Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Unsettled Times

with 4 comments

Folks, the times, they are unsettled. (OK, Bob Dylan, it isn’t. But it does happen to be true.)

We have unrest here in Wisconsin, as there’s an important trial going on in Milwaukee that, depending on its outcome, may set off another round of riots and looting and fires. (Last year, I wrote a post called “Milwaukee Burning” about that, I believe.)

We have unrest throughout the United States for various reasons. Some comes down to how our politicians continue to make the same mistakes, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats (right now, the GOP is in the barrel over their mishandling of Trumpcare, otherwise known as the AHCA), some because of the bombastic nature of our current President, Donald Trump (a man Hillary Clinton quite correctly called “unfit” due to Trump’s willingness to shoot from the Tweet at any hour of the day or night). Some is because we’ve possibly forgotten we have more in common with each other than not…

But I think a lot of it is because too many people are working jobs that are below their ability levels. They’re not making the money they need to pay their bills, much less have any sort of decent quality of life. Way too many people work so many hours, they barely see their children, spouses, or any of their friends, all because they’re trying hard to stay ahead of their bills.

This is called “income instability.” It is not easy to deal with. At all.

Historically, when things like this happen — too many people either out of work entirely or working too many hours for too little money — we end up with a great deal of unrest.

Or, as I put it above, unsettled times.

It’s not easy to live in such times. There’s a lot of inequality out there, whether it’s income inequality, racial inequality, the fight for LGBTQ rights…and then, so many people are so very, very exhausted, they come home, aren’t able to think as well as they would if they had enough time to see their family and friends and decompress a little.

I’m wondering if this — the overarching inequity people can’t help but see —  is why the folks in our society seemingly are more likely to get angry and stay angry.

And then, we have a media that likes to push sensationalism, and only rarely talks about what binds us together. (That does not sell papers. Or buy ads for TV programs, either.)

So we hear only that people don’t agree. That they don’t get along. That maybe we shouldn’t, that our “tribe” doesn’t get along with theirs…that only Democrats/Republicans/Libertarians/Independents/fill-in-the-blank are worth talking to, and no one else need apply.

What I know, though, is different.

I have friends from all walks of life. They are all interesting, funny, special people, who have something worthwhile to say, and worthwhile to share.

Yeah, to some of them, I’m a “token liberal,” one of the few they can tolerate. And to some, I’m too conservative for them, not nearly liberal enough.

But I’m always, always myself.

That got me to thinking…if I can handle all these different people doing different things, saying many different interesting things, why is it that we can’t get it together as a society? Are we too big, too monolithic, to admit to individuality any longer?

I don’t know.

What I do know is, whether we live in unsettled times or not, we have to keep doing our best. And since we’re here on this Earth for some reason, we may as well try to learn from one another rather than insist ours is the “one, true way” (hat tip to author Mercedes Lackey).

So, this week, try hard to listen to someone you don’t normally think is worthwhile. See if there’s even one grain of anything you can agree with, and then talk civilly and with amity about the rest.

Who knows? You may make a new friend.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

June 20, 2017 at 7:27 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I agree that if we can be friends with different individuals from different walks of life, why not as a society? I really hate watching / reading news because it just spreads so much negativity, so I don’t; I have better things to read, like other people’s blogs. 😀

    The last bit in your post reminds me of this colleague at my office; for some reason I disliked her from the first time I met her (not usual for me), but I tried my best to be civil and nice and treat her like I would other not-so-close colleagues whenever I talked to her. We’ve gone out on group lunches and stuff, but never one on one. Couple of years later I still felt the same way about her (maybe it’s some past karma to resolve?), but at least we have a nice enough hi-bye relationship that spreads smiles instead of scowls. 🙂

    Nicolle

    June 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    • Good for you, Nicolle. I’m glad you have been able to talk with your colleague a little, and have a friendlier relationship. (I know it’s not ideal, and maybe it’ll never be, but it’s good to try.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 20, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      • Definitely not ideal, but at least I tried and better to spread smiles than scowls. 🙂

        Nicolle

        June 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      • Absolutely. 😀

        Barb Caffrey

        June 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm


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