Friday, May 13, 2022

Okay, Let's Not Be Too Negative

I must disagree

"From you, Scott? Positive? The biggest curmudgeon I know?"

Yes, for a moment let me try to be upbeat without sounding like Pollyanna. It is going to take a big gulp of clear eyed moments to see this, but let's try. 

You see the thing here is that humans love a "sky-is-falling" story. They love THAT sky-is-falling story. But life is more resilient than we expect. Our country has proven more resilient than we expect. So let's go to our worries and issues to cast an alternative future.

I will mark these worries as "C" when coming from conservatives and "L" when coming from liberals. Very few people fall in or worry about the middle, and they aren't quite as crazy, so let's ignore them for the moment. ALSO I am NOT saying the fears aren't real and very possibly the outcomes will be worse, but let's look to the bright side.

(C) Liberals are trying to destroy America via school and books that promote sex and perversion.
This is a periodic issue, normally raised around elections. This is being promoted by a movement that has no positive plans, so is using this as a wedge issue. It will fade - as it has faded before. There were (some successful and some failed) laws to remove gay teachers in the late 1970s. The hysteria quieted after the election.

(L) Conservatives are destroying the voting rights of minorities.
They are trying, but in the past 50 years, these suppression techniques haven't been successful. People find a way to vote. The laws are mean and horrible, but not successful. Jim Crow laws have been overturned and no painting of today's restrictions reach anywhere near Jim Crow laws.

(C) Liberals promote Critical Race Theory is destroying America.
I would file this as part of the first issue, but it is more specific. It is also a belief that is harder to defeat, because, I think, the underlying issue is uncomfortableness with a non-white history. However, CRT isn't really taught. Sooner or later (probably after the 2024 election), the CRT haters will go overboard. They already are close to that point but outlawing laws that make people feel bad. Like Black History Month in Alabama?!? Or teaching the "good side of Nazism" in Tennessee? I feel this will fade away over time. Conservatives will find something else to hate about colleges when Fox News drops this.

(L) Conservatives have overturned Roe v Wade
This is harder to expect a quick resolution. But the tide will turn on having women own their bodily autonomy. America very rarely takes away rights. In blue states will stay abortion legal, while a fight will go on, energized, in the rest of the country. If the Republicans try to codify this into national law, I believe there will be a democratic revolt at the ballot box. But then, I also want that to happen right now, but I think it might fizzle out.

(C) Liberals want to rewrite the American History and destroy our traditional (read White and Male) heroes of the country.
It is true to the point that some liberals want to make our history more reflective of the actual history of the nation. That is good.
AND, I think, it is true that too many liberals do want to destroy our historical heroes for some of their very human interactions even while doing good.
But, I think that you will find that the derision of heroes will go too far even for liberals (at least for me). Think of the idea of removing Lincoln and Jefferson for the pantheon of Americans that did good. It will take some time, but I think the left and right will ultimately find an uneasy central path that annoys both sides. Where we add new stories of the courage of marginalized groups but where our old heroes will mainly stay around as well. I don't think you can erase the legacy of Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. White men had all the power in the 1700s and they were the fighters for our new country.

(L) The Supreme Court is dominated by people that want to take away our rights.
Unhappily for everyone, the Supreme Court is a pendulum that swings too far left and too far right for people overtime. As long as they don't destroy confidence fully in the court, this will balance itself in time. The court often trails popular opinion when the right is in power, and it often leads popular opinion when the left is in power. Both are annoying to someone.

(C & L) Climate Change is a hoax / end of the world.
Climate change is real. But it probably isn't the end of the world. Let's face it, every generation assumes the world is ending for some reason (2000s - tech crash, 2012 - Mayans, 1950s -The Bomb, 1970s - Communism). We will all have to adapt, but it will be horrible for many, deadly for millions. But millions out of 8 billion isn't going to end of the world. It's horrible and bad, don't get me wrong, but the world won't end soon. It takes a real emergency, but then we jump into action. And it must be an emergency that effects Red and Blue areas - like a massive Hurricane Sandy or a flood of DC, but something will happen nation wide that moves us all.

(C) Cancel Culture is killing us - see conservatives kicked out schools and the public forum
(L) Reactionary Culture is killing us - see liberals kicked out schools and the public forum

Both sides have gone too far with this in my opinion. At some point we will arrive at a national equilibrium about what is fair and correct. Liberals and Conservatives will have to live with this until some things are just quietly agreed to in the country - like you can't say n*****, faggot, or cracker anymore. Today, thankfully, you can't say slavery was good, Jews are moneymakers, and woman are man trapping machines anymore (see movies from the 1930s and 1940s to see how opinions have changed!).
We will ultimately get to an unhappy medium.

(C) Transsexuals are evil and should be banned from the public square - particularly kids
(L) Transsexuals are right and gender is a state of mind
Both sides have gone too far with this in my opinion.  
I think that some transexual rights advocates go too far. There are actual physical differences, that even transexuals admit (male transexuals need cervical exams, female transexuals need to watch for prostrate and testicular cancers). Insisting they are not ANY physical differences is an absolutist position. And most countries that have laws do require people be 18 before medical transitions. If we disapprove of puberty blockers in gymnasts because it is cruel, maybe we should restrict them to children under 18.
On the other side, conservatives will have to learn that transexuals are not evil. They are doing this for very serious and personal reasons. Outlawing it or refusing to acknowledge this is cruel to those people, who have not done anything wrong.

(C & L) There are not enough / too many exceptions for (Christian) religious believers.
This is a moving target. Ultimately Christians and secularist / non-Christians will find some uneasy equilibrium, at least for a generation or so. I think that as religion becomes less important to people, religious people are making a last stand - and going overboard. But non-religious people are seeing too many reasonable acts of faith as evil, not acceptable considerations in a democracy (and yes, I am one of those non-religious people who view it that way).

(C & L) China!
China is the world's most populous country and has grown very quickly. Like Russia in the 1950s - 70s, competition will occur between China and the US via proxies. But hopefully, like the USSR and America, we can avoid direct conflict. The positive sign, our countries are too economically dependent on each other to take drastic action. And China is now powerful enough to stand up for themselves. That means the United States must reexamine our role in the world, not necessarily a bad thing.

(Everyone) The country is tearing itself apart.
Maybe. And maybe that is okay. Maybe we agree to divide into 2, 3 or 4 countries peacefully.
Or maybe we decide to live in an uncomfortable situation until something drives us together (Ukraine has done this a bit, and that is only tangentially related to our country.)

Then there are things I have no confidence we can ride out, like our disgusting and useless state of traditional politics - but the country has survived this before (except that one time). We probably will again. AND now we have too many country wide institutions for this to happen like the civil war. At the time of the Civil War, we did not have a national set of armed forces. We did not have a national Space Program, national power grid, a nation connected by transportation links that are relatively instantaneous.

So, every now and then, be positive. It isn't as fulfilling as being righteously angry - but it is possible for a few days at a time.

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