It's been a busy couple of weeks; nothing bad, I just haven't been feeling the urge to sit at another keyboard when I get home from work. I've been watching the endless train wreck that is the Republican candidate for president (insert your own nickname here, I've been going with the now classic "Rolling Trumpster Fire") with a mixture of horror and amusement, but mostly horror. I listen to some very good political podcasts and have heard a lot of analysis - he doesn't really want to be president (that seems obvious) he's actually suffering from some sort of mental illness, etc. But someone, I wish I could remember who, said something yesterday that really hit me: thanks to Fox News and the right wing bullshit machine, we have two generations of voters raised on a steady stream of lies about the evils of Hillary Clinton. The fact that she is polling so well gives me hope that most people see through the bullshit, but then someone I know posts some "OMG we have two terrible choices this year!" meme, and I get very nervous all over again. Those of us who were politically aware in the 90s know better, but a lot of younger people have heard so much crap all their lives that they are saying things like, "I can't stand her but I guess I have to vote for her." And this makes me sad, because she is a good woman and a tireless, hardworking policy wonk who knows how the world works, and certainly doesn't deserve to be viewed as "the lesser of two evils", or be compared in any way to the fascist sociopath running on the other side. I have to remember every day that a lot of people don't pay attention to politics or read past the headlines or read more than one news source, and that is a very, very scary thought.
I'm a language (not grammar or punctuation) wonk as well as a history nerd. Note which news outlets call Secretary Clinton "Mrs. Clinton," whenever they mention her name. She's routinely divested of the office title which follows the SoS forever. Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Former SoS Henry Kissinger. That is how the media officially describes a former Secretary of State. But she's just MRS. Clinton on certain media outlets. When she wants to be informal and run as "Hillary!" that's totally cool, that's her campaign's choice, but when a news outlet refers to her, the opening paragraph/line of the story really should use her title. That's how it's done. She's just Mrs. Clinton. He has his name on buildings (cough, cough) and his daughter sells clothes, and his latest wife peddles skin care or some such. To a politically uninformed voting base, that's name recognition.
The other day a group of colleagues, all college educated, were talking about something I can't remember and were struggling to make an analogy. None of them could remember the story about the tea in the harbor, and who did what. I shit you not. (Non-US readers: insert whatever iconic story of your country's history you learned in third grade here.) The Boston Tea Party is one of the core stories taught in early elementary school as part of an intro to the country's history. Four educated adults couldn't remember the plot. The freak who reads American history for fun (me) had to fill them in a bit.
And I don't fault them. History education is abysmal in this country - so dry, so "memorize dates and events and puke them onto a test paper and forget them forever," at least when most of that foursome was in school. I shrugged off their amazement and said that I read history for fun, books by authors like David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin, and that the books honestly do read like novels and you'd enjoy them, really! And one of the participants in the conversation looked interested, but the rest were like "The nerd is speaking about boring things." But that little moment, unrelated to any political discussion, struck me as a snippet of what we're up against. A bright 30something who thinks Ivanka Trump is really smart and she loves her clothing line, and also thinks Hillary is a bitch, but she can't really say why. There are a lot of voters like that, not really paying attention to the issues but with positive feelings about the Trump brand because Ivanka has really cute dresses at Nordstrom, and were raised with a vague distrust of the Clinton name. And when I think about THAT too much, it scares the living shit out of me.
I'm very encouraged by how many Republicans are jumping the burning S.S. Trumpster Fire and endorsing Clinton. Come into the light, children. We have great food, all the best music and craft beers, and we will not say we told you so. Okay, some of us might, just a little, but we'll also buy you a beer.
In other news, I'm knitting and plotting the course of the rest of the year. I promise it won't be so much about politics. I don't have the energy for that shit.