I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
November 23, 2016 - 3:12 p.m.
I'm on the Bolt Bus to Boston, which oddly enough is the name of my next album. I connected to Wi-Fi, it worked, and then stopped working almost immediately. Now it keeps say connected but no Internet. This, despite the fact, that I'm a super VIP. I am a Bolt Bus member. If you ride it even once register. It means you get an A ticket and can board first. I had my choice of seats. These are the comfiest cheap bus seats I ever had. I was going to say that I have no one sitting next to be but there was a late boarder who just joined me. He seems nice, at least he smiled. I showed him that he's in my blog.
I had to make a 1 PM bus so wanted to leave at 11 AM this morning and I had to clean up upstairs because Jane and Bernie are having guests this weekend so I did that all yesterday. Oh, come on. You didn't believe me, did you? I did laundry last night but that's it. I got up early, by chance, then wasted time then furiously prepared. I have my meds so no matter what it's not a total disaster. I missed the city bus I wanted to take which got me nervous but Bernie gave me a ride to the subway. I had to throw something out so I went to the back to the garbage, which is right by the gate where cars leave the parking lot and told him to meet me there. After throwing away the garbage I did the pat down and realized I forgot my phone. I left my suitcase down there, ran up to the third floor, asked Jane to call Bernie and tell him what happened, then tan up to the top floor of the duplex where I have my things, grabbed the phone and ran down the stairs to the back just in time to see the gate closing. After trying to call I realized it was faster to just use my key, open the gate, and walk out front to see if Bernie was there. He was. Whew. All this meant leaving 20 minutes later than I planned. But I didn't have to take the bus. I got to the subway, boarded the , transferred to the express , and then to the , took it to the last stop, the West Side Yards. That's just a few blocks from where the bus is. Mine was the very furthest bus. But I was there 25 minutes before the bus went. With all that going wrong I arrived 5 minutes later than I had planned. I cut in front of all the people waiting to get on the bus and boarded as I'm a VIP with an A ticket. This morning's routine is pretty much the essence of what it means to be me. Oh, I even remembered to bring CDs from NERFA for Joe. My goal is for him to book all my favorite acts and come up to visit when they play. I have no shame and plenty of bacon. It isn't true that I just visit for the bacon, I love Joe, Emily, and the kids. I get to see other Boston area friends too. But the bacon is a big part of it as is Emily's homemade chocolate Irish crème. Why is anyone my friend? It must be my good looks.
Now it's time for me to write about the election. I have been putting it off long enough. I'm very much not going to analyze what happened but I will explain why I won't do that. This is my post-apocalyptic election survival guide.
I am not in denial about what happened. I'm not avoiding it. What I am doing is not letting it overwhelm me. I am a voracious reader of the news, I read the Times every day, I read many news related blogs, and I follow links my friends post to the Washington Post and other news sources. I still do that but I avoid many types of stories. I won't read anything about what people think will happen, or might happen. They don't know any more than I do. I can't see what conceivable good it does. When I read about things that have happened, like the appointment of Steve Bannon, I don't read the article, just the headline. I know exactly how bad he is, I don't need to read a litany of his crimes. I will read about the people I'm not familiar with. I read about Trump's interview with the Times. I read about what happened at Hamilton. Some people thought it a distraction, but I think it's a feel-good story. And I read about the things that are real, not speculation.
I live with anxiety every day and now millions are dealing with the anxiety from the election. My experience and what I learned in therapy could help. There are cognitive fallacies that my therapist warns me to avoid, and they are the very ones I see people expressing every day. I'm applying these lessons to the election and suggest you try to too. The fallacies are.
My other thought on the election is to not post-mortem. The election was quite complex with literally millions of moving parts. I have seen, but not read, articles on why the election turned on; white men, white women, blacks, Hispanics, old people, young people. They all act like the other things don't matter.
Worse than that is the blame game. I'm not going to even mention who was blamed as I might leave someone out and someone is sure to say, "What about _____ ? you don't think it was _____'s fault?" It does no good to assign blame now when feelings are so raw., In four years maybe I'll discuss it, not now. The only one I'll blame is myself, I should have done more, much more.
People misunderstand what happened with the electoral college. It isn't about it favoring the small states. In 2012 the electoral college favored Hillary. The problem is each state other than Maine and Nebraska are winner take all. The reason that Hillary won the popular vote and lost the electoral college is that she dominated in some areas, The West Coast and the Northeast, and lost by small margins in Florida and the rust belt.
There is a lot of talk of undoing the election results by either urging electors to switch their votes or claiming fraud and demanding recounts. These are both dangerous paths. How would you have felt if Romney had won the popular vote and lost the electoral college and then the electors you voted for switched their votes to him? The electoral college is a terrible idea, a compromise designed to fit the issues if the new republic and not relevant now. But it's the system we have. Changing the rules after an election is what autocrats do in unstable democracies. They also challenge results they don't like We have been complaining that the right has not accepted the legitimacy of Obama, how can we question Trump's without being hypocrites. Is that the precedent you want to set? That half the country doesn't accept the result of every election? That is how democracies fall. If there was credible evidence of fraud you don't think that the Obama justice department would investigate it with all the resources it could muster? Statistical oddities are not fraud. The right has been using that argument for years and now the left is going to buy into it? That way leads to chaos.
I'm stuck in traffic on the way to Boston with no internet on the bus but I'm devoting my energy to thinking about how great my holiday will be. I'm going to see friends, play with some of my favorite children, and dogs, a rabbit, a cat, and chickens. I'm going to eat delicious food. I'm going to join others in singing. Those are real. Those things are very likely to happen. For the next four years, I might spend a lot of time protesting, writing letters and making phone calls. I'll do what I can do to make things better. I'll be kind to people and I'll continue to enjoy the things that I enjoy. There will be concerts and baseball and Falcon Ridge and NERFA and chocolate and poutine and … You get the idea. And if things get bad Jory said he'd marry me so I could move to Canada, if it's OK with his girlfriend, and Joy said I can stay with her in Australia where there are spiny anteaters.
The bus's internet just started working! See things are getting better already.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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