barefooted's picture

    Are We Still Here?

    I wrote a comment earlier in response to someone with whom I didn’t disagree; a comment that mostly wrote itself:

    People are generally kind and helpful by nature, and it's not just about tribe.  It's about being human at our core - the place that makes us love puppies, kittens, babies and cheese.  The place that makes the country stand still over a child trapped in a well or a bunch of miners slowly dying on the job.  The place in our gut that cries when someone dies and celebrates amazing achievements by those who seem like less yet feel like more somehow.  The place that makes us all worth fighting for.

    I’m hurting for our country.  I find myself more cynical about our government and citizenry than I have ever been – and I’m not an innocent about politics or the sheer craziness that happens when everything is in the now as opposed to an historic narrative.  This is entirely and excruciatingly different.  And it’s tearing me into pieces that I never imagined could be so personally torn.

    I need to defend us – for my own sake.  I need to convince myself that we are still good people, good intentioned, good at heart … that we still have one.  I need to believe that what our government is rapidly tearing apart is our collective heart, and that we won’t for a second stand for it.  That we’ll fight it with all of our protests, all of our journalists and all of our precious votes until we think we can’t draw another breath - then we'll draw a thousand more.  That even as millions argue and disagree politically our very humanity still recognizes the simple truth of liberty and justice for all.  Are we still here?  Can we still be heard?  I need to believe that the answer is an unqualified YES.



    I believe the answer is yes.
    A lot of times, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference if one tries to nurture connections that bind us together. Other times, it is the only thing worth rolling out of bed for.
    What often gets written up as the history of competing interests is actually simultaneous revulsion.
    It is its own thing.

    Simultaneous revulsion - yes, it is a thing.  For better or worse.

    I suppose that in our own different ways we all need to be reassured, comforted and eased, yet too often we act as though the different ways are differences between us ... they're not, really.  There are basic traits that humanity demands of us - beyond those everything else is up for grabs.  We can and should debate the other stuff, because it's how we live our lives and what makes our day-to-day existence not only possible but worthwhile.  That we can do so openly is a treasure that we too often forget to admire.  Yet the things that make us sentient beings cannot be lost ... or everything will be.


    One of the many things Martin Luther King Jr. talked about was this revulsion. He skated between articles of his faith and other people's faith to talk about it. One aspect of his argument is meant to force an engagement in an inexorable logic: If the divisions are arbitrary in one place, they are arbitrary in all places.
    The "we" here is not given. Choosing it is fraught with peril.
    Past results are no guarantee of future performance.
    So let us choose.

    It's true that if something is arbitrary here, it is arbitrary everywhere.  Therefore it's natural to carry that through to the certain, as well.  Perhaps the question is whether the arbitrary or the certain cast in the past's stone can be diluted or reversed by the pull of a modern Arthur.  Fraught with peril, indeed.

    The speed at which our culture moves and changes now, in all kinds of ways, is incredibly stressful for oldsters like me. But I think there's hope in that for something like what's going on now with Trump and Congress. Compare how long the Vietnam war dragged on and late LBJ generational hatreds and then the whole Nixon Watergate thing. I was just thinking about that angle as I just now this link which suggests the history of what's going on now is already being "written" in the pop culture

    'American Horror Story' producer says next season will be about 2016 election @ The Hill, 02/16/17 07:37 PM EST


    p.s. Comes to mind this is related: our presidential elections take too damn long, and I think millenials will do something about that, and sooner than we might think. And shorter elections mean less money needed to run.Which means different kind of results.

    Keep in mind though, that we are going through a period of world history where the last of older generations are being dragged kicking and screaming into a globalized world. It's really not possible to go back, the whole nationalism and xenophobia thing, it's a temporary glitch. (Just like Islamic terrorism is the result of backward cultures in shock at globalization which they cannot permanently stop--the news out of Saudi Arabia is interesting in this regard--the experiment of trying to change the culture slowly from the top down so as not to trigger the violent counter reaction) . Zuckerberg is making big news in techhie and millenial world in general by pushing that meme right now:

    Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Bucking Tide, Takes Public Stand Against Isolationism


    Totally agree that the "presidential elections take too damn long", but the caveat is that it isn't just a presidential ballot.  States pin their hopes on the attention every four years, and they'd likely argue that they need the additional time to raise money and campaign.  Nonsensical, of course, since they seem to manage okay in mid-term years, but there ya go.  Your point of less money needed for shorter campaigns is a good (and obvious) one that is guaranteed to make politicians blanch.

    It's really not possible to go back, the whole nationalism and xenophobia thing, it's a temporary glitch.

    How long is temporary?

    You have a point regarding the mind-spinning speed of everything, but is that necessarily a good thing?  I need to take a deep breath every morning before venturing into the news of the day (which seems to begin before the end of the previous day, sigh), but I'm also somewhat overwhelmed by it all - and I'm a news junkie.  Does the average person pay attention to the barrage or does the administration spin of fake news nothing to see here work more often than not?  Pop culture is fun, relevant and timely - but by its nature it's not particularly sustainable.


    How wonderfully stated.

    For all of us to remember...

    And when you're dealing with someone else's feelings,
    Don't be cold as ice... Don't be cold as ice...



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