Free Thinking Matters

Ok, I’m admittedly riled up here.

I’m pretty sure it’s not strictly me being a grumpy old man relative to a frustrating lunch I had at one of my favorite burritories.

Chrisism.

I paid the standard $2 for a stupid fountain soda and was then given a water sized cup and I asked whether that was right only to be told, “We ran out of the small size”.

Well, give me a large size, then.

“It’s ok, you can fill it up as many times as you want.”

Great, because that’s what I paid $2 for?  To run my legs off between my table and the soda fountain.  Yeah…

And then the guy that ordered after me got served before me.

And some jerk – probably from out of town since he was reading a book with a Powell’s receipt sitting beside it and we were a block from Powell’s – was sitting alone at a six-top table, even though there were four two-tops available.  Hey, buddy, that behavior right there isn’t helping you make five friends.

Oh, and the front door with the handwritten sign that says “Please CLOSE the door behind you” kept getting left open and people lining up ten feet inside of it were not feeling the intent of my glares cast at their back side intended to prompt them to turn around and close the door.

I should probably have my “intent glare” looked at, might be malfunctioning.

So, I kept closing the door.

Pointedly.

To no avail.

But then I watched a guy – who had managed to close the door behind him – stand in line for five minutes with a tag hanging off of the back of his pants.  People pointed it out to their dining companions.  The lady behind him kept looking at it and looking away, embarrassed or uncomfortable…I don’t know which.

But no one told him.

So, I calmly finished my last bite, put my plate in the bus bin, took my squeezy salsa dispenser back to the cooler and refilled my tiny soda cup; pausing on my way by the gentleman to demonstrate to the room that you can actually do something nice without going too far out of your way.  I casually placed a hand on his elbow to get his attention, leaned in and said, “Hey, you broke dipshit, you have a fucking tag from TJMaxx on your fucking trousers”.

Just kidding, I just told him he’d forgotten to remove the price tag from his pants.  Because I’m grumpy, but I’m still nice!  It kind of became apparent to me that as much as I bitch about low-bar-first-world-entitled-white-guy problems, I’m still able to say that I’m part of the solution and not part of the problem because I’ll do something.  Even – and preferably – if it’s just a small gesture to make the world a little better.

Then I glared at everyone else as I left and closed the door behind me.

They didn’t seem to notice.

And then I saw this mess on a friend’s Facebook page and the caption she included with it was,

“Look at her body language.  Look at the way she approaches this person.  Don’t let racist grandma into office.  She does not deserve to be the first ‘female’ president.”

Priceless.

Part of the problem.

But the comments, even more troubled me.

“Frustrating”

“Disappointing” from the Original Poster.

“Her condescending tone and general demeanor in the last couple of encounters she had are so infuriating, it enrages me to no end.”

“She clearly has a particular kind she is working to appeal to.” from the OP again.

“Gross.”

I somehow resisted adding my $.02 on her page, because it’s hers and I don’t want to take over her thread.

And because she’s vocally trans and I can’t use a pronoun on her page without getting called out as a hater.  Notice the quotation marks she uses around the word female in her caption.  I’m pretty much fucked for even trying to talk sense to someone so steeped in their own political issue that they can’t see beyond it…so I made a cowardly retreat to my blog to share my opinion.

Because, that I can do.

Here’s what I tapped out on my phone in my abandoned comment:

Don’t unfriend me here, but I worry you could fall off that high political perch.

People can be a little right and a little wrong in their actions every day much more easily than they can be 100% right or 100% wrong…whether it’s Facebook or politics.

Black Lives Matters seems to be making a habit out of planting slightly naive and camera-sympathetic people in situations like this to manipulate public opinion to their benefit.  They’re nothing more that political streakers or political suicide bombers.  Take you pick.  Don’t allow them to program your view to such an extent that you see only what they want you to see:  mean old racist Hillary being bitchy to some innocent and sweet school kid’s backpack wearing black girl.  Or “girl” or whatever punctuation is preferred with pronouns these days.

Free Thinking Matters.  You’re “frustrated” and “disappointed” and that’s just the point of these types of stunts; not to present any viable alternative, just to unsettle people and create more chasms within the public which – sadly – probably only discourages people from voting since the end result is no candidate is perfect and we’ve all been paralyzed by the realization of the impotence our vote will have in creating a difference.

See the whole candidate picture and not the single issue.  That party-dividing infighting is what gets you Trump as POTUS.  Because BLM sure doesn’t seem to stand behind or with any democratic front runner, do they?  Isn’t that basically a tacit show of support for the other party, then?

Grumpy old Xtopher.

The voice of treason.

Just 250-ish words on what the problem is…in a place it wasn’t appropriate, so I brought it here, where a couple dozen people might see it versus plopping it on her comment thread were all of 500-ish of her friends might see it and form a pack to hunt me down and make me pay for the privilege of my race, gender and birth year.

But here’s the deal, treasonous or not, I think the core of my argument is valid.

I watched a Chelsea Does on Netflix this morning and in it she talked about how our cultural attention span is three minutes.

That’s on a good day.

That’s what’s working against voters these days:  themselves.

We get so worked up about whatever the news or social media tells us to that we almost immediately forget the last thing we got all worked up about.

Bernie.

Hillary.

No, Drumpf.

Wait…is nonstick cookware still bad for us?!?

If we’re lucky, we manage to sink our teeth into what opposes one of our own selfish issues or interests and hang on for three minutes.

The effect it seems to be having isn’t to polarize us around one candidate or the other to the point that it makes a difference, it seems to have just the opposite effect.  The only people really talking about it are the radical fringe elements within the party, not the well-reasoned core.

Maybe that well-reasoned core is like the American middle class…extinct.

Maybe middle-aged white guys will make a comeback as that core.  The people who don’t care about just one thing.  I used to.  My cause was – for a minute – gay rights.  But by the time it had morphed into just Equality, I didn’t have the same passion for it.  I think that’s what happens when you grow up.  You get perspective and lose that naiveté for a single issue as your temperament naturally begins to mellow and you can see a broader picture, maybe even see the news cycle for what it is:  justifying the cost of the Network’s advertising rates.

Now, if you’re a rich old white guy, you employ those naive youngsters with the energy to match their passion and pay them to adopt and protect your passion:  money.

That’s a different story.

But on the sidelines of this particular debate, you have voters watching these special interest groups in some sort of well-informed yet screamingly ignorant battle royale about what’s wrong with every other candidate, not propping their candidate up so much as tearing the other down.  Ignoring the other party to a fair degree and just splintering their own party’s ability to function as a whole.  It’s all about Black Lives Mattering or Trans-Rights or Women’s Reproductive Rights or Obama filling the open SCOTUS seat or whatever.

For once, I find myself thinking, “Don’t focus, people”.

Sadly, the people who lose aren’t the candidates running for office but the country as a whole because then we truly do end up with the inconceivable:

President Donald J Drumpf.

Why?

Because our collective emotional intelligence as a country seems to match our three minute attention span.  We aren’t going to care about voting if it’s not for the candidate we supported.  We fatalistically write the election off as a loss since our efforts to discredit the opposing candidate for our party that we believe that they can’t win or don’t deserve the office, so complete is the candidate-specific fervor and propaganda.  We indict the process and cede the election to the other party just because we’re brats having a fit that can’t see past our own foot stomping, snot streaming into our mouth bawling fit to still act for the greater good.

Ultimately, my comment on the video was just recusing the validity of my own opinion and encouraging people to just vote, regardless of their thoughts on the opposing candidates.  After all, I admit that I’m not the most attentive or best informed or most passionate political observer.  I listen to what the candidates say, look at what they’ve done and then make a decision.  I don’t need a year and a half to make or support my decision.

That’s ridiculous.

This was not the blog entry I intended today…this puts me a little off track for this week’s schedule, but you all know that I’m nothing if not loose with my posting timeline.

 

 

Free Thinking Matters

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