and Cheney. If you disagreed with their American domestic and foreign policy, you were anti-American, an enemy of democracy, trying to destroy Reagan’s “shiny city on the hill.” The left now has become just as bad. It is scary. It is safer to be anonymous or just keep your mouth shut in this environment. I certainly don’t have the material affluence to hide in a Hampton’s estate and play golf if my career is destroyed by either side.
I don’t know. I am not committed enough to the #MeToo cause to throw my life away by trying to be reasonable as the issues are debated. I am not that naive to believe that my voice matters; or that anyone wants to listen or cares what I have to say. Getting trolled on social media, or having crazies targeting my family is not fun.