This post is going to sound very self-indulgent and self-serving, so if those kind of things turn you off you should probably go to 4chan right now and look at all of the awesome things that the internet has to offer. (Except the kiddie porn. You might want to avoid that.)
If you’re still here, then I am assuming you’re aroused by the mere thought of self-indulgence and I would suggest to you that you take off your pants and sit back for a wonderful time relaxing with Kylock and his magical typing fingers.
So. Today there was a post on Facebook about life-choices and job-choices, and how we should really just keep our nose to the grinder and save money so that we *can* retire, and then pursue our dreams once we do so. And there is some merit to this line of thinking, I can’t deny it. Being frugal, not spending on wasteful consumer products, saving money, striving to make your work enjoyable, these things I can’t deny are good ideas. But the thought that we should postpone our dreams for that point in the future is one I can’t agree with. It smacks too much of a defeatist, passive attitude toward life, that if one does the nine to five for long enough their dreams will come true and all will be well and they will die with a happy and fulfilled life. And that very well could happen, but when I give that idea serious credence an idea seeps into my brain, always asking the ‘what ifs’. What if I die at 30? What if I lose all my money to medical bills? What if I have an unplanned pregnancy? All of these things would dramatically alter my life plans, so why *shouldn’t* I put some time into my hopes and dreams now? Planning for the future is good, but living for today is also good.
The middle road. The thought of it always pops up in any life thinking or planning I do. The middle road is always the best road, in my experience. I can work at a job that isn’t incredibly fulfilling but pays the bills if I take the time outside of work to write a story, or read a book, or go watch the sunrise in a field cuddled with horses on a cool spring morning. At the same time I can strive for my dreams, focus on them and work tirelessly for them, if I know I have a social and financial safety net behind me. And you know what? I do. I have both of these things going on. I have beautiful and amazing friends who I know I can count on, I have family that will support me financially and emotionally, and who push me to my dreams. At the same time I have, and am applying for, jobs that aren’t dream by any stretch of the imagination, but provide money, and security, and some form of skill usage that I enjoy doing and using. I’m not striking it rich, or living my dreams forever, but by living on the middle road I am happy and more or less secure. Why ask for more?
Related to the middle road, last night was the Tea Party Debate for the Republican Presidential candidates. I didn’t watch all of the debate, but I did watch enough of it to make me rage and yell and blather on about logical inconsistencies. There was something that I came across though that pushed me beyond the usual rage and into a land of actual fear for our nation. Opposing political values are fine, are good, a lot of the world’s progress can be tracked to conflict and resolution. What scares me about this debate are the two clips in particular, and the mindset they represent.
It would be easy to make the usual ‘the Republicans are the pro-life party’ arguments for the first clip about our mystery uninsured man, but there’s something more insidious there. Stop and watch the clip and you’ll realize that, basically, what Wolf Blitzer has asked Ron Paul is “Would you allow a human being to die, simply because he thought that nothing horrible would happen to him.” To which he, and the audience said, “Yes.” You may call not taking precautions silly, you might be opposed to the idea of free universal healthcare, but to actually cheer for, and be pleased by, someone proposing that we should let unprepared people die because, well, hey, the government isn’t here to nanny people you should consider enrolling in Evil Overlord school. Because you’re showing some awesome signs of being evil. Put another way, would we be cheering a policy that says we should let a person die because he got hit by a car that blindsided him? The person didn’t take proper precautions (adequately looking for traffic) so shouldn’t we just let the victim die, and let the person who hit him off? It isn’t *our* fault he wasn’t prepared.
And then, my god, the sheer and absolute intentional desire to not learn anything about the world that the citizens of this country show day in and day out is sickening. Looking at the second clip, whatever you feel about Ron Paul aside, Mr. Paul actually attempts to explain why the Muslim world, in particular those who attacked us, felt justified in their actions and give a human face to something America has very much dehumanized. He attempted to show that, while horrible, wrong, and terrible, there was a logical motivation behind the 9/11 attacks and, more importantly, that *not all of the people in Islamic countries are terrorists.* And he was booed. In fact, it seems like Wofl Blitzer cut him off to save him from the wrath of the audience. Which isn’t too surprising, that the American public as a whole, wants to remain in general ignorance, but what was worse than the audience reaction was the other candidates. They all look like they’re watching someone kill himself, like they would love to swoop in and say something along the lines of “All the Muslims are terrorists and we’ll get them.” and we all know that the audience would love that particular candidate forever.
Again, the middle road. The American public needs to move toward the middle, the politicians need to move toward the middle the financial institutes need to move to the middle. We all need to. But we can’t, or we won’t, because the American dream now revolves around polemic and misinformation. Taking a difficult and principled stance, very typical of the middle road, is almost impossible to make heard and understood in a climate like the one we’re currently in. People don’t listen to something that acknowledges the vagaries of human life, and tries to take them into account; they want a stance that is easy to swallow and understand.
We should be ashamed that we’re allowing this to happen.