Monday, November 17, 2014

A few words about the election

I don't rant much politically. I'm not sure how helpful it is. But several things have struck me about the recent election, which was disappointing to me but not surprising.

First, those of us who are well educated and liberal seem to think that everyone will (or should) think like we do. It wasn't until I realized how few of my age peers (teenage in the 60s) became hippies or anti-war protesters that I understood some things about our country. We weren't all that many. For one thing, many fewer people went to college in those days and we protesters were mostly college students or college grads. Most of our peers didn't fight the draft, got married right out of high school, took minimum wage or factory jobs, and if they have money now (or credit to buy things), they want to hang on to it and they will vote conservative. That's what conservative means, conserving what you've got.

Second, I read somewhere that the mean IQ in the United States, as elsewhere in the world, is about 102. That's right in the middle of normal (90-110) That means that half the people are below that and half the people are above. While it doesn't take a high IQ to vote or to understand the candidates' ideas, it may take a higher IQ to understand that TV is not our best source of information. And while a much wider range and much bigger number of young people are going to college, they are mostly not getting thoughtful, reflective educations: they are getting job training in the guise of a BA or BS degree.

Last, it struck me on Wednesday after the election, that most of our compatriots are living mired in fear. Fear of change. Fear of loss. Illogical fear. When you have illogical fear, you can't be reasonable. You can't be reasoned with. When you have illogical fear, you stay with the husband who beats you, you keep drinking, you keep shopping, you keep buying. When you have illogical fear, you have no imagination to work with, no way to imagine a different life. So you cling to what you know, you cling to the ones who soothe you, not the ones who want to shake things up.

We do get the leaders the larger collective votes for. And it's painful when you can see a different and perhaps better way.

1 comment:

Phil Freyder said...

I find every syllable spot-on, Jill. Your wise essay illuminates my perspective on Americans. And yes, irrational fear tends to turn people into zombies. Apart from fear of change, of another recession, etc. I wonder if many people are aware of, and feel threatened by, the demographic change heralded by the presence of an African-American in the White House: the change some people are calling the browning of America.