A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gearing up for the letdown.

Little fills me with as much dread and unhappiness as knowing what's coming in the year preceding a presidential election. I know I'll have disagreements with good friends and with family. I know I'll start to get a good feeling about a candidate, only to see that candidate get involved in the disgusting mudslinging. I know that the best things that candidate can say or believe in will be drowned out by blindly rabid supporters who cheer for misguided ideals simply because they think those ideals fall under "their" party heading.

I will feel shame when the bad apples make a stink for the whole barrel. Yeah, I'm talking to you, certain Fox/Google debate audience members. Shame, shame. On you.

I'll roll my eyes and bite my tongue when people who have no idea what they're talking about adamantly and hatefully voice opinions. That's their right. I'll gently correct when I can, and I'll gratefully accept correction from others if I'm wrong. If that correction comes in the form of yelling or condescension, it will have a harder time getting through. I've learned to try to "avoid loud and aggressive persons, as they are vexations to the spirit."*

It makes me sad when people preach humanity in one breath and spew hostility with the next. No one has figured out all the answers yet. Yelling your ideas and calling each other stupid and heartless does not make your ideas any more right.

I have a gut feeling that this is going to be the ugliest election season this country has seen in a very long time. It looks like the worst in people is already surfacing. I don't want to see what else is festering below that surface, but I'm going to. I'll have to watch people cheer/jeer as these jackals in expensive suits tell us what we should think and why we're ignorant/amoral if we don't agree. I'll have to accept that my reluctance to engage in confrontation will be misconstrued either as a lack of understanding of the issues or as a lack of conviction regarding those issues. I'll just have to sigh when otherwise smart people lump millions of individuals together as one of two groups and judge them all based on the actions of a few.

Sucks. I don't have all the answers. Neither do you. But I'm pretty confident that calling each other Nazis and celebrating in others' misfortune ain't getting it.

*Desiderata, Max Ehrmann


Anonymous said...

I am so jaded at this point. I think there is no good candidate. I can't understand why the Obama we got is not the Obama we elected.

I believe education is the answer to a better, more unified country. I believe it's on education to fix a lot of things. I believe Ronald Reagan fucked America for a few rich people.

But, alas...no answers. Only a cynical hollowness that comes from the massive corrosive power that Washington has on even the most progressive hopefuls.

How did Obama get from withdrawing from all wars to conducting two wars? Is it because of the economy? Is it because WWII catapulted us out of the Great Depression? We should know not to look backward to find solutions because look what looking backward did at the end of the 1920s. According to classical economists the Great Depression should not have happened.

The whole thing makes me tired. All the posturing, the ignorance, the whole game of politics. The generation in leadership right now is irretrievable. I believe that. All parties have suffered a mass psychosis and there is no going back. It is on us now to be the positive change we want to see, to make this country what we want it to be, to rediscover how to be human.

What are we going to do to make a difference?

sarah saint said...

What are we gonna do, personally? I can bake. I can bake cookies for everyone. Laced with ecstasy.

Seriously, though. I agree that it's on education to fix a lot of things. Where to start? Who chooses what gets taught?

Anonymous said...

These are the questions I am exploring in school right now. This is the path I am walking for my McNair research. I have dreams of total pedagogical reform - a lot of the founding fathers had it right when they thought about education - it had more of a social and ethical slant - then it changed to an economic slant and then it changed to being, as they said, "Republican-making machines." It's amazing how far we've deviated from what America was built for, what we fought for freedom to have in the Revolutionary War. America's firm belief that itself, a republic, should stay clear of militarist and imperial ambitions was a quite prominent philosophical value up until our war with Mexico.

I am looking for realistic things I can do. I may not bake ecstasy-laced cookies, but I might switch from AT&T - who funds crazies like Rick Perry - to CREDO mobile - who funds virtually every social-change nonprofit that I personally donate to and more - far more than I could every possibly have the means to support. Small changes like these are important. Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Amnesty International, MercyCorps, Doctors Without Borders, civil rights groups, peace groups and international freedom groups, girls' support groups, environmental groups, you name it.

In my field experience class today Prof Wojtasczek said he can already tell what order the three reasons we want kids to read literature in ELA will go in for me - number one - EMPATHY; SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH SOMEONE ELSE'S EYES.
Especially eyes like those of Frederick Douglass's in his novel The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, or Carlos Bulosan's as a Filipino Pinoy in America in America Is in the Heart. Eyes who have traveled to America's shores seeking the storied land of the free - to find something quite different waiting for them.

America is a work in progress. We are a young country. America - the one our founding fathers aspired to - is still more concept than geographic location. We are making progress. Or trying to. There are those in this country who would like to stifle it and turn it into a big whites-only, Christians-only, pro-life, tax-free redneck utopia. But the younger generation does not believe in such as way. I believe in my lifetime I will teach gay and lesbian literature in the high school classroom. Freer, more loving, kinder, HUMAN youth will grow into freer, more loving and kinder adults and hopefully seek to govern in that way.

I have hope, but it lies in the future, on our shoulders, depending on us to lay the foundation on which tomorrow's leaders can build mountains.