Ramblings from a Bouncing Mind …

I came across an OpEd in The Washington Post a few days ago, the title of which intrigued me, so I read on.

People Don’t Vote for What They Want. They Vote for Who They Are.

Kwame

Kwame Appiah

The article, by Kwame Anthony Appiah, was interesting and well worth the read, but merely served as a springboard for the ideas that form this post.    It speaks of and attempts to explain the concept of ‘identity politics’ and ‘tribalism’.  Not being an anthropologist, psychologist nor philosopher, I don’t attempt to pick apart the concepts of the article.  But what struck me most, I think, is the title.  Is it true that we have set aside ideologies and instead vote based on … for the lack of a more apt word … tribes?

I really dislike the word ‘tribes’, for the first thing it brings to mind is killing, and the next thing it brings to mind is exclusivity.  Neither are positive images.  But to get to the point (yes, I saw you rolling your eyes and wondering if I actually had a point!), I question whether we … and by ‘we’ I mean all of us who are old enough to be even remotely political animals … republican, democrat or independent … have forgotten or set aside our ideology, our platforms, our very beliefs in favour of political party.

As I often do, I settled in for a conversation between me, myself and I.  I, of course, pooh-pooh-ed the idea, thinking that no, the whole point is the ideology, the things that I believe are right, such as protection of the environment, global cooperation, taking care of the poor, eliminating bigotry, support of diversity, etc.  But then ‘me’ popped up and asked a question that made me think:

“Isn’t everything you write these days simply a reaction to something Trump or his cronies has done?  Do you look at candidates’ platforms to see what they support and whether you agree with them?  Are you operating on an intellectual basis, or an emotional one?”

Doggone it … sometimes ‘me’ is smarter than I am.  This reminded me of a snippet from the article …

“… political cleavages are not so much “I disagree with your views” as “I hate your stupid face.” You can be an ideologue without ideology.”

Have we devolved to “I hate your stupid face”, or were we always this way?  When I voted on 08 November 2016, did I vote for Hillary Clinton, or against Donald Trump?  I had studied Hillary’s platform and agreed with about 99% of it, so it wasn’t as if I were an uneducated voter, taking my opinions from some Facebook meme.  But, myself asks, “Would you have voted even for Attila the Hun rather than Donald Trump?”  And that is a question I cannot seem to answer.

But perhaps the answer is less important than the question.  Perhaps the important thing is that we question ourselves, hold our own feet to the fire, search our own souls, as it were.  I can’t say that I would have voted for Attila, but would I have voted for a lesser candidate than Hillary?  Yes, I would have voted for almost anybody other than Trump.  And now comes the tough question:

Did I vote against Trump because he is an arrogant and obnoxious person, or because I disliked his political ideas?  In this case, I think I can answer clearly:  both.  But if he were the same obnoxious character he is, but had political ideas that I agreed with?  Then I don’t know, and that is the question, I think, that supersedes all others in this conversation with me and myself.  In that case, would I have voted for a lesser candidate who was more sophisticated, more … acceptable?

I don’t know all the answers, but my conclusion is that I think we need to be careful about falling into the trap of voting simply because a person is a democrat or republican, black or white, Christian, Muslim or atheist, or shares some other “tribal trait” that we admire.  I think this was the mentality that enabled Donald Trump to win in 2016 … too many saw Hillary as “not of [their] tribe”, as being ‘other’.  Why?  I mean, she is white, Christian, all those things some people seem to place so much value on these days.  But … she had the misfortune of being … woman.  Just as I believe that the majority of the hatred toward President Obama was race-based, I believe the hatred toward Hillary was primarily gender-based.  It made it easy for Trump to accuse her, unjustly, of being responsible for Benghazi, and even blaming her for her husband’s affairs, all the while screeching “Lock her up!”  And the masses quickly believed, for they were only looking for an excuse to hate her, and Trump gave them one.

As you have likely figured out by now, I have no idea where I was going with this post.  I started it a few nights ago, and every time I re-visit it, I realize that it lacks focus.  This is simply how my mind works when it’s under duress and decides to break loose from its moorings and bounce for a bit.  I can only hope that some part of this rambling post made sense.

116 thoughts on “Ramblings from a Bouncing Mind …

  1. Dear Jill,

    I just know that I don’t want to belong to the tribe that favors racism, anti-immigration sentiments, those who want to impose their religious beliefs on others, and those who don’t mind winning by cheating, lying and bullying.
    I don’t like to treat others as less than…because they think differently but I don’t like the name calling and this need to belittle others.

    I want to belong to the tribe that is comfortable with decency, fair play, worry about ethics and doing what’s right. That doesn’t been being with folks who are perfect, far from it. There is something very disconcerting with those who think they have all the answers, never have to apologize or admit to making a mistake.

    In my tribe, I think I just want folks to be halfway sane. I guess we are all tribal to some extent.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • I echo your sentiments, but lately I think that I don’t wish to belong to any tribe. I just want to be me, to try to be the best person I can be, to care about others and try to help, try to leave this world somehow having contributed something positive. It seems to me that the very word “tribe” has a connotation of excluding some others. I truly think I could be happy all alone on a desert island somewhere with only a few animals for company.
      Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For all of you who think democracy is not tied to wealth, I think you need to take a good look at history. Free enterprise calls socialism an evil, but free enterprise is what is causing the growing economic split between the rich and the not-rich. Government is about money, who gets to keep theirs, and who gets to pay what they cannot afford to pay.
    Because democracy means you get your 1 vote to help decide who should get to lead you, you are mesmerized by the duty, as someone called it, to use that vote. You cannot understand that not using that vote is a vote in itself, even if an uncountable one. When the non-voters exceed the winning voters, this is a statement things need to be changed. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.
    But democracy is a self-peptuating system of government–even if only one vote is cast, it is still enough to elect a candidate. Can you not see the problem in that?
    Someone else said you must use your vote because someone else died to give you that right? Did that person who died really die willingly, or was he coerced or shamed into putting his life on the line, not for you, but for whoever was the one calling for that war in the first place. It is easy to believe that dead soldier was fighting for democracy. But the reality may be completely different, and you will never know what it was.
    I think if Jill wants to vote for Atilla the Hun, that is completely up to her. Of course, Atilla knew nothing about democracy, but if he had, would he have done anything differently.

    When it comes to government, I still believe those fit to govern want no part of it, while those who are unfit to govern have a need to tell others what to do, so they run. Occasionally you might get someone fit to run, but they are so outnumbered by the bullies that they cannot accomplish anything they would like to accomplish.
    I have asked this many times, but have yet to get a suitable answer: a government’s job is to enact laws to help people live in peace. When does that government ever reach the point when peace has been achieved. Never! Government should govern itself out of a job, but that will not be allowed to happen. The job pays too well, and the pensions are too attractive. The money for their pay and pensions is coming from you, the little people. How does that help anyone but the rich.
    There are two “professions” in our world that pay people for not working, religious leaders, and politicians. Think of all the money you would save without those professions?
    I will leave this comment here… For now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh … here’s where you are wrong, my friend. You say that a non-vote is a vote in itself, and that when the non-voters exceed the winning voters, this is a statement things need to be changed. Perhaps so, but it is not a voice that will ever be heard or heeded, for it is to the benefit of those in power for people, especially the very people who are inclined to be non-voters, to not vote. No changes will ever be made based on low voter turnout, except that activists will start trying to convince those non-voters of the importance of their vote. An example: in 2016, voter apathy was high because so many said they “could not bring themselves to vote for Hillary”. Did anybody say, “Oooohhh there must be something wrong with the system because voter turnout was low”? Nope … it was to Trump’s advantage, so why rock the boat?

      You are correct that we never have, nor likely ever will reach the point where peace has been achieved and there is no longer a need for government. We’ve talked of this before, and I stand by what I said then … human nature, superiority complex, and greed will ensure that some always step on others. The world of humans is far from perfect. Personally, I think mankind is about to reach the tipping point and destroy his own environment. That is if he doesn’t destroy the world with nukes first. And I’m at the point these last two days where I see humans as a failed experiment anyhow and maybe they ought to just become extinct so that the earth and the other creatures that were here before man can begin to repair the damage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you on the role of humanity in this world, it is a very destructive one. But that does not men it can be repaired, or transcended. For human existence to be a total failure would be very sad, but as long as we do not kill all life on our planet, it can and probably will recover from losing humanity. It was a great experiment, but it went wrong right from the start.
        That will be okay with me if it should happen, but I still believe we will find our way out. Humanity is, as present, as you describe, unworthy of life. Howevr, humanity is capable of change, and I believe it will change because it has to in order to survive.
        But that, of course, is just my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

        • And as you know, I always value your opinion! I may not always agree with you 😉 but I do always listen, and you often make me stop and think. You okay? You seem a bit … unhappy? Tired? Still not feeling well? LuL

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          • Unhappy, no. Depressed, yes. My body is failing me. I had a mini-stroke earlier this weak, not enough to really affect my brain, but another straw on an already-bowed back. My spirit cannot be broken, but my mind can be. And that is a huge realization, and admission. I am prepared for death, but I cannot stand the idea of being a shut-in!

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            • OH NO!!! That is not good … what did the doctor say caused the stroke? No wonder you are depressed, but I think you have been since your surgery. I don’t think your mind can be broken either, but I fully understand your aversion to living as a shut-in. Chris and I were talking about this earlier this evening, and she knows that if I am ever unable to take care of myself, then I prefer death and will do whatever is necessary toward that end. Please hang in, my friend. You know I care. Let me know what the docs said. And please let Gail know to feel free to email me if she ever feels the need. Tell her I said “hey”, too. Get well, dear Jerry.

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              • Doc didn’t say much, the tests didn’t show anything positive, but my symptoms tell him different. The only present signs are headaches (abnormal for me), and a few more words than usual missing from my memory. But it warns me what can happen, and at our age we might not have time to recover. This time I wss lucky.
                Gail says she was busy thinking of other things. She asks that it might be best if you write her if you get worried in the future. Hope that is ok? And I hope it does not happen again for a long while.
                I am back to the city tomorrow and home late Wednesday, but I should still be in touch those days. Be good and keep writing.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that Gail should have emailed me … not at all, for I’m sure she had much on her mind! My apologies if I came across like that. I will definitely email her next time I become concerned, and tell her I really appreciated her messages when you had your surgery. Take care of yourself, my friend … I hope they can pinpoint a cause for all your problems this time! LuL

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                  • You did not come ac,ross like that, it was just my verbal clumsiness you misheard. No worries. The doctors are trying something new this t6ime, giving my heart more room to find its own beat pattern. They were maintaining a manufactured pulse speed of minimum 60 beats/minute, now have lowered it to 50, which is more in line with my natural rhythm before they first implanted the pacemaker. They are giving me 3 months to see if this helps. It was my GP’s suggestion. I hope it works.
                    Heading back home tomorrow, wit.h the weather forecaster predicting snow along the way. Summer isn’t even over yet. Yuck.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I have a few questions, asked out of ignorance. I told my daughter, the RN, about your situation and read your email to her, but she was of little use, as she is a urological nurse. First, so … does the pacemaker actually force your heart to beat 60 times … or 50 now … per minute? Did they have to do surgery to reset it, or is there some means they can communicate with the pacemaker without re-opening your chest? I do so hope this works … I know you must be tired of feeling exhausted all the time. And the stroke thing is frightening.

                      SNOW??? It is going to be 90 here at the weekend and you’re talking SNOW??? Drive very carefully … stop halfway and make it a 2-day trip. Keep safe, my friend.

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                    • It only snowed for the first half the trip, so we came all the way home today. All is well.
                      The pacemaker will not let my pulse go below 50 beats per minute, but allows it to choose its own speed. Before, it kept my pulse elevated, so it was probably beating faster than necessary. Only time will tell if this corrects the energy problem. Today was too soon to tell. I felt better for awhile, and then worse again. I think my heart has to adjust to being in charge again.
                      Changes are made by computer, remote controlled. But I need to be within a few feet of the controller.
                      That’s about all, folks.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I still can’t believe it snowed! It isn’t even fall yet! I’m glad to know you’re home safe & (relatively) sound, though. I hope by now you’re starting to feel a bit better and have some energy. Amazing that they can adjust something in your body from outside your body. Get better, my friend! Hugs!

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                    • Hi Jill,
                      Heart devices are pretty amazing, I have to admit. Along with helping my heart to beat regularly, it also contains a personal defibrillator that will go off if my heart stops beating. I never asked for it, but I’ve got it.
                      As for the snow, believe this. Where I live, way up north, we have sunshine and no snow. South of us about 400 miles or so, there is a wide strip of snow reaching ovr a 1000 miles from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the start of the prairies in the east. Some places have 10 inches or more. It is a very weird situation, but it avoided us, fortunately.
                      On the other hand, we could use some moisture up here, preferably not the white kind.
                      LuL.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That is all pretty amazing … now if you can just get some energy back and feel better, it will be truly amazing! I like the idea of the defibrillator … my friend Diane had one many years ago, and it saved her life a few times.

                      Yes, that is very strange, but I imagine it has to do with altitude? And by the way … please don’t feel obligated to send me any snow, at least not until at least November. I wish I could send you some of our rain! Today was the first time we’ve seen the sun for about 10 days!

                      Take care of y’self! LuL

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                    • Oh, I did indeed savour it! We were out and about for several hours today … sun shining, blue sky. According to the forecast we should see some rain from Florence on Monday/Tuesday.

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  3. It is absolutely true that we humans are tribal by nature. But, this does not mean we are incapable of putting our baser instincts aside and improve ourselves through more thoughtfulness and reasoned contemplation. So, I disagree with hughcurtler who suggested that we cannot “separate people from what they do and say,” and with kersten who opined that “we flatter ourselves that we are advanced creatures.”

    I offer history in support of my argument. The social advances we’ve made for thousands of years cannot be ignored, from science-based objectivity to the egalitarian-based institutions of democracy and republican governance (i.e. the rule of law). If one believes that no progress in the human condition has been made, then I suggest they time travel back to the past when whole civilizations were routinely destroyed as a matter of course or when mass slavery was a way of life or when psychotic monarchs could decide one’s fate in a lead-laced wine-induced instant.

    Still, social progress is not necessarily constant nor linear. We can and have regressed. We are regressing now, and that is why we are seeing a resurgence in tribalism. Just a few decades ago, political debates in America were generally a contest of ideas (e.g. the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate). Today, that is obviously no longer true. The change has coincided with two main societal trends which reinforce each other. First, the scale, complexity, and dangers of modern civilization are increasing the day-to-day stresses on people; and second, the demise of secular public education and other progressive institutions are negatively impacting the population’s knowledge, awareness, and cognitive abilities.

    If we humans do not strive to better ourselves, then we’ll go the way of the Dodo Bird. Mother Nature is not kind to species which cannot adapt and evolve. The choice is ours, and time is running out.

    Liked by 4 people

              • I suspect that “patriot” you cited likes to believe America is #1 in virtually everything. If so, then I would submit to them that America is #1 in having the most ignoramuses too. What other country could understand America better than Britain from which it was born? I would also submit to them that it was a celebrated Brit, Samuel Johnson, who criticized faux patriotism – or “self-professed patriots,” in his words – as the “last refuge of the scoundrel.”

                Liked by 3 people

                • No not James. I’ve not seen him for a while now.
                  This is another guy who occasionally pops up and takes a snipe at another blogger I know. Apparently he lives in a very active Democratic area and seems to have circled his wagons.
                  To be fair to him, he did not call me an ignorant brit, he just said I didn’t know anything about America and American people….kinda sweet really, a bit like a toddler or teenager sounding off….

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • He (James) popped up on one of my posts last week … his comments (4) went to spam. I was riled, so I went to his blog and responded, briefly, ending with “why do you spend so much time writing posts for a blog that nobody reads?” He called me everything from stupid to ignorant to a … well, never mind. He suggested that I should leave the country, for I had nothing of value to give. I was pissed for a bit, but then decided to just laugh it off, for attention is, I think, what he wants. Your “patriot” is a fool … I find that many of my friends from the other side of the pond, yourself included, see us more clearly than we see ourselves, for you guys have the benefit of distance. Sort of like that old saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I tried to start a discourse but gave up when I read a post in which he gloried Native American tribes who died fighting The White Man…seemed to concentrate on the warriors and forgot abut the women, children and old folk left to face the wrath of the White Man……
                      NO sense of history.
                      I will have to start reading your blog from the post and not just from the replies on Reader (ooh lazy me).
                      He pulls that again, him and me are going to have words….
                      Actually Jill The UK has enough of its own idiots too. Like those only the ‘astute and knowing’ (HA!) Left who assume it is the height of sophisticated thinking to bad mouth all things and all folk American (I shall now stop I promised Sheila I would curtail my rants🤦‍♂️)

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                    • He is a strange person, arrogant to the nth degree, but a few months ago, I started blocking his comments because it disturbed me when he said he wished me dead. I hadn’t heard from him for a time, until last week. I imagine he’s harmless, but still … I’m not quite sure, and he has tried twice to follow me on Twitter … both times it was easy to identify him by the profile picture of the same BIG gun! I just need to ignore him, and I think he’ll go away. He’s definitely not one that you can reason with, for he is beyond listening.

                      Yes, the UK has them, just as France had LePen, the Netherlands has Geert Wilders, and I hear even Sweden has a populist movement. I know that the Arab Spring is the start of it, but I’m still at a loss to understand it. Yes, please behave … I’d hate for Sheila to ground you from WordPress, too! Go work on your book! Karlyn??? Yo, Karlyn! You need to plunk Roger into his writing chair now … !!!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeh, y gotta watch ’em Jill. A lot of them are ‘just plain scared’; like they’ve peered over the edge and lost their footing
                      Anyways. Watch the news from Sweden, they are voting today and the extreme right is making an all too strong showing.
                      ‘Oh e’s on his book Jill! He’s makin’ up all sorts of stuff to keep us characters on our toes, you have to look at ‘is blog today, sometime.’

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, I’ve been keeping my eye on Sweden … today should be interesting.

                      Hey, Karlyn! Good to see you … humour ‘im … it keeps ‘im outta trouble with Sheila, y’know! I will check out the blog today!

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                    • Yerrr, well a sproggle Jill…is..well they’s a sproggle! or It’s a sproggle! 💁🏻 It’s a word I use, I can’t remember from where I got it, ‘cas my mind ‘as gaps.👧🏻
                      A sproggle is all the sorts of things wot goes wrong or is wrong, or who are wrong. An’ you gets big ones and little ones🤷🏻‍♀️
                      I think….Now that bloke who supposed to running your country……’E’s a huge big pile of sproggle! 🤦🏻‍♀️

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Well, I love the word ‘sproggle’, so I won’t use it to define the pile of 💩 that is running our country, for then I would feel ill ev’ry time I used the word! But I’ve used it twice today already, and ‘ad fun with it! I think I know where you got it, Karlyn … ‘is Nibs likes to make up words, y’know … like Fornacazoni! I used that ‘un tonight, too. I need more words, so if you and ‘e can think up some for me … it’ll save me getting put into a cage, maybe! 🤗

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                    • Some of Karlyn’s lexicon:
                      ‘Noodlehutch’ = Crazy
                      ‘A kick in the old gazongas’= I don’t think I need to explain that one! Used when someone is truly deserving of such treatment.
                      ‘Kerfluffeg’ = Confusing. A SNAFU.
                      Use ’em wiv’ my blessin’ Jill 🙋🏻

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      • Question for you, Roger. For a long time, you and I have talked, and you always said you saw Trump as a blip, rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and that this, too, would pass. Lately I sense that you’re changing your thoughts on that just a bit … am I correct?

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        • No I still hold to that Jill. In the historical scheme he is a small creature who is just a symptom of a larger malaise. He will fall. Many will try and deify his name but overall he will be recorded as remarkable for his ineptness; a sort of Millard Fillmore. A small creature who played his part in the near downfall of a young nation.
          The fracture line between the groups is the danger sign, the parallels with the emotions which ran high in the 1850s. There was a dry run in the 1950s-1960s over Civil Rights and Vietnam, but this goes even deeper. When folk say they will take to the streets to protect a vainglorious, ignorant, inexperienced buffoon of low character you know there is a problem, they have created a symbol.
          I would like to be proven horribly wrong on this one but there is a line of argument which suggests the USA could split up into separate nation states under the guise of an EU sort of set up.
          The long march of history warns the USA is not immune to its tides and storms.
          You can, and I hope turn this around. I believe you can, at this stage, but there can come a tipping point when the only way forward will be conflict, be it civil, or legal. (states seceding; cities ignoring the federal govt etc).
          For similar reasons the UK teeters on a possible faux-federalisation and thus becoming a place where rich overseas investors can ply their questionable trade with compliant govts. So beware. History is tolling her warning bell.

          Liked by 2 people

          • You’ve given me much to ponder on … thank you. I trust your views more than anyone’s, for you are always logical and base your opinions on history, so you are my rock after listening to all the mass hysteria that dominates the news these days.

            I have had much the same thought, that if something doesn’t change dramatically, there will come a point when this nation will become two (or more). I think there is a contingent that would like that, and frankly, the divisions have become so deep that I’m not sure the rifts can be healed, at least not in the next few decades. Not in our lifetime, I’m betting.

            Thanks for your insight, my friend.

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            • Thank you Jill.
              History can be comfort but is filled with salutary warnings. This is why I don’t rate Trump as a person only as a symptom. History is replete with inadequates who got into positions of power and not just because of hereditary. Check out the history of classical Rome’s Emperors for starters, yes,some got in because their fathers or uncles had been there before, but others bullied, connived, or got ‘plonked’ in place by a power group…and they only get noticed by historians because they were useless at the job!
              As said before I could see for the USA a kind of constitutional drift where states, regions etc begin to separate from Washington and The President becomes a strictly ceremonial figurehead. It might work out for the best, it could be a sorry path. Certain predictions are hard things to make, particularly in a world where what happens on the opposite side of the globe can affect your portion quite quickly.
              Sometimes we can only sit in our corners; Hope for The Best. Prepare for The Worst.
              And keep on keeping on! 🧒

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              • I have heard many say what you say, that he is not the cause, but the symptom. And that, I think, is the source of my despair. Oh sure, eventually we will get rid of him, but there are 40% of the people who love him, who think he is the answer to all the ills of the nation, and they won’t go away, but rather will pass their views on to their young. It makes things seem hopeless when there are so many who cannot see what is wrong in this administration, starting with the lies. But my question is … those who voted for and support him — what the heck did they have to be so bloomin’ miserable about??? The ones who voted for him were not the poor, not the underprivileged. The were average middle income people who’ve never spent a day homeless, never really worried about where the next meal would come from. I wish they could all spend 6 months in places like Syria, Afghanistan and southern Iraq, then come back and tell me how bad their life it.

                Yes, sometimes all we can do is sit and wait. I’m not very good at sitting still, though. ‘Tis why I rarely eat an entire meal … I get bored and need to be doing something!

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    • Very well said, and one part of me wants to agree with you, but the past few weeks/months have turned me from optimist to cynic. I cannot argue with your statement that mankind has made progress, by at least one definition of progress. But, mankind is, it would seem, intent on destroying the earth and all the other creatures who were here before him and make their home here. I see humans as arrogant and greedy … and the arrogance is where the tribal thing comes in, for each “tribe” believes their attributes make them somehow superior. And compare man to the wolf in the wild. The wolf will take what food he needs, but will not open a bank account to store food for a rainy day. A wolf does not look at another wolf and murder it because its fur was a different colour. And the list goes on and the same can be said for every other species but man. Man got a bigger brain, though he knows not what to do with it, and opposable thumbs, and he thus declared himself to be superior, the ruler of all earth. Polluting the streams so that humans who are already uber-wealthy can make more money, at the cost of extincting a species of fish? Oh well, says man, there are other fish. I’m sorry … as I said, I am turning into a cynic, and the tirades from the White House this week have sent me deep into the rabbit hole. But you do make good points and I’m copying your comment to look at more closely in a few days when I am not at the point of hoping Kim Jong-un nukes us just to put us out of our misery. 😩

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, there’s nothing wrong with being a cynic because there is certainly plenty to be cynical about especially these days. But, one must guard against cynicism becoming so dark that it leads to blanket condemnations. Such an emotional descent is very dangerous.

        On my blog, I’ve been trying to both inform and warn the political Left about its desire to see human nature as inherently “good.” This belief provides the basis for some to assert that government is root of our problems. If all institutional authority is abolished, so this erroneous libertarian thinking goes, people would naturally live in peace. When the reality of the world crashes down on this misconception, as it is now, many leftists can lose their philosophical faith and then abruptly conclude that humanity must in fact be “evil.”

        But, human nature is neither good nor evil. We are all, including Trump supporters, capable of positive and negative thoughts as well as constructive and destructive behavior. What must be done, as I attempted to illustrate in my initial comment, is to structure society so that people’s better instincts are encouraged and their baser instincts are discouraged. We can do this by demanding a more egalitarian society built upon democratic principles and sound cultural mores. Like I said before, it is our choice.

        I hope this helps. BTW, thank you so much for rebutting another commenter’s absurdly counterproductive notion that a powerful statement can be made by not voting.

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  4. Democracy is not easy. It is a solemn duty of a voter. Choices are not always the ones a voter would wish for. Choices can be hard.
    Another facet of the democratic process is often folk will vote not for someone but against them. This would explain the Trump emergence, a combination of racial horror at ‘One of those People’ in the Whitehouse and the end-game of the Culture Wars, raging since the 1970s. ‘Behold a Messiah hath come to free us from Babylon!’ ) not noticing that he was one of the guys who renovated the damn place in recent years.
    In his case the issue is simple. The oaf is a threat to the USA. Vote him out. Even a schlepper like Pence looks more attractive, at least he understands what the job is about (some choice uhh?)
    We over in the UK face a similar problem.
    (A) The current govt riven by disunity and staffed by folk of privilege.
    (B) An opposition lead by a fellow who does comes from a wing of the party whose grass-roots hold to the view that if you insult and vilify any opposition long enough they will go away. Corbyn is sort of OK, he just cannot summon up the back-bone to call out his own with an ‘Oi! Pack that BS in will you! It’s hard enough getting elected without your nonsense!’
    (C) The odious UK version of Trump Johnson B (minor) lurks the weeds of his mire, hoping to slither out and take charge of the Tory Party….bleech!!
    Not a happy choice for the voters.
    But we must vote, folk died for us to vote.
    If nothing else vote to keep/ get the Other ***** out!…. it’s better than not voting and letting them in or stay in.
    (At least being in Wales we have the option of choosing Plaid Cymru, the essentially welsh and socialist party now boasting a 1 in 6 English resident membership!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh dear, my friend. If your mind works like mine, you need help! Why, just this morning I tried to make coffee with tobacco and put the coffee pod in my pocket to smoke later! And, I ran the dryer for a full hour … empty … for I forgot to put the towels in it. My mind is a frightening thing since the moorings broke! 😉

      That said … yes, the fact that his followers never even seem to waver, no matter what he does, makes me seriously question what kind of people they are. I know some one or two, and I thought they were decent people with values, but now I’m not so sure. Scary indeed, especially one woman I saw interviewed a while ago, and when asked if she realized that Trump could be setting himself up to become dictator, her response was that maybe that would be a good thing! Aaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhh 😱

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        • Nope … they are so mesmerized by … what? His ugly mug, his wobbly belly, his poor grammar, his lies, lies & more lies? They cannot see the forest for the trees, and I would say they deserve what’s coming, but the thing is we will pay the price at least as much as they, and we DON’T deserve it. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

          • They see a hero in trump, someone who embraces their despicable, hateful, intolerant, bigoted, white supremacist, far right Christian ideology. I have tried to give that 35-40% benefit of the doubt. No longer. They knew for whom and what they were voting. Yes, all of us will pay the price.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Same here, my friend. I’ve made excuses for them, tried to talk to them, but I am always the one who is a foolish dolt, too blind to see what a miracle Trump is and how much greatness he is bringing to the U.S. Like you, I’m done with trying to reason with the unreasonable. Sigh.

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  5. American politics does seem very tribal.

    Personally, I have only found three workable strategies on voting:

    (1) May the best candidate win: That was my strategy in voting for Obama, 2008 and 2012.

    (2) The lesser of two evils: That was my strategy in voting for Hillary, 2016.

    (3) Throw the rascals out: That will be my strategy in the upcoming elections, with every Republican assumed to be a rascal.

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  6. I don’t think we can separate people from what they do and say. That’s how we get to know them. Thus, one might vote against (of for, if you can imagine) Trump because of what he says and does and identify that with the man because that’s all we know about him. We know his public persona, not the real man himself. And that goes for Hillary as well, of course. Thus ideology and political beliefs generally are tied up inextricably with the person running for office. I think you have made a false dichotomy here. No?

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    • Professor Curtler … I was with you up until the false dichotomy, for I am woefully ignorant about exactly what it is. 😲 I agree up to that point, that yes, we never know the actual person, though with some candidates we know more than others, for some are very private and others, like Trump, ‘let it all hang out’ for the world to see. But please give just a bit of enlightenment on the ‘false dichotomy’?

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      • A false dichotomy arises when we say there is a difference that makes no difference. If I say the sandwich is either peanut butter or jam and it is both I have uttered a false dichotomy. When you say that we vote for either the man or what he stands for it’s a false dichotomy if the man is what he stands for — there is no difference, in fact. With politicians, what we know about the candidate’s position is, as far as we know, who the man is. No??

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        • Ahhhh … 💡! Thank you … I understand now. And so … I suppose I agree that I made a false dichotomy, based on the agreement that his stated ideology and public persona are all we have on which to judge. But, of course, that opens other cans of worms … is what he says he believes, what he really believes. I know it’s a stretch, but is it possible that some candidates might speak out of both sides of their mouth? And that leads me to the deeper philosophical question … do we really ever know anybody? As you can see, my mind has not yet found its moorings and is still bouncing about in there. Sigh.

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  7. And now you understand the dilemna that many non-voters wrestle with. Many, including folks near and dear to me, are so ldealistic and dogmatic about choosing wisely that they would choose no option rather than vote for anyone they feel would be a bad leader. Neither do they understand the problem with voting for an underdog who may be brilliant but stands no chance of gaining the majority vote, and will instead dilute the possible success of the lesser of two evils being elected. Politics sucks. I have understood this since I wrote a book report in 8th grade on the Taft Affair and politics in the early days of this country. I keep waiting for He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named to challenge Hillary toa duel by firearms in the street ( with a suitable body double for himself, of course);

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  8. It does not lack focus , it penetrates a real tendency we all have and we all claim we don’t have. Don’t judge a book by its cover is the old saying and it’s something we can’t help but do. He was very well dressed and well spoken , I liked him because he was an educated man ; I hear it all the time. Then remember we are tribal by nature and civilisation is but a thin veneer , a means by which we flatter ourselves that we are advanced creatures.

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    • Sigh. I’m beginning to think of mankind as some sort of failed experiment. Given a larger brain and opposable thumbs, “man” should have been able to do great things, add to the earth, but instead he has systematically proceeded to destroy it. And he’s set on destroying his own species as well, if they don’t look and think just like him. Other animals are tribal, living in packs, but they don’t treat one another like we do. Animals don’t kill for pleasure — only man does that. Animals aren’t bothered by the colour of another’s fur — that is unique to man. This world is becoming a depressing place. Long ago I decided that in my next life I will be wolf! 🐺 The “superiority” of humans is greatly over-rated. Sigh.

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      • Don’t forget animals will kill to guard their own territory just as we do, also they will think nothing of hunting another species to extinction.
        Some species will kill there own kind , male polar bears will eat their own young given the chance. Others will fight to death for pecking order supremacy. They have no hospitals , do not nurse the old and infirm , leave the weak to die.
        Animals are largely survival creatures , and some thinkers believe that applies to the human race as well. The problem with that argument is altruism– it’s hard to explain and rooted to varying degrees in many of us.
        A wolf would not suit your present caring character , I watched the Yellowstone wolves in action and my soft old heart went out to the poor deer. Along with mankind’s power to wreck the world goes his power to nurture and care for creation and that is because of our moral nature which is a double – edged sword.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sigh. Yes, I know and I agree with what you say. But it seems these days that more and more humans are lacking that “altruism gene” and the species is becoming more and more cruel, less caring about their fellow person. Truly, I would love to retire from the human race, but in reality, I know this is just a reaction to an overdose of Trump these past few weeks and I will bounce back. Soon, I hope. Thanks for your wise words, my friend.

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