What a week. Seriously, has it only been a week since Chicago’s post-Cubs euphoria when everyone was joining in what my friend, Sarah, hash-tagged as Theosbender? Well, not everyone, I’ll admit.
I, for example, a lifelong Indians fan was not only not celebrating, I was in a lousy mood. I spent the week either watching people celebrate the victory I’d wanted for my team or actively avoiding all local media and most of Facebook.
When I did poke my head out of my den loss, all I could hear were exhortations to join the jubilation. “C’mon, this is history, you have to enjoy it,” the very wind seemed to say.
But, my heart replied, it is not my history, not my victory.
Last Thursday, walking down Chicago’s LaSalle Street, everything awash in blue the shade of the Cubs’ uniforms, I felt irritated, isolated, and stubborn in my self-imposed exile from the biggest party in the last 108 years. “Is this,” I wondered, “how Trump supporters feel?”
Even as I felt my feelings, my very own brain kept telling me they were ridiculous, for any of many very good reasons including: it was only a game; jealousy is an unbecoming (let alone, unchristian) character trait; I was probably setting a bad example for my daughter; I seemed to be missing a pretty good party.
My brain, however, was no match for my feelings, which remained rawer and more bitter than I am proud to admit until time passed, the news cycle turned, and Ireland’s rugby team, while playing in Chicago, defeated New Zealand’s for the first time in 111 years. Note: it’s not that I am a rugby fan, it’s just that I am immature imperfect person and it felt good that the Cubs were no longer the team in town who could boast of the most historic victory (shrugs shoulders).
Today, post-World Series angst seems a charming little memory, and compared to this week’s maniacal pin-ball machine of fact, opinion, feeling and falsehood, I almost miss it.
Since Tuesday evening, the airwaves and inter-webs have so crackled so palpably I’m a little afraid to turn them on. An action-oriented person of next steps, I’ve spent the ensuing days trying to turn down tumult and assemble a logical foundation on which to stand and from which to move. Unfortunately, all I’ve come up with is a possibly useless but personally satisfying list of observations and suggestions, which I will now share:
I think we should bring back the raucous town meeting. Having just returned from Boston, where our days were filled visiting now-revered historical sites of civil unrest and property destruction, I learned about colonial Boston’s rowdy assemblages to debate the issues of day. This approach sounds much more fun and substantial than liking, sharing, and commenting about issues in cyberspace. Huzzah!
There is a need for schools to teach and for adults to learn or get refresher on logic, rhetoric, active listening, analytical thinking and the differences between facts and opinions. A crash course on propaganda tactics probably wouldn’t hurt us any, either.
In a related observation, I believe everyone it entitled to their own feelings and opinions, but not their own facts. Just because someone says something or writes something, doesn’t make it true. (Note: I write this as a statement of my opinion, rather than a statement of fact, just to be clear).
Political pundits are like meteorologists — cataclysmically wrong, in their predictions in the evening yet we still look to them for answers the next day — and should be done away with (the pundits — not the meteorologists. I still need to know whether or not I should probably take my umbrella).
I could go on, but by now, I feel like all of the words in all of our language have already been strung together as a means of de-briefing from Tuesday’s results, so I’ll end with a story.
Yesterday, I was on the train home and the man sitting next to me, drinking wine out of a small plastic cup, was wearing grey socks with pink elephants. Said I: “I like your socks.” Said he: “Thank you. My son gave them to me. I’m thinking of giving everyone a pair because you can’t be in a bad mood when you are wearing pink elephant socks.”
Then began a 30-minute conversation between me, the woman sitting next me (Ranjana) and Sock Man (James), about the election, civil discourse; the importance of getting to know new people, the things that matter, and much, much more.
While we did’t get into the weeds, I sense that our world views were vastly different. Even so, without any name calling or specious reasoning, we discussed and even disagreed about serious (and less so) issues of the day.
I stepped off the train, feeling better about my country, and in desperate need of pink elephant socks.