Thursday, November 11, 2010
What I'm never sure about is how to address them. Ms/Mr or just their first name, if they just used only yours? I defer to their level of formality on everything else, but find this--especially given the informality of email, Los Angeles and all the casual places I've worked--tricky.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
These days, the recession is never very far from my mind. I think that's probably true for a lot of people, but it wasn't always true for me. At the beginning I was all terrified that the banks were going to collapse and there would be visible poverty on a Great Depression scale, but then life continued normally for pretty much everyone I knew. I relaxed, and it felt like several other people did too. It continued to be vaguely worrisome, but in the face of upbeat news reports and people it seemed manageable. Now, though, I feel a resurgence of economic fixation and I'm not sure if it's because of my unemployment, the state where I live, an actual "double-dip" recession or this just-finished election season.
The results of this election certainly make it feel like a large number people are still (newly? again?) upset and concerned about our economy. By now, everyone who at least pretends to care is aware of the results, but let me recap: The GOP gained 60 seats in the house, 21 more than they needed to regain control. Furthermore, although Democrats managed to hang onto control of the Senate, it's only by a margin of 2-4 votes. (Two seats are still too close to call.) We've certainly come a long way since November two years ago, when people were briefly united in their desire for change.
Two years ago. Remember that? It's only been two years since that brief moment when lots of people agreed that 8 years of the Bush Administration had done terrible things to our country and we should give the Democrats a chance to fix it. They gave 8! years! to an administration detrimental to our country on practically every level, but only two to the party entrusted with cleaning up the enormous mess that included a devastated economy, two wars and crippled education and healthcare systems? I'm really not trying to be partisan, here. I'm trying to be logical.
I happen to live in California, the only state to remain fully blue (even Massachusetts elected a Republican governor). Obviously, California usually goes Democratic. It's a thing I like: living in a place where a lot of people think like I do. Still, Schwarz was a Republican and so some "experts" are saying that California is actually a bellweather for the rest of the country. I think it's potentially an interesting point. If the election of all Democrats indicates not that Californians are doing what they always do--vote for Democrats--but rather that they are fed up with the economic costs of constantly trying the next new political thing, will the rest of the country eventually get there as well? Personally, although I hate to admit it, I can't say I'm optimistic. Like lots of people, I was really excited to elect Obama. Also like a lot of people, I've been a little disappointed by his progress so far. Apparently I'm far more patient than a fair number of my fellow citizens, though, because I'm nowhere near to giving up or judging the whole scope of his presidency yet.
I have a fundamental respect for the people who live in the so-called flyover states, which I guess is another way of saying I have a fundamental respect for people. I think there's a lot to be gained from the knowledge that this is a country made up of a lot of very different people genuinely concerned about many of the same issues. Opinions differ on how to fix them but that alone isn't enough justification to disregard roughly half the country. I find it intolerable when I hear people parrot false facts from disingenuous pundits, but I respect those who truly know the issues and have merely arrived at a different conclusion from mine. Republican or Democrat, I don't think there are many people interested in prolonging this state of affairs. I've almost given up on the idea of people respecting each other and politicians quitting fighting long enough to really try to FIX things, though.