And I’m Fine


Stay classy, Ann Arbor

There’s no denying there’s a rift in the country today.  It seems to fall straight down party lines.  People say it’s because of the rhetoric that speaks to two different sets of people; others say that it’s because we’ve gotten into this tribalism where we’re defined by reactions of The Other (that is to say, it’s not enough that I like my team, I also must hate your team).  I think it’s a lot simpler than that.

Things are changing quickly.  It wasn’t that long ago that I had calendars, shopping lists, clocks in every room, a camera, photo albums, a computer room, a laptop, a discman, a CD-wallet, copies of CDs in my car, a multi-disc changer component stereo, a radio, a telephone with long-distance, a calling card, a VCR, a DVD player, a tape recorder, a printer, a scanner, several road maps, different calculators, a newspaper subscription, cable, an encyclopedia set, a dictionary, a thesaurus, several flashlights, a rolodex, recipe books, a bunch of regular books, a travel agent, a banker, an investment specialist, a filing cabinet with many files, and a white noise machine.  Now I own a phone.  It’s a lot to get used to.

Add all that change to the natural narcissism of people (although, I think everyone only reading news that caters to them isn’t helping) and here’s what you have: “I did these things that society has evolved out of, and I’m OK”

I got spanked when I was a kid, and I turned out fine.

We drove around Lake Michigan in the bed of a pickup and I turned out fine.

I used to watch TV on a schedule and the only was to catch an episode if you missed it was to watch it again at the designated time during summer reruns and I turned out fine.


What if I stuck with it…?

No one says, “I am a trainwreck.  I have a ton of Daddy Issues so I always look for compliments from older men.  I seem to be addicted to everything and I have the absolute worst taste in TV (I can no longer make love unless The Bachelor Winter Games is playing in the background).  I’m not sure how refusing to brush my teeth works itself in there…”  Everyone says “I’m OK” because we all honestly believe it.  How devastating would it be to look at yourself in the mirror every day and say, “I picked the wrong religion.  I picked the wrong job.  I picked the wrong spouse.  These things that happened to me messed me up beyond saving.  I am broken; some of it’s how I grew up, but a lot of it is what I’ve done since then”?  We all — just to survive — have to say that where we’re at is good enough (at least for now).

And of the two schools of political thought, which one reminisces about the old days?  Which one wants to conserve their past?

Everything else falls to the left.

This also contributes the feeling of superiority of the liberals.  Of course everyone wants free health care and free college and less violence and a clean planet; that should be the goal of all societies.  From the liberal’s point of view, you’d be dumb not to want these things.  But from the right: “We paid for all our doctor’s visits growing up — even when dad got cancer — and we turned out just fine. I worked my way through college — paid for every cent — and I turned out just fine.  I got beat up in school once in a while — it taught me to be tough — and I turned out just fine.  We had asbestos in my middle school — I remember when they replaced it with fiberglass — and we turned out just fine.”  It feels like a personal slight to tell someone they have to be respectful to gays when they’ve spent their whole life trying not to get called a queer.


It can’t be THAT hard

How would you react if someone told you your favorite music can be created by anyone? Do you take a good long look at your personal choices and weighing the evidence at it comes in, eventually arriving at a point where you try to discover new points of view?  No; you say, “Nut-uh!  You don’t know!  Rhyming is hard!  Words are hard! Sound is hard!”


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