Monday, September 17, 2012

That Smirk

The day after I wrote the last post I woke up, turned on the radio and heard that Romney had said something badly timed, inappropriate and not true. It has happened often enough. It hardly felt like news. And then I heard the rest of the story. I was so angry. I started writing a post in my head about the responsibilities that come with free speech, which shifted to a post about that nasty little smirk of his, which shifted and shifted and shifted but was always a vent. I never sat down to write it.
I remember in the days after 9/11 feeling like I needed to be able to vent with people who shared my perspective and knowing that I also needed to learn everything I could so that I could talk with people who didn't share my views and not get lost in hyperbole. I feel the same way about the election.
I see and hear so much vitriol. And, frankly, there are days when I feel vitriolic. When I'm talking with people who I know share my perspective I go off. With abandon.
I don't have that many readers so I don't really need to worry that anything I write will be added to the public discourse in any big way but even in a small way I am uncomfortable being part of the din. It feels like everything can be taken out of context and misconstrued. Empirical data is ignored. And it's all very personal. I feel like it's all very personal. I just wish it weren't quite so ugly.
Even now I'm being abstruse. I don't really know why.
I assume Romney's concern for his perceived apology for American values was about freedom of speech. And I actually always defend the rights of people to say what they will even when it's stupid, ugly and hateful. I'd rather hear what you have to say and know how you see things. The film that lit the fire in this theater might not be covered in our right to free speech. At the very least it warrants condemnation. I have a friend who expressed judgement that such violence could  occur as a reaction to a film. And then they saw the film.       
There was a lot to parse last week. Protests in many countries were talked about as one thing. In fact there were differences.
In so many of the big protests here, protests with thousands of peaceful protesters, there is so often a few people doing some amount of property destruction and some amount of violence. And SO often that's the way the event is shown on the news. Some of what's happening in the Middle East is like that. Many of the people, maybe even most have never seen the movie. Some of what happened was probably organized terrorism that might have been the same if the movie had never been made. The real questions are about why people are so angry. People are angry here. I'm angry. The movie made me angry. The violence made me angry. The political opportunism made me angry. And that smirk. That smirk really made me angry.
People are tired and hungry and unemployed and frustrated and want leadership and problem solving. People want to be understood. Maybe what we want the most can never be addressed by an election.
Occupy is one year old. Rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated. There is a political conversation, a problem solving conversation happening in the streets.
Today brings a new wave of bad faith. I turned it off for awhile. I'm watching Rachel and then I'm going to do the dishes, put on my pajamas, watch something fictional, read something fictional. Let it all go.


Daniel said...

How well do I remember Dubya's smartass frat-boy smirk. Maybe they learn it at prep school. It's a Republican thing.

Tish said...

Yeah all that entitlement. It's been so great to not run from the television when the president is speaking.

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