Grim Fates - A Reminder
For those of you fearing for the outcome of the election - all of you: a conservative who thinks Kerry is a Frankenstein of a weenie who will transfer the presidency to a corner office in the UN so he can attend to his real goal of getting every third-generation welfare queen back on the public dole; or a liberal who thinks Bush will continue his conversion of American into one of the biggest third world sinkholes of destitution while he sacrifices an entire generation trying to colonize Arabia - keep in mind that that even through some of our darkest times - the Civil War, the Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11 - we have persevered and, for the most part, our daily lives have remained what they should be.
Yes, we have or private hopes on what could be better (I still want public education for all through college or trade school, health care for everyone, and a restoration of the civil rights taken because of the drug war and the PATRIOT act, but that's just me).
Yes, the world, which evidently views us as their de facto world government, doesn't really like what we've done for them lately. But, like all nations, we look after our interests first, theirs second. If our interests align, then all the better.
But, overall, our lives won't change - much - from the outcome of this election. We will still have warm houses and meals on the table. Public schools will remain open, and do a decent job of educating our kids; just be vigilant about the propaganda days you are typically warned of in the raft of crap kids have to trek home anymore and make sure you tell your kid how you, the parents, feel about the issue. Hospitals will heal the sick, even when they have to write it off. Commercials will blare from every single pore of the media, from web popups to TV ads before movies you've paid for to endless radio commercials, and the solution - if they bug you - is to simply shut it off.
Regardless of who gets in to office, don't give any information away when you can avoid it. No one but the tax arm of the government and your bank needs your social security number. Rip all junk mail into bits before throwing it out. Encrypt emails if you're going to express your right to free speech in ways that might offend officials, and keep in mind that the subject line can give more away than you intend, so be generic. Tell your doctor only the things he needs to know. Neither the government nor corporations feel you should be protected from their prying eyes, so it's up to you; hide in plain site, and keep your data clean.
Remember to have fun. Be nice as often as possible. Things are fair only when you are fair. Have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Go to church if you do, and revel in the fellowship. See only the movies and read only the books and listen to only the songs that you think you'll enjoy; don't let anyone guilt or snob you into consuming something that you think will bore you or make you feel bad. Your most effective vote is to vote with your checkbook. Companies will make what you buy, and stop making things that you don't. If they don't have what you want, make it yourself. You can write and sing and paint and grow gardens, too, you know. Just start.
The cliche is true: the best things in life are free. Love is simply more powerful than the laws or any nation that has ever existed, and it will always transcend the same. Jesus, the Beatles, the Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Kurt Vonnegut, the Honeymooners, and Star Trek were all onto something, and it has everything to do with love and being good to one another.
"Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry."
- W. B. Yeats
"To be cynical is not the same as avoiding illusion, for cynicism is just another kind of illusion. All formulas for meeting life - even many philosophies - are illusion. Cynicism is a trashy illusion."
- Robertson Davies, from The Manticore
"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world."
- Helen Keller
"God doesn't require us to succeed, He only asks that you try."
- Mother Teresa
"Listen: We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."
- Kurt Vonnegut
"Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas."
- Groucho Marx
Sometimes we all need to remind ourselves of these things. I'll stop now before I hurt myself (and, hopefully, before you puke into your keyboard).
Have a nice day, dammit.