Naked on the day it was burned

A few hours after Trump’s travel ban for Muslims started getting serious news attention (including nonstop CNN coverage), the naked guys were standing around the locker room at the YMCA, transfixed by what they saw on television.

It was the end of a Wisconsin Badgers basketball game, however, that enraptured them. Out in the fitness area, virtually everyone was ignoring several screens with live coverage of our constitution going down in flames, complete with stranded travelers and unjust detentions.

From what I could tell, life was simply moving forward for most exercisers. I didn’t see a single animated conversation, and certainly not one that appeared to focus on the travel ban.

Around that time, a friend of mine — a technology entrepeneur from one of our staunchest Pacific allies, in the U.S. to do business — said he was busy at an airport, spending a substantial amount of time “chatting up the CBP officer to make my case that I’m no criminal”  (CBP being Customs and Border Protection),

We’re all being faced with serious personal choices right now.  Ignore what’s going on around us?  Post a few outraged comments on social media? Join a march?  Boycott a business? Something more?

I’ve seen all sorts of things.  One friend told me yesterday, with a clear tinge of shame, that he’s just trying to keep his head down and do his job,  Several friends took part in the recent women’s marches.  One new acquaintance — a Facebook friend, really — is posting an endless series of anguished comments, multiple times daily.

Fixing this is going to need more, and it’s tough to know how to proceed.  Part of what I’ll do is write more, including on this blog, where I’d committed to focusing more on parks and the outdoors and less on the political side than I have in the past.

As we have seen, however, with the rebellion of National Park Service employees amid renewed political efforts to weaken science, sell off public lands, and silence dissent, there can be no avoiding politics.

I’ve posted nothing since mid-November for multiple reasons, all of which were stressful, but none more so than the thoroughly deflating and demoralizing election in which the worst elements of our national character changed the nature of our country.

It’s time to come back. I’ll still stick mostly to the outdoors, as I’ve got some projects in the works, including the continued production of my outdoors column.  But the ugly side of life in America cannot be ignored now.

Not everything in nature can be beautiful.  It often seems that little in politics is, but there are glimmers of hope here and there through the smoke of our principles being incinerated.

Many are resisting in ways large and small.  Doing so creatively and appropriately, forcefully and effectively, is the task we must all continue.

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