Sunday, November 28, 2010

Love and Hate

After the Republican sweep of the house in the recent mid-term elections my brother and I got on the phone to commiserate about the state of politics such that candidates no longer stand for anything and votes are decided largely by what people are against. We decided that this is like most things an outgrowth of the frustration at the hard work it takes to love versus the relative ease of hate. This is one of those eternal themes, and as such was a major subject of the Star Wars films.

Remember how easy it was for Luke to be tempted by the Dark Side? Where power was immediate? But the other side of the Force (light, or good, I don't recall if it was definitively named) wasn't so easy to master. It took work and it took dedication, but the implication was that if realized it was a million times more awesome.

The mundane allegory in our society is love and the fact that it takes work and conviction is something a lot of people find frustrating. They want it and they want it now and ultimately being frustrated in this expectation (any by taking the wrong approach) is what I think sends people to rail against everything policy-related except the universal wish list item of not paying more taxes.

I'd also like to point out that I'm not saying this love/hate dichotomy cleaves evenly across political dispositions or party lines. I don't think it does at all. In fact, I'd wager that most of the love is in the middle where most of us live. That why it's so disappointing to hear wholesale rejection of any policy solutions aimed at addressing this group of haters hijacking the dialog.

Thus bummed out, and on Thanksgiving no less after having contributed to the consumption of no fewer than 4 Turkeys, 2 kegs, 4 cases of beer, and 2 cases of wine in the name of love, goddamit, I'll leave you with this: 

There's a maxim from the sport of kayaking called 'point positive.' I learned this on the Payette River in Idaho and its simple advice is to focus on where you'd like to go, rather than where you wouldn't. Otherwise the avoidables tend to behave like black holes and the aspirables tend to become holy grails.

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