Last Photo of November

Bushboy has a Last Photo challenge where he invites us to post the last photo we took that month. I took my last photograph in November at our most unusual Thanksgiving dinner! It was just the two of us, with the Thanksgiving meal delivered to us, just like every dinner is delivered to us since COVID-19 arrived on the scene. In the evening, though, we were able to talk and play games with part of our family via Zoom.

Dale at our forlorn Thanksgiving dinner. At least I tried to make it look nice with a fresh table cloth!

I sort of cheated…the actual last photo was of me sitting at this small table, but I didn’t actually take it – Dale did!

SYW: On Waiting, Refrigerators, Speaking, and Elevators

I love starting the new week with Melanie’s Share Your World!

Questions:

WHERE DO YOU NOT MIND WAITING?
I don’t mind waiting almost anywhere if I have either a charged phone or tablet, or a book with me. If I’m in the middle of a good book, I actually LIKE waiting, so I have a good reason to read!  I’m fine if I’m not overheated or in a crowd of people.

WHAT IS IN YOUR FRIDGE RIGHT NOW?
It’s chock full of lots of leftovers and produce we purchased yesterday at the farmer’s market. The door shelves have drinks and condiments. There is literally no room in there for even one item more!

IF YOU COULD ONLY SPEAK ONE WORD TODAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Wow, that’s hard – I can’t imagine only being able to say a single word in a day – it reminds me of a book I read where girls and women were restricted to only 100 words a day. 

It would depend on the day. If I were in the middle of something and wanted to be left alone, I guess I would say, “Leave!” Then I’d use gestures to get my point across.

WOULD YOU RATHER BE TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR FULL OF MEN WITH BO OR WITH THREE SOAKED DOGS? (THIS ASSUMES THERE IS NO COVID-19.)
COVID-19 or not, I would probably prefer the dogs. Men (or women) with B.O. is absolutely the worst smell in the world – it makes me gag! In fact, I even thought of it a couple of weeks ago when one of the SYW questions was what is the worst smell.

GRATITUDE:
I am grateful for all the people in society who wear masks in public and maintain 6 feet of distance. These are the people who care about others and realize that when living in a society, one has rights but also responsibilities. Taking these simple measures during a pandemic makes sense and is for the well-being of all.

I am also grateful for Mary Trump, whose book comes out this week. Anything that will help people understand how dangerous 4 more years of Donald Trump would be, so they will vote him out of office, deserves my gratitude.

FOWC: Making Assumptions

The word for Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is assume

I think many of the conflicts we have with others, and the rifts between large swaths of society in the U.S. today, are due to the assumptions we make about each other. When we assume things about others, we create or reinforce stereotypes. Here are some examples: 

  1. “I assume he is a racist because he supports Trump.”

Although it is hard to understand why a person who is NOT racist would support Trump, there are many people like this. Perhaps for them, racism is not a central issue. I mean, there are even a few Blacks who support him (that I really cannot understand!). While we may think such people are stupid, ignorant, or supporting a president whose policies go against their own interests, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are racist. Many Republicans hold their noses and put up with Trump because they want to stack the courts with conservative judges or they want abortion to be further restricted or outlawed altogether.

2. “She is college educated, graduated summa cum laude, top of her class. I assume she would never vote for Trump.”

Wrong again! Can you believe there are smart, college-educated women who vote for Trump? We assume the profile of a Trump voter is a person who is ignorant, not well-educated, racist, unintelligent, probably disgruntled white male. While many (perhaps a majority) Trump supporters may fit this profile, we should not assume all of them do.

3. “My son’s friends surely will vote this year! They didn’t in 2016 and look what happened. After living through four years of this moron, they’ll be willing to wait for hours in line just to vote him out of office.”

Once again, we should not assume that turn-out in November will be huge. We assumed Hillary Clinton was going to be elected in 2016, and look what happened. Part of the problem was low voter turn-out. I do not understand why citizens would not exercise their right to vote, one of our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. If Trump is re-elected again in 2024, we will most likely have fewer rights than we have now. Our democracy is already flawed; four more years of this corruption and ineptitude would put democracy on very precarious footing. 

However, the mid-term elections of 2018 did have a record high turn-out, causing speculation among liberals that this was an indictment of the Trump administration. And aren’t there millions of young people eligible to vote for the first time registering? What about the kids who were passionate to end mass shootings? What about all the American counterparts of Greta Thunberg? Climate change is an existential threat, and so is Trump.

I can tell these things to people until I’m blue in the face, but it doesn’t guarantee they will get their asses off their couches and go to the polls on a nasty cold November day. If we assume that people are going to vote according to their interests, we will also be disappointed. People vote against their interests all the time, whether they know they are doing so or not. Voting is not an objective process – it is most often quite subjective. People vote according to what they feel, not necessarily based on knowledge or facts.

Bob Englehart / Cagle Cartoons

And looking at this from the other side, what do Trump supporters assume about liberal Democrats?

Don’t assume we are all left-wing or socialists. Some of us are, but most are not.
Don’t assume that when we protest, we encourage violence. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t assume we want to allow anyone to come into this country, including criminals, drug pushers, and rapists. We simply want an immigration system that is humane and respectful to those who seek asylum.
Don’t assume we are all in on some insidious plot to ultimately overthrow the U.S. government.
Don’t assume we all want to take away all your guns. 
Don’t assume we want to encourage voter fraud by allowing people to vote by mail. 
Don’t assume we want to “discriminate” against white people. I am white, why would I want that? We just embrace the ethnic diversity that our country has undeniably become.

I think most assumptions we make about “the other side” are based on our own biases and often are “projections” (saying that ‘the other side’ is doing whatever nefarious deeds that in fact your own leaders are doing). 

What we need to do, instead of pushing people away by making assumptions about them, is to communicate with each other. Engage in a dialogue. We will certainly not always agree, and probably won’t change others’ minds about most things, but we can at least understand each other. We may even end up liking each other, sometimes.

SYW: On Respect & Heroes, Beauty vs. Morality, Social Media, and Perfection

It has been awhile since I have participated in Share Your World. It’s usually because I’m busy and don’t catch it; occasionally I can’t relate to the questions. Anyhoo, here are my responses to this week’s Melanie’s Share Your World (SYW).

QUESTIONS:
Why do we seem to respect the dead more than the living?
Perhaps we take the living for granted, which is a shame. However, I have been to many memorial services in which I have found out more about the deceased’s life than I had ever known before when (s)he was living. Another reason may be that we respect true heroes. A hero is a person who sacrifices his/her life (if necessary) for others. Thus, we have men and women who have served in our military, fighting wars that supposedly are to help keep us free. (I disagree that most modern wars have done that, but that is another topic entirely!) Heroes are firefighters who may lose their lives while putting out fires or afterward, or leaders who have done something extraordinary – such as Abraham Lincoln. The point is, many heroes die in the act of heroism, which is often how we find out about them.
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Still, I don’t think I respect the dead more than the living. The dead are gone and likely are unaware of whether or not their graves are well-maintained. I think it is more important to respect the living – each human being on Earth has something to offer and deserves respect, for what they do or just because they are alive.
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I admit, there are a few people that I really do NOT respect. One currently occupies the White House. The other is a man with a toad face who is Majority Leader of the Senate. In spite of the message in the graphic, I don’t respect people who constantly lie or who are hypocrites. Most other vices, though, I will tolerate and respect the person anyway!

Why is beauty associated with morality? Or not? (a few weeks back I asked a similar question, but the key word was MORTALITY, not MORALITY).
I have never associated beauty with morality, at least not physical beauty. Perhaps the beauty that “shines from within” because a person lives a moral life makes an association between the two, but I don’t feel beauty and morality are associated. Someone may be very beautiful – physically attractive – yet act like a total A-hole. And I see beauty in nature, so there’s no real “morality” there.

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Kim Kardashian is famous mainly because she is beautiful. But what have the Kardashians done to deserve fame? Do they live what I would consider a “moral” life? Probably not, because I see them as caring too much about money, status, and looking beautiful.

Have gadgets and apps taken away emotions?
No, I think they have intensified emotions, at least in the case of social media. People get very upset by negative posts or comments on Facebook, for example. When someone really makes you irate, you go so far as to “unfriend” them!! Social media can make or break someone’s day emotionally. When I travel, I post photos on Facebook and always look to see how many “likes” I get for that day’s post!

Gadgets – such as our cell phones where we can engage easily in social media or texting – can be devastating to a young person who is the victim of cyberbullying, or publishing lies that circulate through Facebook, Instagram, etc. and can be harmful to one’s reputation. Cyberbullying evokes emotions such as fear, anger, shame.
cyberbullying
On the other hand, I have found social media and texting to be very positive for me. For my nieces and nephews, and for my son & daughter, social media is the main way they communicate. I have gotten to know – and therefore grow closer – to some of my nieces who live far away so I don’t see them much, but follow their lives on Facebook and Instagram. I coo over the photos they publish of their new babies, and laugh at their antics that they immortalize in their Facebook posts. Then when I actually see them, I feel I know them because I have been accompanying their lives! I know when my own kids are in a good mood by reading their Facebook posts.  I also like texting because I have a bit of phone phobia. I would rather text than call someone, so I tend to communicate more with friends or family members who text. My son got me into the texting habit – texting is his main way of communicating with us, his parents. If he calls us at 4:00 a.m., it is unlikely we will answer the phone because we are asleep, but a text message can be read anytime and answered at one’s own convenience.

So I would say that overall, our reliance on apps and gadgets have increased our emotional volatility. We see, we react immediately. We meet and fall in love online. We cherish the photos our families post online and travel vicariously with them. Our apps, especially social media, therefore, influence our emotional ups and downs very much.

And a GPS app that leads me astray makes me feel very FRUSTRATED!!

Is there a perfect life? What’s your version of a perfect life if you care to share?
If I had the life that I, sitting here in front of this computer, imagine would be the perfect life, I doubt that it would really be perfect. For example, I might say that the perfect life would involve traveling most of the time. However, while engaged in that life, surely I would find something imperfect about it – I find accommodations inadequate, I miss being home and seeing my kids and my cat. There’s always something one can complain about! If I could dream about the perfect life, I would not imagine the problems that perfect life would create. And therefore, it wouldn’t be perfect!

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My cat lives the purr-fect life!

If you’d like, please share something uplifting or for which you are grateful.
I am grateful for the life I have, the advantages I have been blessed with. I am grateful for my imperfect life! (Who needs perfection? It would be so boring!)

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I am grateful for: having a son, being close to my son, being retired so I have time to do the things I want to do, being able to travel to see the beauty around the world.