Six years

I was taking a look at the blog the other day and I noticed the oldest post is from September of 2008. Six years I’ve been doing this off and on. Six friggin years. A month before my 45th birthday.

I’ve read a few of the older posts and am proud of some, and cringe at others. I have this habit of starting notebooks…jotting down observations, ideas for stories and writing snippets of poetry and such. I’ll pick up the notebook a few months down the road, judge the content useless and throw it away. I have a great urge to do that with this blog…just delete it and start over.

The running theme early on was politics. I was not a big fan of our president six years ago and my opinion of him hasn’t grown any brighter in the past half decade. I’ve looked at the blog count over time and it’s obvious my output decreased after the 2012 elections. It seems all the air went out of my balloon. I remember being very disheartened that November night at the fact that we re-elected a man whose incompetence is a danger to this country. I’ve never bought into the Birther thing or any of the other conspiracy theories having to do with the validity of Barack Obama’s presidency. The man is a brilliant campaigner. And he is clueless about how to actually run a country and get things done.

I do believe we get the government we deserve. It’s depressing to me to read the comments section at the Washington Post, Politico, Fox, CNN or the Daily Beast. Issues are not discussed. It’s just one big orgy of finger pointing and vitriol. I imagine all these commenters in a room, “discussing” what they are commenting on. I imagine hundreds of people shouting at each other at the top of their lungs, no one hearing anything another is saying. Everyone in the room is convinced they are right and the other guy is the Antichrist.

I have a relative who is a “staunch conservative”. He wears his tinfoil hat proudly and no matter how outlandish something may be about what someone says about the president, he believes it. He is a very bigoted and intolerant person, believing, for example, that¬†“all the Muslims” should be vaporized by nuclear weapons. Many of his opinions, and especially his method of expressing them, are quite vile.

I have a friend on Facebook who is on the exact opposite of the spectrum who believes that the “evil corporations” are to blame for all of the world’s woes. She runs with the crowd who thinks that making money or wanting to make money is just a few degrees less loathsome than kitten abuse. She would be revolted at what my aforementioned relative says and how he says it. Revolted without realizing her ideas and the manner in which she expresses them are every bit as ridiculous as the “staunch conservative”.

Both these individuals would be shocked, I think, to know how hypocritical and bigoted they sound to someone like me , who truly sits in the middle.  Their hectoring self-righteousness makes conversations with them impossible.

And make no mistake about it, I’ve indulged in the same behavior I’m condemning. The evidence is on this blog. But perhaps my retreat from posting has less to do with who was elected president in 2012 than the tone of our national conversation. It is said that all politics are local. That is, I really think, where the healing needs to start. We need to respect each other and listen to understand, rather than listen to respond.

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