You are not going crazy. America is gaslighting you.

by renegademama

Let’s get something really fucking clear right now: We are being gaslighted by our country.

At this point, without willful ignorance or staunch denial or some super special cocktail of both, there is no way to dodge the reality of our country.

Whatever hope any of us had (spoiler alert I had none) that Trump “wouldn’t be that bad” has crashed by now, and we are left with detention centers for children ripped from their parents’ arms, alongside a mural of our dictator.

Wait. We aren’t supposed to have a dictator.

When our President refers to a murderous dictator running a totalitarian state as “very honorable” and “very smart,” somebody who “loves his people,” stating that it’s an “honor to meet [him],” you have two choices: Admit Trump is dangerous as fuck and wholly anti-democratic or bury your head further in the motherfucking sand.

The ship has sailed. We are here. POTUS lies so much we don’t even care anymore. He refers to the free press as “our country’s biggest enemy.” That shit barely makes the news.

Meanwhile, Russia’s meddling in our 2016 elections remains unaddressed. Not only is it unaddressed, our President advocates for Russia on the global stage, aligning himself with the world’s dictators while shitting on our allies. (Sure am glad he’s taking care of that pesky threat known as “Canada.”)

They’re trying to gut health care, again. Net neutrality is gone.

Meanwhile, Trump attacks actors in misspelled tweets and the White House remains a revolving door of appointees and Antarctica is melting. We can’t even care about climate change. That’s like way low on the list, amiright? Think about that.

The hits just keep on coming, so, so fast. Every fucking day. And we’re expected to just carry on. On the one hand, what else are we supposed to do? We have to live. We have to feed our families and raise our kids and pay our rent.

But all this “normalcy” in the face of absolutely not normal at all creates a sense of dizzying and lonely dissonance. Gaslighting. The sycophantic GOP in Congress just twiddling its thumbs letting this shit all slide, as if it’s just business as usual. Gaslighting. Fox News has clearly become state propaganda and millions of Americans believe that shit. Gaslighting.

I walk around in a perpetual state of ARE YOU NOT SEEING WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? Even with some acquaintances. And family members. People are flat out fucking delusional. Somebody tried to argue recently that Trump is bring people “together.”



Jesus, this sucks.

We are forced to carry on our lives in The United States of Fascism Light. We have to just keep on living. We see democratic principles being systematically annihilated every fucking day, maybe hour, and the never-ending news reels just cover it and cover it like it’s standard politics and the GOP does jack shit and we see what’s happening but all this inaction by the people in power tells us every day, all day, that everything is fine.

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

I read Twitter and Facebook and comment sections of news articles. Trump supporters quote the Bible and call people liberal snowflakes, citing shit Obama did, rejoicing in some idea of regaining America greatness, of vague nostalgia, while they get fucked by the oligarchy and don’t even see it. Their bigotry is so rampant they’re just overjoyed at the prospect of “tough on illegals” without recognizing what it really means that we’re removing children from their parents. They love Trump’s posturing, his Big Man persona, failing to see how they’re being played. The rich simply rejoice in their tax cuts. Dizzying. Infuriating.

As if any of this is the fucking point.

This isn’t about us vs. them, folks. This is about the soul of our nation and thus the soul of its people, and it’s about where we’re headed, and how we built this, and whether or not we can survive it.

Am I overreacting? Being hyperbolic? Maybe. But explain to me a detention center for children with our President’s face painted on the wall. Explain to me a President attacking the free press. Explain to me a President who FLAT OUT DOES NOT CARE that Russia meddled in our elections. Explain to me his praise for Kim Jong Un. Explain to me his constant barrage of lies. Explain to me the Congress doing nothing to stop him.

I have no answers. How could I?

What I want to say to you, friends, is that what we have to do right now, every goddamn day, is look for the truth.

I’m not referring to the media. Yes, do that.

But right now, what I’m talking about are the artists. The people speaking the truth of humanity, of love, of freedom.

Read more than you ever have. Read James Baldwin and Toni Morrison and Tolstoy and Austen and Sylvia Plath. Read everyone. Read every fucking day, even just a little.

Follow @nitch on Instagram. Follow painters and poets and weirdos. Follow the ones making shit. Right now. Do it.

Get your ass to a museum and look at some art. Look at local art. Look at fancy European art. Look at photographs and sculptures. Watch people doing amazing things with their bodies and hands and minds.

Turn your music up. Turn it way, way up. Get thee to festivals and dance. Bring the annoying children. Dance with them, too. Dance in the living room. Turn it up so loud you think your ears may break. Your favorite songs. The ones that rip your heart out. The ones you loved when you were young.

We have to stay centered, friends, grounded, in life, in the people speaking truth, in those with the moral courage, then and now, to insist on the power and beauty and creative force within all of us, to revolt and resist and survive, or we will grow tired, and we will forget, and we will give up.

We are living right now in a nation that’s lying to us, every day, forcing us to deny and ignore what see with our own fucking eyes, what we know to be true, and that’s a horrible way to live. A horrible way to raise children. A demoralizing, confusing way to live.

Remember you aren’t crazy.

You know the truth and the truth knows you.

We must insist upon it.

And vote in November or I’ll kick your fucking ass.

I love you. Art. Art now.

He’s learning guitar and playing these old songs and the kids and I sing along. We have to not forget.


“I suppose some of us don’t have the luxury of neatly wrapped truth, of affirmations that rest on our tongue like peppermints. Some of us need to be doused in gasoline and set aflame, until the truth consumes us, and we have no choice but to recreate ourselves. A collision, I suppose, when one must choose to live or die.

I didn’t want to feel better. I wanted to live.
I didn’t want the pain gone. I wanted it to mean something.

And when I found my voice, I found a purpose for every moment I had lived. I found power in every blackened room in my mind, every fear, every molestation, every sad parent, every futile word and nightmare memory.

Because it led me to you, to the place where we are the same, to the place where words draw a line from my bones to yours, and you look at me and say, “I know,” and I look back at you, thinking, Well I’ll be damned, I guess we’ve been here together all along.”


44 Comments | Posted in politics | June 14, 2018
  • ElRobbo

    Sigh. Okay. You just earned a book sale with this post.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    • Paul Jacobs

      I agree with every word written here. I am a 47 years old retired firefighter (due to injury) and received only 2 years disability back in 2010. As I was losing everything, including my family, during the finacial crash, I had to move home with family. Recently I found out I have degenerative disc disease in my c-spine, but the VA has their head so far up their ass the docs have no clue how to manage their patients. I was rear-ended last month and am receiving proper medical care for the first time since I found out about my c-spine ONLY because the at fault party’s insurance is paying for it. In the midst of all this shit I have applied to 358 jobs in the last 5 months and have had only 6 interviews. 4 of those were BS, and 3 of the BS interviews I was discriminated against. The EEOC NEVER responded and I could not get through on their online portal to make an appointment. When I go out in the world to find work, or even just have a coffee, there is a sense of a millennial takeover where everyone wants to be nice… smile to your face and tell you what they want you to hear, then walk away leaving you with nothing but questions and frustration. This is rampant in every professional business I deal with. How are people supposed to move forward with a positive outlook and sense of worth when our country is run by greed and ignorance? How am I supposed to house myself and see my children if I am shut out and shunned by the world around me? I have a BS in psychology and will have an MBA in September ’19 with a concentration in CPA. All I can do is hope I make it another year as I am currently living off school funds. The worst part of all is I haven’t been able to see or speak to my daughter in another state because her mother has blocked my number. I have no way to correct this and no help at all. I am tired of how this country is working. So tired…
      – Sad and Alone –

    • Jamie

      Anyone who believes in “The Golden Rule” is being gaslighted right now. It doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative or whatever label we give ourselves.

  • Anna

    I absolutely love this. I spend my days wandering around trying to figure out wtf it’s happening on any given day. I would like to add to this, get out and prepare to vote. Get educated on the people you are voting for, and for vote with your morals, not with your loyalties. Read up on who is getting money from where, and follow the grassroots organizations that are trying to change the status quo.

    Get mad, get educated, go vote. November is our chance to slow this fucking train wreck down so that in 2020 we can stop it for good.

    Thank you for writing this. I needed to feel less alone.

    • Norita

      Anna – YESSSSS! Everything you stated here!!
      I fucking love you!

  • Kathy S

    Yes! Yes yes yes and yes. And thank you. America has been dumbing down for years, but this is fucking disgusting.

  • Charise

    Thanks so much for this and Amen.

  • Jessica

    Motherfucking hell yes to all of this.

    That is all.

  • amy

    I love you and your writing so much. Thank you for bringing the noise. I thought I should share this quote, because I feel so hopeless. I need something to hold on to (from Howard Zinn ): “What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places–and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

    • Arica

      Thank you! Just thank you!

  • Suzanne

    Thank you for having the courage to write this. I will read. I will look at art AND support my local art museum (just sent a check for membership). But I think about those kids and feel so helpless. I want to get in my car and drive to one of these places and start pounding on the door. I’m making calls today to the White House and Devin-freakin-Nunes. But what else? I feel like we need to make some noise.

    • Missus T

      Great post, truly inspirational and comforting 🙂

      The confusion & fear is REAL and are symptoms of lies and hatred.
      I crave truth and love. Let us unite to demonstrate truth and love. Let us give truth and love to our brothers and sisters around the world.

      Suzanne: in response to what else? I want to share that I was able to donate money to the ACLU today in honor of Trump’s b-day, it felt great!

  • Bonnie Ward

    Thank you!!! I am in a constant state of outrage and i feel SO helpless. I feel dizzy and breathless at times…..Thank you for your outrage, and your call to what matters. I will have my grown kids over for hamburgers on the grill tonight, will snuggle with my granddaughter as i put her to bed tonight, and sing “Amazing Grace”, like i do every night—reminding her and me that this isn’t the only Story!

  • Melissa Dawson

    Hi Janelle. I just heard that the 1 issue left and right have in common is concern about the bees. Perhaps,this is something to remember when for a way to engage people about the importance of the G7 and the Arctic melt. One love sweetheart.

  • Nikki

    I literally just wrote a version of this yesterday on FB. About an hour later I had family members (trumpers) posting about the liberal left being “morons” and how “close they are to communism and socialism.” They LOVE this. I can’t explain it. It breaks my heart and hurts my soul. For the record, these people are NOT stupid or ignorant. They are well educated (with advanced degrees) and that is what makes it harder for me. The gaslighting causes a constant state of underlying stress that never seems to go away and only gets worse. It makes me feel better to see you say this out loud, because otherwise the gaslighting might work and convince me I’ve lost my mind.

    • Norita

      Nikki, I posted this to John’s comment as well. I can relate to your frustration with Trumpers in the family – mine too. Maybe this can work for you too? :
      I have a small group of activist friends & we support each other in our ACTIONS:
      can you take direct grass roots actions? Can you choose one thing locally or within your State that you DO NOT agree with & March like a mofo all the way into your Congress person’s office? Or at least make direct phone calls to them? Can you write letters or wmails to your Congress members sharing your views?

      We need you! And we can’t rely on other people to take action for us at this point. In Democratic Solidarity & sincere thank you, Xox

  • Renee

    THIS!!! Every. Fucking. Day. It is exhausting and perplexing and quite depressing. Thank you for sharing, Janelle. It’s like you live in my head.

  • Carra

    Thank you for your voice! May we all be brave enough to go out into the world and fucking fight for what we know is right. For ourselves, our children, and for those who have never known our privilege.

  • Kathryn

    My grandmother came out of Germany post WWII, what you are describing seems very closely aligned with what many Germans watched happen to their country. Hitler was originally elected to a democratic government as well. Please take action America before its too late!

    • renegademama

      So many Americans can hardly admit Trump sucks, let alone is dismantling our republic. And yet, here we are. We’re clinging to the rule of law, seeing if it will hold up, but I am nervous, that’s for damn sure. Just waiting for the Reichstag Fire Trump uses to justify whatever the fuck he comes up with. Terrifying. Let me know if you need a wife, husband, and four kids over there in Australia.

  • Renee'

    OMG thank you for this! There are days that I think I am going crazy from all the bigots, racist, homophobic, uncaring, xenophobic, misogynistic SOB’s have showed up since our fearless Orangeman has come into power. A group of my friends scattered throughout the country have formed a group on Messenger on which we share/bitch about the GOP/administration/his head orangeness on. It is very therapeutic! We know we can say anything to each other and get it crammed back down our throats! It’s nice being about to say whatever you want without the fear of retaliation! Everyone needs a safe place!!!!

  • John Hanley

    Hey, whatever happened to that National Strike idea that was being floated as follow-up to the women’s march? I thought that was a sure fire winner. ““Dismantle the children’s prison camps! Keep digging until we get to the bottom of Russian interference in our elections! Insert your crucial yet achievable goal here! STRIKE, YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, STRIKE!!!”

    • Norita

      John, can you take direct grass roots actions? Can you choose one thing locally or within your State that you DO NOT agree with & March like a mofo all the way into your Congress person’s office? Or at least make direct phone calls to them? We need you! And we can’t rely on other people to take action. Xox

    • renegademama

      Goddamnit I fuckin love you, John.

  • Kristin Sheridan

    You are absolutely right, my dear. Please be sure to take care of yourself. I worry about you.

  • A Penner

    So refreshing to read this! As Canadians, we wonder what the heck happened in the US?!? We watch the news and hear the constant craziness and lies and wonder how on earth people can support this government. Yes, please, get out and and vote!!

    • Norita

      you are so correct ^^^ And it has never been more apparent how much corruption there is with this Administration. I have never been so appalled or embarassed or ashamed to admit I am from the US. Please know that MOST of us do NOT think like this dumb fucker & are fighting like hell to rectify all the Diplomatic damage his is doing at such a crazy speed. Also, gotta love Robert De Niro’s apology to all Canadians this week. I too apologize for not getting Dumpy OUT OF OFFICE soon enough. Thanks for your comment above.

    • renegademama

      White supremacy is one helluva drug. Also, oddly, I am finally, slowly, beginning to hear about people here and there who regret voting for him. He somehow managed to snow people, which I WILL NEVER FUCKING UNDERSTAND.

  • Lorain

    Yes, thank you!!! We are in danger of becoming numb and exhausted, but we cannot afford to stand aside while all this mess is raining down. For those who are already exhausted, please just pick an issue and fight for it. As for me, I am standing with the children and families. Students have the right not to be shot in their classrooms, and immigrants deserve basic human rights! I want my country back. No. I demand that it be returned, and I will work like hell to vote out anyone who is in the way.

  • Kari

    Gaslighting! That’s exactly it!

  • Brenda Edmonds

    Rock on with your bad self! This madness is beyond the pale. I have been having visions since the age of 14. I’ve had three regarding 45. One has come to pass when he took the oath of office. The other two are to come, & they are dark! So I’m freaking out on a couple of levels. Had to start taking blood pressure meds. Have had difficulty sleeping & wake up pissed off sometimes, because I feel so helpless to stop this cruel, vile, pussy grabbing, racist. But taking kids away from their parents & holding them in cages? WTF?? I am beyond angry & my heart breaks for them! The GOP has been effectively neutered! My theory is that they must show up in the Oval Office, drop their pants, get on their knees, vow loyalty to 45, at which point they have their balls removed, and replaced with a Trump brand! “There are none so blind as those who will not see”!

  • Norita


    Truth to power!!

    Younfucking ROCK Janelle –

    Damnit, I wanted to post a pic of some art I made related to this theme but cannot attach a photo in comments here. Drats.
    Just do it.
    Dance your ass off & VOTE in the primary elections starting NOW!


  • Mary.El

    I wish I were as articulate as Janelle!! I’m exhausted from being pissed off all the time. Have stopped communicating with crazy Christian trumpers in my family and that has helped some. I’m still trying to figure out how to be civil to anyone who thinks that what is happening is ok.

    I try to remember that a majority of voters chose HILLARY CLINTON on Election Day. How is this a democracy?

    I have voted in every election: city, county, state, and national since 1984. Yeah, 1984. (I hate the electoral college.) I will for sure be at the polls in November.

  • Trisa

    I was so relieved to read this, and have shared it widely. Here,on the other side of the world, I wondered whether Americans can actually SEE what’s happening to their country. It’s very,very worrying. As a musician, I obviously totally agree with your solution xx

    Then, this:

  • Just another....whateveryouwanttocallme

    How come Trump ended up as President then? Just curious

    • renegademama

      Why did Hitler rise to power? Why did chattel slavery exist? Why was Jim Crow a thing? Because people suck.

  • Rachel

    When you feel helpless remember that voting is our most powerful weapon and the fastest way to stop this fucking nightmare. Tell everyone you know they can register to vote at And commit to helping get people to the polls. If that means asking a neighbor if they need a ride to the polls, do that! It doesn’t have to be an all-out effort. Just do what you can.

    And I think this is your best, most important post yet. And reading the comments makes me feel less alone.

  • Erin

    Yes, just yes to all of this. You put my (our?) soul into such horribly amazing words. C’mon,America, let’s get our shit together.

  • Sarah

    This exactly. I tell my husband all the time I feel like I’m being gas-lighted. A lot of folks around us act like this is normal and great, and I’m over here saying “how can you not see?!?!? This is not OK!!!” I try to keep my sanity by music, getting my hands in the dirt and raising the food that feeds my family, reading (including awesome blogs like this one!) and doing what I can to make my voice heard. Our children and the world deserve better than this! Keep speaking up!

  • Farrell

    My thoughts exactly! Only you said it way better.
    Ps – I’m almost done your audio book and I LOVE it!!

  • Tarah

    I am from Canada and I can barely read or listen to headlines lately. I do not understand how people can still be so oppressed and flat out ignorant in this continent.

  • lightlysalt

    Good morning and no due process. FUCK.

  • Dan

    You are nuts and what is wrong with this country.

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