I Can Sympathize

Glenn Reynolds: “I always say that if I ever quit blogging, it’ll be because I can’t take following the news anymore. It’s depressing.” I remember growing up my aging barber telling me “After a while, the idea of dying doesn’t scare you as much. In some way’s you’ll get happy about the idea of checking out. Look at the shit going on in this world today. And I probably haven’t seen half of what you’ll see. I’ll be happy to be taking a dirt nap.” Of course, the younger me that was told that was also promised flying cars, moon bases, and men on Mars. Today, I can play Pokemon Go!

I think about that a lot these days. I’m really glad my Grandparents didn’t live to have to make the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It also doesn’t say anything good about our politics that my grandparents, who have been dead for 20 years, would still know both candidates.

UPDATE: This somewhat related WaPo article is a good read. I also did not really appreciate my grandparent’s generation until they were gone, though mine were working class people from South Philly and not upper crust like the authors. Yes, that generation had their issues, but their progeny would have whole subscriptions.

14 thoughts on “I Can Sympathize”

  1. Cheer up Sebastian. This election is the battle between the Old School of Politics and the new era. While Trump may suck, he talked straight and tapped into real anger here in America. Hillary just wind-socked and stacked the deck in her favor. I would’ve taken Bernie over the two of them.

    Our grandparents lived in a time when votes were rigged, and politicians didn’t really give two shits what their voters thought because they were elites who knew better. Today, it’s much tougher, and politicians are far more accountable to their constituencies. This is good.

    The last barrier is the destruction of gerrymandering, and making every Congressional and Electoral district competitive… then the reform will be complete.

    1. I would’ve taken Bernie over the two of them.

      Same here. Not because I like Bernie (I don’t), but because Bernie had principles (“had” because he’s endorsed Hillary). I disagree with almost all of them, but at least he had them, unlike The Donald and Mrs. Former-President.

      Our grandparents lived in a time when votes were rigged, and politicians didn’t really give two shits what their voters thought because they were elites who knew better.

      Also, our grandparents lived in a time when the news and information were carefully filtered before being released to the public. Votes were rigged and politicians didn’t give two sh!ts because they were justifiably confident their constituencies would never know. Now those constituencies have many more information streams and can seek out the real facts on their own.

      This is good.

      OTOH, very few do, and most don’t pay attention to those few. Thus, politicians still don’t give two sh!ts because even with the rigged votes and scandals and malfeasance out in the open, they are justifiably confident their constituencies are manned by idiots and low-information voters who, unlike their predecessors (our grandparents), can’t be bothered to care.

      This is not so good. And I’m not sure how to fix that. Getting rid of the goofy gerrymandering might help, but I don’t see it fixing the root issue.

      1. That generation certainly had their pathologies, and I wouldn’t argue otherwise. To be honest, they were a lot more OK with gun control than subsequent generations have been.

        My grandparents vacationed in Atlantic City since they were young children (together, they grew up around the corner from each other in South Philly). They wanted their ashes scattered off the Steel Pier when they died.

        The reason they could spend summers there is because my great-grandfather ran card tables for the mob, and during prohibition would use the kids going down to the shore as cover for helping the mob smuggle liquor to the casinos. My grandmother did not want for much growing up in the depression. My grandparents always said that Atlantic City was better off when it was run by the mob. They thought people like Trump destroyed the city they loved, so this would be a tough election for them had they lived. What I’ve come to appreciate about that generation is that they believed in something bigger than themselves. I’m a pretty strong individualist, and even I’m getting sick of everyone making everything about themselves.

        ‘t a lot of ways I feel like this election is between the various pathologies of the Baby Boomer generation. Trump and Hillary are high examples of the species.

        1. “…my great-grandfather ran card tables for the mob, and during prohibition would use the kids going down to the shore as cover for helping the mob smuggle liquor to the casinos.”

          Your great-grandfather was the same generation as my grandfather, who was a bootlegger before Prohibition. There is an even chance my oldest uncle knew your g-grandfather, because my uncle was a rum-runner, small-time racketeer, and according to family lore, very successful street corner gambler. He died in Eastern State Penitentiary.

          If you’ll forgive me reading between the lines, it sounds like your recent/current go-round with your blood pressure and medication is making you comprehend your mortality for the first time. All I can say is, hang in there, it gets better, you get used to being “in the medical system,” and everybody goes through it one way or another. Popping pills when you go to bed and when you get up really ain’t that bad, even if you can’t feel “independent” like you did when you went years without seeing a doctor.

          1. I’m sure the other thing that made him a good smuggler was the fact that he was not Italian. I’ve wondered how he ended up working for the mob (he was not himself a mafioso). My guess is he grew up with all those kids and they knew he was a good card player. My grandmother was a hell of a card player, and he taught her. I was surprised in a collection of photos I got from my aunt that he spent a decent amount of time in Havana running card tables.

            As for your reading between the lines, I think you’re pretty spot on. I’ve known I needed to stop being avoidant about doctors for a while now, and the migraines forced my hand. The big issue for me is lack of control. I can’t control what my body is doing, I can’t control it aging, and I need someone’s help to manage the process. That’s a tough pill for me to swallow, but natural lifespans for males in my family without medical assistance are short enough for me not to want chance it. I’d rather live longer.

        2. “They thought people like Trump destroyed the city they loved,…”

          Atlantic City was dying by the mid-70’s. Place was looking like a run-down ghost town/getto/Beirut type environment. You know how Detroit looks now? AC looked like the precursor to that. No idea what killed the economy for the town, although it seemed to be similar, but not nearly as bad, along the southern coastal towns that relied on tourists.

          I suspect that less families were going down to the shore. There were a fair amount of teens/20’s going there on the weekends in the 70’s, but families on vacation tend to spend more money, and stay longer. My parents dragged us 5 kids down to the Wildwood area, from Delco, on a regular basis. When they finally split for good around ’68, dad moved there. I followed a couple years later.

          I have to acknowledge voting for gambling in AC. It was sold as the last chance to salvage the place. To bring it back to it’s earlier glory, perhaps. It might have, possibly, if most of the money had been forced to remain in the area. It was depressing to go there, and see that you only had to go a few blocks away from the casinos, and see no significant change from the voting time frame. Not only did the money not stay local, it didn’t even stay in the state, IIRC. Turned out to be a helluva joke on the voters, and residents. I’m reminded of paved roads, and good intentions.

        3. Don’t kid yourself, AC has been an S-hole for a very long time (close to 50 years), before and after the “official” gambling came to it.

  2. Wow. This was the most amazing thing I’ve read about President Obama, the man whom I honestly believe is the biggest divider in the history of the presidency — although I must admit he does it deftly and smoothly and with charm:

    “I was fairly sure he had not gone so far as to vote for Barack Obama, but it occurred to me that our cerebral and courtly African American president, struggling against the tide of an angry, visceral age, had more in common with this elderly WASP gentleman than did many white Republican leaders of the moment.”

    I’m from her generation though much later, my parent’s were of her parent’s generation from WWII. My parent’s appreciated the Tea party because it meant their generation of conservatives was NOT going to go gently into that good night. An eastern republican may not have felt strongly about gun rights (my parents were wishy washy), but hopefully he wasn’t so brain damaged to see the rest of what they were fighting for.

  3. I too can sympathize. I have long known that the less I keep up with news, the happier I am. And that is because it’s mostly bad news, and it’s mostly bad because it sells and not because good news is scarce. I consider it a civil duty to remain informed, but for the most part it’s depressing. I find much more joy in little things like walking in the woods, playing with children, keeping a small garden, and watching the light play at sunrise and sunset.

  4. Well, my grandparents are still alive and just a hair under 90 years old. So, I grew up listening to a labor leader grandfather boasting about how great big labor is and how great democrats were to labor. Hell, Grandpop was a labor leader in Philly and broke bread with Biden for many years. So, any guess who gramps is voting for this cycle? He did something he’d never done before. He changed his voter registration from a D to and R and he’s fully behind Trump. So, while the decision may trouble you, in this swing state and out here on the edge of the middle T, there is a great wave of people who are vocal about wanting their country back, tired of jobs being shipped overseas, and tired of the PC horseshit that’s ruined this country. There is no trepidation in their vote.

    For decades we’ve been limited to career politicians who collect office titles like we collect polymer pistols. They never gave a damn about us, the voters, they catered to a handful of special interest bundlers. Will Trump be good or bad for this country? Who knows, but, so far all the “experts” have been dead wrong about him. I’m glad as hell to see the old guard of the GOP taking its ball and leaving the playground. No matter what, a new GOP will rise. A sleeping giant has been awakened.

    Now, the real news is in WI-1 where Paul Ryan looks like he’s about to go Eric Cantor in just a few week. Maybe it’s RINO hunting season! See how the RINOs scattered this week, they’re like a PA whitetail the monday after thanksgiving – running scared.

  5. “…mine were working class people from South Philly…”

    So like most of the deceased, they’re a solid vote for Hillary.

  6. While spending the first 20 years of my adult life in the Navy. I missed out on the politics of that 20 years. I was an eye opener to see how much of the Constitution has changed since I was in high school.

    Just to add. Yes, I spent a good part of that time in the Navy in our Pacific Fleet. I saw the face of war. To quote Audy Murphy, “I have seen the face of war and I did not like it.” But still see the need for it from time to time.

  7. Your grandparents may have died 20 years ago, but rest assured that they will vote for Hillary in November. The Deceased-American vote will be more important than ever in 2016.

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