The Sound of Silence

Occasionally, I’ll end up in a situation with the kids where I’m forced to make a difficult decision. Inevitably, this will boil down to their word against mine in any given scenario: you were asked to do X, why are we at Y? Once upon a time I’d attempt to assert a measure of authority to remind them that at some point, they will need to deal with contention, and how you react to that is often more important than the argument to begin with. However, you reach a point with a young person where it becomes obvious that forcing a point will only make a situation worse. In fact, you could end up causing more damage in the long term than would ever occur even if the issue is dealt with incorrectly. So, as a parent, you learn to step back. You keep thoughts to yourself. Then, with the benefit of distance, you can grasp what will be the best course of action moving forward.

Watching The Orange Twat settle into the White House has been at times terrifying and laughable, especially as it has become apparent he’s actively responding to Social media’s comments on his actions. Yesterday it became apparent that the full force of that ‘scrutiny’ is beginning to exert some influence:

It’s the equivalent of the entitled teen who can’t understand why, when he’s the best he can possibly be, that he’s not getting either the credit or the changes he demands because, honestly, that’s all that matters here, right? The self is all, because as President (obviously) you are the centre of your Universe. That works, right up to the point where it becomes apparent that maybe, just maybe, you’ve not been elected for your own reward. You do this not to become the leader of millions of people, or just to feel good about yourself and be cool at places and show off how great you are. It doesn’t work unless you start giving shit back, but more importantly nothing changes if you can’t become a useful part of the place you live in. Assuming the world revolves around you is beyond dangerous. Suddenly, everybody becomes a critic overnight. The more you shut down bad press, the more anonymous sources spring up to discredit… and then you realise the only way to shut people up for good… and nobody wants to even think about where that train of thought might end.

Sometimes, the best thing you’ll ever do is walk away and not have the fight.

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As you do, you hear the person whisper under their breath that you’re a fucking idiot, and have no idea what’s being discussed. How can you understand what’s wrong when you refuse to accept that your point of view is flawed? Isn’t it simply easier to pretend the argument never happened to begin with? Well, yes and no, because when you’re fairly confident that you do have a point and perhaps there is more going on in the World than just this one flashpoint… this is a really tough ask, most days. As a parent you know what growing up was like. You can’t get a child to grasp your view of it because, in most cases, it’s a world away from their own perception of reality. So, do you push it or do you walk away? Sometimes, your inability or reticence to engage can be enough to make your child think that perhaps there is something up. It’s not a given, though. However, after I’d seen Executive orders signed in the Oval Office with a posse of grim male bystanders and watched countless women on Social media hate the decisions made over their own reproductive rights by a bunch of guys… lo and behold, women started showing up in the background of shots. This doesn’t make pillaging native lands or shutting down environmental projects any less galling but HEY we got the memo about needing diversity in the room, so come on, cut us a fucking break already.

There’s a piece of video I can’t bring myself to post here from the Inauguration. It’s when The Orange Twat turns away from his beautiful, elegant First Lady wife and the smile she’s saved just for him vanishes in a heartbeat, like a lightbulb being switched off. It is the moment I realise that even being close to someone is no guarantee they will ever listen to sense or reason. It is the reinforcement of the understanding that in the patriarchy that is now running the USA, women don’t stand a fucking chance. This man’s Campaign manager might be female, but she’s never going to be given anything but a notion of control. There is no equality here. There is simply a desire to roll back any good that the previous Administration did, and stamp agendas to the country that further prove how wonderful the President is, and how much money he will make from being in office. This will not be the most successful Presidency in anything except financial gain. I cannot believe, having watched the last year play out, this man cares about anyone or anything except himself.

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I interact every day with people exactly like this. The world will never revolve around anyone except them. It is depressing beyond belief but inevitably it boils down to someone at some stage in their childhood not pointing out that life isn’t just about what you want. Yes, this matters and it is important, but never at the expense of understanding you are part of a whole, a planet full of people who often don’t have a voice, or are suppressed from even expressing an opinion. The bigger picture matters more, ultimately, than anything you might want or need when all is said and done. It is only a game, nobody makes you play it. You don’t need to be either rich or famous to be happy. Popularity is a game you would be best never to play to begin with. On the flip side of course, people I disagree with see me in exactly the same way. I’m the selfish one. I’m the person who doesn’t care about them.

It’s really easy to blame someone else for your failings, far harder to accept you’re less than perfect. I know my flaws, and I’m never going to be a perfect person. I have to work every day, long and hard, sometimes to even keep my head above water. This isn’t about winning, or who’s the best, and most certainly has nothing to do with belittling anyone else. The problem here is self-awareness. I know what’s wrong with me.

Can you say the same about yourself?

2 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. Good read and good reflection.

    As I keep watching our new President, I keep trying to figure out what life experiences, childhood trauma, chemical/emotional defect elicits the behaviors and responses we see.

    As you’ve pointed out, we all have defects, and being aware of them is the first step towards humility, correction, and self-improvement. You’re also correct that in today’s society, not just in the US, few people are willing to take ownership of their own shortcomings or mistakes. As a result, improvement is rare because they’re always waiting for someone else to fix the problem – when they personally could do more to change it.

    As for the “Patriarchy”, Women’s rights/treatment – please know that what you see in the media, or from a few egocentric narcissists is not the gold standard here in the US. In my large sphere of influence and circle of acquaintances/friends I can tell you respect and deference towards women is preeminent and most of us recognize how much better Women are then Men in many ways. I daily empower and encourage my wife to be and achieve all she desires. She’s amazing, talented, charitable, kind, selfless, motivated, courageous and outperforms me on a daily basis. These are the women and attitudes I see predominantly in my life. So as The President does his thing – know his power is limited by the People, and we’ll hold him and ourselves accountable.

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  2. I know your opinion of him. But in all honesty, what alternative did we have. Oh I most certainly will say, if Sanders was the other choice he would be the one in office now. He got my vote in the primaries. But the Democratic machine has had other plans for years. And you cannot ignore the fact in the previous election Obama blasting her, saying unqualified, etc, but then she is Secretary of State. To go from being Bills wife, to holding an office in New York. She had been groomed to be the democrat female president. I don’t even need to link the Johnathan Pie video on why Trump won, I’m sure you’ve seen it. The wiki leaks stuff had 0 bearing on my vote. I have listened to people over the years that have interacted with her, that had no qualms saying she was absolutely corrupt, and her ear was for sale to anyone with deep pockets that wanted to dump money into the Clinton Foundation. Trump at least was offering change. As scary as some of his rhetoric was. He’s a businessman. If he says he will cut 75% he really means 25%. The other number is more an attention grabber.

    One thing I have seen. And Alt, it’s a page out of your book. Do the research. I saw people arguing about the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy. Before I said anything I went to the government web site to actually read what he signed. And I went and read what the actual policy is. And it is not what so many are saying. I am sure there will be a lot of things he does, and says that will make a lot of people uncomfortable. But for me, and a great many people I know, Hillary with no plan other than continuing the same was never a choice. Obama care was costing 60% more this year, I have friends that had to drop from it, and now have no coverage, plus will have to pay a penalty with money they don’t have.

    We all have to live with this choice. Not only did near 63 million people vote for him, but 120 million people really didn’t care either way.

    All I can say is it was a difficult choice to make. But one I felt was the lesser of two evils. It would be nice to feel like the choice I had to make has not placed me into the Pillbilly drug addict catagory Bill Mahr has so eloquently assigned to me. Because I most certainly am feeling like a pariah right now.

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