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“voter freud” [flawed wednesday]

voter freud

my sweet momma taught me to use a dictionary when i was very young.  “look it up,” she would tell me.  the dictionary held an esteemed place in our house.  if i didn’t know what ‘it’ meant or how ‘it’ was spelled, i knew where to go.  i developed a love for dictionaries, thesauruses, all manners of the tools of research.

now, it seems dictionaries have lost their status and spellcheck has become a way of life for those too lazy to ‘look it up’.  spellcheck has a few obvious limitations; context, usage and intent presenting the biggest challenges.  if only spellcheck and auto-correct could reach out of the device screen and (gently) slap the person committing the spellingcrime, life’s communications could be better understood.  punctuation joins the game of laziness and, i must say, punctuation makes a difference.  consider “i’m sorry i love you” or “i’m sorry.  i love you.”  there is a marked difference.

so when people, who never graced me, the nerdy-look-it-up-type, with even one word in high school but who have ‘friended’ me on facebook, post multiple nonsensical, poorly articulated and division-inciting arguments using the term “voter Freud”, it raises the hair on the back of my neck.  i want to post back “look it up!” but i refrain.  borrowing leonard pitts’ words, there seems to be a “matchless capacity for mental mediocrity” in the united states these days.

i suspect if this not-really-a-friend-just-a-friend-on-facebook was standing across from me (mind you, at least six feet across) she would be screaming at me in a loud raucous voice.  i wonder if she would call it – this thing she has taken from fox news and run full speed with, never looking to see if she had a spotter or even a bottle of water in her full-out sprint to falsificationland – “voter Freud” in person.  or would she actually say “voter fraud” in her zeal to make me a believer of her layered cake of conspiracies.

this is not just about lazy writing.  this seems an indicator of a bigger problem.  it’s the metaphoric tip of the iceberg.  i’m not just kvetching about spelling and punctuation, much as i wish that were the whole problem.  it’s an imploring plea to ask questions.  in today’s deep-fake world, a reminder to not make quick assumptions.  to not jump onto a band wagon stoked with tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs to quell those speaking out, enable dictatorial nationalism, silence what needs to be said.

in this pandemic-laden-chaos-wreaked-leaderless-divisive country of ours i would encourage research.  i would encourage fact-checking.  i would encourage dictionaries.  i would encourage more listening and less reactionism.  i would hope that each of us would understand that every word we utter, every word we write matters, every attitude, every nuance.  we are not in a world of one; we each affect and effect the next.  over and over.

and i don’t know.  last time i checked, john glenn high school in elwood, new york – more than four decades ago – had pretty high standards in english class, in sciences, in history, in math, not the least learning of which was how to use deductive reasoning.  i, for one, was paying attention.  because it mattered.  “voter Freud?”  indeed.  it still matters.

read DAVID’s thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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chicken marsala monday

MASTER assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy 2so i’ve decided that there is a difference between us and our pets.  you roll your eyes and think, “she is clearly a little slow on this…”  but i’m not just stating the obvious.  i watch dogdog and babycat through their days and find wonder in their absolutely joy-filled acceptance of the moment.  for dogdog and babycat, there is no continuum of how-am-i-going-to-feel-right-now; it is simply always at the apex of ‘happy’.

dogdog runs around the backyard gleeful.  our neighbor and friend john says he can practically hear him thinking, “oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!”  he meets us at the back door when we arrive back home or when we ask him if he wants to “go on errands”, vertical-jumping to challenge the best of basketball players.  at the end of the evening, when he is sure it is time for “sleepynightnight”, he rolls over for a treasured ‘belly-belly’; nothing else matters to him at that moment.  all of his actions are based in the moment.  all of them assume the best.

if babycat can’t be laying curled up next to you, he seeks the sun and follows it around the house.  he sits on the chest in front of the window (just as in this drawing of chicken marsala and babycat) and gazes outside, clearly enchanted by everything ‘out there’.  he gets most excited by mealtime and a ‘treat’ will literally make him come running and put him over the top.  all of his actions are based in the moment.  all of them assume the best.

why is it that we function so differently?  why is it that we cannot assume the best?  we tend to pre-form our view about our day, our challenges, our life, our conversations, our relationships, our, well, most everything.  we drag all the old baggage along with us, all of which contributes to heavy-hearted-difficult-to-circumvent-or-navigate negative assumptions of what is to come.  what would it be like for us – as individuals, as couples, as families, as a community, as a country, as a world – to assume the best?  to assume awe?

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