Friday, May 7, 2010

File Under: Things I Don't Get

So this post has been writing itself in my head for a couple of months now. And then this morning I inexplicably woke up at 6:00, done sleeping and ready to get up. Weird. That has happened since . . . well, never. And the last time I got up at 6:00 not done sleeping was going on two years ago now. Crazy. Anyway, that means that the things I'm usually doing this time of day are all done, and I just might have time to articulate all the semi-worded thoughts that I've been thinking for . . . well, years, to be perfectly honest. (And believe you me, what is about to take you five or ten minutes to read I'm expecting to take me a couple of hours to write. Even then I'm thinking not everything is going to say exactly what I mean it to say but I'll have given up, said to myself "screw it, let people get mad at me if they want to that badly" and just hit publish. Good times.)

(editing note, so if you’re wondering a little about the time this post popped up . . . yeah . . . stupid internet would crash whilst I was writing it . . grrr. Stupid internet would crash and refuse to uncrash right when I need to get ready for work . . . GRRRRRRR!! Stupid internet!!!!!)

So. Thing Lacey Doesn't Get. Volume One.

Ticks. And for those to whom it isn't immediately obvious, I'm referring to my Grandpa's version. (And if you're ever looking for a silly sense of humor and some good puns . . . there you go. Good times. Laughs a minute. Or at least half the time. Love you Grandpa!)

Anyway . . . I've never really understood politics. Granted, I've only really been paying attention to them for a minutely small number of years. So small, in fact, that I'm not even going give a number because I know at least one person would be horrified and I really don't want to get kicked out of book club. :-P Suffice it to say that it is more than two. On the other hand, I am going to confess to something that is perhaps more shameful and horrifying - I scarcely understand a word. Everything's so jargon-y with their "tariffs this" and "lobbyists that" and then there's Sb 85 and HR 34 and QZ562. And don't get me started on all the legalese everything is written in. I sometimes doubt anybody actually understands what it says. I try to be well informed. I really do. But when I'm watching the news or reading articles online sooner or later my eyes glaze over and I lose track of what they were talking about to begin with. Which is, of course, one of the reasons why I love and adore The Daily Show. Now there are some reporters who know how to put things in layman's terms! Sure, it's a fake news show, but the news itself is real . . . that's close enough . . . right?

Also: I'm not usually an indecisive person, but when it comes to issues I actually do understand, I have a hard time picking a side.

I suppose this problem goes back to elementary school. When I was in third or fourth grade our school introduced "conflict managers" to recess. Basically they picked a dozen or so kids with good reputations, gave them some business-retreat style conflict resolution training (dumbed down a little of course), and sent them out on patrol in pairs. Every couple of weeks or so you would be on duty with a partner during recess, and instead of playing you'd be walking around looking for trouble. Looking back, we had kind of a surprising amount of authority to make decisions other kids were expected to accept. I imagine the theory was we would take care of the little arguments, leaving the teacher free for more pressing matters. You know, fights . . . gushing blood . . . someone slipping on the hill right where the asphalt met the grass and hitting their head on said asphalt. And yes, that last one was me. I went to the nurse's office, had a little headache, got sent home - which really ticked me off because I loved school - and was pretty much fine, except for my mom didn't let me sleep for, like, five days because she was sure I had a massive concussion and was going to die. Of course, I might be remembering that last bit a little inaccurately, but in my defense it's been nearly 20 years (whoa . . . trippy . . . ). :-)

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway. I, naturally, was one of the kids chosen to be on the conflict managers team. I was kind of a golden child at that school. Facts: I was the only kid in the whole school enrolled in the district's gifted and talented program. My grades were consistently in the top five for my entire grade. I won multiple academic competitions, mostly in reading. I imagine this is why I got away with a few things other kids didn't. And when I did do something wrong I often didn't get in as much trouble. (at school, anyway) It also probably explains why I didn't have a lot of friends. Because until about seventh grade, I out-Hermione'd Hermione. By a lot.

Anyway, double digression over - I was taught as a ten(ish)-year-old that when people disagreed you were supposed to listen to both sides of the story and make a decision that would best satisfy both parties. And that's stuck with me ever since. I mean, it's gotta be the right thing to do, you know? How else can you make an informed decision?

And herein lies the problem - to much information. Maybe. I don't know. An uninformed decision seems just plain wrong. A decision with only one half of the information would be misguided. But once you get the details from both (or all) sides, I'm left wondering what the heck is going on.

(At this point I would just like to point out that I am not going to illustrate any of my own opinions or conclusions due to an absolute certainty that I would be the moral of that old fable where the rabbit or turtle or fox or whatever tries to please everybody and ends up with everybody mad at them. Yeah. Sooooo not going there.)

My Shakespearean flaw, I suppose, is my ability to see where both sides are coming from. Now how's that for an awesome answer to that stupid job interview question? :-) I listen to both arguments. I see where Side A is right, and I agree that Side B is wrong. BUT - life is complicated, and these things are multi-faceted. So when it comes to this other facet of issue X I find myself agreeing with Side B that Side A is wrong. Clearly this means that neither of the solutions proposed by either side is likely to work and what's needed is either a composite of the two solutions, or a completely different third option. (I've thought of a few of those myself, and I find them pretty genius. I also expect to be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail if I suggest them to the wrong people. That would not be fun, although I do think it would be kind of cool if I were to be burned in effigy. Guy Fawkes Night = coolest holiday ever. We should totally start celebrating it on this side of the pond. Penny for the old Guy?) Of course, there are often more than two sides and more than two aspects to a debate, which just makes the whole thing even more complicated and my "agreeing with both sides . . . sort of . . . " opinions more complex and indecipherable even to me. Well, no, I know what I think . . . I think.

What I really don't get is the way people on all sides refuse to accept the idea that a compromise might be acceptable, and the venom some of them have for their "enemies." Especially all those political "talking heads," most of whom as I understand it have little to no actual experience in politics and for whom (in a gross generalization) I have very little respect. Where along the way did people forget that their way of doing things is not the only way? That just because something worked for them doesn't mean it is right for everyone? That just because you think or believe one way does not mean that I have to act in accordance with those thoughts or beliefs? And how is someone like me, the "next generation of leaders" or whatever it is you want to call us supposed to pick a side when both sides are right AND both sides are wrong? Can't we all just get along? Live and let live? Am I the only one who's figured this out? And if so, am I a genius for doing so, or an idiot for thinking I might have something here?

Luke and I don't talk about politics much. Not because we disagree, but because we mostly agree actually - it's too complex, too confusing, and there's too much right and wrong on both sides. So there's not much to talk about, you know? "I don't get it." "Yep, me neither."

I also take a sort of quasi-religious view to things too. The world's going to end anyway, you know? Last time I checked there's nothing any of us can do to change that. So I just figure that between now and then God's not up there saying "Oops! Wasn't expecting that to happen . . . better go rewrite that Apocalyptic game plan!" What's supposed to happen will happen. If I can figure out what that is and help it along, great. If I can't, I'll just watch instead of fighting it.

Disclaimer: I've tried to be as neutral as possible, but allow me to here and now accept the fact that I've offended at least five of you. Go ahead, comment, debate, have at it. Here's hoping you have fun. I'll watch, but I'm not touching it with a thirty-nine-and-half-foot pole.

P. ost S. cript

I think I might have posted this one before . . . but it's still awesome. And my first choice video had embeding disabled . . . grrrrr. You should totally check it out though!


  1. Another note: I have no idea why the spacings are all funky, but I can't fix it and it's totally annoying. Just so's ya know.

  2. ooooh, that's racist against ticks!

  3. Yeah, but the ticks totally deserve it. :-)

  4. You do realize that (on that quasi-religious note...) our religion ADVOCATES an involvement in politics, right? Just saying...

    And, it's not really hard. Just mark "democrat" on your voter registration and...there you go! (hee!)

    -horrified one walking away, now...

  5. Lacey- 1. you know I love me some stargate and that clip is one of my favorites

    2. I agree with you- I don't always get it. In fact more times than not I am saying- what????? and both sides have something to say and contribute but I get lost figuring it all out

    3. Your paragraph that starts "My shakesperean flaw" had me thinking about Iocane powder

    Tawnya- well, I guess that might work- sometimes ;)

  6. Aunt Tawnya ~ That would be the reason why I haven't just given up already. Otherwise I'd totally go back to . . . I don't know, watching cartoons or something, lol.

    Aunt Sandra ~ That is quite the random association. Especially since i was totally going for Hamlet. :-)