Sunday, September 23, 2012

Will the Real Question Please Stand Up

The subject line: Best email ever!!

Thanks to Google Mail, I could see the first line of the note: "How do YOU counter this?"

It came from someone I like, a lot, so I knew I would open it, understanding the challenge would include conservative propaganda I do not have the stomach for anymore.

Here's a taste:  During the Bush years, the email practically shouts, the US was in (only) two wars! Obama's time, now we're in three! In 2008, gas per gallon: $1.81, now: $3.69, Bush had an annual budget! Obama, no budget! It rants on and on.

For a time, I actually thought about this. Hard. Do folks really believe these statements? Three wars? Seriously, Obama's administration got the US out of Iraq. The US is still in Afghanistan. So...that's down to one. Hmm. We've sent troops to assist in areas around the globe. This is not new policy. I defy the conservatives to argue with the idea of helping, particularly when our policies possibly set those areas of violence into motion. Those aren't wars, though. Nope. One does not equal three.

The gas-per-gallon argument: I thought for a bit about 2008. I was driving way back then. I recall feeling some serious pain at the pump. The BP spill happening. Just to make sure though, I pulled out my iPhone, searched "gas prices 2008." The high that year was around $4.10 in the summer (ouch). Half point to the email authors, prices dipped to around $2.00 after Obama was elected.

The truth about the annual budget? Go here: PolitiFact  or here: FactCheck to get details, and information about how that really works.

Later that day, in the middle of lecturing to my PSYC 110 class, it hit me like when first I saw the rabbit in the Duck-Rabbit Optical Illusion.  The "Best Email Ever" left out some Really Important Questions.

How will Romney make our country any better for the majority of citizens? What is he going to really be able to do to improve our country for the long view for the most people? How will he be able to accomplish this with an achievable plan? How can he gain consensus? We have a balance of power written into our constitution, the President can do little on his own. What can Romney do to help the 100 % of people he would have to govern--not just the 53% he apparently wants to govern?

Nowhere, actually, in this Best Email, was Romney's name mentioned. I wonder sometimes if the conservatives want voters to forget him. It's easier to put the focus on an anti-Obama vote. Try not to confuse it with facts about what or who they're voting to put in office.

These days facts can easily be checked. Some questions, however, are not so easily asked.

Regardless of your views, it is important--essential--to ask questions. Then  question the answers, and make informed decisions.

In terms of the November election, our future depends on smart questions and informed answers. It certainly has to rise above emailed memes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The New Luxury

It's been a while dear Blogosphere--long time no see.

Life has blown up, blown into pieces, and come back down again--a few times--since I last had the luxury to type a blog post, or even had time to write down my thoughts on something besides the back of an old envelope. Time is now a luxury in my newly minted life.

A friend says I have a chance at a "do-over." I like that idea. It really puts a fine point on looking closely at choices. Do I really want that in my do-over? Am I going to put up with that in my do-over? Of course, reality it is that I can't jump over a high board fence from the crash of my life into the do-over and expect everything to be, well, white-washed. I have no Bourne Euphoria opportunity at a new social security number and identity card to just leave the past completely behind.

The blown up pieces of life are still settling, too, putting a punch-in-the-gut perspective on luxury. Now, I understand it on a very different level as I watch my sister have the luxury of walking from her hospital bed just to the door and the gown they gave her before her emergency brain surgery stays closed in the back. Luxury

I feel an odd luxury as I drive my car through an ice cold Ozarks winter night, drinking in not only the heat of freshly-made convenience store coffee, but also the overwhelming mix of sadness and relief knowing that now there is no one waiting at home. This time I don't have to rush through the night--I can pull over and look at the brilliant points of light the stars make in the sky above the deserted Ozarks road.

Luxury is watching the Young One, who is almost a man, finally relax, able to make it through the holidays just the two of us now without the confusion and loneliness coming off of him in waves.

Luxury will be, someday, knowing who I can trust. So far, I'm still driving the 65 Impala of understanding that luxury of my do-over. The 2013 Audi of what will become of the idea of trust is parked where I can see it. I just don't trust the ground between me and it. Life's lessons have taught me well, I suppose.

I'm pretty sure its full of quicksand and rattlesnakes.