Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Break-up

By Moristotle

A couple of days ago, I lost it. The anger and upset I have felt over the U.S. Presidential election surged up in a wave that broke on the rock of a Facebook-Messenger interchange I was having with someone (whom I have “met” only electronically) who had posted that he was “sick and tired of the whining of Hillary supporters.” The crash dashed me into my summarily blocking and “unfriending” him – a curious term, given that we could hardly have been thought friends, although he is local to me and had even approached me via Messenger and offered to pay me for some editing – hence our being “friends” on Facebook.
    Almost as a matter of course – the way my use of Facebook to share anti-Trump articles had been going – I had objected to the man’s demeaning – and I thought unfair – characterization of citizens exercising their constitutional right to protest an outcome whose legitimacy is justifiably open to question: the now-acknowledged Russian influence, the current investigation into FBI Director Comey’s gratuitous interference, not to even mention Trump’s thick, slimy blanket of lies and trumped-up accusations – “poisonous snake oil that had been swallowed by the gullible” and, by me, of course – righteous me – “spat back into the gutter whence it came”...(the quotations are from a comment I made on the man’s Facebook posting).
    Anyway.


Anyway, I was shocked and alarmed by my apparent break-up. I started thinking about deactivating my Facebook account, stopping my practice of posting excerpts from (mostly NY Times, Washington Post, and New Yorker) articles highlighting troubling developments a là Trump – only a few days more President-elect and then something I can’t imagine myself being able to say, something more satisfyingly rendered as, say, “Pussydent” or “Pussybent” – the one alluding to Trump’s successful sexual assaults, the other to his failed but intended ones. Of course, after Friday, I will have to rationalize my referring to a President in this way as in no way disrespecting the Office....

I had to do something. I reached out to a few trusted friends. I told them that I had gotten myself into a very black mood – angry, seething, raging. I said I was afraid that, at the moment, I not only was angry and upset, but also wanted to be so. I asked for advice how to get out of my predicament. Should I give up Facebook for a time? A couple of them had done that – or even did it periodically. Another remains on Facebook, but stays aloof from affrays with people “on the other side.”

Another friend pointed out that “how we feel inside towards something is our reaction to it. How far and in what direction we take that feeling [how we act on it] is our choice.” I knew this, but had apparently forgotten it. Being reminded of it has helped me start to put my sea-crashed psyche back together again.
    I’m already thinking that I can return from my vacation from Facebook (already almost 48 hours of sobriety!), and I itched a couple of times this morning to excerpt articles from the Times or the Post.
    However, I felt so good resisting the urge to scratch, I think I will impose a few more days of abstinence on myself. But I do look forward to posting a Facebook “ad” for this blog post. I’ll have to do this in my web browser, though, because I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone and iPad – a remedy that others, too, might find therapeutic....
    I ultimately rejected formally deactivating my Facebook account, because doing so would also have deactivated my Moristotle & Co. page, which the blog’s sidebar asks readers to visit if they “like” the blog.


And, finally, I think I have the telephone number of the man who is sick and tired of “whiners” like me. I have felt for over 24 hours that I need to apologize to him for the ugly part I played in our altercation – whether or not he admits the part he played. I just have to tap in his number....

Copyright © 2017 by Moristotle

19 comments:

  1. Stop reading the NY Times and Washington Post. You are looking for the same things that upset you on FB in those newspapers. You can't stop drinking by only drinking beer. It is an all or nothing thing.

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    1. Ed, I read these publications for their reliable journalism and their informed, thoughtful, well-written opinion. But clearly I must monitor my emotional reaction to them, for my own sake. I did forget to include, in my summary of friends‘ advice, the statement that "self preservation is a GOOD thing," which struck me as like my own advice to parents, not to wear themselves down or hurt their own health by working harder than necessary to do everything for their children, at the expense of their own health and happiness. I too must follow this advice.

      And my frequent and numerous excerpting of articles and op-Ed pieces – posting them may serve no purpose anyway. People can read the sources I follow for themselves if they want, or not. The main effect of my posting them may have been to rouse my passions and lay myself waste in despair. What little can I hope to contribute anyway? My energies have waned. I have little time remaining. Might I better serve myself – and little erode the good I might do others – by concentrating on other sections of the news: science, technology, travel, books, art, food...? Or by spending less time in any of these sections and more in reading books – Marcel Proust‘s Remembrance of Things Past, which I have only just begun to read and may have too few years left to finish it, it‘s so long!

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  2. I don't mind people posting their opinion, calmly and logically. It's the nasty name calling that gets people blocked. The words "your" person used were uncalled for. If your rebuttal was from your knowledge of current events, no apology is necessary, HOWEVER name calling, demeaning mental capacity, is not acceptable. No idiots, just uninformed. Semantics, makes a huge difference. At our age holding onto anger is dangerous. Be concerned for our country. We can't change what happened, let it go, please.

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    1. Sharon, I appreciate your standing up for civility, which Trump and Trump's supporters have severely damaged, and will continue to damage, now that they have the imprimatur of our nation’s highest office.

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  3. Good on you, Morris. That is absolutely superb my friend. You have taken it beyond the better good. Especially in the action of calling the guy. But even if you haven't, what you did here is fantastic and to be admired. Bravo! The base line premise in America is free speech, perceptions and ideas. We sell our souls if we allow it to break down by grabbing up our toys and stomping out of the sand box. Well done!

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    1. Thank you, Vic. I did call the man, this morning, from the gym, before I did my workout. I got his answering machine and left a minute’s message. I apologized for saying the harsh things I had, explained that his provocation had sent me "through the roof" but had made me acknowledge to myself that I had an "anger problem." I actually thanked him (sincerely) for provoking me to that extent.
          Vic, it was amazing. Walking back from the gym – it's a gorgeous day here – I felt light and free. I was even looking at Donald Trump in a new light. My hating him does nothing to him, but it diminishes me. Could I even love him in some way that heals me and transforms my outlook toward "people on the other side"? I immediately realized that if everyone – people on both, or all, sides – could adopt a loving stance toward one another....I know, it’s a big – an impossible – if, but I feel at least willing to try it myself and see whether I learn anything useful. (The feelings that seem to go with this stance are light and freeing – I think I can already report that much.)

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    2. Vic, the man and I finally spoke, a little while ago, as I was driving home from a grocery-shopping errand. He had tried twice to call me back, and when I called him back (using my auto's Bluetooth), he answered. We had a nice conversation and parted what can now be termed potential real friends. It was a good experience, all in all. The "break-up" served a purpose. Or I chose to turn it around and use it constructively? Either way.

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  4. Dear Morris (and I truly mean the "dear" part), it is such an inspiration to see you bravely participating in the battle that half of America (plus three million) is currently dealing with, at least internally. This is not a typical transfer of power, this was not a typical election, this is not business as usual. The most unsavory character in modern US history, at best a man with serious character flaws, at worst a puppet of the Russian regime, has taken hold of the reins of the most powerful office on Earth. Any rational person should be upset by this. Will he be as bad as our worst fears? Probably not. Will democracy survive? I think it will. Will the hatred between the two Americas dissipate? Not likely. It has only gotten worse. Sweeping it under the rug of fake courtesy is no longer the answer. Coming up with authentic but untried ways to cross that divide is what this is all about. You are taking that plunge, and your example inspires me. It may be that the divide is uncross-able: we may have become two species no longer capable of intermingling. I hope not. Just eight years ago President elect Obama had an approval rating of some 82% or higher. President-elect Trump is currently sitting somewhere between 33% and 44%, depending on which polls you believe (if any). But that tells me that, at least eight years ago, this country was fairly united. It may be possible, someday, to reach again that sense of union. With people of your courage and honesty taking the plunge, the prospects seem brighter.

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    1. Dear Eric, we need not assure each other that we mean the “dear.”
          A friend of many more years than I have left tried to buck up my spirits by suggesting that politics is a bit like sports, in that whether one’s NFL team wins or loses on Sunday “will make no real difference in one’s life.”
          Well, maybe no difference in his. But though he rails against “the Clinton/Obama elite,” he is by virtue of his relative wealth and education a member of an elite who seem to believe that the air will continue to be clear for them even if environmental regulations are scrapped for everyone else.
          Trump’s ascension cannot be compared to the other football team’s winning. Chuck Smythe is right to be going to march in Denver on Saturday. And you are right: “This is not business as usual.”
          I’m willing to give love a shot, even though I frequently have to remind myself that I can love someone I have good reason not to like. And the question remains: I say I can, but can I? The attempt will be an experiment.

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  5. I did very little active against Tricky Dick. Am not going to let that happen again. I will be marching in Denver Saturday, a first baby step toward doing my duty as an American citizen to help drive that ignorant little bigot from office.

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  6. Bravo, bravo, bravo Morris. I tip my hat to you. Reaching out with respectful dialog is the only way. Being "active" after the fact is divisive, I feel.

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  7. Someone needs to ask the question---what is the end goal. It does no good to march or protest if you have no goal in mind. Unlike Chuck I did not stay on the sidelines during Nixon's first year. However with all the marching and protesting, the next time he ran--he won with a landslide---we had no goal in mind. We were just pissed off that a person like Nixon was in the White House. I see people making the same mistake today that we did back then. If you want to do something, forget about Trump and think about the mid-term elections; that is were you can bring about change. The problem facing us is much larger than just making ourselves feel good because we mooned Trump. We need to bring about change that will last and that starts in your hometown. Let no elected office go unchallenged, that is where the real fight is at.Instead of marching go door to door asking people to support your choice for Congress or Senate---you won't get the same rush but you will get results.

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    1. You are so right, Ed! Sort of think nationally, but act locally? Would you be our field marshal?

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    2. In principle I agree, Ed. In practice, my town votes 2 to 1 Democratic, so going door to door is preaching to the choir. But thanks for pointing to the midterms. If we have any hope of limiting the damage, it must be done then. Longer term, I hope we drive Orangy in four. Unless he retires himself by conflict of interest crimes, which looks possible. It is the real, long-term problem that stops me. Our fundamental problem is that nearly half of the voters actually seem to believe that an ignorant little thug like Trump will be a fine president. I can't imagine what can be done to change their minds.

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    3. Or maybe he’ll tire of working on weekends and suddenly up and tweet he quits. Or get bored – he seemed to be just pretending to enjoy the concert last night.

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  8. Thanks, but I have been on more losing sides than winners. I do plan on finding someone here behind enemy lines to team up with. One person can make differance, two people can make a bigger differance, three people and you have a movement.

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    1. Thanks for the practical advice, Warrior Ed. I couldn’t imagine working alone in even a small locality. But working in a small team of compatibles sounds like fun – unless Trump declares gatherings of more than two people illegal (unless it’s at a rally whose purpose is to adulate him).

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  9. That has happened in history before, but people still had meetings---when you are outnumbered you fight a shadow war. It is called a death of a thousand cuts...it is a slow, one step, at a time.

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    1. Death of a thousand cuts...or a b*mb bl*st? [You know what I’m referring to.]

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