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26th-Aug-2008 01:43 pm
are contagious

The job I had before I married and moved away from it was one of those high-stress, high-politics kind of jobs in a cut-throat company.  In the last two years, most of my colleagues were demoralized and bitter, and conversations in the office fed an increasing cyclone of dissatisfaction.  I started having stomach cramps from the stress.

And then, one day, I simply stopped participating in the conversations.  I decided that, as long as I took my employer's dollar, then I would play by my employer's rules -- up to but not past my ethical lines.  Unless I was willing to walk away, I had no reason to add to the bad feeling around me.

My stomach uncramped.  I wasn't happy.  But I wasn't stressed out beyond my endurance, either.

So, you'd think I'd learned my lesson.  But, the last 8 years in my country have been 8 years of highly partisan, highly voyeuristic and highly critical emotions.  Everyone assumes the worst of everyone else, and revels in it when they find it.  I have tried to stay clean, but I learned today that I have not.

There is a story in the NYTimes about a cat in Germany that was barricaded up in a tub wall for 7 weeks.  The poor animal had wandered into a neighboring apartment as workers were doing some stuff with the pipes, and had the wall to the tub deck open.  The cat curled up in the hidey-hole, and the workers unknowingly walled her up when they finished.  It took 7 weeks for the neighbor to hear the poor thing crying.  The cat lost 8.8 pounds -- from a weight of 13.2 to 4.4. 

She survived.  Although the vet advised putting her down (because of her extreme weakness) the owner nursed her back to health, feeding her watered-down kitten food.  She's almost normal, and jumped up on her human's bed for the first time since the incident.

Happy ending.  And I'm glad.  Truly.

But I am appalled that my first reaction was not, "Oh! How wonderful!" but "Why didn't the woman keep her cat safely in her own apartment, locked in a room where the workers did not need to go in the first place.  That's what I would have done."

I think it's time I stop reading so much news -- maybe I'll get back to my normal, cheerful and tolerant self.
26th-Aug-2008 06:11 pm (UTC) - Poor kitty
I am so glad the kitty survived and could be nursed back to health. I think, though, I understand your bitterness (tinged, unfortunately, with realism) toward the current situation in American politics and the associated emotions. Note that I am a militant Obama Democrat, and a sister whom I was very close to when I was growing up (her name is Alison) is an equally militant McCain Republican. I am unhappy that things in this country can get this divisive, and stir up the emotions that they are stirring up, and I very much want things to be okay between Alison and me. It all hurts. But good luck on going back to being cheerful and tolerant; perhaps I can manage something similar.

26th-Aug-2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
I heard an analyst on NPR state that the Republicans have basically been following, over and over, a campaign strategy that was basically designed to appeal to all the people that the hippies alarmed.

No wonder I find Republicans alarming!

And no wonder politics has become divisive.
26th-Aug-2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
Actually, the strategy goes farther back than that. The hippies and the 60's unrest simply gave the strategy rocket fuel.

The GOP has been trying to undo the New Deal ever since FDR first got it through. The liberal era of the 60's emeshed it so strongly into the national character, that the Deal became so obvious it didn't need to be protected, anymore.

1st-Sep-2008 11:02 pm (UTC) - Differences
As long as people make comments like the last two, there will never be the kind of detente that many people like Nate desire (finding Republicans "alarming", indeed!). Every single one, right? No exceptions, right?

Substitute the names of two religions or races for the two parties, and see if you would make the same kind of derogatory comments about them. I think not. At least, I hope not.

I was a lifelong Democrat, then a Republican when I lived in an area where Democrats had no voice, then a Democrat again. But I am pretty sure that I will not remain one for long. But that does not mean that I will say that I find Democrats "alarming". Name-calling never got us anywhere, in politics or in life. I would feel like a total idiot saying something like that.
2nd-Sep-2008 08:20 pm (UTC) - Re: Differences
I share your dislike with the partisan politics of today. I disagree with you that I engage in them. (But then, I would, wouldn't I?)

The reason I think this takes a longer message than I can give, now. I'm in the middle of a move, and time is precious. However, once it's over, I'll come back and post at length -- if you're interested, check back.

In short, it's this. 1) What I put in my comment is not of my creation, but what many a political scientist and historian -- on both sides and even outside politics -- have stated. 2) The "alarming" in the first comment wasn't slinging mud, either -- it is the expression of how that person feels. I, too, find the current GOP alarming. It is my opinion that the combination of neo-con and Christian Right philosophies have kidnapped the party. The entire country, especially his own party, punished Nixon (whom I voted for, by the way) when he broke the constitution. Today Bush is admired for doing even worse.

The GOP beginning with Reagan bears little resemblance to the party of Teddy Roosevelt, Eishenhower or Nixon. I want my party back.
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