I don’t know what happened to me. But something sure did. Maybe it was the turkey — probably not the Butterball, but the other one, which I’m told was Wild.
Or maybe it was just straight up petulance.
You know, when you tell your children specifically not to do something over and over again, it seems to make them want to do it even more?
Don’t touch that! Don’t touch that! Why did you touch that?!?!?!
Or like when you are on a low-carb diet, suddenly all you crave is garlic bread and potatoes and one day you snap and binge eat an entire container of bacon queso fries?
Get into my belly!
For years, I have strictly followed my own rule of not talking about politics at Thanksgiving, or any holiday gathering, for that matter. I even wrote a column about NOT doing this last week. But not only did I participate in it this year, I brought it up.
It didn’t result in plates or ribs (pork, beef or human) being broken or the police being called or anything like that, but, still, it probably would have just been better left unsaid.
But, then again, part of me also thinks not saying anything is a big part of the problem, too.
We don’t talk with people that we disagree with about these things. We stay in our bubbles, which are wallpapered in the social media feeds of our friends who agree with us and carpeted by the news media and chattering class who only serve to reinforce what we already believe.
And this has led to everyone just picking a team, and loyalty to that team has become paramount to anything else. It’s blind devotion to your side and blind hatred of the other guys. And that’s pretty much it.
And that just frustrates me on so many levels.
The first is as a member of the media. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you are like, “Cry me a river, you people are part of the problem!”
And I get it and agree to a certain extent. Some national media outlets and their members have certainly blurred the line between opinion commentary and straight news coverage, if not outright erased it, and there is no denying this has bred mistrust. As it should! There’s certainly a plethora of examples you could use to demonstrate this no matter what team you are on.
But there are still hard-working, honest reporters out there — ESPECIALLY ON THE LOCAL LEVEL — just trying to do their jobs the best they can.
But, nowadays, people are looking at primary source material that has no filter or commentator adding their two cents, and STILL calling it “fake news” if they simply don’t like what they are hearing.
And that isn’t just maddening, it’s terrifying.
And it’s not just on a national level anymore. It’s on a local level too and though President Trump may have made the term popular in recent years, the tactic is being used on both sides of the aisle at every level of government, from local school boards to the Oval Office.
And being in the profession, some days you really just want to pull out your hair and say, “What’s the point if they are just going to believe what they want to believe no matter what?”
And then you just want to cry and eat some bacon queso fries.
The next level this frustrates me on is as a voter. I received a letter last week from a gentleman who thought my columns were being too rough on the Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate, one candidate in particular, he believed.
And I have been pretty critical. Because I do believe they see this “blind devotion” to the president and just parroting his every word or re-tweeting his every tweet as a winning political strategy, not something they truly believe in their heart of hearts. And I just can’t stand that. If I lived in Washington State and all of our leaders were mostly Democrats, I would be tough on them for doing the same thing for their party and political leaders.
Lack of nuanced reasoning is what drives me insane. No one person or party is always right! And I am 100 percent right about this! [Insert smiley emoji face!]
Why can’t any of us — but especially our leaders who are supposed to LEAD — say, “You know what, I agree with the president (or the Speaker) on A, B and C but I have real problems/concerns with D, E and F and this is why …. ”?
Because anyone with a brain, heart and soul has that natural reaction to almost anything — whether it’s politics or even bacon queso fries.
I love the cheese, bacon and French fries, but I don’t really care for the mess, calories or the uneven distribution of cheese you get sometimes.
You can’t possibly as a human being agree with absolutely everything one person, party (or food item) says, does or represents. Not even glorious, almost perfect bacon queso fries.
Finally, I am just so frustrated about all of this as a human being. I hate how divided we are as a country. I hate that my children see and hear it every single day and are growing up in such a polarized world. And I fear they will never know anything else. And I just want to scream, “Somebody, anybody, please do something about this! Make it stop!!!”
But, I’ll try not to scream this at Christmas dinner. I’ll at least wait until Easter.
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