Thursday, October 8, 2020

Bated Breath

I feel like the whole world is holding its breath right now, waiting for whatever it is that will come next. 

We wait for this pandemic to be done. It will be. It will end just as the last pandemic ended, but we cannot be sure when that will be. We can only do our part. We can only wait it out being mindful to do everything within our power not to be a part of the spread. 

Is it inconvenient? Sure. 

Am I sick and tired of it? Yes. 

But the truth of it is that the pandemic is not over. This is a plain and simple fact. Throwing up my hands and shouting that I'm tired of all this and I'm not going to do 'it' anymore (whether 'it' be social distancing, not eating out, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, or any other common sense rule) would be simply childish. 

We're also waiting for this election to be over. The rhetoric is high, and the divisions very real. I live in a red county. There are divisions within the community I live in. The divide is very wide even within my own family. Signs. Letters to the editor. Graffiti. Flags flapping in the wind: "TRUMP 2020 FUCK YOUR FEELINGS" or  the yellow "DON'T TREAD ON ME", the ubiquitous confederate flags. I know that I will be accused of being one sided, but the signs that are being stolen are almost always NOT the Trump signs. The signs being spray painted with the florescent pink words "nigger lover" are not red, they are blue. 

I have always felt that this is not a time to be silent, and I am not. I am one of those letter writers. I debate online. My family knows who I am and what I think, and in some cases, I pay a price for that. A heavy one. I make it a point to never discuss politics in a family setting, and sometimes it is hard, especially when someone else initiates it. I try to find a dish that needs washing. (As opposed to a pot that needs stirring, I guess.)

I am not working right now. I am not sure that the company I work for will survive this. I've got family who work there still, and if this plant closes, it will affect my community in a very big way. By extension, it will affect our apartment rentals. In the end, it will ultimately affect Tim and I financially. I try not to think that far ahead, because as they say, 'the worries of the day are sufficient'. 

I rarely go out. Just quick jaunts out to get groceries. Trips to the retirement property to tend to chores there. But mostly, I am home and tending to the chores here (while I was working, housework was very hit and miss). In between, I do my cyptic puzzle. I study my history books. I write letters to people I don't see much of.

I am on the inside looking out these days. Along with the rest of the world, I wait for these strange days to end. 

Lately another question has been troubling my mind. In addition to "When will this be over?" I find myself really pondering "What will we be when this is done?" 

Will life go back to what it was? 

Can it? 

Should it? 

I don't know. 

I think about my childhood friend. Our relationship is awkward right now. We've always talked freely and now we do not. We guard our words. Another friend that I've always held in high esteem publicly announced that I was a "former friend". 

What will we be when this is done?

And I think about Rumi's words: "Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there. 



12 comments:

  1. I hope you and your childhood friend can maintain your relationship. I have a close friend of more than 50 years with whom I cannot discuss politics in any form or fashion. We just know it's a forbidden topic. Even during the last election cycle, when I timidly announced that I planned to vote for the Libertarian candidate, her quick response was "oh, the pothead". Lesson learned. Fortunately, we normally have plenty of other things to talk about when we call each other.

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  2. I hate that the country is so divided. I blame the media. If you watch/read both sides, the same story is so different. Peaceful protesters vs rioters burning down private businesses.... I truly believe until we fix the media, we will always have a big divide.

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  3. I think that there are both right and left-bias media groups. If your diet consists of any of these, you are feeding your own bias. These groups do the damage. Their 'facts' are wildly removed from each other. But I also think that there are reputable media sources who strive to report the facts, not to interpret them to fit their agenda. To write off all media as untrustworthy is to write off free press, and I believe free press is necessary to a democracy. We have to choose our sources. We have to choose who is trust worthy. That requires some research on our own part. Sounds very preachy, by I believe in 'seek and ye shall find'. If you are looking for truth you will find it. If you are looking for something to feed your mindset, you will find that as well. I find the best way to interpret news is to type in the topic you are looking for information on. Everything under the sun comes up. I have a list of media sources and their biases. I 'stay in the middle' and I do believe that what I am reading is, in large part, the facts of the matter.

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  4. You are sure right, this pandemic has sure turned the world upside down and inside out but we aren't sure when it will end. We also miss the days when everyone was kind and respectful, maybe nobody does it because it's so simple and easy.

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  5. I suppose it speaks to the depth of the political divide, but I have never seen stolen or defaced political yard signs until this year. Our neighbor around the corner had his sign stolen twice already and after securing it with cable and ground anchors, someone spray painted it along with all the other Trump signs on the street. Our neighbor across the street had his Biden sign stolen earlier this year. All this makes me thankful that we don't bother with those things mostly because I don't think it convinces anyone of anything and probably just as importantly, serves as a reminder of our political differences between neighbors and deepening any ill feelings that might exist between us. There are forums for discussing politics but signs in yards shouldn't be one of them.

    I ponder the same question of what life will be like after the pandemic. I don't know the answer but I'm pretty confident it won't be like it was before.

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  6. I truly feel for you Debby. I don't talk politics at all except in safe settings as too many of my family were willing to drink the kool-aid regarding the toddler and his antics - and I don't even live over there.

    Thankfully, some have now seen the whole picture and are shaking their heads - but I still live in a silent house on this matter because someone sees "attacks" on the toddler as attacks on the American People.

    The fact that the best American people I know are also smart enough to see through this apology of a human being gives me hope that enough of them band together to ensure at least one 2020 redeeming feature.

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  7. Well, Ed, you've thrown me for a loop. For whatever reason, I thought Bob had made your comment. I thought it was very interesting and wondered why Trump signs are targeted there, Biden signs here. I spent a lot of time researching Nashville. I came back to discover you'd made the comment. But you live in a rural area from the sounds of it, as do I. I'm going to guess that your area is not racially diverse. I'm going to guess that economically, where you live is not all that different than where I live. I'm curious what makes your area see Trump more negatively than my area, where he is extremely popular. I am going to guess that living in an area where a lot of people are making their money off the oil fields has something to do with it. People see a vote for Biden as taking away their good paying jobs, despite the fact that Biden has made it clear that he's not talking about a fracking ban. He intends to stop issuing new permits to frack on federal lands. Private land owners can still make that decision for themselves. Any fracking already permitted on federal land will be grandfathered in. I also am one county away from Potter County which has been the subject of many documentaries. This is a neonazi stronghold. Racism is much more open in my county as well. We have militias. A friend tried to talk Tim into attending a meeting. He was not interested, but we really broke ties with this individual. We long had concerns about how controlling he was with his family. I'm interested in your decision to vote for the third party candidate. I'm off to google. I really know very little about that group. It just interests me how things can be viewed so differently from one place to another.

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  8. I will meet you there. Rumi had a way of weaving healing into his words. Amazing how a phrase can make you take a deep breath like that.

    There is not a lot of "meeting there" these days, is there? I have a brother on the other side. (And he has a sister on the other side.) We just don't talk about it anymore.

    I saw your comment on a blog and it brought me here. It was about stem cells and the president's Covid (I hate that word) treatment. I had to look it up because I thought you said it was made from aborted human cells. What I found said it was made from animal cells, mice actually. (It gives me the creeps either way. We use mice cells?) But I was relieved to read that it was not human.

    "What will we be when this is done?" 

    Instinctively, I would say something good. We will be better. But not everyone wants the same thing. We have a choice to make, each of us. Are you a Christian? (You listed God as an interest on your profile.) I am. I believe God is allowing or doing the things in our world for a reason. His plan is for us, not against us. He is not out to destroy us or condemn us, but to save us. I mean all of us, this side and that side. You, me, and the people who disagree with us.

    I hope all the awkward things, separations, arguments, all of that, are swept away in both our lives and that your friendships are healed. We may not all agree on politics, but really that is a small thing. Like in Rumi's field, there is a place out beyond all of this. It is good, I think.

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  9. I never said anything about abortion or dead babies. I never would. STEM cell research was a hot button topic and there was a movement to ban it. Regeneron is the result of stem cell research. I am a Christian. I do not see politics as a small thing. Deceit is wrong. Cruelty is wrong. Racism is wrong. Ignoring the suffering of children is wrong. I don't believe that God means for us to ignore that. We DO have a choice to make. All of us.

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  10. Iowa I suppose it like many states. If you look at a county by county election map, about 90 of our 99 counties will overwhelmingly support the Republican candidate. The other 9 counties that are blue are all the larger urban areas. While my county isn't a large urban area on any scale, due to the rural nature of this part of the state, it is the home of a town that draws people from more than a dozen other counties to do their shopping and also is a bigger employer. Thus our county is almost always one of those blue counties. Despite the tally being 90 counties against 9, the population density of those 9 even things out so that we've been fairly purple when it comes to voting for the president the last several election though our state governor and legislature is a large majority Republican.

    Due to several low paying, hard labor type factory jobs, we do have a pretty diverse population. According to the census 10 years ago, 25% of our county was non-white. I suspect that has increased in the last 10 years. Since different races are so prevalent, I suspect that is why I see very little racism occur in our area. The battle being waged is against poverty since we have been at or near the bottom of the list of poorest counties in Iowa for nearly a decade.

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  11. Thank you for this information, Ed. I'm always interested in why things are the way they are. I read about Jo Jorgensen, and I like her a lot. The fact that she highlights Trump's attacks on his own supporters hit the nail on the head. I also like her platform very much. I believe that the two party system is outmoded, and I would like to see other voices brought into this chaos. In the end, however, I have decided to stay with Biden. It is a sobering thought that we have wingnut militia groups who are ready to attack the police and stage trials and executions of elected public officials. Even more horrifying is that there are people who will see these terrorists as heroes. I believe we are at a dangerous point in our history. We have a chance to turn away from this chaos, and every step away from it is a step in the right direction. I believe the right direction includes voices such as your Jo Jorgenson.

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  12. I’m late to this party but wanted to weigh in briefly (since you decided Ed wasn’t me!). I voted for the Libertarian candidate in 2016. I didn’t see it as throwing away my vote; I saw it as voting my conscience. My wife and I will vote for Joe Biden this time around. I’m not going to broadcast it, but neither will I hide it. If I lose friends, then that doesn’t say much about those friendships. I don’t think I will, though. But I have had it with the current administration and I will do my part to send Donald Trump back to the private sector.

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