Thirteen years ago, I discovered a place where I could indulge my compulsion to splatter words on blank pages—the internet. Specifically, I stumbled upon the Petri dish containing the tiny zygote which would eventually become the blogoverse—AOL Journals.
It was September of 2003. I was completely stoked that I had found a place I could record my challenges associated with “coming to terms with middle age” (I was 48 years old!); and—wonder of wonders—other people could read, react, provide input…make me feel as if I wasn’t the freak I had always felt myself to be. I was hooked.
And, yes…it WAS September of 2003. So the deadly nature of what was going on in our country was loud enough to penetrate the voices inside my head…and become one of them. A stolen election. A horrendous national tragedy. The politics of fear, division and lies that eventually led to an illegal war and a degeneration of our national principals to the point that We The People gave the nod to any means available—including torture, illegal imprisonment, and utter disregard for “collateral” death and destruction—to keep us “safe.”
I discovered I had a previously untapped talent for political commentary. Which quickly became a compulsion. I was physically unable to allow what was going on in the USA to transpire without comment. And without raising a regiment of red flags.
I made my first post of a political nature on October 5, 2003. It was a short (they all had to be short, back then—with the 2000-character limit imposed upon us by AOL) commentary about the political goings-on in California, starring Republican Arnold Shwarzeneggar in the recall of Democrat Gray Davis. I got no comments on that one…as I frequently did not on my political posts. But it didn’t seem to matter. The compulsion to comment and warn took root and grew.
Over the next twelve years, my internet musings upon the challenges facing an aging Baby Boomer were interspersed with peppery political commentary. I wrote volumes before the 2004 presidential election; and continued, even through the insanity of my sortie into the minefield of entrepreneurship, to comment on things political through the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. Things were happening that demanded notice. It was important to comment. I could no more keep my thoughts to myself than I could stop breathing.
Anybody who reads this blog must notice, then, the marked absence of political posts here at “Coming to Terms” this election cycle. Surely the hideous mess with which we are now presented should be inspiring volumes of commentary from folks like me. Surely there is enough insanity out there to wring at least one scathing commentary a day—even one an hour—from my prophet’s heart. And yet, I have been largely silent.
Why? Because it’s just NOISE. Noise coming from everywhere, all directions, louder and louder, shriller and shriller. The ugly, crushing roar of an angry mob. Two sides holding their hands over their ears and screaming curses at each other. A soul-shriveling racket…that produces no results.
No advice is heeded. No warnings are acknowledged. No pleas for sanity are recognized. It all becomes swallowed up in the noise; becoming itself part of the discordant symphony…only adding to the hideous, deadly cacophony.
I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be part of that time bomb that will surely destroy us all if it doesn’t somehow fizzle out of its own accord. Because I can’t stop it. I don’t think anyone—any person—can.
And don’t think it isn’t painful for me to stay silent. The danger is so much more grave, the stakes are so much higher, this time around. But the ceaseless noise has effectively silenced my voice. As I go through my day, I think of a hundred talking points, come up with dozens of arguments, envision a kaleidoscope of debate scenarios through which I might get through to those who will not think but will only follow. And then I sit down with my laptop at the end of the day, stare at the blinking cursor at the top of the page and write…nothing. Because I know it would be pointless. I know that all it would do is add to the miasma of negativity and contentiousness that has already swallowed us. And that, I refuse to do.
So, for what it’s worth, here is my last bit of advice, the last word out of the prophet’s mouth, concerning the coming election:
Vote. If you have already chosen your candidate—and I’m pretty sure that most people who intend to vote this cycle have already chosen their poison—keep your peace and mark an “x” in the proper box on November 8th (if you haven’t yet been stripped of that right…) Make your choice and SHUT THE FUCK UP. All the words, pictures, videos, brain-droppings that you can possibly put out there are not going to change anyone’s mind, are not going to win people over to your side. People have made their choices, and they are as adamant and unshakeable about them as you are about yours.
And if you feel that you have to dig up, make up, blow up, or otherwise broadcast filth about the “other side” in order to justify your own choice, maybe you need to rethink your personal selection process.