A Thing that has made me unhappy Of Late

I want to recount an ongoing conversation I’ve had with a family friend on facebook regarding politics lately. He’s of the opinion that I live in a bubble and that I take in info from a very limited source, and that I’ve not yet opened my eyes. He’s given me some sources and things to read, and I’ve started looking at them at least a little. Only a little. It’s hard to challenge your beliefs and to accept information from sources that are counter to what you think.

Anyway… he and I have always challenged one another in conversation for many months on end. Since the Trump election, it’s been different. Now his ideas have won at the ballot box, and the impetus to get out of my bubble and take in more and different info has grown. And it seems more and more relevant to me to take in what he’s saying and try to listen to opinions that are different to mine.

Yet… I have the things I care about, and I confront and engage him in conversation about it. Tonight, he finally declared himself done. He said that he’s done trying to engage me and trying to change my mind. “I’ve given you the tools” he said. It’s up to me now, he implies.

I know what that feels like. That certainty that you’re right, and that history is on your side, and that your opponent is misguided. Given enough time, truth with out, and they’ll be forced to come around. The way the world works wins in the end. That attitude and mindset is why the Democrats lost. That sort of dismissive, benevolent arrogance.

There’s no need to listen when you’re right.

It’s easy to walk away when you win.

Maybe I don’t listen either, since I feel pretty right about the things that I believe in. There sure are a lot of others who do too. In the end, I firmly believe this. We literally just got done learning that dismissing the arguments of those who oppose you does not win victories in the end. I’ve always tried to be engaging and thorough in debate, and to respond and include those who respond back to me. It hurts when someone says they’re done. It hurts to be told I’m misguided. It hurts when, in the high of victory, they decide you’re not worth engaging anymore.

Maybe that’s what I need to feel, so I learn from it and know not to repeat it. Maybe I need to feel that so that I _do_ start taking in more sources of info and start changing my world view just a little. But I know and feel this deep down. The world has lots of room for all kinds and types of ideas. Dismissing one side does no one any favors, no matter how good it feels.

Let’s Talk About Politics

Time to explain why I haven’t posted in a while. The simple fact of the matter is that I ran out of things to talk about, and I haven’t done anything new to the server that’s worth bragging about. You could say that I entered into a bit of a cruising phase where nothing interesting is happening and I’m just waiting for the next chapter to begin. Life Filler.

But, Life Filler aside, there are some big things going on that don’t affect me directly – yet – and some big events in my life that are coming up in the next month or so. First and foremost a very special friend is coming to visit me in November. I’ve taken off two weeks from work to spend time with him, and we’ve made all kinds of big plans on things to do together. It’s basically going to be Us Time during that whole period, and it will be awesome!

One of the things that we planned to do together was visit Space Center Houston. Maybe a month or so ago I reserved a spot on a Level 9 Tour at the Space Center, which is a big behind the scenes tour of the facility. It lasts all day, we eat with the astronauts, and get to see things that are restricted access to the public.

…and as a result of the big government shutdown/showdown, this plan is now up in the air. I honestly don’t know if things will settle down by the time November rolls around. I honestly don’t. I’d like to think that this is just more political theatre that will sort itself out before it’s too late, but the trends of late have me a little distressed.

Some context. I was reared a conservative Republican, went to college and studied Political Science, made up my own mind, and came out of it a Liberal Texas Democrat. I then lived in South Korea and was heavily influenced by the better physical (roads, railways, bridges) and social (health care, education) infrastructure. I got a sense of a people who, despite their quarrels, at least governed themselves competently.

And since Barack Obama was elected President of the US, I can’t really say that Americans are really all that interested in being governed competently. We’ve come really close to defaulting on our debts, have had a government shutdown now and are coming close to defaulting again, and have been so polarised that we cannot agree on any particular way to address problems that we all know we have. And the longer time goes on, the less interested anyone is in discussing things, compromising, or listening.

Now, I remain a liberal fellow and I happen to fall on the Democratic side of this shutdown/showdown thing. I hope it comes out that the Republicans back down pass a clean spending bill, that Obamacare remains what it is, and things go on as normal until the next crisis hits. But I recognize that things might not go that way, and here is where stuff gets a little more profound.

Whatever happens, we have quite thoroughly earned it. If we default on our debts and ruin our economy, then we will pretty much have no one to blame but ourselves. In some sense, I’m getting to the point where I welcome it since it might cause people to reconsider their opinions. More than likely it’ll just make the two sides more extreme than ever and even less prone to compromise. That seems to have been the trend up to this point, despite the self-destruction our government is inflicting on itself. And if it happens, life will go on and I will still have the same friends then that I have now, and that ultimately I will survive it. And in the longer run, it will become a story/lesson for the US nation to remember.

But for now, it sucks. >:/