1.informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.”
Life got complicated and busy, more so than usual last summer, and I kept thinking “if nothing else, it will all slow down in winter and I will have time in the long dark…”
Another summer is now just round the corner and nothing has slowed down. Pffft.
Now , I’m wondering if this all isn’t another function of experiencing the outer middle-age thingy- some other piece of the how time speeds up and threatens to chuck -one -off -the -rail dealie.
Anyway , I’m just sneaking a few minutes here and hope someone has a few minutes to stop by and chat.
Running alongside all the external busy-ness of this last year is an internal and, so far, personal conversation . Internal conversations often have value for me in that they serve as a quiet place to sort , collate and/or discard ideas . Sooner or later , it is important to chuck my questions and conclusions back into the community to see if they stand up to the light of day.
Alongside a bazillion other Americans, I have been puzzling about what feels like a systemic failure to pull ourselves together and get anything useful done for ourselves.
I’m weary of the horsepunky we’ve been wasting our time on, most especially the name calling and one-up manship games which dominate our national and state headlines . All that nasty foolishness can be some kind of sick fun at times but doesn’t do anything useful.
The stock notion that there are irreconcilable differences between 2 political philosophies as embodied by our 2 major parties is increasingly replaced by a notion that the 2 parties are indistinguishable from each other and that we should and must rid ourselves of both.
I’m not sure that is really what is going on . While I understand the frustration, I think we are cheating ourselves by throwing up our hands and trying to start all over.
I would rather take a step away, circle the block, and peek at the melee from a slightly different angle.
The angle I find myself looking from is somewhat difficult to describe , in large part because I can’t think of ways to describe it without bringing up hot button issues which I don’t really want to talk about themselves, but I’m going to try.
One of my pet peeves is the endless “Ha! Logic and reason are never/not/unknown in the (fill-in-the-blank) ‘s arguments!” routine. This routine irritates the daylights out of me.
All humans build up constructs , whether it is a worldview or a specific position, using logic and reason to stick all the bits and pieces together.
Some constructs work better than others, some work in limited instances, some never work very well , and so on.
I think we would serve ourselves better if we quit denying there is any logic in a stance we disagree with. It would be wiser to try to understand what the logic is and see if it can stand the light of day, or perhaps better said, how much light-of-day .
It seems to me that we have made some profound shifts in the ground we stand on in the last 30 years and for some peculiar reason continue to argue as if we have not.
The acceptance that neoliberal economic thought and policies better suit what we want to do with ourselves has been an odd exercise to me. We shifted our whole view of the individual and society as per an economic model and have been duking it out as to what that means as to how we govern ourselves since then, without specifically saying what we are doing.
The Centrist or Third Way views that we can marry the needs and desires of the left and right sides in our public policies based on an economic model have found a home in the Democratic Party .
The term Third Way refers to various political positions which try to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of right-wing economic and left-wing social policies.
I don’t think this Third Way/ Centrist dealie is looked at carefully as a philosophy often enough and certainly see it as the WHAT that has contributed to the seeming sameness of both major parties. I remain unconvinced that it is a sensible strategy as I remain unconvinced that neoliberal economic policies are just and good and sane.
Personally, I’d like to see us really look at neoliberal economics and what we have allowed ourselves to do to ourselves in the name of this set of notions.
And , equally, I’d like to see us drop the seeming prevailing notion that moderate= Centrist in favor of a real look at what we mean by each.
On a local/state note:
I had the peculiar experience of being told in the context of Alaskan Democratic politics that “we don’t want to look extreme, we want to stay moderate ” a year ago when I attempted to start and sustain a conversation about what has gone haywire with the Party’s relationship with rural and specifically Native Alaska.
As an immoderate soul , I was amused AND irritated by the scuttle-back-to-some-place-of-safety attitude.
The wanna-be-moderate remarks were made in the context of a great deal of we-don’t-know-what-has-gone-wrong-with-our-relationship-with-the-bush verbal hand wringing so it was sadly funny that the conversation was cut off when an attempt was made to get at what has gone wrong.
So , what has gone wrong?
How can we talk about these things?
Be these things local, state, or national?
I don’t buy the idea that we are more divided than we have ever been.
Is that a place to start?