I really appreciate Sue’s connection of the gymnastics metaphor to our common and individual experiences. Right on.
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
Olympic athlete Simone Biles had a bad case of the “twisties.” In gymnastics lingo that means her brain was unable to give her body the right messages to move safely in the gym. We have all had moments when we have been unable to connect our head to our body, be it our limbs or our heart. We feel out of sorts, as if our whole world has come apart at the seams with no clear path to put it right.
For many of us, the election of 2016, the pandemic, and the January 6 insurrection are all inflection points that have left us twisted. We wonder whether there will be a time when we can again, like Simone, mount the ‘balance beam’ and perform in a more usual manner, as Simone did, perhaps with a little less flash, but with a deep respect for our world and all that has occurred in the last five years.
The orange egomaniac continues to hold sway with way too many people in and out of government. They either believe the lies spouted or they act as if they do out of fear of angering this man.
I just began reading I Alone Can Fix It, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, a chronicle of the last year of Trump’s Presidency. It starts off detailing the first few weeks of his handling of the pandemic. It is made clear that Trump was not concerned with the health of Americans but with whether any action taken would impact his ‘numbers’—the number voting for him, the poll numbers. He barely tolerated input from his advisors and did as he had done the previous four years: whatever he wanted. He took a stance that COVID-19 was no more than a flu, and his loyalists followed right along.
Now, over a year and a half later, despite the development of more than one amazing vaccine, the virus is surging again, here and all over the world. All over the world, because poorer countries have less access to the vaccine. Here, because if you mask up and get a jab, you are not loyal to the former president. In California, the numbers for those wanting jabs recently increased significantly again, but we are a Blue State, and in the Red States, the only thing going up is the death rate and number of new cases.
Trump is still convinced that he will be reinstated in the White House this month. Does that mean we can expect another, more aggressive insurrection? Or is it just more egotistical wishful thinking, more lies, and more conspiracy theory hype?
The former president and his minions continue to discount the insurrection, calling it “just a bunch of tourists.” Some have protested in front of the Justice Department, claiming those arrested are political prisoners and demanding that all charges be dropped. In the 1960s, American tourists in Europe were often referred to as the Ugly Americans, because of their rude manners, sense of entitlement, and cameras dangling round their necks. But even those 60s tourists with their rudeness never stormed the Capitol, nor caused great damage, nor attempted to subvert our democracy, nor injured countless people and caused the deaths of others.
I know I am not alone in feeling great anguish about Trump, the pandemic, and the insurrection. I, too, have a case of the ‘twisties,’ not knowing how this will all come to an end. Will there be another insurrection? Will many more die? Will Trump run in 2024? Or perhaps the New York Attorney General will finally read those damn tax returns and the Justice Department will charge him for his interference in the last election, and the twenty women who accused him of sexual harassment will get their due. Then we can all find our center and step back on the balance beam with a slightly less difficult routine and like Simone, be a winner. Bless her heart.