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.

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