Saturday, July 27, 2013

How You Know Vacation Is Over

     You turn into the driveway and immediately notice that the grass needs to be cut. That's the first sign you're home from vacation.

     In other words, you know your vacation is over not just because you get home, but because you drive back through the gates of reality. That's why B and I always go out to dinner the first night we return from vacation -- to postpone wading into our at-home routine, beginning with the cooking and the washing of dishes. (Although B usually likes to dive right into the pile of laundry ... I don't know why.)

     It also has to do with connecting back to the real world of money, bills, dealing with the difficult people in our lives ... and the news. We were away for eight days, and blissfully did not turn on the TV even once. Didn't listen to the radio either. We missed a lot of the Zimmerman trial. We missed most of the hype leading up to the birth of the royal baby. Don't know what else we missed, because we weren't paying attention. But in fact, we didn't miss any of it.

     After we got home, I did turn on the TV news for a bit. And I checked my facebook news page, where people post pictures of babies or put up vacation photos -- and where others insist on pushing their political views. I have a number of friends who post two or three political messages a day. I've employed the Facebook blocking feature to avoid these unsolicited opinions. But some things still get through, and the messages always seem to come either from rabid liberals or rabid conservatives.

     You can tell right away because they use tell-tale words. If you see the word "insane," it's probably a conservative referring to a liberal. If you see the word "idiot" -- sometimes expanded to "complete idiot" -- then it's likely a liberal referring to a conservative. If you see the word "liar" or "hate" or "racist" it's hard to tell, because both liberals and conservatives throw those words around indiscriminately.

      I myself am a Democrat. I vote Democratic most of the time -- not all the time, because I like to believe that I think for myself and don't just follow the party line. Plus, some of the things liberal Democrats believe in are almost as "crazy" as some of the things far-right Republicans believe in.

     I worry about the "loony fringe" taking over our political parties. At the moment, the Republican party seems more in danger of that than the Democrats (although the Dems certainly have had their moments). But I don't want either party to go too far off the tracks, because then it will lose any reasonable support. I'm a Democrat. But I think the Republicans are necessary. Otherwise, we'll have a one-party system. And we do not want a one party system. That's what they have in North Korea.

     I recall a survey, sometime last year, that showed roughly 25% of Americans supported the Tea Party, and about 30% supported Occupy Wall Street. If that's true, then it leaves 45% of us somewhere in the middle.

      So despite what the media tells you -- that the country is split in two, that there are Red States and Blue States and never the twain shall meet -- in fact, the moderates and independents are the largest political group, and while we don't have the lobbyists in Washington to buy off appeal to the politicians, like the doctors and the bankers and the teachers and all the other special interests do, we are the ones that the political parties need to appeal to if they're going to win an election.

     But how did I get off on that tangent? In my life, politics is nothing more than entertainment on TV. Our local politicians are much more reasonable -- perhaps because we actually know these people and so they can't get away with saying stupid, outrageous things. And as far as vacation goes, I didn't hear one person call anyone else "insane" or a "complete idiot" the whole time we were gone.

     Anyway, politics is not my reality. My reality is ... oh, darn, B picked up the mail yesterday, a box full of stuff that was held at the post office while we were away. The ads, the solicitations, the coupons, all trying to get us to spend more money. I'll ignore them, and just carry them out to recycling. But I can't ignore the bills. The bills are my reality. But wait ... first, I'll go mow the lawn.



DJan said...

Oh, Tom, I hear you about politics. I've managed to block almost everyone on Facebook who posts anything about politics. There are a few who get through but I usually love them enough to get past it. Getting away from the news is very liberating. I do a "news fast" every now and then. :-)

Dick Klade said...

Tom, you may not be into politics, but the analysis of the American situation you presented here is right on. Maybe what Facebook needs are people posting moderate positions on the issues. Welcome home.

Stephen Hayes said...

Your political position seems reasonable to me and I bet we're very close on our opinions. Yes, we don't want a one party system but I admit I do miss the "old" Republican party, a party more interested in compromise than the politics of obstruction.

Meryl Baer said...

I also block friends who rant. Hopefully sooner than later the pendulum will swing back to the middle politically and saner heads prevail.

Friko said...

Politics is the same the world over, unless you happen to be unfortunate enough to be in North Korea or Putin’s Russia.

We middle-of-the-roaders are in the majority but the problem is that political parties all call themselves m-o-t-r and appropriate reason and balance for themselves. The media in the UK have a lot to answer for, as I believe they do in the US. Even so, there’s nothing that stops us thinking for ourselves.

Pity, there aren’t more doing so.

Keep mowing the grass, it’s good for the blood pressure. said...

As usual, a provocative piece.

If that photo shows your yard, it is beautiful. Yes, I would hate to have to mow it, but you could plant flowering shrubs all along the edge.

Re politics. David likes Fox and we catch the news on it many nights. I am intelligent and informed enough to disagree with some of the comments and don't need to resort to name calling or making disparaging remarks. Before we watched Fox (and our local news station CBS and the PBS news hour) we watched MSNBC. After Olberman named Bill O'Reilly 'the Worst person in the world" for the fiftieth time, I had to turn on Bill and watch him. Mostly, he is the most boring person in the world, but definitely not the worst.

I also read the NY Times, Washington Post and books by both Liberals and Conservatives. I suscribe to the New Yorker, the National Review and the Economist, although I must confess I skip over some articles in each one.

I was a Democrat for many years, and still vote Democrat on occasion...more so than not. These days, I think of myself as an Independent.

I have come to appreciate many things Republicans say, although I don't agree with them all the time or even most of the time. I am a conservative in that I don't believe you should spend money you don't have, that the government is far to overreaching, huge and ineffective in many ways owing to duplication of effort and an inability to fire non-functioning employees.

For example,I don't think the government has any business telling organizations with religious affiliations they should provide birth control to those who choose to sleep around. Especially when it can be had for a minimal cost via most drug stores. On the other hand, I do support health care for all...within reason.

State and local governments are a different matter. Our local government is 100% Democrat and operates along the reasonable lines you would like to see in the federal government...balanced budget, etc.

Our state government is fairly well run, although the fall election is a shambles as we must choose between a criminal and a ideologue. Never mind their party affiliation. Dianne

Anonymous said...

Schmidley has just given the most cogent argument for universal healthcare via a single-payer system that I've ever seen. Thanks.

Linda Myers said...

I'm a middle of the roader, also, informed by both sides.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd that you have voted Democratic and then because the news is so bad you don't pay attention to what you have elected. Hate to break the news to you BUT politicians LOVE IT when their citizens tune out and don't pay attention to what they are doing. Like in laws they are passing. I wouldn't put it past the Democrats that they have intentionally made the news so unbearable that no one wants to listen anymore.
I equate your type with those infamous frogs in boiling pots of water.At first, the warm water feels good but eventually you are boiled alive. By then, it's too late.
What a very sorry, sorry sad tale your desired lack of political interests are. Don't complain when you start to feel the water boil.

Evonne Von Couvier