Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

a window in time

Lately I have been thinking about windows of all sorts. Books can be windows to other ways of thinking. Non-fiction can take us back in history or yield ideas for living in our own time. Fiction takes us to other worlds.

Windows are more than the kind we look through. They are the kind we find appearing in our lives. There are windows where suddenly we see something more clearly. Windows give us a chance to change things-- windows of opportunity. Some windows are more pleasurable and useful than others and it takes discernment to separate them out.

In my life, windows have come along regularly and some have changed my life when I have gone through them-- not always as I expected. Sometimes a window is a change of direction or a turning down of something. Other times it's a deepening of understanding. A window in time might be the only chance or maybe the window lies ahead, and we have to wait for our opportunity. Our awareness lets us see the window. Then we can decide what to do with it.

My most recent example of a window was when we knew we would be driving to Arizona pulling our trailer. We had to wait for a window to leave the farm and that involved fencing, livestock problems, getting it all set to be gone with new stewards to watch over the animals and land. It involved a weather window. I wrote quite a lot about that in my Rain Trueax blog; so if you want more info, go there when you finish here. But do finish here.

photos are of our Tucson house, still a little torn apart due what we found when we got here-- more about that in the other blog.
I can't really go further here without discussing the mid-term election. We saw a window again where one group wanted to change the country in a new direction. Those who wanted change voted in greater numbers than those who liked it as it was. 

And so we shall see what that means on a host of issues from increased war to social and environmental issues with Republicans decisively taking control of all of Congress. We could argue here about whether voters were duped by slick ads or whether they got what they wanted. We could debate whether all the money spent on this election, over $2 billion, was the why or whether people feel riled, don't know why, and attacked what they could. Lashing out at what is nearby can lead to a feeling of empowerment-- unless your fist hurts from breaking it on the door.

For those of us who don't want to lash out, what is our own window in such a time? The election is over. We can't change the results. So what do we do?

Relax about it is my main advice. The Republicans have experienced loss, and now it's our turn. We could demand our representatives, the few who believe in progressive values, try to block anything the repubs want to do as McConnell said he would do when Obama won both times. We could try to put the partisan issues ahead of the national ones. This is destructive thinking but if we let hate control us, it's what we might want even when it hurts us.

This kind of back and forth shift happens a lot in the US where the people are so divided. This country can't make up its mind, and we saw that when states voted to do things that progressives encourage, like up the minimum wage while they elected a senator who didn't even want a minimum wage. Division leads to confusion. 

One has to think some of the vote against dems came out of hatred of Obama and that hate is very real. I listened to Limbaugh for a bit the day after the election and heard a caller talking about how evil Obama was and dangerous. Is it any wonder there have been so many threats on his life when such talk is encouraged by these right wing radio pundits?

But can we feel proud of some of the dem candidates who frankly nearly tried to deny their party affiliation and one refused to say for whom she voted in the last presidential election. Some blue dog dems aren't any more leftie than the repub who replaced them. So for something like the XL pipeline, to deliver oil shale from Canada to Texas for refining and shipping oil to South America, it is pretty much a done deal now that it will be approved. In the mind of righties, it's all about oil for the US-- except it's not. It's about big bucks for a few, jobs for awhile in building it and then shipping the oil elsewhere. It's not about our gasoline at the pump, as currently the US has a glut of it thanks to fracking, which Obama has not tried to regulate and who knows the consequences of that.

I could discuss a dozen issues, but it doesn't help. Whatever is going on with voters, whether we are a right wing country or whether this election was about emotions that had nothing to do with facts, well who knows. If we, on the left, don't let go of the anger and disappointment, we personally lose. We win when we take a deep breath and let it all go for awhile-- until we get closer to the next election.

Personally, Farm Boss and I donated quite a bit of money again this year to certain Senate races not just in our own state but around the country. Some of it might have helped, and our candidates won. Some of it went down a hole because it didn't end up being enough.

Some of these contests are hard to understand like Joni Ernst winning so big in Iowa. What did people expect they were getting when they cast their vote for her? Iowa is not one of the races where we donated, but I did follow it because of what she stood for if you looked at her issues and how she presented herself. She, as well as Cory Gardner in Colorado, sold a vision of herself and tried to avoid running on her positions-- other than dislike of Obama. How responsible was the media in Iowa with revealing her positions or did Iowa voters know exactly what they were getting? I don't know anybody from Iowa to ask but that is my real question regarding this election-- and not just about Iowa but about the country.
Ernst has said: that Obama has “become a dictator” and suggested he should be impeached; told an NRA convention that she would be willing to take up her Smith & Wesson against the government “should they decide that my rights are no longer important”; spoken and voted in favor of state nullification of federal laws; said she still believes there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when we invaded in 2003; and given credence to the notion that there is a United Nations-driven conspiracy called Agenda 21 that is, as she put it last year, set on “moving people off of their agricultural land and consolidating them into city centers, and then telling them that you don't have property rights anymore.”  
She is critical of the existing social safety netshe has spoken in favor of privatizing Social Security and waxed nostalgic about the time, before food stamps, when “wonderful food pantries” took care of the poor. She is opposed to a federal minimum wage and has said that $7.25 an hour suffices for Iowans. She has sponsored “personhood” legislation that would have amended the state constitution to legally define someone as a “person” at conception, and said at a GOP primary debate this spring that if such a bill passes, abortion providers “should be punished.”    article by Alec MacGillis-- broken media.
This is who Iowans just elected by a decisive majority. Did they know all of it? Was she selling herself as a veteran, a pretty woman, a farm woman; and the media went along with the spin ignoring her stand on issues? Keep in mind for all the talk of the media being far left, it's mostly owned by the oligarchs who are right wingers. What gets out there is what they want.

Media bias is, of course, how righties thought Obama got elected. If that's so, it means we again got who they wanted us to have. What exactly the country will get when leaders like Ernst enter the Senate, who knows. Mitch McConnell will have his hands full with the extremists just elected, but then again, what did he promise to get the big money behind him to the extent they were?

Personally, I don't worry so much about people like her nor even Mitch McConnell. I worry about who we are as a nation. Can we be manipulated by the slickest ads? Do we read actual position papers or just love to go with the drama? Are we so selfish that we only think about ourselves without looking at whether the ads are true? How scared are we of the 'other'? I hear how bad the country is doing under Obama-- only it's not. But despite the fact that most people know they are doing well, can see all the growth around them, they buy the spin.

The irony is they are angry because wages haven't gone up and yet the reason wages have not is due to people with political philosophies like Ernst in positions of power. They don't want a higher minimum wage, and in her case don't even want a safety net. So Democrats, who at least used to help the unions (not sure today given their cowardly response to the big money), are blamed for lower wages? Those in power have done all they can to create hate for unions and reduce their power. Ever wonder why wages ever were high for the middle class? Don't think too hard, it might hurt your head.

But that's the sum of my rant on this because of my belief we need to live our life right and well or we will suffer for things beyond our control. This time it's our window to let go what can't be changed. 

Make our own life as good as we can right where we are.

Yes, I have concern that sensible gun control won't happen with a right wing Congress. I also see them going farther in ignoring science regarding climate change and their willingness to see the environment sacrificed for $$$. I have concern that they will try for a marriage amendment to block states from allowing gay marriage, and that they will try to make personhood the law of the land. Yes, I worry about the poor, but did they vote and do what they could to get a party in power that had concern for them? Despite how the right thinks, the poor are often least likely to vote.

This election was decided by way under 50% of Americans. In some states, like Arizona, only 37%. Anyone who did not vote this time should do some serious soul searching. Who was it who stayed home and let this happen? It wasn't me. 

Oregon elected the ones I wanted and we got one piece of good news. Although Oregonians turned down GMO labeling (again thanks to huge $$$ ads and fear), we will have recreational marijuana-- unless that right wing Congress, who believes in personal freedom, tries to block all the states that have voted to legalize it.

Normally in Rain Trueax, I post on Wednesday and Sunday but because I wanted to discuss the election here, I am posting about our drive south and what we found here at the same time as this one.


Tabor said...

Well, you did say it better than I. If a majority of the Americans voted for the liberal President, I do wonder why local elections go the opposite direction. Gerrymandering? Fewer voters? Money dumps?

Rain Trueax said...

Money dumps but the fact is his base didn't turn out and you can blame some of it on the dems who ran afraid of admitting they were dems. Good riddance. The only bad part is who gets the head of committees and the damage that can be done in two years. Ironic that people in states who actually supported, on ballot measures, progressive causes, then voted in someone who will do all they can to destroy those very causes. Humans are weird ;)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

It's more than I can bear. I vote by mail because of my confinement, and anyone who didn't vote deserves what they get.
We are going to HELL IN A HAND BASKET!!!!! I fear for our democracy---I truly do.