Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've tied myself to this chair...

...and I’m determined to write something--anything--before I get up again.

I’ve already procrastinated for half an hour playing Mahjongg and another 15 minutes looking at all the pictures I’ve taken over the past month or two.

How did blogging become so difficult?

Okay. Take a deep breath. Get ready. Get set. Write!

Lately I can think (and talk and write) of almost nothing except presidential politics. I read political blogs during the day, then I come home and watch the cable news networks until bedtime, switching channels frequently in search of any morsel of information I haven’t yet absorbed. I'm afraid I’ve crossed way over the line that separates keen interest from obsession.

I’ve always been interested in presidential elections, but never as passionately as this year. This time around I want to know everything, as if I’m cramming for the most important test of my lifetime. My mission is to be able to answer calmly, correctly, and explicitly when someone asks me, “Why are you voting for Obama? Don’t you know he [insert rumor or lie of your choice]?” So far I’ve been able to do it. That’s the good part about immersing myself so deeply in the campaign coverage.

The bad part is that this campaign addiction has left me feeling depressed. For one thing, I have an intense aversion to conflict, a long-term issue born of the bickering that existed in my home during my teen years. Even if I'm voluntarily watching panels of pundits talking over each other and vying for the last zinger, it makes me feel uncomfortable and anxious.

It also discourages me to see the leaders of our country and their minions repeatedly spread outright lies or misleading information when I know they know better. If somebody confronts them on one show with proof that what they’ve said is false, I expect them to say, “Okay, perhaps I was mistaken,” and not repeat it. Instead, I see them an hour later on another network making the same false claim. How stupid do they think we are? And do they think lying is okay with the average American citizen?

What distresses me most of all, though, is video footage of McCain campaign rallies. If you're old enough, think back to the Bible-story movies that were popular in the ‘40s and ‘50s and remember the scenes that showed arenas full of people watching Christians being fed to lions. Picture the jeering faces of the crowds who watched the slaughter. Those are the kinds of faces I see at the McCain rallies. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me to see large numbers of people like that who have been assembled and charged up by inflammatory rhetoric.

In real life, of course, I know many perfectly nice people who plan to vote for John McCain in this election, and I’m sure that many of the people at his rallies are perfectly nice as well. They’re the ones whose faces are not contorted with anger or smugness. What frightens me is the idea that large numbers of zealots and bigots come out of those rallies, walk our streets among rational people, spread their hostility to their offspring, and make our world less safe.

Okay. That's enough of that. I have written. If I’d written anything at all in the last month, it would have ended up about like this or worse. Because of that conflict thing I mentioned, I’m always hesitant to express strong negative opinions for fear of offending readers I care about. If I’ve done that, I’m sorry, but the truth is, if I’ve offended you to any large degree, we probably wouldn’t get along in real life anyway, so there’s no great loss to either of us. Go away and read Rush Limbaugh’s website.

On the other hand, if you’re still with me, I’ll promise you this: Barring computer outages or medical emergencies (human or canine), I’ll post something every single day between now and the end of November, and most of it will not be rants like this post. Some days it might be just a photo, but there'll be something new each day. I hope that the process of posting every day will help me find my missing sense of humor, reestablish the blogging habit, and make up to you for my just-ended month of self-indulgence.

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

12 comments:

  1. At church today...the preacher talked about a book..."the shack".
    The main premise of the book is about judging. The think that bothers me about all the Christain thinking is...so much judging. The persons...I hear at my work place say they are supporting McCain always preface what they say with
    'now, I am not prejudgiced' but then after they are finished with their little speech, I go ahead and say...sounds to me like you are just what you claim not to be.

    My prayer today is the the Lord help me not become the bigot I see in so many of my friends.

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  2. Velvet, I know I'm a bit more conservative than you (quite frankly, I dislike them BOTH and wish I had what I felt like was a REAL choice. But I think the days of those politics ended before I was born!), but I feel like I see smug zealots at both Dem and Rep rallies. They all scare me.

    The funny part is last night, I was suffering insomnia...money worries the first time I work. The second time I woke, I was having a nightmare that Obama was elected and all these things were going wrong. The time I woke, the #2 nightmare was exactly the same only McCain had been elected!!!

    Anyway, I know exactly what you mean about conflict. I have to change the channels when they start yelling at one another. Can't we all just get along??? I worry that no matter who is elected, there's going to be some really unhappy people... It no longer feels like we can say, "My guy lost. OK, this {other} guy is MY president." It feels like we just spend the interim years dissing the winner and trying to figure out how to get him out of office. (i.e. Clinton AND W. Bush)

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    I was thinking about your magical November ( the year I really started following you). You posted every single day. I thought so much about joining the blog fray and really, deeply admired you for posting so much.

    I thought about this the other day when I looked at my own pitiful number of posts for this month. I was seriously thinking of posted every day in November and now, you've pushed me over the edge. Although today's is cop out of sorts!

    Thanks for the push!

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  3. i am glad you are here.

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  4. Sister-Three, I agree with you completely that there is a lot of judgmentalism among Christians, but I believe it exists among other organized religions and atheists as well. The problem with the religious right is that they seem to take so much pride in being judgmental.

    I try to always remember the children's hymn that says, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight..."

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    Creekhiker, I'm sorry you don't like either of these candidates. I've been in that situation several times, and it's worrisome at best. It feels much better this time around, to have a candidate I believe in and support wholeheartedly, and I'm sure it'll feel worse than usual if he loses -- or, worse yet, if he wins and doesn't live up to my expectations.

    As for "can't we all just get along," I saw Rodney King on television the other night. He's in treatment on "Celebrity Rehab." Guess we know now how he's been "getting along" lately.

    Do I understand you to be saying that you're going to post every day, too? It would be great to have a partner in this venture.

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    Patsy, thanks.

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  5. I almost didn't read this post because when I checked in I thought I saw "It's been 13 days since...." and then I did a double take and saw your new post. Glad you're back and everything is alright! I have been consumed as well with this election and have read everything I can find on the Internet, in the book stores and listened to the pundits on TV, watched the debates and it seemed to me that McCain wasn't pushing a policy, only distorting what Obama had just said about taxes, etc. I learned not to pay any attention to the way they voted on bills in the Senate because the bills had so much attached to them, in order to get their main concern voted in, they had to vote against something else. I think they should have one item on each bill and work more than four times a year. Our Congressmen should work from 8 = 5 five days a week like most people do. Okay, now I am starting to rant in a place made only for comments. Sorry! Anyway I voted early on the first day so it's all over for me.

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  6. I have become obsessed, too, so I have made a plan for the next week. I'm going to vote early, on Tuesday. Then, I'm stopping at the nearest liquor store and buying a bottle of Jack Daniels. Tuesday night, I'm going to get hammered and stay that way until November 5, playing that drinking game that college students play, where they take a shot every time they hear a certain word or phrase. I'll play my game every time I hear the words 'maverick" or "change." I should be able to get through the week in a happy mood no matter what happens in the presidential race. My only problem will be the massive headache I'll have to deal with.

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  7. Yay! she's back!! About time! Umm...I don't suppose this applies to Velvet's Bookstacks too?

    I hope I can do the same, we'll see! ;-)

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  8. I'm so glad you're back! And I too understand how you feel about the conflict from the upcoming election. The good news is that this year both my boys are over 18 and will be voting for the first time. I am so proud! (They better vote Democrat or I'll kick them out of the house!)

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  9. SO glad you are back, I've missed you!

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  10. Thanks. I feel exactly the way you do! And I am going to imitate Betty and get myself some long-absent booze to get me through these last days. Judith

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  11. I'm so glad to know there is someone out there as neurotic as me about all this. "Cramming for some sort of exam" is exactly how I feel. I can't stop reading the blogs, papers or watching the TV. I realize I will learn nothing new but like any good car crash I cannot turn away. Perhaps its the sight of the GOP going down in flames that has me in such delight after 8 years of Rovian-smugness. Nov. 5 is going to be such a sad day - what will I watch/read then?

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  12. Nan16, I agree with your analysis completely. As for the attachments on bills, I'm sure you know that Obama said from the beginning of his campain that he wants to put all proposed legislation and attachments online for review by the public. If our senators and congressment can't be bothered to read the complete bills before they vote, maybe having a few million backup people read the bills from home and make a ruckus might alert the legislators when there's a problem. And, in the interest of fairness, I think John McCain has recently added this idea to his platform as well.

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    Betty, I think you have the right idea. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a drinker. Lord knows I've tried, but alcoholic beverages have always tasted like medicine to me. Maybe I could do something even more decadent, like chug-a-lug chocolate syrup.

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    Janet, I'm so far behind on the Bookstacks blog that I'm just hoping to catch up by the end of the year. All the books to be reviewed are in one big stack, but I've already forgotten some of the ones that weren't either really good or really bad.

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    TamiC, get those boys to the polls! I think my family is about evenly split between Obama and McCain supporters, but I know the Obama supporters among us are more certain to vote.

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    Karen, thanks. I checked out your blog earlier today, and it's beautiful.

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    Judith, at least this long election process will benefit the liquor industry. Toss a couple back for me, okay?

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    Soulful, I can't imagine how the Republican Party will reinvent itself for future elections. What they're doing now sure isn't working. (Knock on wood.)

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Your comments might just be the very best thing about blogging. I love it when you care enough to share your thoughts here, so go ahead and say what's on your mind. Toss your own spices into this pot of stew.