Friday, April 21, 2006

Bubble Mentality

I live in a bubble (Portland, Oregon), to which I moved from another bubble (Berkeley, California), and the thing is, I am almost never in the company of Republicans. It is so easy to fall into an us/them mentality, as I realized after my last post. I should clarify that when I said how I'd like to watch Republicans stew in their own foul juices, I was thinking of Republican law-makers, those responsible directly for the truly, hideously awful state of just about everything in our country right now. I can't tone down that thought. The amount of hatred I feel is a powerful and ugly thing that I fear is beginning to give way to hopelessness and apathy -- and given a choice between hating George Bush and shrugging and giving up on the country, I have to choose hating George Bush. That doesn't mean I hate all Americans who identify themselves as Republicans, though I also can't honestly say, as some commenters had the grace to say, that I respect all opinions. I would be lying if I said that. I can't wrap my mind around why anyone would continue to support this administration of criminals. I don't want to go on at length about it, in fact, even though these beliefs are a huge part of me, I have been so uneasy since reading some of the comments to my last post, I have realized this just isn't the forum for those thoughts. I'll save my political rants for the people in my bubble. I don't want to offend any of the very wonderful people whose blogs I love and who may be Republicans. I am ALWAYS open and curious and eager to hear people's reasons, if they're willing to engage in the discussion, and I'm not a bully. My tone was glib in my last post. I can only blame that on bubble mentality, and getting so comfortable living in a liberal mecca that I forget not everyone feels the same way. And while I can't fathom why anyone would support this president, I can still LIKE them without talking politics, a kind of don't ask-don't tell policy. I truly hope I'm not continuing to offend anyone. I am still very uneasy about the whole thing and am fairly certain I won't get into politics again -- except for the occasional dance of glee as the indictments and resignations continue to roll in. That I can't help.

In closing, I have a dark secret to share: I was once a Republican too. That is, I knew nothing about anything, I was just an indoctrinated military brat with a very loose grasp of the facts, but I did register Republican voters in 1988. Interestingly, the Republican organization in Orange County paid very handsomely (easily double what a teenager could make at a regular job) while the Democratic registrars were all volunteers. Hmmm...


M said...

Keep voicing your truths, beautiful! Whatever they may be! Sometimes a bubble mentality is a good thing- feels safer to me anyways. Have a great weekend!

Alexandra S said...

Please DO keep voicing your thoughts Laini no matter how uncomfortable they make some because the reality is you cannot believe that we should take care of the neediest and most vulnerable in this country AND support this heartlessly cruel Administration which has no issue whatsoever with cutting crucial funds from social services while insisting on tax cuts for the wealthiest few. Please don't quiet down. You have the gift of having a growing readerhip forum with your career and with that comes the opportunity (and responsibility?)to educate and challenge the ignorance, insensitivity, hatred, and indifference that plagues many of our fellow Americans. If you offend some people, I don't think thats necessarily a bad thing. I'm more offended by a President and politicians who lie almost daily, steal pennies from this country's most needy, want to take out of a woman's hands the right to choose what she does with her body because it suits his own religious ideology, and even more offended by people who would vote for him. I really hope you will think twice about not writing political commentary here from time to time because you might have the chance to reach someone who might not be otherwise properly informed of the real issues.

Jennifer said...

I have found most political discussions to be futile and non-productive. People believe what they believe and that's that. Some people like to argue about it more than others. I am NOT one of those people - I don't like anything that divides people so strongly. I don't think debate will ever sway anyone's opinion. I have some friends at work that we enjoy occasional political discussions but I think we are unique in that we are simply trying to understand points of view etc. not trying to change/impose beliefs... I enjoy those discussions. And, I really don't identify with any party.

Anonymous said...

I understand why you would choose not to share politicis at this site-- but oh, how refreshing it was for me as my bubble is the ONE STATE in the union that doesn't recognize Martin Luther King, Jr Day and it is republican through and through (NH) although-- tempered with that yankee je ne sais quoi-- I know I could not live in the sought in a republican area or I would be on the 6 o'clock news for sure.


Anonymous said...

god, type much?

my typos above that was supposed to be SOUTH . .

oh well, bp

Alexandra S said...

Oh, I just wanted to add that I think the situation in our country has become too serious- from the George Bush Administration editing formal scientific assessments on global warming to downplay its reality to his unforgivable handling of Katrina (and all of the nepotism that was really responsible for that catastrophic mishandling at heart)to seeing my own clients' health services get cut so that we can kill more people in Iraq (& maybe soon Iran) - to me, if you want to live in neutral and say 'I just don't get involved in politics', then perhaps Switzerland is a more appropriate place to live. With democracy comes responsibility. This Adminsitration only gets away with what it does because of people like us who don't get involved enough or at all or who just say "I'm not into politics." This is too important to just sit out on the sidelines and pretend we can't really make a difference when really theres just other things we'd rather be doing OR don't want to face the sometimes unpleasant consequences of speaking out.

liz elayne said...

i think that you have to do what you feel comfortable with my dear. post what you want. this blog is your forum...readers will come and go. that's part of it all. the revolving door.
i appreciate the invitation to think about it all (and to be reminded that i am not alone in my desire to jump through the tv screen and start yelling at these people, i.e., the current administration).
Your last paragraph...well, my friend...that just about sums it up. Glad you left the dark side (hee, hee).

Holly Stinnett said...

What can I say? I feel your frustration and agree with you 100% - keep voicing your opinion. I like reading what you have to say and I respond outloud, "Yes... yes...yes!"

Susannah said...

Laini, these last two posts were very interesting for me. as the token brit amongst this lovely community i just want to pipe up and say that i absolutely ABHOR Bush, and all that he stands for. the british press is very good at taking the piss out of him, but it saddens (and worries) me that he has Tony Blair in his pockets. i'm proud to say that i marched thru London in protest against the (utterly pointless) war in Iraq! Alexandra's comment above about potential changes in abortion law (am i right?) made my blood turn to ice water. what is happening to the world?

there's nothing wrong with a bit of healthy political debate, and as Liz says, this is *your* forum. it's good to hear what's on your mind :-). and as for religion, well, again my britishness comes into to play when i say i'm not religious at all - but i know the power of the universe. my church is my home, my temple is me, and i believe in the transformative power of love and honesty and kindness... i think that about sums up my beliefs :-)

Laini Taylor said...

Hm. After reading everybody's comments, I can't remember why I felt so apologetic. Wait, yes I can: I don't want to turn my hatred of our government against ordinary people or sound mocking and dismissive of people with different viewpoints. I guess that's why I felt alarmed after my last post, that I had done that. I agree with comments above that it IS necessary to keep the debate open -- I strongly disagree that there is no point talking about anything, or that opinions never change. They DO change, and they MUST change. And I feel SO strongly that Americans MUST pay more attention to what is going on! And I still have great hope that if they do, things can change. Well, sometimes I have hope, but often I just despair.

Cate said...

While I agree that keeping silent is not the answer, esp. now, when things are so ugly in this country, I agree with Jennifer that political discussions are often futile and non-productive. It's time for people to take action--joining the party of one's choice, getting involved at a grassroots level to bring about changes in the law, attending protests or rallys to support one's beliefs, volunteering for charities/organizations that are trying to make a difference.

I don't know, Laini--you've made a lot of us stop and reflect. That's what good writers do.

holli said...

Well, I could share a secret - I used to be a democrat, until for various reasons I realized it wasn't for me.. I won't get into the reasons why because I don't think either side is flawless. I will say that one thing I find most disturbing is that I can't have a conversation with most of my liberal friends without them getting very angry - so I stay away from politics. It seems to be an all or nothing thing with them and that really irritates me. (and I'm not referring to this forum, I'm talking about some personal experiences of late). I hate to be categorized. And for the most part, I'm mistaken for a liberal because of some of my passions. So I prefer to say I'm just a Holli and think for myself.

And I voted for Bush - so I guess according to the comments in this section, I'm the freaking devil. I've let down people I don't know in blogland (big sigh) :) and.. well - if I remember correctly, my vote counts as much as the next guy's.. and there seems to be a lot of judgment going on from person to person.

Crap - I get enough of that from the people I work with on a daily basis.

Okay, that's all. Have a great day!

Shari said...

Please don't start questioning what you should or shouldn't write about in your blog. Your freedom of thought and pen is what attracts all of us who visit, so we can relish morsels of truth in an seemingly otherwise desperate world. Yes, you might offend some, but don't they need to be offended? Like we are offended that this administration has "gotten away" with blatant horrors without even a slap on the wrist. We need to be bitterly, deeply, hatefully offended at what our country is becoming. If more people were and voiced it, maybe there could be change. And at the very least, your little far-reaching voice can let the corners of the world know that we are all not like "that", that we don't support our government's decisions at this time, that they are not based on what the people want. With Bush's approval rating down to 30%, even some "honorable" Republicans are jumping ship, realizing what an arrogant, ignorant madman our president is. If someone chooses to love you any less because your political views are too different, then "oh well"....just wasn't meant to be. I think most people, especially those who read your blog, while they might not agree with your politics, are intelligent enough to see the many facets of you. I mean, who would throw away a 10-carat diamond, because of a tiny flaw? (not that you're flawed, ya know what I mean) Speak your truth, girl!

Earth Monkey said...


I so often feel the same way about posting about politics. Because it is a huge part of me. I share your fervor and feel the same uneasiness too. SO happy about McClellan - that is one joyful celebration to have this weekend. I struggle with this whole us/them thing too. I feel crushed when I find out someone voted for Arnold or Bush. And even more so when they support all the decisions that he (Bush) has made and they support the unjust politicians that roam around the whitehouse, the one's who are exempt from accountability. It just disgusts me. It is hard to roll out of that back onto other topic. I struggle and try to keep an open mind of acceptance. I visited my (extremely religious) sister's house over the holidays - she had an 8 x 10 glossy in her china cabinet of the dub'yuck + laura - I bit my lip firmly that day.

I belong to the green party, but was a Repulican the first time I registered to vote... only because my parents were Republican. So I escaped not only from Catholicism but from Republicanism. I now align myself closely with buddhist philosphies and jon stewart.

Amber said...

Well, seeing that it was my reaction that made you feel bad, let me say that I don't in ANY WAY think you SHOULD feel bad! Stop it!Really.

DISCLAIMER: The following words are being spoken in soft and perfectly reasonable tone. :)

Let me say that I that LOL at your 'bubble'. I laughed, because it is true. And I say that as a person who grew up in, and lives in the Berkeley/Bay Area, okay? I think it is a problem that was a ROOT cause of Bush getting voted into office in the FIRST place! Hollywood is part of that bubble, and most of the people who were all over the media speaking for the Dems as supporters, came off sounding SO condescending to all the other people who live life outside the 'bubble'. It PISSED PEOPLE OFF. I could see it coming when it was going on! And the outcome was and is shocking to the die-hard Libs, even now, because you continue to choose to think that only you stand on the moral high-ground. If we are going to get people to stop and listen to our point of view, we MUST stop acting like ANY person who holds a differing view-point is evil. It is simply not true, and it is hurting the important causes.

And, look. Let me be clear here, about where I come from. I grew up on the welfare system, and in foster care. Every meal I ever got was paid for by a government program, okay? And most of those meals were school lunches, because my parents were drug addicts who sold the food stamps for heroin. So DON'T get all pissy with me about not understanding the underprivileged. I would bet I understand more than some of the people who point a finger, all right? I don't mean to be a bitch, but I'm just sayin'. ;) I understand.

Also, I worked my own ass off to pay for school and to become a SOCIAL WORKER, just like I infer some others here are. I have dedicated my life to helping other kids like me, get out of the hell they live in, and to helping women over come abuse. But I still don't agree with every point on the Democratic ticket,(Even though I campaigned for Clinton. Twice. But then, I don't think the Dem party now is what it was then, either). I am not a die-hard Lib, but I do have a heart, and I believe ground to stand on.

What I DON'T have is my blinders up. BOTH side are responsible for this mess we are in. Truely, partisanship is the most to blame, because no one can admit when they are wrong! It has become a team sport!

Not all government programs are good, or should have money thrown at them, any more than the wealthiest should be getting tax breaks! The answer is not always to give give give! I grew up witnessing people become totally apathetic in life, because they didn't have to do anything at all. They became emotionally, physically,and spiritually lame, unable to see that they have any power in life. That is in large part do to the message that comes with a lot the "help" we give, that says "You can't do it. You are worthless".
I have worked with kids who TELL me their paln is to go on welfare!!This system we have built has done a lot to hurt the ability of people to achieve and live a happy life. We need to face that, and deal with it. And before you get all uppity, I'm NOT SAYING we shouldn't help people! I am saying we need to focus on doing things that work, and not tossing our sympathy and money so we can FEEL all good about it, just to be sure no one thinks we might be an Evil Conservative!

Also, my intitial comment wasn't so much about politics, as it was about having a more open mind about Christians. I have to say, Laini, that I agree with you about what you said in this post. I am very involved in trying to make a difference in the world, and I also feel very passionate about issues, but I try not to talk about it on my blog, either, for just this reason. Action is more powerful than my ranting would be.

BUT I still think you should say what you feel you want to or need to say! You should never feel bad for voicing your thoughts, and I am sorry that I helped you feel bad! I didn't think you were trying to be hurtful at all! See? You and your "Liberal guilt".(haha. I'm just KIDDING with you! Alex, don't try to come kick my ass! ;)

Besides, I can take it! And anyone who can't, needs to grow a pair, and can go read something else. It's your blog.

And, buck up! Hillary will be in office next time.:)

I hope we are still "friends"!


Caroline said...

If you feel frustrated imagine how those of us who don't get to vote in the US but whose country ends up aping so many of the policies feel....

and just in case you need it I'm offering you a decursing - a special blog decursing that wards off the effects of bad thoughts from anyone who sends them to you whether they meant to or not...

I've no idea whether you'll accept it but I learnt the hard way that I had to protect myself when I said things that stirred up others...

For instance I told people how I'd cured myself of various allergies and guess what over night the corrections all broke (having been stable for ages) so I put them back and took out a special decursing policy... oh and I've not mentioned this to many people 'cos I know they'll think I'm mad but I hope you can cope with that!

Amber said...

reading that I see that I used a lot of "you" statments. I didn't mean to. Sorry. I sound a bit more harsh than I was trying to! I was speaking more in general to all readers,not at you Laini.

See? I get guilt, too! LOL.


HoBess said...

I confess I voted for the father. I was 18. Here's the strange part of talking politics and religion both: I don't think anybody, not even Mr. Bush himself, is absolutely one over the other. When it comes to religion, most people pick and choose elements they like from several different practices. And as for politics, did anyone else see the map that was shades of purple? Not red and blue, purple. We're all mixed in together and where my brother's reddish in your blue bubble and I'm bluish in a red bubble both of us feel unsafe discussing politics with people who live around us. What cracks me up is that he's afraid of a bunch of doves and I'm afraid of a bunch of people whose Jesus fish were stuck right next to the W stickers on their cars. When did Doves and Christians become two of the scariest "groups" in our country? What needs to happen is we need more people to start discussing and fewer people standing around shouting. I say keep posting what you're comfortable posting. This has been the most civilized discussion of religion and politics I've encountered in awhile. Far more productive and informative than all the blowhards on TV/radio. And thanks for getting it started.

melba said...

Wow what a reaction to your last two posts! This is good! Getting people to speak out and react...what ever their opinions are. But it does take a bit of thick skin because with this forum your writing can be taken out of context and it is almost impossible for your intentions to be crystal clear; we are all read into things because of our past experiences.

I can relate to living in a bubble. . .I am not that well informed about politics so I don't talk about it much, but because most of my friends and family are democrats I am always shocked when we have a Republican administation

AnnieElf said...

Please don't limit yourself Laini. We all have a right to our opinions. I'm Republican, a military brat, a military wife (retired), and I DO NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT, support Bush and this war and many of his policies. I didn't from the get go. I remember the lessons of Viet Nam. Apparently he and many others don't. What ARE they thinking?

I am a conservative on most counts however, I enjoy Fox and O'Reilly as much as I enjoy CNN, the home edition and the British. But I must agree with Holli in that I avoid political discussions for the most part because my liberal co-workers have gone off on some incredible rants at me.

You keep speaking your mind, Laini. It is your right. We have shed blood to gain and to KEEP that right. So, do not keep your mouth shut here or anywhere.

That said, I'll go back into my little conservative bubble called Turlock, CA. Of course, you are very familiar with this particular bubble too. LOL

Marilyn said...

I was raised by a grossly underpaid Democratic schoolteacher. I've only ever lived in California, Portland and the West Indies. So I understand about living in Bubble-land. Wha...what?! Not EVERY SINGLE HUMAN shares all of my beliefs? What?! :) (I'm mocking ME, not you.) That said, I hope you'll continue to voice YOUR beliefs...after all, it is YOUR blog. ;)

kelly rae said...

i see that amber is a social worker so i felt compelled to comment because i am a social worker, too. i'm a medical social worker so i work with people who are having a medical crisis. and it's very hard for me to imagine anybody in this country, especially fellow social workers, not being 100% appalled by lack of services, the cuts to the existing services, and the lack of our administration to even have the vision of the desperate situations we face each and everyday. frankly, i see people die because they aren't able to access life saving heart medications because THIS administration cut funding. and don't get me started on how medicare D - medicare's prescription drug program - has successfully screwed poor people, only to make their situations worse! and the worst part about THIS administration is that they have used their so-called christianity to make, and change policy that deeply and negatively affects the lives of many people. women. children. sick people. and you know what, many of those people are christians, too! the irony kills me.

the best programs are ones that help people help themselves, but you have to have an administration who supports and funds those programs. i don't think any of us would agree that throwing money at people is the solution, as amber suggested.

and as for the kid telling you that his plan was to get on welfare, i think we all need to dig deeper here. sadly, that is all that kid knows! the system, and the pattern is creates for generations of families, sucks! the whole welfare system and the people dependent on it is a culture that bush and his administration have no incentive to change. why would they want to fund and initiate programs that would empower people who would most likely vote against them?

just my 2 cents.

Amber said...

Hi Kelly,
Look. I hear you, okay? What I am really appalled at is that programs like the ones you are speaking of get cut, and meanwhile, money is poured into programs like Methadone Clinics, that don't do what they claim to do-- help people get of heroin-- and put money into the pockets of doctors who don't really care to ever get people off the drug because they are being paid by Medical for every addict they serve! But if you question that fact, you just have no compassion for addicts, or sometihng.

I say you are right about the need like the ones you are speaking of. But I also say that this giant system we have created has long ago become a giant mismanaged mess,(especially here in Cali) and that is in large part due to people putting their feelings before their logic. If you and I want to keep getting the important programs funded, we need to force some accountability, so that people like Bush can't point out all the waste as an excuse to make those cuts. Doesn't that make sense? I have worked for non-profits and the government, and I know you know which one is more responsible for bleeding money. That is all I am saying.

I agree with you about Bush! I don't think I have actually said anything in support if this administration, if you read back. Nope. But it is all much more complicated than "they are BAD, we are GOOD". Please. That is ALL I am saying. Our social services and our society did have a few problems before old G'Dub was in office, too. He has created his share of problems, but he didn't create all of it. Okay?

Let us look forward to better days.

Laini, I am so sorry if I started something that is bugging you, here. Really. :(


Laini Taylor said...

Amber, and everybody, please don't apologize for having such a meaningful discussion in my little space here. I'm fascinated by it all, by everybody's incredibly articulate and heartfelt comments. I almost feel like in not talking more about politics in these blogs, when it comes up, we all have so much to say it comes bubbling out like crazy. thank you to everyone for taking the time to read the comments!

Amber said...

Why don't you post another amazing story, or beautiful picture we can all lose ourselves in? It could be like sherbert between courses in a gourmet meal. ;)


jenclair said...

I quit watching "political debate" on television years ago. One reason was that people yelled at each other and never listened to what the other side had to say. The attacks were often ad hominem and personal indulgence. I don't usually read rants, either. My cousin regularly emails his "rants," and I skim and delete. I don't need someone else's anger and outrage. Balanced information interests me.

This is not to say that I'm not in favor of personal opinions being voiced. I'd very much like to see more honest and well-thought out opinions. If our politicians (and the general public) did some real research and tried to think about where the other side was coming from before spouting off, wouldn't it be thrilling? We could absorb the information and make well-informed judgements ourselves, responding to reason and with reason rather than just emotion. Emotion is important, but we need to understand emotional issues.

I love listening to NPR (although some will disagree) because they often have programs that look at all sides, discuss the background on the issue, listen to each other, etc. Yelling (whether by voice or print) never persuades me, but genuine information and varied outlooks provide me with much inner dialogue that often changes my perspective.

jd said...

I live in the Republican bubble of Idaho and spend a lot of time in Democratic bubbles around the country.
Frankly, I think it would behoove both sides to spend some time interacting and walking around in each other's bubble. They might find themselves feeling less vindictive and more empathetic.

Anonymous said...

The Republican party is what protects us from people like you. I mean, can you imagine if John Kerry would have been elected? Mr. Flip-Flop himself...

Laini Taylor said...

Dear Anonymous, hahahahahaha!

Anonymous said...

When someone is trying to force YOU to keep a baby in your body, whether it was through rape or by accident, then we'll talk about trying to walk in someone else's shoes. I don't need to walk in a murderer or a rapist or Bush's shoes to know that their ideologies and policies promote suffering and inequity.

jd said...

Anonymous (perhaps next time you might share your name so I don't have to address you with such a generic term), one who identifies with the Republican or Democratic party is not by default an ideologue, nor do they support every one of their respective party's policies. Many common folk on both sides of the aisle can make well reasoned arguments to support their positions. What I was getting at is by actually interacting in a civil manner with those that disagree and seeking to understand their personal histories, stepping outside our bubbles so to speak, could lead to greater tolerance and perhaps greater engagement by the vast majority of Americans who are so turned off by the whole strident debate. Maybe then enough common ground could be found to actually solve some of the horrific problems facing our nation and world.

Jamie said...

Laini, I love that you wrote these thoughts because they are clearly such a strong part of you. Your beliefs and your values are a part of what makes you the splendiferous person that you are.

jamie ford said...

Wow. Touchy subject, but kudos for going there anyway.

I'm a dem, but a very conservative one. I think most of us are in the middle somewhere. Not on FoxNews right or the Al Franken left.

Living in Montana I've learned to understand hunting, real conservation, native issues and other political hot-buttons that urbanites have strong opinions of, but are far removed from.

And being from the "big city" originally, I can appreciate that perspective as well.

People are not that different. But we're different in what we know.

Somnambulist Seeker said...

No offense taken from up here in Canada. Keep on bloggin' what you're feelin'.

If you start filtering out of fear of who reads.... then the Republicans have already won. :-)

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