Month: July 2016

Why Are We Posting….

….all these vignettes about good things happening between any ethnic, cultural, religious, racial identity group?

Yes, we are in a political season–actually we’ve been in this season for a long time, far too long. (If you are a candidate and propose an amendment that says the election process can be no longer than it takes to grow a baby, by god, I’m with you ).  So over this long primary season people use their FB page to score points in favor of the party/person/ideology they back. My own personal tally is that the ad hominem attacks come more from the progressives than they do the conservative. But then I tend to be friends with those who are more progressive, so that is what I see–go figure! These ad hominem attacks have the unfortunate effect of stifling conversation and creating a bullying environment. How sad.

I spend far too much time on Facebook. I use it as slosh time–a time wasters because I am not prepared or ready to do what I need to do. I ‘slosh’ about in other peoples highlights of their lives or their thinking. It is more interesting and far more mind numbing than solitaire. Sometimes the postings are just banal and other times illuminating in that it points up one of two things. Either the posting show how people want to be seen to the world outside. Or the postings illustrate how individuals think, what they believe, what they are willing to say or comment on for their belief system.

I’m not good at the 140 character thing. I don’t want to get trapped in another social media program, far too many are out there,  so I use Facebook.  And here’s what I wonder. Why are there all these posting about when good things happen, especially when it is between black and white, muslin or jew? Why? And I must add, I see this more profoundly on the pages of those who espouse a more liberal or progressive ideology. It’s almost like they are saying “See, we can love one another. See, this story right here proves it. It proves we are right.” And I think of Shakespeare and the ‘protesting too much’.

And I wonder if that is some deep guilt [silly me] because the progressive policies of the last sixty years are not working–see Baltimore, Chicago, Fergueson. At the beginning of this year black unemployment was at 8.3%. While white unemployment is 4.5%, Hispanic unemployment is 6.3% and Asian unemployment is 4%. Labor participation rate is the lowest its been in 40 years. Lowest is not a good number in this case.

Right now the argument on the conservative side is that relations between identity groups is the worse it has ever been. The narrative on the progressive side is it’s not as bad as you think if we could just control guns and the police. If there was just a little respect for those minority identity groups we would all be fine.

When I see a person post overly much that a conversation will solve all ills, that there is all this  ‘good news’ and ‘wonderful sparks of humanity’, I wonder if they understand what they are admitting? If things are so great, why? Why do you continually have to single out individual stories? And post these stories, over and over and over. Face it. If you have to keep reminding me, over and over again, that things are great, my bet is no, nope, they are not. So stop posting!


May you live in interesting times…

I was ironing. No, it’s not a huge deal. I actually like to iron. I find it to be very relaxing, especially if I am not doing it to pack and travel. It is a rote sort of activity. I iron in the kitchen. No TV, no radio. Just the task at hand. I can do a great job and still let my mind wander.

Usually this is a time when I think about stories. I am a huge fan of books. But I am a bigger fan of stories. I think it’s because, when I read history, lol, history during my lifetime, I am amazed at the variations of story that are taking place while I was, am, living.

But this particular time ironing I became stuck on the tumult of this year, 2016.  The bombings, the protests, the killings of individuals as well as the ambushes resulting in more deaths. It’s also hard to ignore the words that are strung together, sometimes followed by a hashtag or emojis.  Black lives matter. Yes. Blue lives matter. Also, yes. Our President recently asked us to ‘temper’ our language. Did he consider that in 2009 when he said ‘And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy’?  Or when he, before any trial or facts were available, said, ‘Trayvon could be my son’? Yes, I am picking on the President. He is after all, our commander in chief, the head of our sovereign state, our face to the world. He is my president as much as he is yours, at least, I would like to think that.  He is the most visible. Our comforter in chief. I recognize that it is not him alone. We are caught in a cycle of negative words from pundits, newscasts and political blogs, that are a result of fear, inequalities, uncertainty, of social stress that is beyond bearable.

We have a presumptive candidate, an outsider, who says brass and uncensored statements, who shocked the world, yes, the world, with his rise to the nomination. We have a presumptive candidate, the consummate insider of political machinations, who was no shock at all,  who was described by the director of the FBI as having evidence on a private server ‘that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.’  These individuals want to be the commander in chief, the head of our sovereign state, our face to the world. What have they done to ‘temper’ their language? What have they done to deescalate the fear, uncertainty, social stress?  Do we chose a unknown or a person who has demonstrated inept and ineffective handling of our state secrets?

Did all of this make the time more tumultuous? Or are they a result of the tumultuous times? A chicken and egg argument. Are there solutions? Or, are we stuck in this cycle? I have no idea. But I do think, no, I know, that hashtags and emojis, along with pundits and newscasts and political blogs are not going to get us back to the ‘melting pot’ we once were. The melting pot that allowed us to fight off oppression and totalitarianism abroad. The melting pot that made us the strongest economy in the world. The melting pot, that by it’s very name and composition, said that this is an exceptional country.