Nerdery

I am a nerd. I find new ways to be nerdy and new nerdy thoughts to think on almost a daily basis. (Ask my husband.) I thought I would share my latest nerdery with you today.

You see, I have been listening to congressional sessions.

How, you may be wondering, have I reached a point in my life where this sounds like an interesting way to spend my time?

Well, I’ll tell ya. It all started on January 6th when the capital was invaded by rioters during the electoral college count, and our congressmen and women were all evacuated and kept safe for the hours that this extraordinary event occurred, but just as easily could all have been murdered instead.

When they re-convened in the evening, I searched the internet for a live feed. Being a rather lackluster Citizen, it took a bit for me to find this stuff; if you are in the same position and interested, here is the House and here is the Senate.

Of course, I was as interested as anybody in what all they were going to decide – but what really drew me in was the human element. They had all gone through a traumatic and (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience together earlier in the day. I wondered what that would shake loose. What were their reactions to it? How would it color their discussion?

It was pretty interesting. I think I watched the Senate for nearly three hours. I watched them as they began to process the events of the day in real-time and grapple with the task that was still before them. Shock, grief, loss, striving, hope, conviction. I heard things I agreed with, and I heard things I disagreed with: from both sides of the aisle. But on the whole, I was encouraged by their earnestness and their humanity. Most of them sounded like people who wanted to serve and protect what our country is and what it could be – even if they had drastically different ideas about how and what that should look like.

It makes one think – the trendy phrase “drain the swamp” is pretty dehumanizing, isn’t it?

Since then, I have tuned in to a couple more discussions. I listened to a bit of the House on the 25th amendment and impeachment the other day….

And I am struck by a thought. Congress. It must be just about the only place in the country right now where people with enormously different opinions are forced to continue to meet face to face day after day and have (or try to have) civil exchanges about their disagreements.

For one thing, most of us have been pretty much DISBARRED from seeing people face to face, whether we agree with them or not, for almost a year now. Due to the pandemic. What a weird time.

For almost a year now, many of us have been virtual shut-ins. Our engagement with the world happens through our computer screens and other devices. This is a loss for many obvious reasons, but here is what I’m thinking tonight:

We are no longer forced to experience a common humanity with people we disagree with.

Think about it – if we are only interacting with each other via social media, then we are missing out on all the mundane everyday stuff that knits people together. Often, we will only “see” people through these mediums when they are worked up enough about an issue to rant about it on their “feed” or post sardonic memes. And if we disagree enough to find these rants and memes irritating then, boop! Unfollow.

Gone – okay, so drastically reduced -- are the water cooler chats about how the roads were on the way in, how the kids’ birthday party went, what our weekend plans are.

Do you think it might be harder to hate a person if you know their mom is dying of cancer and yours did just two years ago, or their kid has been having the same struggle in school as your kid? I mean, even if they think so-and-sos plan for the economy is actually a good idea, or their views on abstract social issues differ from yours. It might be harder to hate most people if you’re forced to share daily life together. Don’t you think?

 

Now don’t get me wrong – a lot of congress members appear pretty darn frustrated with each other. And even when I do see people face to face, I’m still a massively private person and have minimal small-talking skills at best.

But just some conjecture.  Even I have noticed that sometimes, people I used to like when I saw them on a daily basis seem irritating now that I only read their facebook posts.

 

Just saying.

 

Let’s be just a little more patient and understanding with each other. These are unnatural times.

 

P.S. I finally went back into Mailchimp and deleted every e-mail address on my subscriber list that I didn’t recognize. Since this is clearly not the blog it once was. 😉 Maybe freed from that burden I will post more. But that said, the e-mail sends out once a week on Sundays at 1PM if I’ve posted again. So! If you are reading this in some blog reader site somewhere and are like, wait! I want to get (keep getting?) e-mails from you! -- And your name is not LaylaH, AbbyRose, JustDanT, or TomorrowRoad -- You may want to resubscribe. Sorry bout that. Here’s a link to do that: http://eepurl.com/diODg1 . Another option is bloglovin Follow my blog with Bloglovin (hopefully. I may have to double check if that is still working....)

Comments

Abby said…
I read somewhere (probably on Instagram?) that wisdom is the place where logic and emotion intersect, annnnd I think you are one of the wisest people I have ever known. I love hearing your thoughts and always find myself both encouraged and edified. I love you and your heart so much!