Weekend Coffee Share: In Which I May be on the Mend

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you this has been the best week I’ve had since I can remember. My stress level is as low as it’s been since May. I’ve had a bit more free time than usual, so I’ve done more blogging in the last seven days than I did in all of January and February.

newcoffee

I don’t know how long it will last, but the words seem to be flowing for me again. I think the move into social commentary and politics helped with that, but I’m afraid it’s not done me much good in the way of audience.

If you’ve been following me since the days when this was a writing blog, and through all the ups and downs of the Sourcerer experiment, thanks for sticking with. I doubt I’ll ever get back to publishing three and four posts per week because the stuff I’m writing now is time-consuming and I don’t have that much time most weeks. But I have no plans to give up blogging. From here on out, I’m focusing on quality rather than quantity and working myself up to the point where I can start placing posts on blogs other than my own.

And I’d tell you I measured my little puppy today because she’s six months old next week. She’s almost 21 inches at the shoulder and weighs 45 lbs. So not that little any more, and she’s gotten bold. She’s still not mature enough to be outside off a leash because we have no fenced yard. But she thinks she is, and if we aren’t careful she bolts outside when we open the door.

She likes to sit to the left of my computer chair while I’m working at the desk because she’s figured out that if I’m surfing instead of typing, she can get lots of head scratches that way. And she’s learned to grin.

diesel_5mo_grin

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m as concerned about the overall political climate in the U.S. as I’ve ever been. I’d try not to go on and on about it, because I’ve already thrown nearly 10K words at it and I’ve got more coming. But I would share with you, briefly, the two things about it which worry me the most.

First, we have a serious contender for President who’s been permissive of violence at his rallies. Much of this violence has been motivated by a combination of racism, nationalism, and anger at the economic stagnation we’ve suffered over the last decade. If you’ve read your history even a little, you know what a volatile combination that is. I hope we can find a way to rein it in before it spills over into the streets and into the policies of the next administration.

Second, I’m pretty sure U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years or so has precipitated a full-scale regional re-alignment in the Middle East and it’s only going to get uglier for at least the next few years. That has consequences not only for the Americas and Central Asia, but for Europe, East Asia, Africa, and Australia as well. Because we’re all so interconnected, there’s no disentangling ourselves from one another.

There are more trigger points in Asia for serious conflicts between powerful countries than I can remember seeing in my lifetime. The next President will need to be smart about his diplomatic strategy. It’s as frightening a situation as anything I’ve experienced since the days when we were doing the nuclear tango with the Soviet Union.

I think it’s probable that the next President will need to decide whether to double down on the Middle East and make a serious long-term military commitment there, or to pull out completely and realign our forces so we can continue to meet our security obligations to our European and Asian allies without a significant presence in the Middle East. Because what we’re doing there now isn’t working or even helping.

These are treacherous waters, and I don’t fully trust any of the likely candidates to navigate them without making things worse. So I’m at a loss. It’s far too late to point fingers or place blame about the foreign policy errors we’ve committed over the past few years. We need to find a way forward, but I have no answers. Only questions.

And that’s all I’d say about the politics if we were having coffee today.

I’m back to the normal schedule next week, so I won’t have as much time to write and chatter as I’ve had these last few days. My goal remains to provide one post per week other than these coffee posts, and I’ve got next week’s almost done. Eventually I’ll work out a routine and post them at a consistent day and time, but for now, I’m just trying to meet the goal itself.

Happy Saturday! Don’t forget to add your post to the Weekend Coffee Share linkup at Part Time Monster, and to share it with #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter.

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27 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: In Which I May be on the Mend

  1. Thank you for your political insight and opinion. I just don’t understand this presidential race and the fact that we have two of the three stooges running..the third already being in office! It’s a real f’d up mess. It is as if we must choose between the lesser of two evils, and both have horns!!

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  2. Your puppy looks like a friend fur friend, Dogs get appropriately their height around 6-8 months old. They continue to mature to around 2 months old. Now is a good time to obedience train. Certainly medium and large size dogs.
    I agree with your slogan. BE KIND AMERICA

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much! She’s a sweetheart. And yeah, we need to get on some training. I’m interested to see how much taller she gets. She and her sister are almost the size of their mother now, height-wise, but their sire is a huge dog. Like German Shepherd huge.

      And yes on the kindness. I try and spread that around as much as I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Gene’O Love the pup updates. I think part of the problem with the overall political climate today is that people (in general) are pissed that they aren’t getting the government that they expect for their money. This anger has allowed a large group of buffoons to capitalize on this and run for office. I’ve said it before, any real viable candidate has the good sense not to run. Anyway, have a great remainder of your week and an even better week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. I’ve said for awhile that very few people who are in their right mind would want that office, so it tends to attract people who ain’t right. And you have a great week too!

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    • One more. Just because I have so few people to talk to who have the actual expertise to respond to something like this.

      I’m starting to get worried about the potential for real instability with this whole election madness. Don’t like where it’s going. I see an institution failing and the media not talking about that.

      Not 1960s-level instability. But worse than what we saw out West in the 90’s with the separatists.

      This is not about my party preference, and is way more important than me. I’m thinking about the grandkid and what sort of society he’s going to inherit. It’s just that in this case, my natural party preference happens to align with what I truly see as the safest course.

      Tell me honestly. We know one another well enough for me to value your opinion and be a grownup if you say I am off-base. Am I being a paranoid alarmist when I look at what Trump and Cruz are doing and I see a big ol’ recipe for a decade of social instability?

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      • I don’t think you are paranoid. I too feel the level of instability is rising and “things” will get l, well , unstable. I used to be a staunch Repulican. Now I’m still conservative but I’m more of a constitutionalist. So none of the candidates are really appealing to me. Honestly at this point, I think we already have the social instability and I don’t see either party being able to fix it with any of what I hear from the current candidates.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks! I am glad you see it too, but given our philosophical differences, I can’t say that makes me feel any better, because we represent a broad spectrum of opinion and I doubt we’d agree on much if we started talking about specifics.

          I think you may be right. If a Repubican wins, it’s going to embolden the people who either approve of what Trump’s doing or want to exploit it. And if a Dem wins, all those people are gonna go reactionary. Just given the number of young people who are vocally supporting Bernie, I think that reaction is likely to provoke a response.

          I’m hoping we haven’t reached some tipping point that will only be visible later in hindsight.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Righty-o! Finding our way back to the sort of economic growth that allows lower- and middle-income people to get ahead, and a sane foreign policy are really the only two things I care about. Well, that and reining in the meanness. Everything else is negotiable, as far as I am concerned.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m worried about the political future of the States as well, even if I am Canadian. I really hope things work out and the new leader is someone who can handle the tense, sensitive and volatile situation in the Middle East, but I worry like you.
    On another note, it’s awesome when the words flow and I, for one, absolutely prefer quality to quantity, so you have a thumbs up from me on that idea!
    And it’s great that you’re feeling better and less stress. Stress kills. Sooo good that things have turned for you, Gene’O!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sweet pup!

    And ohhh, the politics. I’m very worried about it, but I don’t have the stomach to engage in verbal fisticuffs about it for the next 6 or 8 months. I don’t intend to be entirely silent about it either, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just speak up when and where appropriate is what I say. I try not to let the discussions devolve into fisticuffs, but it’s already happened to me a few times and I expect it will happen more if I keep this up.

      Not sure I’ve found the stomach for it, really. I just don’t see any other choice for myself. And two years of experience dealing with trolls off-and-on has helped me out a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

        • True, true. Interests are a big part of it. You are right about the gender and age, though. The “mature male” privilege on top of the fact that I can sound like a social science professor does give me a teensy bit of psychological authority in text-based discussions. And no one has ever accused me of being emotional just because I offered a strident argument that made them uncomfortable.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. She’s totally a pup. She’s a good pup, naturally, but we suck at training, so we’re having a few issues, lol. I don’t expect her to be anything like a mature being until she’s 18 months old. At best. But she is so much fun!

      And yeah. I’m feelin’ the spring.

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  6. I agree with the first of your concerns about the American election…very scary stuff. I have studied a fair bit of history and those isms are a scary combination. I hope Americans take this election very seriously and vote responsibly. How those election results pan out on an international level is also scary.
    I hear Canada’s looking good at the moment!
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you can see it. The nationalism is the root of the thing. The racism is used to direct the anger of economically-dissatisfied people at scapegoats who are different than them.

      A classic case of it, I may say. This is a well-understood social pathology.

      Wish I could have moved to Canada 15 years ago, but I’m 100 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve got too many dependents (not to mention extended family) and too little resources to make that trip.

      No choice for me but to fight this one out and live with the consequences.

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  7. One of the really scary things to me is that they have given license to speak out with racist thoughts. It’s now okay to call people certain names and say you for building walls and sending people back to where they came (of course, forgetting that this country was founded by immigrants). And to a person of color, this is a direct threat; a personal threat. I’ve actually noticed people treating us differently and looking at us with disgust…just because our skin color is a little darker than theirs, forget that we are all U.S. born and raised. It’s a scary place out there and about to get even more so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes, yes. I hammer on the social accepability a bit. It’s making racism, and nationalism, and casual violence MORE socially acceptable. And I see the threat. The people who are protesting these rallies are brave, and I admire them.

      But chin up. I’ve seen numbers which suggest that the only way Trump wins the general election is by winning 60+ percent of the overall white vote in the Rust Belt, and that is a very untenable proposition. Possible, but remote.

      And if he wins the nomination, but loses the election, that probably means the GOP loses the House and is in a position to be forced to question the last 40 years of their behavior.

      The important thing is do do what we can, in whatever small ways, to not be silent and contain the damage until we see how these primaries play out.

      You are right. Skin color has nothing to do with being an American. Aside from an infinitesimal sliver of our citizens who can claim 100% First Nations descent, we all have ancestors who came here from someplace else. We all have ancestors who were exploited in some way, and most of us have ancestors who exploited others.

      That’s all history. Important to acknowledge and think about. Resisting the exploitation that’s going on right now, in real time, is a more pressing matter, though.

      If I were running for President, my message would not be “Make America Great Again.” It would be “Stop Exploiting One Another.”

      Liked by 1 person

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