And dialogue becomes so painful..why I stay in my bubble …

The climate

Yes, people are angry. Why? Well, it depends on who you ask. I saw this featured in today’s Peoria Journal Star:

I think the roots of our frustrations and anger are found in the following:

* Many see their positions declining relative to others. The lives of the rich and famous are paraded before us ad nauseam. Parents and their young adult children fear they won’t do so well as the former did.

* The middle class has clearly shrunk as a percentage of the whole. The Pew Research Center reports that in 1971, 61 percent of us were in the middle class; last year only 49 percent were.

* Many folks in rural America, who either don’t want to or lack the skills to move to the city, are angry about being stuck in a setting where good jobs have dried up. “Deaths of despair” have soared among inadequately educated white males of working age, according to two Princeton economists writing in the March 23 Wall Street Journal.

* The 16 percent of Americans with incomes over $100,000, who pay 80 percent of income taxes, are frustrated with having to pay health care costs for many of the 71 percent who contribute less than 6 percent of income tax revenue.

* The incredible, unprecedented rate of change is scaring many. We don’t know how to keep up in a world being transformed at warp speed from largely human endeavor to largely digital control.

* Social media allow us to vent our anger impersonally to audiences of like-minded people.

* In our often-long retirements, we have more time to ruminate and let perceived wrongs and ills fester. When I was a child, people didn’t retire; they worked until they were no longer able and were probably too tired at end of the day to ruminate.

* “Us vs. them” polarization — white vs. black, rich vs. poor, rural vs. urban, Christian vs. non-Christian — has increased.

Our human nature makes it hard for us to blame ourselves for our plight, so we displace our anger toward others.

This was written by a “former legislator and current “senior fellow” at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs

What do you notice? I noticed that this might be a decent list for lower to middle income white people. Missing were huge issues that concern urban poor and black people (and other racial minorities): racism, inner city poverty with a dearth of means to escape (access to well paying jobs, training for such jobs, educational opportunities), and unfair profiling by law enforcement.

One might also notice that issues of sexism, very important to millions, were left unaddressed; it just isn’t on this person’s radar screen.

Even worse, when a leader brings up some issues (e. g., “yes, black people have a right to be angry about that”), many dismiss it as being divisive.

And so the anger festers. And irresponsible politicians talk about “Second Amendment remedies” only to point the finger at the other party when some nut acts on such a remedy.

Attempts at dialogue

So, one solution is to talk to others, right? Well, that might work when the others are…well, carefully selected. Sadly, all too many feel free to pontificate on matters that they know nothing about. One tried to “educate me” on taxes (rates for various tax brackets) without understanding how progressive taxation works. Someone told me that scientists present their stuff sans “peer review” (in his mind, he appeared to believe that “peer review” meant listening to, say, those who called in to talk shows…he had no clue to what the phrase means).

Someone else wanted to credit Reagan for the economic growth that we had under Bill Clinton, seeming to forget that Clinton beat Bush I in the 1992 election.

Now I am not saying that I don’t make mistakes; I do (example: I recently confused two Russia related votes in the Senate; one of the Russia sanctions and one on the Russia plus Iran sanctions; both passed easily, and Sen. Paul was a “nay” on both; Sen. Lee was a “nay” on the first one, and Sanders was on the second.

But one of my personal strengths is that I can distinguish what I know well from what I am unsure of.

Sorry; I find such conversations to be dreary and unpleasant; I have no desire to engage in them.

Workout notes
4.2 mile walk outside, 1 mile (lane 2) of the indoor track: 13:10. I just couldn’t make myself go. The good news is that the pace felt easy and my form felt decent..but there was zero in the way of speed. Then easy yoga (15 minutes or so).


June 15, 2017 - Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking

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