This blog is usually about writing books, a little bit of art discussion, and on occasion, my ramblings about whatever. But not politics or religion! So, excuse me for this breach. I know in the past this country has had worse times, such as a real civil war where thousands died, but have we reached a point that there can be no agreement on anything? Much of the public discussion involves words generally associated with war. “We will fight to the end!” “Let’s kick some ass!“ “If X is elected, the country will be destroyed!” Who is fighting who? If the democrats and republicans are at war, it is a war without any real meaning. What outcome would satisfy the warring parties—everybody dead? A country in chaos?
Since we hate each other so much maybe a divorce would make sense. Okay, you go live in Nebraska, and I’ll live in Texas; we’ll never see each other again! Might work, might not. There is that small problem with the kids and the dog. But how would you divide a country that is totally intertwined. Split it down the middle? Have four countries? How about national defense? Okay lots of messy problems with a split. But can you live with people who hate you, your whole existence, and believe stuff you think is insane? Not easily.
My solution may sound silly to some, but I think we should start talking, seriously talking, about breaking the country up. Into what exactly, I’m not sure; but if the only option now is a “real” war, maybe other options need to be considered. Right now, it seems to be, one side wins the political war and the other side lives in a country they hate. That is not a comfortable solution. I might disagree with your view on the role of government, but I do not want you dead. I really don’t even want to be enemies. But if you control things, you will want to control me through either not doing the things I think should be done or doing things I think should not be done, I don’t like that.
So, if we start a serious discussion of breaking up the country what does that do? For one, it makes it clear something must change. If nothing else, when we start a sober look at what it takes to divide the country physically, we may start to think some compromise on certain matters might not be such a bad idea. So back to the divorce analogy, you keep one kid, I get one, but how about the dog? If the divorce becomes too painful, maybe a reconciliation would be better, or at least worth a try.
A little-known quote from Lincoln:
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln
My thoughts and opinions are free, and worth every bit of that.
Had a few new conversations about the decline in book reading, especially the decrease in male readers. It occurred to me, as I was discussing this with a friend, that maybe reading has not declined, just book sales. There was a time, at least in my world, when reading (or saying you were reading) the latest hot book was normal. This was also a social convention that might have been created by peer pressure. “You’ve got to read the latest book by X.” A sort of snobbery was built into this exchange.
I suppose, due to this social structure, people (men?) bought books but never read them. “Oh sure, I’m reading that now. So far, it’s great!” Now, that peer pressure may not exist, so the response to comments about the latest hot book, often are “nah, I don’t read much anymore, too busy.” Being busy, even when you are not, is the new deflection that protects you from being known as lazy and maybe stupid.
“Oh, we have three parties to go to this weekend, I’m just frazzled.” “Yep, got two trips planned next month, feels like I’m going in circles trying to get everything done.”
This creates status without offering any evidence that you are clueless. Busy is the perfect replacement for discussions of ideas or opinions. How can anyone be offended by my busy activities? On the other hand, almost any opinion seems to start an argument.
Maybe there could be an app. You put in the dates you want, and it plans a trip and provides you with details. After the trip it gives you all the highlights you can mention to your friends about the great trip you were just on; all the time, you were at home laying on the couch watching mindless, but enjoyable, TV.
Maybe to prove the point about buying but not reading books, I give you “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. There was a time I started that book and quickly realized it was horrible. Didn’t think about it again for many, many years. In recent times, due to on-going hype regarding the book’s “importance”, I read it—yes, the whole damn thing. Worst book I have ever read. The poor woman needed a team of editors, not even sure that would have helped.
If someone told me they read the massive, almost incoherent book and loved it; I would have to question their honesty but would without a doubt admire their perseverance.
Thanks for being a reader!