Thursday, November 17, 2016

Zigzagging through this blog

"Could it really be that there are so many xenophobic people to vote for him?" she asked.

Ever since the election results, I have been cautious to talk politics.  Even in the old days, people typically refrained from talking about politics and religion.  And now, there is tension in the air.  The small-talk that I have so much enjoyed over the years now seems like a perilous landmine territory that is best avoided.

As much as I am disappointed, dejected, and depressed about the results, I understand that with age comes a responsibility as well.  A responsibility to at least say something positive, for others to look forward to.  With students, I told them "trust the institutions.  Have faith that the various institutions that we built up over the years will lead us in the right direction."

Maybe students bought that; maybe not.  I knew I was only faking it.  I have no faith that the institutions will do their jobs.  History has ample evidence of institutions quickly succumbing to the powers.  Even the supposedly independent institutions.

Yet, with the checkout cashier at the grocery store, I offered optimism.  "If you look at our history, we have overcome all kinds of horrible things.  I suppose progress is not always linear," I told her.  I think I was a lot more real about this, compared to what I told the students.

It was comforting, reassuring, that I was not the only one who thought that way.  Even the philosopher-in-chief said similar things:
That's the nature of democracy. It is hard. And sometimes contentious and noisy. …. Sometimes you lose an argument. Sometimes you lose an election. You know, the path this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back. 
It is not easy to understand such zigs and zags.
Obama, the zig, was a guy so cool in the eyes of much of the world that he got a Nobel Peace Prize before he’d had a chance to do much. (At the time, in his first year, the U.S. was fighting two wars.)
Trump, the zag, is a hurler of insults, a raw orator you can’t turn away from if you can bring yourself to tune in, a boor with women, a peddler of falsehoods that made millions of eyes roll but spoke to a larger truth in the eyes of supporters.
Foreigners shake their heads at a country that over the years defines cool, then represents what crazy looks like.

And in this zigzag:
a nation that is pretty upbeat about the job the cool black president is doing hands the reins to a man who spun conspiracy theories about Obama’s country of birth.
The zigzag means that I need to understand my place in this zag.  I started blogging when the first zag began--in 2001.  Most of my blog-posts in the couple of years after 2001 were rants that provided cathartic relief.  And then my personal life also took a zag.   I took a break from blogging, and then when I returned, I deleted all the previous posts in one click.  All gone.  I then started afresh.

I start anew in this latest zag.  If you are reading this, consider yourself special--you are part of my latest zag journey.

5 comments:

Ramesh said...

Isn't that how life always is ? A zig zag. If it was a straight line, it would probably be boring. Full of uncertainties, our life is.

Yes, what has happened in your country is a major zag. The depressing thing about it is that all the things he said and did seem not to have been a bar to getting elected. That it is "OK" to do and say all that is what is really depressing. Somehow I feel that is worse than anything he would actually do now.

The attention shifts to France and then Germany. Marine Le Pen will ride high. Not sure if Angela Merkel, the leader of the liberal world now, will even stand. A different drama will play out in China next year, and not of the energising variety.

In all this gloom, Canada stands out. No wonder The Economist is gushing all over your neighbour.

Sriram Khé said...

The depressing thing is not that "all the things he said and did seem not to have been a bar to getting elected" but the reality that he got elected because of all the things he said and did. It was surreal to watch and read people say that they voted for him because "he tells it like it is." Keep in mind that right from the primaries time, the more awful things he said, the more voters he was attracting, all the way through the general election.
Should we then be surprised at the sharp increase in Nazi graffiti in different parts of the country? Or that the attacks on Muslims have increased?
As I noted more than a few times in my posts before the elections, he made sure to reveal the nasty underside for which in elections past the GOP relied on coded language--the dog whistle. Now, the GOP needs no codes. They can, and are, openly racist, bigoted, misogynistic, ...

gils said...

The results were a solid right wing to the solar pelux of liberal opinion. More than what he spoke, he literally had money to burn. Elections world over are increasingly won by people with wealth to waste. Monarchy doesnt sound a bad option considering.

gils said...

And thanks for the invite. Its an honour to read your blog leave alone comment on it.

Sriram Khé said...

Good to see you here, Gils

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