For the last few months - and for many reasons - I have been doing some work on myself, for want of a better phrase. Rest assured, I have not been dabbling in plastic surgery. It has been more about my general well-being. Both mental and physical.
One of the strands which I have been pursuing is the idea of being true to how we actually feel about something. I have not been good at believing in my right to feel angry or upset. But I am getting better at holding onto and validating my feelings.
The current news climate, though, has caused me to think that we are all going to have to get better at this. We must not allow ourselves to be convinced by politicians or certain news outlets that our initial feelings of revulsion or anger about something are wrong. We have to hang on to what we know to be true, to be right, to be fair.
In Nazi Germany, the necessary majority of people were gradually convinced - by way of an improving economy and much militaristic posturing - that the disappearance of the Jews, of the disabled, of any effective opposition was a good thing. That it was for the greater good. The Nazis didn't have social media but they had stupendous propaganda. It was the ultimate in fake news, surely?
Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globes was a brilliant example of holding on to how something had really and truly made her feel. And she used that to show the kind of behaviour we are up against. Not just in the US either. Brexit in the UK and the rise of politicians like Marine Le Pen in France have allowed all sorts of horrific things to be said and done which are just plain wrong. To say nothing of our general malaise towards the continuing situations in the Middle East.
I believe in free speech and honest exchanges of opinions. But no one, whatever their political colouring, should be allowed to use gender, race, religion or other human characteristics to attack their opponents. If you do not have the wit and intelligence to put together a coherent, fact-based and fair argument, you should not be in public life.
[Not a family history post but one for our descendants maybe...]