Friday, September 19, 2008

Shame on Me?

I was informed recently, "People like you should be progressive Democrats because Republicans don't care about people." Activists are always blinded by prejudices... and if you decline to state an affiliation, they assume the "worst" and try to save your political soul.

And people wonder why there is so much venom and vitriol in politics?

I know a lot of caring, supportive, and generous people. They come from all walks of life, all geographies, all religious, and all political backgrounds. One slice of America does not have a monopoly on "caring" about people like me.

Autism, palsies, seizures, scoliosis, and whatever else might constitute the characteristics of "me" are not restricted to a specific population. "We" are not a uniform group, whoever we are. If anything, members of the Dramatists Guild or university humanities departments are more uniform in beliefs and biases.

I don't want to be told what I should believe. I am not rushing to join a party. (I've joined several over the years to receive their mailings. Does that count?) I like to contemplate quietly, alone, and come to my own decisions. One aspect of my existence does not dictate who I am or to what groups I belong. I define myself... period.

Most people do care. I'm not about to judge "caring" about others based on political affiliations -- that's simply shallow and judgmental. A lot of good people exist, if you're willing to move
beyond stupid labels.

Shame on me... I like "Declines to State" as a party. Just treat me with respect and I'll try to do the same.

Why I Hate Politics

I don't like lies, factual omissions, data manipulation, et cetera. I like honesty. Tell me the truth, and even if I disagree with your conclusions I will respect you.

I have been told I am "black and white" when it comes to data. I certainly hope so. Shades of grey don't make sense when presenting factual information.

So, I dislike most political years. The candidates and their supporters, especially their surrogates, prove to me every two years that honesty and politics don't intersect often enough.

Differences of opinion, I could tolerate. Differences in facts? Sorry, but that just doesn't compute. I don't believe in "social construction" of facts, and the truth is a real thing to me, which is why many of my courses have been problematic. Identity and opinions are social constructions. Opinions exist on which economic policies are best. But the earth goes around the sun, the mood goes around the earth, and the tides can be computed.

The labels we use for things and people? Constructed, as all words are. These are often "opinions" because people don't stick to definitions very well. I wish they did.

Just give me facts, honest opinions, and let me either vote or not vote. Stop trying playing with facts. Instead, everyone seems to think you need to lie, omit, twist, manipulate...

I'm not excusing one party, or one leader. They're all stuck in high school debate. Actually, I think high school debating is more honest, even when you have to take a position with which you disagree (in the name of "practice"). Come to think of it, a bit of ethics would be nice, even when we teach debate skills. Debate should be more than technique.

No wonder I'm cynical.

I'm told "black and white" is common among individuals with ASDs. Maybe our leaders should come from a community that favors honesty, directness, and concrete language. Sure, they might disagree, but the facts would be what they are.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bowling Alone

I have discovered that I like bowling. I bowl alone on Tuesdays, after teaching. It isn't that someone else can't join me, but I go bowling in the student center with or without anyone else.

Bowling allows me to concentrate on something "meaningless." It's like meditating. I think I like darts for the same reason. (I cannot shoot pool, due to a bad arm, but I do try.) I like escaping... focusing on something that isn't career based. There's no horrible result if I miss a pin.

What about the noise? I know I hate bowling alleys when they are crowded and noisy. But the student center is quiet. It's me, a TV with CNN or ESPN, and the alley. In fact, not one of the other seven alleys was being used. It's great.

I'd like my own shoes and bowling ball. It's amazing that I can use something so public. I admit to scrubbing my hands after bowling. I convince myself to worry only about the actual bowling and nothing else.

Curiously, it reminds me of watching the waves of the St. Croix river last weekend. I love to sit and focus on the motion of the waves. I need these moments without deep thought.