It is with great concern that I find myself posting about politics. This election has been a daily re-examination of my neighbors, the behavior of society, and the civil war I see raging around me. Thankfully, it is, thus far, a cold war. I have wondered at times, whether I could ever call myself a democrat or republican without feeling as though I’ve closed my mind to the big picture. Much like my views on religion, I have a hard time picking one side and taking all that there is from only that view point. You see, people are fallible. That’s why that old adage, “To err is human…” exists. We’re broken. We make mistakes. If we’re mature and reasonable people, we own our mistakes and work to correct them and then we move on.
I think that’s why when I think about politics, and the people we put in political offices, I think of what it’s like to try and walk outdoors in the winter:
- Some days you walk outside and it’s dry and bitterly cold, with a wind blowing so hard it threatens to knock you over. This is what it’s like listening to times when Congress is screaming at each other but not really doing anything, probably resulting in some form of filibuster.
- Some days you walk outside and it doesn’t seem that cold until you feel that first drop of freezing rain that falls between the collar of your coat and your skin and immediately seems to freeze your bones. That was the feeling I had when the repeal of ACA was announced with the addenda that there isn’t a ready replacement.
- Then there are the days when you already knew about the rain, but you didn’t realize how many patches of ice were left over from last night and as you walk, you slip and slide, possibly pulling some muscles in the process of trying to right yourself. I imagine this must have been what it was like for various members of the upper political echelon when they had a proposal for the group that was immediately peppered with holes by critics.
- When ice is reached, if you fall, what then? Well, if you manage to keep your wits about you and remember that it is winter and while inconvenient, and even sometimes painful, these things sometimes happen and it’s not the end of the world. So you pick yourself up, massage the bruise a bit, and again, move on. I feel like this particularly analogy is becoming a lost process in the political spectrum. More on that opinion later.
- Occasionally, the ice you slip on is thinner than you think it is and gives way to a hidden puddle. This is pretty much how I imagined the shutdown going. Now, while I know multiple people who were put out by this incident, I refer to it as a puddle because it was reasonably brief and vastly less awful than it could have been.
- What I feel like is happening now, between the vague promises, the cabinet of elites, and the plain and simply uncertainty of the new order, is that I and everyone I know, have been frog marched up a snowy hill in the rain and left to wait as the temperature drops and the snow turns to ice. For all I know, when the sun breaks through the clouds, I could get down from this ledge without more than a few scrapes and bruises. Or I and everyone I know could begin a domino of sliding down the various sides.
These are the thoughts that roll around in my head as I try to make sense of the things going on around me. My biggest problem, I think, is that I believe that emotions have no place in politics. I’ll repeat that: emotions have no place in politics. That’s may be why the ability to picks yourself up after falling on the ice seems to be going by the wayside. I’m that person that totally eats it, slams down butt first, slides, hits a tree, gets soaked through all my clothes, and will still find a way up, mutter, “of course that just happened,” and move on. If someone nearby were to watch this and laugh, I would either bow or say, “I’m here all week.” If that viewer made a rude comment about my inability to navigate the terrain, I would acknowledge inwardly that that person is a dick/jerk/asshole/shmuck, and go about my day. With politics, however, it seems like anytime someone falls, they are immediately barraged by the most obnoxious, immature personal attacks from their opponents, and their opponents supporters. This often seems to lead to equally obnoxious passive-aggressive counter attacks. Civility is gone.
My biggest concern is that this lack of civility, which at times is shown as open hostility, has permeated society to the point where I have seen posts daily that exclaim that some person is Un-American, someone is threatening another person or group, demands from one side that the other side shut up and stop whining, constant bickering back and forth and for the love of all that is holy, the name calling has got to STOP. No one will ever win the views over another person by making up a disparaging name tagged at the end with -tard. In case you aren’t following, the over abundant use of the phrases Libtard and Republitard truly make me want to slap people with dictionaries. But hostility will not be ended with more hostility. That’s the epitome of the saying, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” It’s never going to help.
“What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate…” and thus the story goes. 500+ people claiming to represent citizens they’ve never met sit in a marble palace having conversations with two men who we granted the country’s future to, and they collectively pit us against each other. My father, a middle school teacher, refers to this situation as, “Hey, let’s you and him fight.” But in this era where professional athletes make millions of dollars to play games and everyone has to pick a team and a favorite player, we all fell for it. You can hardly speak anymore without someone being offended. It doesn’t even matter what you say. But now the, “You need to apologize for offending me!” demand is beginning to give way to much worse, and more ludicrous expectations. The average person isn’t accorded with the common level of respect. Even in war there are rules. There are things you don’t do and things you don’t say. Now I see comedians on Twitter get told, “Die in a grease fire.” How did anyone string that comment together and think it was okay to put in the world?
But I am running out of energy for these things again. I find myself often feeling very weary many days. To put it in nerd terms, I feel like Arwen as the light of the Eldar faded from her. No, I’m not claiming to be anything like Arwen, I identified far more with Eowen. Clearly I’ve digressed. I will discontinue this musing. I feel the need to destroy some more virtual Legos with Harry and the gang.