Cutting Through The Crap

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Coffee


Had coffee with a guy with whom I'd been corresponding for a long time, off and on, but hadn't actually met. He comes at things from the right, more or less, and I, of course, do so from the left. He's a thoughtful man, curious, has had an interesting life. Like me, he's been married forty years, served in Vietnam, life has had its ups and downs.

My writings notwithstanding, I've had a number of conservative friends over the years; have a couple in my family. My favorite, maybe, died unexpectedly a few years ago, way too young. I still miss our spirited talks in the doctors' lounge, away from which people tended to slink as our voices rose (never in anger, I add.) Another tossed me overboard like fishguts when he couldn't convince me President Obama is a Muslim terrorist sent here to destroy us.

Talking with Larry was different. Maybe it's aging; maybe it's the fact that, when face to face, people tend to be more civil than in cyberspace. In any case, it struck me that when people are thoughtful, open-minded, a little skeptical, the spaces between them get smaller and smaller. It's not hard to agree that things are seriously amiss. It's not even too hard to recognize what the problems are, and that the political climate in which we find ourselves is not, to say the least, conducive to problem-solving. Suddenly, labels like liberal and conservative lose what little meaning they've retained in the slide toward oblivion. It's just two people talking about stuff, finding much on which to agree. The distinctions aren't important, if they exist at all.

In other words, this blog, the stuff I write, the comments I get, reflect the worst of things, the prevalent and reflexive polarity that serves no purpose. The putdowns. The need to disparage for no damn real reason, and to no useful effect. I'm as guilty of it as anyone -- although I try to be fact-based. I don't make shit up, and my -- whatever it is, anger? -- is about the lack of substance, the political falsehoods, the deliberate deceptions that, yes, come mainly from the right and from its propaganda machine. The end of coffee-talk.

Because in my heart I yearn for the sort of discourse that can be had from different sides in a coffee shop, and I know that it's possible for people of good will -- politicians, even -- to find ways to communicate and to see ways forward. Mainly, I know that it's become practically impossible; it's entirely absent from our political stage, and among the people who've chosen sides for reasons they probably can't fully explain. Answers are there. Interest in finding them is not, not in Washington, not on the airwaves.

That's why I write, cry in the wilderness. Point out the lies, the stupidity, the vacuity. It's because I know there's something better, and its absence drives me crazy. It's killing us, and the axe-murderers are all around, and they don't care. Some of them even sometimes drop by here, smirking, thinking they're proving some point or other, scoring points in a game that's as far from the point as it could be. Neither realizing, recognizing, or caring.

Thanks for the coffee, Larry. It's both reassuring and depressing, but let's do it again.

9 comments:

ColBatGuano said...

Sid,

I enjoy reading your comments. A long time lurker I find your views an interesting and rationale view on the U.S. (which is on the other side of the world for me).

Here in Australia we tend to run a few years behind the U.S. trends, and I fear we are heading for a similar antagonistic model of politics which you have soundly warned us of. Forewarned is forearmed I guess...

So thanks for the effort in writing so often and so insightfully - I always enjoy coming to your corner of the world.

Health Train Express said...

Sid, It sounds as if you are mellowing. Enjoying being retired from ophthalmology....loved it while I was doing it. Time for all Seasons.

Chuck Sigars said...

Glad you two had a chance to meet in person, particularly given Larry's precarious health. I hope he didn't develop any paresthesias while you were talking, but at least a medical professional was there. And for God's sake keep him away from Vicodin; he gets playful. Very disconcerting. :-)

Sid Schwab said...

Vicodin, eh? Maybe I'll slip some into the coffee next time and see what happens...

Sid Schwab said...

P.S: Chuck, maybe we should arrange a three-way. Of a manly how-'bout-them-Seahawks sort, of course.

Margy said...

I yearn for that discourse, too, but I also appreciate your posts because they help me to feel like I'm not completely crazy for seeing the world the way I do.

Larry Simoneaux said...

Get Chuck on board and we'll do it after hunting season, Sid. I have to go out now and shoot something to re-establish my bona-fides.

A "three-way." Good grief, I hope the NRA isn't monitoring this.

Larry

Chuck Sigars said...

Absolutely, anytime. Or as soon as Larry shoots something and feels better. As long as he shares the venison...

aek said...

Given your blog title, kinda reminds me that we have gazillions of commensals residing in our guts. The more diversity, the merrier, so the science currently points. They even gang up, corral and escort the bad guys down and out. But the noseeums have to be tended with the right sort of food, watered with clean only, and allowed to be without slamming antibiotics at 'em.

So instead of thinking about all them illegal immigrant bugs down there, we now are learning about this interdependent other world 'o creatures.

Use whatever tools you need to see 'em and learn about 'em, and flush the toxic ones. Sorta like this blog and commenters as commensals or inflammatory bad bugs, donchaknow...