This post is only peripherally about writing. But it’s my blog.
My fun and games online started over twenty-five years ago. I originally got a computer to replace my word processor. Then I discovered you could speak to people online. I loved it.
I didn’t love it because I was a freak, although, I might very well be. That’s a different post.
I loved it because it seemed to me a means of taking what was in my heart and my head and getting it out. For my brand of introversion this was a very exciting thing.
Perhaps more importantly, I believed it was a way to see into the hearts and minds of others. This was even more exciting because I was certain most people spent a great deal of energy hiding their true selves.
I am an idealist, the type which I’m sure will soon be extinct.
Of course, lots of people lie online. But you can tell. Well, I can tell. I thought everyone would be able to tell. People’s words reveal them. Their lies reveal them. Their avoidances. Their choices. What they don’t say that they could say.
I suppose I’ve trained myself. I’ve been listening to the opposite side of political conversations all my life. I enjoyed testing my ideas and coming up with possible objections. I used to enjoy knowing what the other side thought.
But look what we have done. We’re idiots.
Very few of us listen to the other side and quite honestly, I can’t bear to even listen to my side anymore. Not on any topic. We’re talking to ourselves. It has no purpose.
I don’t even actually like politics and I’m not patriotic. I prefer my elected politicians to be ineffectual because it means I don’t have to pay attention to them. Ineffectual is as close to benign as a politician can get. If they’re also basically decent, well… that’s a plus but not a requirement. I’d say, as a politician’s decency increases, their ineffectualness can decrease. But there’s a point where even for a politician who is decent, it taps out. Which is to say, being a decent human being doesn’t mean your ideas about what to change are good ones. It also doesn’t mean those around you are decent. Essentially, the odds of a group of decent people getting together and moving forward with focus and purpose is well…
Idealism leads to cynicism.
It’s really gotten to be too much. Although, I’m pretty sure my favorite political theorist, Robert A Heinlein, would say that the current shyster is as honest a shyster as one can get because he is so clearly a shyster. All politicians are corrupt. A politician who is clearly corrupt is honestly corrupt. But Heinlein’s characters were able to go off planet. I don’t have that luxury.
In the last year or so, we’ve put children in cages. That’s what we did. There’s no prettying it up. The outcry was too little too late and quite honestly, there’s still reason for crying, and no one is doing it loud enough. There are too many distractions.
Now, we’ve put someone who is suspected of misusing power onto the Supreme Court. We witnessed this man exploit his power. Then we talked about what was fair and what was provable. We talked about whether he did it.
Whether he did it wasn’t the issue at that point. We witnessed him exploit power.
We don’t know what these things are. I mean, as a society, we don’t appear to have a solid sense of what it means to be decent or fair or truthful. It’s almost as though we don’t know what words mean anymore.
Because, it wasn’t about sex. It’s never been about sex. The first lesson learned, the first one forgotten.
It’s about the misuse of power. He was suspected of misusing power before the first sexual allegation. He’s written about power in a way which implies he approves of the misuse of power. We aren’t able to think well enough to string these clues together and conclude: this man misuses power. Even when he misuses his power before our very eyes, we act as though there’s doubt.
The internet has shown us what’s in our hearts and our minds. Another first lesson learned: Be careful what you ask for.
I’ve given up on politics. I don’t care to read any more Washington Post articles. I don’t need to watch Fox News to know what the other side is thinking or saying. I have no desire to stay in touch or share. There’s no time to keep up.
It’s clear we live in bubbles. This is often cited as the problem. I think that might be simplistic. It implies that if we got out of our bubbles for a short period of time, we’d change our minds. I don’t think that’s the case. Sometimes there is a good and a bad. Sometimes it is black and white. I happen to be on the side which so often waffles, who asks these questions which open us up to looking weak, unconfident, and vulnerable. Woo woo.
It surprises me that when given the choice, a large percentage of us choose the bubble which ultimately doesn’t serve our own best interests. I suppose they need more time to familiarize themselves with the terrain before they can recognize the landscape. By the time they catch up to their own context, it will be inescapable.
It’s important to note, they aren’t trapped in their bubble. It’s a bubble they’ve willfully chosen and while they don’t understand the implications of the attributes and characteristics of their alternative facts and nationalistic reality, the more literal aspects of their point of view aren’t vague. They’re not just atrocious. They’re atrocities.
Which means there’s a significant percentage of our populations who chooses white before children, power before women, and dogma before decency. They make the wrong choice every time and what they don’t see is that they have children, they love women, and everyone thrives when we’re decent to one another.
I am less concerned than I was yesterday about whether I am personally being fair. I worry less about whether I have all the information I need or whether my reasoning is sound. I have a lifetime of experience being fair. I know what it feels like. I recognize the terrain. There’s no waffling to be done here.
I’m not donating, protesting, or informing anyone because, those who care, already know. When something is so obvious, the problem is not lack of information. It’s not even something deeper.
Despite all we know about where totalitarian nationalistic societies lead, our fair minded, democratic, innocent until proven guilty society is choosing it because they think they’ll be the ones exerting the totalitarian power. So, it doesn’t matter what happens to anyone else.
What’s unique about our current situation is its being willfully chosen. We’re not being forced. We aren’t operating from ignorance or unfamiliarity. We’re choosing it. Which is all I need to know.
*We is being used in a general sense for the purpose of this post.*