I’ve been really sad and angry this week. The news cycle has upset me even more than it usually does. I came to accept a long time ago that the political system in our country is dilapidated and crumbling and that it seems to get worse each year. I still participate, though. People ask me how I can stand to live in Texas, and the answer is that I love it here, even if I’m embarrassed sometimes by our state government. Texas has a long and rich tradition in the Democratic party, but many of our non-conservatives are frankly so disgusted or cowed by the current state of affairs that they give up.
I don’t, though.
I don’t ally myself with any party, choosing to be an Independent because honestly, that’s really what makes the most sense to me. I work to make the world a better place from within as much as I can; I try to keep an open mind. I have many friends and family members from all parties and all political persuasions, and I know there is intelligence and compassion and good-heartedness in all corners. I just wish THOSE people made it onto the news.
I’ve been wanting to write all week about the Akin debacle, but every time I tried, I didn’t know where to begin. There’s just so much to deal with! (Fortunately, The Onion did a pretty good job of expressing how I and nearly everyone I know feels.) Perhaps I could start by saying that this was never about a “poor choice of words,” but rather a poor choice of thought. That the entire concept of rape having different varieties is ludicrous. That we shouldn’t be offended by the term “legitimate rape,” but rather by the idea that any victim’s pain and trauma could possibly be minimized or marginalized by such utter idiocy as the garbage that spewed from his mouth on Sunday. That the term “forcible rape,” which was part of some nonsense co-authored by Paul Ryan (currently backtracking as fast as he can from Akin and his ilk) and which implies that rape is only truly rape if the victim also gets beaten up, deserved the ignoble death it got and hopefully won’t be resurrected.
But see, then I start to get angry again. Not just at Akin, but at all the people who demean others for so very many reasons. In this world, it’s a hard battle to not hate on people. It’s tough to remind myself every day not to look down on others for their views or beliefs when they so clearly contradict what I understand as logical or true or good. But for Christ’s sake, if I can do it, so can everyone. It’s not like I didn’t have to teach myself this principle, and later in life than it should have been. Come on, people, deal.
And I have to stop myself — again — from becoming so upset. Take a deep breath. Calm down. Remember that it is not good practice to demean other people for having beliefs different from yours. Remember that. Try to make sure everyone does. Take the emotion out of a situation so you can look at facts.
But when someone on a SCIENCE COMMITTEE says something so utterly mythological it defies not only logic but the common sense God gave a chicken, something so ridiculous that it flies in the face not just of decency but of historical and proven fact, what the hell has happened to this country? And who let those people in charge?? Oh, good grief.
Today was the first day of school. I had such a good time meeting all my new students, fantastic and wonderful kids in grades 9-12 who are going to make my days fun and challenging and exciting and intellectually stimulating. And I got to walk my own children down to their building (I teach in a school which has PreK through 12), and it took forever to get there because my kids had to stop and greet and hug every friend they hadn’t seen over the summer and even the new friends they were meeting just for the first time today. And when we got to the kindergarten hallway, my son’s new teachers were in the hall exclaiming his name and how happy they were to see him, and he ran to them and hugged them, too. And my daughter had to stop in each of her old classrooms and hug every teacher she’s ever had — PreK, kindergarten, 1st grade — and visit with them all before joining her new 2nd grade class, who also looked happy to see her.
Today was hectic and energetic, and it was also damn good.
My kids love school, and I want them to. I count my lucky blessings every day that they’re in a good place, learning and loving it. This is an excellent foundation for their whole lives. They are curious. They question. They think for themselves, and I am joyfully grateful, numerously blessed.
And each day I sally forth, as a parent and as a teacher and as a thinking human being, stamping out ignorance the best I can, one delighted moment or one horrifying piece of propaganda at a time.
Fight the good fight, people. Be well.
11 thoughts on “Here We Go Again…”
Great post, Angelique. The whole Akin debacle looks so surreal. How the hell do people that clueless get elected, never mind on a “science committee”?
Thank you, David. I’ve been enjoying your lycanthropic awesomeness as well. 🙂
And in response to your question, I think it’s ignorance. I just can’t figure out anything else. But then, I’m biased because I think independently and question everything I see, no matter from what side it comes. I was fortunate enough to have an open-minded education. I don’t think the majority of people in much of the country can say that anymore. Too much of politics has invaded too much of the non-political realm.
Of course, my other, slightly more cynical answer, is corruption in all its flavors.
Makes me think of that quote: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
LOVE IT. 🙂 I’ve heard that before, too, and it’s always nice to be reminded of it.
Angelique, This is so very different from what you usually write. And it came at a time when I am cringing with every word of hate that spews from public political discussions. I am old enough to remember the times of loyal opposition and civil disagreement. We are surrounded by so much faulty thinking, pure nonsense, and vicious commentary. I feel completely unable to change that, beyond making a committment to not participate in that kind of discussion. I like your solution. The joy of your children and the delight of your students. My best times at Kinkaid were found in the sheer pleasure of enjoying the company of the kids in my classroom. And, it was one of those kids (I wish I could remember who) that posted an article by you on facebook. I’ve been following “Sappho’s Torque” ever since. It was especially good to have your article to read tonight. I drove home from my volunteer work listening to NPR reporting on this issue. It is a hard time for this country. I’m not sure when the hatred began to rise. But I am sure that the laughter of children will cure anything. And you are fortunate to be surrounded. Thank you for sharing it. Rilla
Thank you so much, Rilla. 🙂 I didn’t even intend to write anything tonight when I sat down to check my email, but I’ve been so wound up by this nonsense all week that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep till I did something, and, well, writing is what I do.
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. 🙂
I think I understood what he was trying to express by the term ‘legitimate rape’, but he was still talking through his arse.
The ‘democratic’ system that you have in the USA and we have in the UK is not really democratic at all but ‘abrogatory’, inasmuch as it requires citizens to renounce their autonomy once every four years or so to members of a politico-economic elite. We will not have true democracy anywhere in the world until political power is centred on a network of cooperating communities, local free assemblies where every voice counts, communal ownership of resources, and the social value of work, decisions that need to be made above the local level being made by specifically-tasked delegate bodies subject to recall.
Before anyone starts saying, “Hey- that’s communism!” or “Hey – that’s socialism!” let me say “So what?” It is, in fact, a form of anarcho-communism, and I make no apologies for that. No apologies at all. It has nothing whatsoever to do with statist Bolshevism or the dreary tyranny of the old Soviet Union. To me it represents a level of freedom and democracy beside which the current system is a pale mockery of those principles.
Thanks for your comment. I think most models of government don’t actually work the way they are intended in practice, largely because of the fallibility and unpredictability of human nature.
kvennarad, sometimes I wonder if we could start adopting a more open source model for our governments using technology. For example, the functions of Congress today could easily be performed by a network of hundreds or even thousands of interested citizens. reading the bills, debating them, voting on them. There’s no reason to have that power concentrated into 535 people.
But first we’ll have to make internet technology as prevalent in the US as it is in , say, South Korea.
Regarding Akin, I also don’t see him as some malevolent guy, he’s probably pretty nice, despite his delusions on how the world really works. These delusions form a bubble around him, coloring all he sees. And he’s not alone, there are lots and lots of people in bubbles out there.
We should all do our part to prick the bubbles of those around us, and in doing so, we’ll pop our own bubbles as well.
I agree that many of the people whose ideas we revile are probably perfectly nice in some aspects of their personalities, but if course we don’t necessarily see that. Our news cycle system doesn’t really allow for depth. Not the TV news, anyway.
Aaron, there has to be the will to do it. Unfortunately in our respective countries we are up against a stone wall of large vested interest who know very well how to run a good propaganda machine. The powerful, however, never give up one square inch of power voluntarily. As Thomas Jefferson so ably put it, “We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.” Unfortunately his contemporaries’ who drew up their idea of Utopia did so from the point of view of property-owning ‘gentlemen’, with the result that the rest of you (indeed the rest of us) still have a long way to go in that translation to liberty.