In the early days of this blog/diary/outlet (whatever it is), I wrote something about implicit bias. The post was titled “Am I biased?” and that serves as the basis for the title of today’s thoughts. My morning ride isn’t very long. I work about six miles from home and don’t hit much traffic on the way. In the past, my morning radio routine was remarkably predictable: NPR’s Morning Edition. Although I haven’t reduced my obsession with politics in the past year, it has taken a toll on me in ways that it hadn’t before, so I’ve spent more of my mornings listening to music, or even listening to the banter of morning radio on top 40 or rock stations. It’s a bit lighter (usually), and gets my day started on a better note. This morning was an NPR morning, and a story about the Cleveland Indians got me thinking.
I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to make an effort to take this blog/diary/lunatic ranting more public. My thoughts today make me want to keep it more on the private side. Mostly because what’s got me riled up this morning is about people close to me, and how sad they make me sometimes. I know they mean well, but it’s amazingly frustrating to watch them do what they do, and support what they support all at the same time. So I’ll probably keep things private for a while, at least until this gets buried enough that they’d have to read so much to get to it, making it unlikely that it will ever come to light. This is about refugees. More below the fold.
[Edit: I’m sure this is rough. I didn’t proofread it before publishing. It’s not supposed to be for anybody else’s consumption anyway. Perhaps I’ll go back and fix it, but if this note is still here, that hasn’t happened yet. For now it’s just a first draft, and a hope at some relief that never seems to come.]
The last week has been full of sadness. We’ve had stories of people dying at the hands of what seem to be poorly trained police officers (although I’m the first to admit that I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a cop), and just last night, at an overwhelmingly peaceful protest about those deaths, madmen struck and shot and killed police officers. Officers who were not involved in any of these horrible stories (and even if they were, it wouldn’t justify killing them), officers who were clearly part of the community, and who were there to help the protesters exercise their first amendment right to assemble. There seemed to be no animosity between the protesters and the police. I’m not sure why that matters to me, but I think it makes it especially sad that the shooting happened there, in a place, Dallas, that has a reputation for making it work, and making it work well.
I try to keep emotion out of this blog, in fact, that’s kind of the rule here, but I’m not sure I can keep it out of this one, and it’s my blog…really my diary, so I can break the rules when I want.
When I talk to people who support a candidate like Donald Trump, they seem almost completely driven by this crippling fear that the world is on fire, that the United States is falling apart, and that Washington is either helping this happen, or not effectively doing anything about it. I have to say that if I believed all of that was true, I could imagine the appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump. The problem is this: almost none of the fears that these people have are rooted in reality. Let’s take a bit to look at some things that might frighten us.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, and Hillary Clinton, made a mistake. They had a skit that involved Hillary asking why it took so long for de Blasio to endorse her, and he invoked a racially charged term, that she defused. The comedic timing could have worked with different “actors” and in a different setting, but it fell flat there, and raised lots of eyebrows. I am bothered by what he did, but not because I think he’s a racist, or that the joke was racist, but because I think he betrayed a trust. The video is here, and Clinton joins the act around 7:45. The attempt at the joke starts at 8:30.
The sustained popularity of Donald Trump has been making me very sad lately. His twitter feed is just one horrible statement after another. He’s said that he would consider shutting down mosques, that he wants surveillance of mosques, and, perhaps the worst of it all, he has walked the line of advocating for, or at least not refuting the idea that we have an identification system for Muslims. That last one is a bit complicated, and there might be room to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but that’s a bit of a tangent for this post. What this post is about is how different views of the world can be, depending on where we get our “news,” and how that difference can actually make me feel much better about my fellow Americans.