So I’m sitting here, having coffee while I wait for a friend…
“Hey, I’m early, let’s kill some time with the news!”
Of all the good ideas I’ve had, that one is right up there with “…of course I’ll take you to an occupied bear den! The cubs are super-cute when they’re at home…”
I think I prefer the angry momma grizzly, thank you very much.
A few random thoughts and notes based on what I read, then, in no particular order:
- “Editing” the Constitution — *sigh* look, I know the language in there can be a problem. I know the concepts and compromises from 200+ years ago can bring pain and outrage now, but “editing” our past isn’t going to solve anything. It would be much better to use the language and concepts and compromises as the basis for teaching. For teaching how things have changed…and how they haven’t. Both the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are more aspirational than concrete, anyway, so they make wonderful tools for teaching middle and high school kids about reality — both the reality of now, and the reality of two hundred+ years ago.
- Whites Need to Speak Up…or Shut Up (which one kinda depends on who you are reading) — One of the things I’m not going to do is try to divine peoples’ emotions and motivations, and to advocate who should or should not be able to speak. Skin color does not change the validity or honesty of what a person has to say, and that is flat out the only way to look at it. To argue otherwise is to simply flip the script of racism, which leads to nothing but the tit-for-tat bullshit we are starting to see every day. That being said, I’ve chosen to keep my own mouth shut and listen. I listen because I don’t know. Oh, I know the history and sociology and intellectual side of race and the US…but I don’t know. I’ve never been pulled over because of what I look like. I’ve never been followed by store employees because of my skin or hair. I’ve never felt the sting of violence and hate and fear because I was other. I’ve kept my mouth shut because I don’t think I can add to the discussion at this point. Instead, I would rather let the eloquence of others speak with the power and authority of experience and authenticity. But that is my choice, valid for me alone. It in no way means that “no white person should ever discuss race” as I’ve read some suggest.
- Apathy vs Delusion — this election promises to keep poli-sci programs, not to mention generations of “political strategists,” busy with examples and lessons for generations to come. Leave aside the names involved, and all of the emotion and judgments contained therein, and just look at the dynamics of the race itself: you have one candidate, running on a broad range of supporters that numerically should be able to dominate the opponent. That range, however, has very little enthusiasm or energy. They support, but they don’t do so with any real intent or drive. On the other side, you have a candidate with a small base of supporters who in no way represent the nation at large, but have all the energy and dedication in the world. They will believe anything — do anything — their candidate says, and they will do so in the most aggressive and offensive ways. So, politically, which wins? 4 years ago it was passion and rage, running against a shrugging nonchalance, but will that hold true today? If I weren’t living in the midst of this, it would make for an interesting modern lesson on the historical examples and dynamics I have studied for so long. If I weren’t living it.
- The Company You Keep — As a child I was taught that your character is defined by what you do, and by the company you keep. Now, that outlook has been put to the test more than a few times in some of the, uhh, “shenanigans” that have made up my life, but it is something I long ago took to heart and have tried to live by. Enter Donald Trump. If he is defined by what he does, and by the company he keeps… *sigh*. Sorry, folks, but I’m lost with this one. Since I don’t want to get into a 5,000 word diatribe — one that George Will did much, much better here — I’m going to focus on just one thing: Trump’s choice to keep company with traitors. He has chosen to laud and irretrievably pin himself to the “heroes” of the Confederacy in the Civil War. That is the company he has chosen to keep: those who chose to pick up a weapon and fight for slavery. Sorry Donny, but that there is ‘nuff said…you are thoroughly defined.
- Recrudescence — yep, COVID is coming back, and it’s coming back hard. Nope, conspiracy theorists and denialists, this is NOT just “another flu.” Nor is it “fake news” made up just so the left can go after Trump and the hard right fringe that is today’s GOP. Coronavirus and COVID-19 are very much real, and still very much a threat. If you are getting your news on COVID solely from Fox News, Powerline, OANN and Townhall…well, I can’t help you. You may have chosen to put yourself in an echo chamber — as is most definitely your right and privilege — but please do the rest of us a favor and stop assuming those echoes mean a damned thing to anyone else.
Okay, so this bit isn’t really a part of the “list,” it is just…
It is just a thought, and a (sorta) plea: people change.
Yes, this post went a little “rant-y,” but I couldn’t stop myself. I have friends and family who still expect me to be the good conservative Republican I once was. Sorry, folks, but I ain’t that person anymore. I’ve changed. I’d like to think for the better, but there is no question that I very much have changed. One of the biggest of those changes is that I have no more patience for the willful ignorance and demented worldview that characterize both extremes.
Quite simply, I want nothing to do with either.
Live and let live, that’s it. That’s what matters to me. That’s also how I judge any and all politicians and others who claim to “lead.”
Every day I become more libertarian. Every day I become more convinced that this overwhelming drive both sides have to dominate and rule the lives of everyday folks is what is driving us to a second civil war. I wish I could say we could stop this slide, but I’m pretty sure we passed the tipping point years ago…if not decades ago.
But, hey, when that war comes, well…
No one does memory, and monuments, better than the Central Europeans — a reminder of the costs: