top of page
  • Karl Thunemann

Karl's Keyboard # 13

A Changing of the Anxiety Guard

Election “day” has come and passed, at last. Chances are, today we don’t know who won the White House. So we have a quandary: Which of our anxieties should come to the fore while we wait for the wrangling to end and the results to be proclaimed?

I have some regrets. All the time I wasted--speculating that Donald John Trump would win a second term—trying to identify where my wife and I might find refuge from the juggernaut of the new emperor? It was all wasted. I am too old, too creaky to become a refugee. We would miss all the people we love. Besides, who would take us in? Canada has pulled in the welcome mat. And who beyond their mid-70s would opt to move to a country where they did not know anyone and could not speak the language?

So, how should I have spent my time? In seminars! The keynote speakers at these events would have been middle-class citizens of autocratic regimes, and they would have addressed the challenge of living a meaningful life under the sway of a despot. Or maybe they could have dwelled on the question of maintaining a quiet resistance under such circumstances. Well, maybe we could have these seminars now, if the would-be despot has taken a firmer grip. But how wise could that be? Almost certainly someone would be watching to make a list of citizens hostile to the regime. Ah, paranoia: a new and compelling anxiety.

But suppose the would-be autocrat has been ousted. Will we miss our daily revelation of assaults on the Constitution and common sense? There will be so many acts to be undone. Institutions to be resurrected. Principles of democratic government to be restored. Respect for science to be revived. Refugee children to be reunited with their families. The resuscitation of respect for climate change. The reversal of an untold number of executive orders. Will a new administration keep its eye on the ball? What role will citizens play in this? If we poured money into 2020 political campaigns, which new causes will claim our support?

And this uncertainty remains. If we choose to live under the autocracy without becoming active participants in the Resistance, can we possibly maintain self-respect?

If our anxiety itself is feeling anxious, give it some reassurance. We still have the pandemic to keep us company. Even if a new administration gives Dr. Fauci the authority he deserves, the good doctor still holds out the prospect that COVID-19 will be with us until late 2021. That should be enough anxiety for most people!

Lost in Time—my Strange Walkabout

I found myself beset by weird personal anxiety over the past couple of weeks. In essence, I completely lost track of time and blew through the deadline for this edition of the Keyboard. (It had been appearing bi-weekly—methodically.) What was the cause? I remain mystified, although two candidates stand forth. One could be that I felt disoriented by a comment left by an eighth-grade classmate. I have addressed this in a featured epistle. The other is the possibility that I had experienced a major shift in my “mild cognitive impairment.” It seems now to have shifted back, but I remain skeptical. Forging ahead, I must keep myself under observation.

My primary reader suggests that I endow my mild cognitive impairment with a name. Well, yes, if I am going to talk about it as an entity. But nothing comes to mind. Any suggestions?

Featured in this Keyboard:

The Big Huzzah

The first I ever heard of Louise Glück came last month, when the American poet received the Nobel Prize for literature. Here is the poem “The Red Poppy.” She may be unknown to me, but she has piled up honors over the years. We are contemporaries; she was born in 1943, the year before I was. Will have to attend to her work. This is the big time! Not a Pulitzer or even being named U.S. poet laureate (as if the latter honor were not tarnished by its recent associations!

Let’s have more dialogue!

There are two ways to take part:

1. Post a comment on the blog! Some readers haven felt frustrated with this, but it is pretty simple: To comment on the blog: scroll down to the bottom of the post, where there is a comments box. You will have to leave a name in order to comment, but all other information is optional. It will give the option to leave your fb, Twitter, or Gmail but you don't have to.

2. Consider becoming a contributor. I will consider posts about meditation, broadly defined. I prefer stories over instruction, but I am flexible. I like posts shorter than 1,000 words. Send your proposed text—or a query—to me at

Til next time …

Remember to meditate! If you voted, give yourself credit! If you forgot, be forgiving!


bottom of page