Decisions and derision
As he was leaving the office the day before we went to print with this issue, Jay politely asked, “Is there anything else you need me to do?” We said, “Sure, you can write the Publisher’s Corner!”
After cursing my misguided thoughtfulness and turning to the task, my mind immediately started choking on the endless possibilities out there: the Presidential election, legalizing pot, taxes for parks, libraries, schools, a dozen propositions from Sacramento and a half dozen from the local government. How about firing up decade-old plans to build a very big resort?
There is absolutely way too much to talk about these days. And everything’s an “issue.” Few decisions you make in a day don’t have political overtones. Coffee this morning? You could be oppressing people in Colombia. Should I have it in a throwaway paper cup? What kind of car should I buy? Where should I purchase my next t-shirt? Does that box of paper clips come from China? Should I compliment a client’s outfit? Should I really drive 18 miles to Friedman’s for a second time on Saturday afternoon just to replace a dozen machine screws I’ve managed to lose so I can put the wood stove back together before it rains?
There’s practically nothing that transpires over the course of a day that doesn’t invoke the need to judge in some corner of this Great Judgmental Universe.
You’d think it’s a good idea to compost organic material. Researching the county’s composting woes for this issue turned up the fact that composting itself has its own side effects – methane and nitrous oxide and truck emissions to haul it around – that can aggravate global warming. Almost any warm, gooey biological process does.
Come to think of it, the best thing about the past few months of election shenanigans is that voting for President was probably the one decision I had to spend the least amount of time thinking about. And I think that’s true for just about everybody concerned, no matter what their choice will be.
Jay has a point. Here we are on the cusp of a historic presidential election, and one of the great things about our democracy is that even when we disagree, and vehemently disagree, we respect the process and enjoy a peaceful transition of power, something admired around the globe. Let’s hope that continues.
Democracy is a tug-of-war between competing interests, between majority rule and protection of the minority. We’re not perfect, but at least we try. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that name calling isn’t productive. You want to change someone’s mind, or get them to collaborate rather than obstruct, you need to listen to them and treat them with respect. Because everyone has a salient point that needs to be heard, and if you listen long enough and have the stamina to wade through all the petty complaints, you’ll find it, and that’s where you begin. Nobody gets their way all the time.
It’s not as entertaining as kicking over the table and saying, “My way or the highway,” but it’s the slow and steady way we progress as a society. So once this election is over, let’s hope the politicians start acting like grown-ups again.