Friday, July 22, 2011

Proton Girl

Arguing coupleI’ve been reading through some old correspondence and writings in order to consolidate and categorize a few things.

As I read through some of this stuff and discuss it with a handful of friends and family, we are all astounded at the level of negativity that was present in all of it. I’ve encountered negative people in my life before, and you usually have one or two of them in the workplace, but in all my years, I honestly have never seen it carried out to this degree. It’s a constant litany of perceived wrongs or slights, delusional ramblings about how everyone else screwed everything up or screwed people over, and endless missives concerning dereliction of duty on our part (when there was none). In fact, when I can eventually write about this in more detail, you will be surprised to learn just how much duty there was. The writing is just stunning in its rewriting of history, on the level of teabagger rewriting of history.

This rewriting of history came about because of anger and bitterness, and although I’ll cop to having a certain amount of that myself over various issues throughout the years, I’ve never seen it carried through to this extent. I try my best to not let it get the better of me, and to maintain my cheerful and optimistic demeanor, and for the most part, I think I succeed. I have not let myself get to the point where I am so paranoid and so angry about so many things that I let it affect my dealings with most people. But in reading all of this stuff, both Ken and I agreed that we have had to put up with a lot of shit over the years, and that it will be a pleasant day when we can bid it a not-so-fond farewell. In fact, there might actually be a party involved. Not because we will be so happy about being absolved of the “duty,” but because we will be so glad to leave the negativity behind. (Not that we think the negativity will stop visiting our blogs! haha)

I recently went to a birthday party for the husband of one of my former coworkers. I talked to a few of my coworkers most of the night, and although I haven’t worked there for three years, we had a great talk and a great time laughing together. Of course, there have been many coworkers I’ve lost touch with over the years, mostly due to living out of the area, but I don’t doubt that seeing them would be fun and we’d enjoy getting caught up. I honestly can’t imagine living the kind of life where you make enemies constantly, where you can’t work somewhere or live somewhere without managing to piss off your coworkers or neighbors. At some point, after leaving that sort of trail of unhappiness and destruction, wouldn’t you kind of start to wonder about yourself? “Is it something I’m doing? Is it me?” I sure would! In fact, on the occasions when I have managed to alienate someone, I generally try to examine what happened and try to make sense of it, try to take responsibility for whatever my part in it might have been. I’m far from superhuman, and I’m far from a super human being! I don’t always handle things the right way, and I sometimes say the wrong thing. I try to apologize if I get the chance. (Usually, if I speak sharply, I realize it within a matter of minutes, and am able to apologize quickly. On the other hand, if you’ve pushed me too far, you’ll know it. And I won’t apologize.)

Of course, sometimes that chance is taken away from you, and that’s really a shame for all involved. When you are essentially removed from a situation and barred from all contact, there is no chance for discussion or clarification or...well, anything. When another agenda is pushed exclusively, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. To provide a political analogy, if all you watch is Fox News, you’re probably going to hate President Obama!

All your faultBut I’m off-topic and rambling. I guess just reading all that negativity and nastiness got me to thinking about things. I’m grateful that I had such a positive upbringing, and I mean that in every sense. Not only was my childhood generally a positive experience, I was surrounded, for the most part, by very positive people. That’s just how my family is. I think most people respond favorably to that sort of an attitude, and a negative attitude is off-putting, if not downright repulsive to some. Hey, if you’re an electron to my proton, I’m probably not going to hang around you! Even when I experience negative things (and believe me, I have), I try very hard to not let that color my view of life in general, and take experiences for what they are: an opportunity to learn. One of the definitions of ‘experience’ is “direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge.” We are meant to learn from our experiences, whether it is figuring out that putting your hand in a fire is bad or that it’s not always everyone else’s fault.

All I can say is I’m glad I’m not negatively charged.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When stubbornness becomes dangerous

Oath of OfficeI understand stubbornness. I’m as stubborn as they come. If someone repeatedly tells me that I have to do something, I just HAVE to, you can bet that I will not do it just because I don’t like to be told that I have to do something. That is why I have never seen “Titanic” and I have yet to read any of the Harry Potter books. (I’ll eventually cave on the latter...I’ve read too many good things about them, and people whose opinions I value vouch for them quite vehemently. But not yet. I’ve got too many other books I want to read first.)

So I really do get people digging in their heels and refusing to compromise.

What I cannot understand, however, is digging in your heels because of some stupid ideology that has been repeatedly shown to be false, especially when the result of your intransigence is the risk of ruining the good name and credit rating of your own country.

That is what I’m seeing from the Repub leadership lately. Boehner, McConnell, and especially Cantor have shown themselves to be uncompromising and two-faced, refusing to budge one inch on their bizarre ‘no new taxes’ mantra. Boehner has been more willing to compromise, but then turns around and accuses the President of being unwilling to do so. I won’t go into details of the numbers, and what the President has been willing to agree to but has been refused by the Repubs; I won’t go into the reality of how our tax rates are the lowest ever, despite the Repubs saying that our President is obsessed with raising taxes; but when the President proposed extensive budget cuts, even to some programs that someone like myself has a real problem with him cutting, the Repubs walk away and refuse to discuss it. Why? Because Obama is asking for shared sacrifice, asking for a slightly higher tax rate among the richest 2% in the country. This is apparently unacceptable to the Grover Norquist asskissers in our government. A majority in the country—well over 60%—accept a combination of spending cuts and tax increases as the best solution to our economic woes. The Repubs ignore that, and go merrily about their business of totally fucking over our country.

This just boggles my mind. Corporations are sitting on record profits, and the Repubs continue to stick to their guns (so to speak) and say that this will hurt job creation. What universe are they living in? Seriously? Businesses have lots of money, and they are not investing in workers. Cutting their taxes will not change that. DEMAND drives job creation. Allowing the irresponsible Bush tax cuts to expire for the richest, while leaving them in place for the middle class, will allow revenues to increase and put more money in the pockets of the millions of middle class Americans, which they will then spend on goods and services which will then drive up demand which will then result in job creation. This is not rocket surgery, people. I’m no economist, and even I get it.

But not the Repubs. No. They continue to support the corporations and the CEOs who are raking money in hand over fist. They continue to cling to this stupid Norquist pledge (Why do they kiss this guy’s ass? I’d love to know.) and ignore economists’ predictions and analysis of what is going on in our country. They call for less regulation for Wall Street, when those greedy assholes are some of the main players in what got us into this economic mess in the first place.

I rue the day that I ever registered as a Repub and I regret every vote I ever cast for one. I’m even to the point where I’m sick of Dick Lugar, a moderate if there ever was one, and will vote for Joe Donnelly against him (if Lugar survives the teabagger candidate who is running against him in the primaries) in one of my Indiana Senate races.

A deal looks closer tonight than it has recently, but I find it absolutely ridiculous that the Repubs were so puerile and juvenile that they brought us to this point. The world is watching, and the world is worried. It might be hard for some to comprehend, but our economy affects the entire world. A default on our loans would be disastrous, and I am pissed at any Repub who thinks it would be okay. Get over losing the election to Obama and get to work. Address our problems rather than ignoring them, and stop politicizing this entire negotiation. I know you don’t want our President to have a second term. But if you want to win it, do it legitimately and stop screwing over the middle class and our entire country.