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About Politics

I was too depressed to make a blog post last night. I thought of making a post about that but was halted by the thought, “My mother will read this!” I do not want her to worry. I know, she will read those too sentences. But I felt I should mention that this post is late and why.

One reason I am quite depressed is the same reason many people are depressed: politics. I try to stay off politics in this blog. For one reason, I try to be upbeat, a booster for the area, as my subheading says, a “totally fun blog.” Politics is rarely fun.

The main reason I dislike talking about politics, and this is perhaps a cowardly reason, is that people who disagree with me will express their opinions, often in a hurtful, disparaging way. Because of my depression, I am likely to interpret arguments as disparaging and hurtful even if they are not meant that way, but these days many people feel free to insult and belittle those that disagree with them.

I am no hand at argument. I cannot think of the right thing to say till well after I have responded, even when I have had time to think about it in the first place. Usually I never come up with the right words. The other side always wins, and my side of the argument is poorly represented. So by expressing my opinion, I am not changing hearts and minds but merely giving the other side a forum for express their opinion.

This raises a couple of thoughts in my mind. First: Isn’t that the point of the First Amendment? Robust argument? Everybody gets a chance to talk? By expressing all ideas we will eventually arrive at the best ideas? This is, of course, the ideal. And I think many in this country have lost sight of that ideal. Many people do not listen to arguments with thought, looking for the truth or what part they might agree with. They are just waiting their turn to talk (if they do not interrupt).

Second, and this is another depressing one: Maybe I always lose the argument because my opinions are wrong. SAY IT AIN’T SO!!! In the first place, I do not believe my opinions are wrong, because they are well thought out, based on by own observation and experience and education. Additionally, my opinions are shared by many people who I respect. There may be places where I could modify my opinions or seek compromise on what I think is he best think to do. I must bear this in mind when I read others’ opinions. That is a timely reminder for me.

I am feeling less depressed as I type this (with ten fingers on the laptop this time, by the way). Just Writing often helps, of course. Additionally, I feel happy to have expressed myself. And if anybody wants to argue my points in the comments, feel free. I know none of my regular readers would express themselves in a hurtful, disparaging way, even if that is the point of the First Amendment.

We Voted!

Well, that photo didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would.

So we voted, and my dear husband Steven insisted we take a selfie to commemorate the event.  In fact, we vote in most elections, presidential and otherwise.  Just as an aside, boy do I look old in that picture!

After we voted, we rewarded ourselves with dinner at PK’s Pub in Herkimer, NY (where we live).  It was quite the yummy dinner. I got the Blackened Chicken Salad, which was a good choice for me, because now I have some salad to bring to work for my lunch tomorrow.  Steven had a bowl of clam chowder, because he preferred something light.  I also had two glasses of Chardonnay.  They kind of went to my head (don’t judge)  (oh, hell, judge if you want to; I don’t care).

I posted the above picture on Facebook right after I put it here.  It has gotten seven Likes already.  Regular readers know I am kind of a Like junkie.  I guess we’re all happy about a lot of people voting. However, Mohawk Valley Girl tries to stay off politics and religion.  On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay off politics.  I believe that is a topic for another post.  For now, suffice it to say, I voted.  I hope you did, too.

 

Politically Unspoken

I have stated numerous times that Mohawk Valley Girl stays off politics. However, as I sometimes write about not writing, I’m going to try to talk about why I don’t talk about politics.

Note: for the sake of this argument “talk” will also mean “post” as in Facebook or other social media (which, I confess, I know very little about).

One reason I don’t like to say what I think politically is that I am not very good at argument. I don’t think of good replies till much later. Also, I tend to believe people when they spout out spurious statistics. Again much later I think, “Where did they get those numbers?” and, more importantly, “Do those numbers tell the whole story?” As a political science professor I once had said, the facts never speak for themselves.

The main reason I don’t like to talk politics, though, is not that most people are my betters at rhetoric. It’s that they don’t use rhetoric at all; they just talk louder.

Simply put, people usually don’t discuss a political issue. They just shout bumper stickers at each other, after which they sometimes degenerate into personal attacks. “You don’t agree with me? You must be STUPID! Or worse! You probably kick puppies!”

Now I’ll argue with myself, in a quiet tone of voice.

People argue in sound bites because sound bites are pithy and often sound clever. And most listeners/readers do not have or will not take the time to listen to a lengthy argument, however well thought out and intelligently stated.

Be honest, when somebody posts a link to a scholarly article on an issue, how often do you click on it and read the whole thing? You can tell I don’t, because I don’t know whether they are in fact scholarly articles or venomous diatribes. I tend to suspect the latter and that is one reason I do not click on them. The other reason is that my computer is frustratingly slow and the more links I click on the slower it goes.

Furthermore (still arguing with myself), many people feel passionately about their views. When they call somebody stupid, they may be engaging in hyperbole, trying to get your attention.

My reply to this is that it is not a very effective method of argument. When somebody calls me stupid, I tend to get mad and stop listening. Calling me stupid just puts a big old gap between us when I had hoped to find some middle ground.

Which brings me to the final argument against me: sometimes people feel that there is no middle ground. Right is always right, wrong is always wrong. Some issues, these people feel, are black and white.

If this is the case, I’m afraid we’re doomed. My desire to bring civility and reason to public discourse is meaningless, because there is no compromise. What a depressing thought. Can Mohawk Valley Girl really believe such in a negative paradigm?

NO! Of course not! I believe people can talk nicely. I believe people can listen attentively. And I’m just going to wait till most of them decide to do so.