Friday, March 16, 2012

We're Doomed

I've been thinking about my what happened yesterday, and about what I wrote yesterday. I'm still legitimately bummed out about giving up political discussion on Facebook.

I really want to find a place where I can have a level-headed discusion about politics. Part of that desire comes from an interest in my state and my country. I want the society I live in, and that my kids will live in, to be successful. I want it to be the best place to live in the world, and a place where the "American dream" is more than just a phrase that politicians use to get elected.

But another big part of what attracts me to politics (as a topic) is just the absurdity of the whole system; especially the partisan antics, the lies, the pandering, the misdirection, etc. Election year is like the Super Bowl of social engineering and, like a train wreck, I can’t take my eyes off of it.

It BOGGLES my mind how people just accept their brand of partisan politics at face value. No, 'accept' isn't the right word... they embrace it and regurgitate it as often as they can and with as much fervor as they can muster. It's just... frustrating, disappointing, and overall perplexing.

It seems that for some people the partisan devotion runs so deep that it overpowers their ability to think freely and react appropriately to innocuous political conversation. The partisan mind is a minefield of knee-jerk reactions. If you say anything unflattering about their a person's favorite candidate or anything that could be perceived as diverging from their party's ideology then you risk being labeled their enemy, and as their enemy it's automatically assumed that you'll passionately defend the opposing viewpoint. It goes a little like this:

Bob: "I don't know about Joe Democrat, some of his views seem a little backwards to me"
Jim: "Oh, yeah! Like Bill Republican is sooo perfect! Why don't you go run over some homeless people in your hummer? Scumbag!"
Bob: … um… *head explodes*

Or, turning the tables:

Bob: "I don't know about Bill Republican, some of his views seem a little backwards to me"
Jim: "Oh, yeah! Like Joe Democrat is sooo perfect! Why don't you go run over some unborn babies in your Prius? Scumbag!"
Bob: … um… *head explodes*

The political climate in this country is such that level-headed discussion of political topics is impossible. It *can't* be done. I want so badly to be able to just talk about some stuff, share my observations, get some opinions, etc. without people bringing emotions and preconceptions into the conversation.

I'd love to get to a point where I could say "Yeah, I know a lot about a select few issues; enough to be confident in passionately defending my opinions about them" Unfortunately I don't see any way to get to that point. All the avialable information is biased, and all of it disputed. In effect, all the inputs are bad. How do you get good outputs from bad inputs? You can't.

There has to be something more to be said about these issues, and if people were encouraged to talk about them, debate them, then maybe we could make some progress towards a consensus. Probably not, but at least we'd be trying, and at least we would all understand the issues a little better. But that’s an unrealistic vision. Talking about politics only has one guaranteed result: it will piss people off. That's all you can reasonably expect to get out of it. It’s a shame.

This is the realization I came to yesterday. It's the reason I sterilized my Facebook wall. I'm not venturing out into the minefield again. I'm accepting that no amount of neutrality or disclaimers or civility can offset the insanity that is partisan politics. I will keep my thoughts to myself, like nice people do. Thinking is hard anyway, and I wouldn’t want to impose on anyone. :\

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm frustrated with Facebook so I'm going to give blogging another shot. Why not, right?

I'm frustrated with Facebook because I want it to be something it's not. That is, I want it to be a place where I can talk about mentally stimulating stuff with friends and get opinions and feedback from people I know, and whose opinions I may value. Instead, I can only imagine the number of people who have me blocked entirely. It's weird, I just don't know how to approach it.

I think it would bother me less if people would come out and say "hey, you know what? I just don't want to see your stuff. It bothers me. I'm going to block/defriend you." That I can live with, or adapt to. What bothers me is the idea that I am just annoying people over and over and over again until they quietly block me or defriend me (both in the facebook sense and in the real life sense, but more importantly in the real life sense) and I'm carrying on like an idiot, largely (and naively) oblivious to the fact that I'm alienating people. Or maybe I'm not entirely oblivious, but I don't want to accept it.

Anyway... It's eating me up right now. A crappy end to an otherwise happy day. When everything is said and done I'd kill to have a mentally stimulating debate with anyone who's willing (and about any topic for that matter). All I can manage is pissing people off instead. I'd say I'm misunderstood but more likely it's my own failure to understand or anticipate the way others interpret my words. Either way, the net result is that I come off as an abrasive jerk (or so I've been told).

In the end I'm just way too isolated. I isolate myself. My social circle is about the size of a hoola-hoop. Sometimes I wish I weren't such an introvert; that I could just make small talk and had more in common with other people. I feel really good about a lot of things in my life. There are a lot of things that make me happy to be who I am and where I am, but there's a definite gap in my life and I'm not sure I can of fill it.

Also, I hate that this post comes off as whining. It's not supposed to be whining, it's just me thinking out loud. Trying to put my thoughts into words so I can get them out of my head.
...and now I sound crazy. Great.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I missed February! In my defense, it is a shorter month, right? Yeah, I know you're all forgiving me.

So... what noteworthy events transpired last month? Well, to start with, Jack has started talking more and more, but he still is very stubborn. He now has said (though don't try to get him to repeat any of these words or he'll either run away laughing or look you straight in the eye and instead say, "ball"): mommy, daddy, duke, choo choo, jack, grandma, hand, no, ball (of course), and that (which he says often, as he's pointing at whatever it is that he wants). I'm sure there have been more, but since he won't repeat himself once he gets a positive reaction from me, I can't remember any others.

Alice started taking swim lessons this week. She LOVES it and looks adorable in the pool with her little friends and teachers. Jack is jealous, though, and makes things difficult on my by squirming and twisting and trying his very hardest to get out of my arms so he can run for that gigantic bathtub.

Erik has been home more this semester since he is only taking one class. It's been nice to have him around. After this semester is over, we're looking at a year until he graduates. Graduation has been such a distant event for so long now that it's hard to think of it as something that will actually take place. We still will probably live in Provo, but I'm coming to terms with that and am actually starting to like this place. I've liked the people here for a long time, but now the place is growing on me, too. I would still love to have a basement. And a garage. And a yard. And another bedroom, my own bathroom, and playgrounds within walking distance... but I'd rather be in an imperfect house than a perfect one that I can't afford.

Not much else new is happening in my life. I teach primary now in church and it's going well. The kids (4-5 yo) can be crazy, but they are fun. I'm still excited about my upcoming employment. I have about a month left before I leave the world of stay-at-home-mom-hood for the world of work-at-home-mom-hood (since I'll be working out of the home). It will be sort of strange, though since it's part time and I'll still never leave the house, hopefully I'll adjust well.

There it is. 1 day late. I'll try to not procrastinate next (this) month.