cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
2011 has been an interesting, frustrating and fulfilling year. I suspect that could be said by anyone and each likely would have a different take on the aspects that combined to make us use those descriptive terms.
I am continually amazed at what people do and don’t do, at what they say and don’t say, and at what they will say or will not say. Politics has been a VERY large part of this passing year. It continues to be given the recall efforts, the various court challenges of this, that and the other, and the Presidential campaign especially as Iowa gets ready to caucus.
This has been an “over the top” year in politics no matter which side you take, if you take a side, and it is difficult to avoid taking a side. We saw Madison as we’ve not seen it before in my lifetime. I waited for some 45 minutes to get through the entrance procedure to see my Senator; that has never before been necessary. I have seen the homeless residing in the basement of our Capitol but I have never before seen it occupied from top to bottom by protesters and in such a sorry state of cleanliness. Needing to be escorted by police officers to and from meetings was a new experience.
I’ve lost track of which “do-over” effort we are experiencing now. I see the continuing John Doe investigation in Milwaukee aimed at the current Governor going on with no apparent end in sight and a minor catch so far. I see numerous recall efforts ongoing. I saw two Republican senators lose their seat while nothing happened to those senators that abdicated their responsibilities in the attempt to keep the Senate from functioning, since they knew they hadn’t the votes to prevail. I hadn’t seen that before.
I watched the already known-to-be dysfunctional state Supreme Court’s antics and shook my head at the childishness displayed in what is supposed to the highest level court in our state, between what are supposed to be the best-qualified jurists we can find. Kindergarteners could serve as an example for those self-exalted ‘jurists’.
I wonder if we’ll ever be able to dial the level of rhetoric and outright hate back to the point it was at even in 2010. I am not comfortable with what appears to be the ‘new reality’. I am not comfortable having to watch my every word when in the company of others to avoid setting one or more off, or of angering someone whose feelings I have hurt without thinking or even realizing that has been done. Our feelings are too close to the surface in many instances.
There are more subjects that are taboo since they have become minefields. There is more meaningless polite conversation because people are wary of saying anything other than a platitude when in mixed political company.
We have devolved into various ‘camps’ so far as our opinions are concerned. There seem to be more people engaged than ever before, but some of that engagement has crossed over the lines of decency and common-sense.
At a time when we ought to be talking with one and other more given the issues that we all confront, we seem to be doing that less and less. If not talking less and less, we are saying less and less when we are talking.
I hold great hope for 2012, but I am concerned that my hopefulness might not be rewarded. We will be, after all, in the pitched battle of a Presidential election and we don’t seem able to play well with others when it comes to politics. We cannot continue down this path without causing some serious and lasting problems. If we have any adults left, it is time for them to step up and bring some of this silliness to an end. There is still something we can call civil discourse, but we have to be active practitioners for even civil discourse to work.
We’ve not been very civil toward one and other this past year. I pray that will change in 2012.