Twenty Things

Surely you must know me by now.

I have exactly twenty things wrong with me at any given time. Number seven on the list right now: my eczema flare-ups, which have been particularly bad this winter, but mostly only on my back, which is a new thing this year. That’s not the thing wrong, though, the thing wrong is that there’s always one itchy spot in the middle of my back I can’t reach.

Number one, right now and most of the time: I can’t only see one side of things. I’m all gray. 

Fourteen: Sometimes I say outlandish things and then try to defend them.

Eight: My cat.

But about the gray thing, I say, trying to defend my writing lap from my cat who is incidentally black and white, I can’t claim to be 100% sure Bernie is the best candidate for this election, although I am certain I am most interested to see what he could do with the presidency. I am also pretty sure he’d take a larger portion of the vote from whatever Republican candidate gets picked to run instead of he who will not be named.

I don’t want to talk about politics. Not really. I don’t hate Hilary. I don’t believe we’ve seen the real Hilary yet. I think she’s been in campaign mode for a decade and doesn’t know what it feels like anymore to be herself except when she’s completely alone. I think she’s forgotten a lot of why she wanted to become president over the years but I do think when she gets it she’ll remember, and try to do good things. I don’t think she takes the possibility lightly of being the first. I’d prefer whatshername, Warren? But so it goes. 

I’d rather talk about the psychology of politics. I used to tell myself I was liberal because I was unselfish, because I wanted good things for others, and I kind of expected to get more conservative as I got older, the more selfish I became, wanting better things for myself over my remaining years, or whatever. Truth is I’ve always been selfish and the more I become so as I get older the more liberal I get.

I don’t want to have to mistrust the people around me, is probably what it comes down to. I see some scruffy-looking nerf herder walking at me down the sidewalk, I don’t want to have to worry that because his life is hard and he lost his job and couldn’t get unemployment or drug counseling that now suddenly I’m the one getting stabbed, no, hell no. I don’t want to have to consider that guy at all. I would much rather pay taxes than volunteer. Drive through a bad part of town? No thank, I’d rather elect the guy with plans to raise the minimum wage so that people working minimum wage jobs can afford what they want, if what they want is to live and dream and grow. I’ve never been a huge subscriber to the bootstraps theory, like if you’re smart enough and good enough you’ll fix things for yourself, but let’s go ahead, let’s assume that the people living in the shittier neighborhoods do in fact deserve to be there because they’re not smart enough or financially clever enough or whatever magic characteristic is supposed to stamp your ticket. I’ve never met anyone too dumb or too fiscally unstable to be unable figure out how to live, given the chance. That’s all anyone wants, is to live.

And if you feel secure in your ability to live, then I feel secure in my decision to ignore you completely without getting face-stabbed. Selfish. I am liberally selfish.

I hate writing about politics and I really would like to leave it there but something else has been burning in my craw a bit lately. A friend of mine has been taking offense to the depictions of Who Would Ever Vote For he-who-must-not, commonly the gap-toothed redneck stereotype. I’d seen her less than warm reception of other redneck jokes typically made by the Onion before, but the campaign has stepped up the Onion’s satirical take on dumb voters and she has not appreciated the scapegoating.

Which, yes, it is coarse and belittling, but a similar opinion to my friend’s has popped up in legitimate news discussion, namely that people who are currently going out to vote for what I still maintain will be the most obvious example of pure evil since Hitler when history ultimately writes this page, the voters supporting this person got pushed into his corner by the uppity liberal democrats who stopped caring about poor people in favor of the intellectual elite.

I cannot agree with this. I see what you’re saying, but I cannot agree. 

The worst thing about the college culture is that people are made to believe they have to go, or else they are automatically a failure at life. I’ve met dozens of students who had no interest being in college but didn’t want to be a loser, either. But don’t demonize people who do end up appreciating what they got from their education, just because they’re more likely to grab the blue lever every four years. 

I have redneck friends, self-proclaimed, not my word, but friend who reject the college assumption and yes some of them do then gravitate to a rebel identity. Fuck the establishment and such. And that is totally fine, but it is no excuse for the nonsense we’re being forced to endure, and will continue to have to endure through November. I don’t care if you live in a trailer or if you are a standard internet troll, if you support this man, you are an asshole. And I’ll put up with a few Onion articles that overshoot the mark, if only it makes you realize that fact.

You know we still have an entire baseball season to go before this election? My god I can’t wait for it to end.

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