Facebook continues to puzzle me. And actually, it has very little to do with Facebook, but everything to do with the past, and how I see myself then and now. 90% of those I connect to from the past are completely innocuous. We exchange a few "what are you doing?" emails, comment on the other's pictures, and then it is done. A couple have just made me feel bad, because even when I look them up in my yearbook, I recognize their name and face, but cannot muster up any personal memories. Some of those were on sports teams with me. And a few of those connections have reconnected me with jerks from the past--but in one case, he was a jerk that I had forgotten was a jerk. :) In that sense, despite a quick flashback to high school angst, it has been largely a positive. Spared the attempt to reconnect in person, and survive that awkward dinner/coffee, I have been able to make sure this person is still doing ok, say hi, and move on.
But then there are those connections that mean more. I recently found someone who really was so very good to me in high school. She graduated well ahead of me, but always found time to take me out for coffee or lunch when she came back from college. She served as a mentor and an encourager, and I always regretted letting that relationship slip by the wayside. So, I was thrilled to see her on Facebook. Her response was the same, but I felt oddly uncomfortable. With the rest of these connections, I really don't care if they look at my profile and scoff at my music tastes, the state of Oklahoma, or my liberal politics. It matters not to me what they think. But this last connection--it matters. Why is something I have to figure out, but she is the first connection on Facebook where I have really felt a bit of insecurity, and hoped that she would still think well of me.
My sense is that these things are largely positive. Those past relationships that meant little then, are just casual, yet manageable niceties. Those past relationships that meant something have the opportunity to either still be meaningful, or transition gracefully out of nostalgic hope into the past. As SOF and I have discussed, many relationships have expiration dates. People change and the relationship sometimes ceases to make sense. Finding that out isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Just a couple of news items that caught my eye. First, is this interesting discussion on patriotism:
"But our precious opportunity to revitalize true patriotism was hijacked by a war-mongering administration and our own complacent fear. In the years that followed, hollow patriotism -- appeals to God and American values -- played on a loop that echoed with deadly hypocrisy. Over the last couple of years we began to collectively rise up in response to the Bush administration's infuriating policies and demand a more complex, more honest definition of patriotism from our nation's leaders. And finally, more than seven years after September 11, we got to experience rare unity in the form of Obama's landslide election, made possible by the efforts of average Americans.An interesting little article, and worth thinking about.
Now here we are. After September 11 and its long fallout, after the most drawn-out campaign in history, after the inauguration of a new president, who are we? Improbably, we are less economically stable yet more hopeful than ever. We are the most racially diverse population in the history of the United States. We are wealthy and we are struggling, with not much in between. We are still shockingly segregated from one another -- socially, economically, interpersonally."
And related, especially given how congressional Republicans often defined criticism of Bush as some kind of lack of patriotism, is Andrew Sullivan's longer column of the Republican decision to declare war on Obama--not out of defined ideological principles, but out of simply not wanting Democrats to do well.
And this after eight years in which they managed to turn a surplus into a trillion-dollar deficit and added a cool $32 trillion to the debt the next generation will have to pay for. Every now and again their chutzpah and narcissism take one’s breath away. But it’s all they seem to know.I think it is hard to say that Obama has not tried to reach out to Republicans. And the polling data suggests that they are tone deaf on this one--the country is not interested in a repeat of their war on Clinton. (Those who saw SNL last week, there was a pretty funny sendup of the Republican leadership thinking it was time for impeachment and that the country was tired of the Obama daughters getting a free ride.)
John McCain gives you the flavour. Fresh from a dinner in his honour hosted by Obama, he abruptly dismissed the stimulus package as the “same old” spending of the distant Democratic past. His closest Republican ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, declared: “This bill stinks.”
Pete Sessions, chairman of the Republican congressional committee, explained that the Republican strategy was going to be modelled on jihadist insurgency. “I’m not joking,” he added. “Insurgency we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban.”
And finally, a bit of humor courtesy of Shaun at Upper Left, this pretty funny reminder of what appears to be GOP economic thought.