Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Just my opinions

The biggest thing, as I was working out and listening to the news on the radio, a Bible verse popped into my head:

"As for me and my house, we are going to serve the Lord."

Yeah. The outcome wasn't what I expected it would be. I will confess, my personal feeling is that all the choices were considerably less than optimal.  Since I have friends and relatives on both sides of the aisle and all ranges of opinion (I tend slightly towards the squashed-armadillo position myself), I know I'm going her both spiking of footballs and rending of garments, and, more reasonably, deep concerns being voiced going forward.

We live in a very divided country. As of this morning it was 289/218 in terms of electoral votes, which means (as much as those map to popular vote; and it's entirely likely that popular and electoral don't match up because of the slight differentials to account for population differences) that neither individual running has a blow-out.

We live in a very divided country. There are all kinds of divisions: class, ethnicity, religion, beliefs.....

We live in a very divided country. A lot of people are hurting or scared or uncomfortable and there's been a lot of lashing-out and I expect to see more. I don't like it when people behave gracelessly but we've seen it for a while now. I admit, I chalk a lot of the outcome up to the fact that a lot of people have been in economic bad times for a long time, and they think this will fix it. I really think that's it more than any other motivation. I grew up in a time and a place where someone with a high-school education could support a family on a manufacturing income, and because of how things have changed, that's not possible any more, but there are still lots of people who don't want to be paper-pushing middle-managers or who don't have the resources to go into business for themselves....

(I also find myself thinking of Yeats' "An Irish Airman Forsees his Death": "My country is Kiltartan Cross/ my people are Kiltartan's poor/ No likely end could bring them loss/ Or leave them happier than before." I really do think a lot of people made the choice on economic grounds; I know way too many people who have been down for too long and they think this will fix it. I am not so sanguine, but whatever)

The other big thing I feel - and this relates to the verse quoted above - is that the only person whose behavior I control is my own. Even if there is dissension, even if people are voicing crudeness or cruelty to others, I don't have to join in and I can actively resist it. I do feel we're in a bit of a cold civil war right now, that people distrust one another, and I don't see that necessarily getting better. But I don't have to join in. And I don't want to be around people saying hateful things about other people. I may be alone a lot in the coming years, but that's okay, I'm already alone a lot.

I spent too many years as an unpopular kid to close ANYONE - black, white, gay, straight, trans, man, woman, whatever - off from the potential of being my friend. If you're not being actively cruel to me or to others, you're my friend. But I'd rather work on stuff I can do than worry about stuff I don't have control over.

ETA: And I think the secret to living in a country that is very divided is to actively work not to become hateful towards other people for their differences. Disagree with them on behaviors, disagree with them on policy or opinions, but don't give in to the hater's game. That's what I fear is going to happen going forward and those of us who try to love are just going to be left in a wasteland where people just want to be with their "own kind" and would write off - "other" - people who are different from them. On all sides, I'm not just talking about a single direction here. 

I also find myself thinking of the old "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters, and the reason why they were printed (and why they were never actually put up).

I don't know what the future is going to bring. All I can do is all I can do. My big hope is that we don't see massive chaos.

I think I'm glad I have a big exam to write today; I know one person who comes through my building would want to get into a big "postmortem" discussion and I can just put up a sign saying "working on an exam, knock if you need me" and I can mostly avoid most of the really reactive reactions.

And yeah, comments are off. I may be a wimp that way but there are other places people can fight it out, okay?