On Wondering

With Election Day 2016 in the rearview mirror, I sit on the edge of a canyon and stare into the vastness.

I see a divided nation separated by the canyon with steep wall … without a bridge, and no plan for a bridge, or even another bridge to nowhere … and I wonder …

I wonder about loud beating drums of the partisans as the yell and demand their self interests.

I wonder about the existence of common ground … and if it exists, can it be found?

I wonder if reconciliation is possible.

I wonder about the intersection of civility, grace, and humility with hate, sexism, bigotry, and disrespect

I wonder about if acceptance, respect, listening, and working together toward solution is possible.

I wonder about the similarities and differences between a President Trump and Candidate Trump.

I wonder if Republicans can govern and the response by the Democrats as they move left.

I wonder about the messages from the voices that aren’t heard.

I wonder about the solutions that favor one side or the other, the solutions that are a blend of both, and the solutions that are outside the framework of all partisans.

I wonder how a President Trump will deal with his worst enemy – himself.

I wonder if  the intent of “unifying” actually means just follow.

I wonder about the effects of one-party rule during tumultuous times.

I wonder if civility is a shared value.

I wonder how long Trump supporters will continue to give him a free pass because “not her” isn’t a good excuse.

I wonder who really cares and why.

I wonder about the uneasy feeling within me about the future.

I wonder about a changing world that is changing more rapidly than ever.

I simply wonder.

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51 thoughts on “On Wondering

  1. Hey, Frank, what I’m wondering is, why not wait first to see how things develop. Even if you don’t like it, why not accept the will of the majority of those who voted. We have compulsory voting. There’s a push to make it voluntary. I hope it never happens. Voluntary voting means that special interest.groups or those with an
    agenda will bother. Democracy isn’t the best of systems, but it’s better than any alternative I know of. I believe that in four years you might have the Trump followers on your side.
    I remember hearing that Trump said, if Clinton won it meant that the election was rigged. I’m sure Clinton followers weren’t impressed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mary,
      This is just me wondering about the future, especially given the political climate here. Besides, I believe the previous posts that I am waiting to see … I am willing to give the new president and Congress a chance… and I’m also not supporting the current protesters or complaining about the results (although I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump).

      Like

      • From what I’m hearing here, Frank, the way things turn out in the US will affect us too. So, we are also wondering what the outcome will be for you and for us. I just worry that things are going to be chaotic for the next four years because people in general (not specifically you) won’t let it go.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Those are valid concerns, but only time will tell. The concern about the similarities and differences between the candidate and the office holder is huge. Interestingly, I already hear him toning down a bit .. but again, only time will tell.

          What goes on in every major country affects all of us. After all, we live in a global society.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we’re all wondering many of the same things, Frank. I also wonder if he will stay for four years or decide to resign at some point. I don’t think he ever wanted this and he certainly doesn’t need it. I think he was more concerned with the chase. Quite honestly, he looks a little stunned/overwhelmed by what’s in front of him. I’m curious how long he’ll want to put up with it all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • George,
      Your wonders have merit (well, at least in my mind) … but time will answer those for us. One thing for sure, he’s has an unpredictable side to him.

      As far as the job in front of him, who wouldn’t looked stunned when they realize the daunting task the Oval House holds. I imagine each first-timer has an Oh Shit moment.

      Meanwhile, there is a lot to wonder about … and this is a small collection that hits accord with some of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My Job 1 is to support the peaceful transition of power, which I consider the cornerstone of our democracy, while keeping all of your points in mind. As for the protesters this past week, I share their fears, condemn their violence, and would hope to see ‘I VOTED’ stickers on their lapels.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Frank, as you might expect, I do not feel stuck in the middle with you. I decline to split the difference between science and superstition, between xenophobia and inclusiveness, between tribalism and shared humanity, between misogyny and equality, between bellicosity and good-faith negotiation, between basic humanity and torture as policy.

    Will I give Trump a chance to lead? Of course, I have no choice, even though Trump lost the popular vote by more than a million. Will I speak out when I don’t agree with his opinions and actions? You bet. Do I think the world’s longest-running democracy (small “d”) has a bright future? That’s on my list of wondering, and I recommend you add it to yours.

    Respectfully,

    Jim

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Frank, you raise many questions that people in this country are (hopefully) struggling with. Many are calling for unity and the peaceful passing of power and I do realize that is a cornerstone of our democracy. However, I do think the current peaceful protest marches are an important part of the process because of the following:

    We have First Amendment rights and the protestors are exercising them – “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” In cities where the mayors acknowledge this and don’t interfere, there has been very little violence. In fact, when tens of thousands of people march and the violent incidents are in the teens, I find that amazing and feel that it gives insight to the honorable motives of the protestors.

    The thing that touches me personally is that while the protestors reject Trump, they are also calling for love, tolerance, and fairness and feel that those worthy human emotions and actions have been left behind in the hateful rhetoric of this campaign and fear the continuance of that in their government. Their voices of protest are important because we are entering into unknown territory in governance – the lack of checks and balances in a system that depends on them. The calls for unity, at least from the right, read as calls for acquiescence, as you questioned above. In fact, Republicans claim that they want to reduce big government, like Thoreau – “That government is best which governs least” – yet they seem to be against the exercise of free speech by the electorate who opposes them.

    Finally, this country was founded on civil disobedience, i.e. the Boston Tea Party, and has a long and noble history of that tradition. Civil disobedience rises when a person feels that a law is immoral and/or against one’s personal conscience. The Declaration of Independence is built on that idea – “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” – consent of the governed being the operative phrase here. Thoreau practiced it and wrote famously about it – when a person’s conscience and the laws clash, the conscience must win – and the peaceful practice of it was essential for the Suffrage movement, the Civil Rights movement AND the labor movement in this country. This practice has challenged and changed unfair laws and brought about better treatment of all citizens. If we cannot allow dissent or peaceful assembly of people for expressing their right of free speech, then we are deserting the founding principles of this country.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lynn,
      Thanks for your passionate response. But here’s an important question. This is the second time you have brought up the First Amendment to me … but I can’t figure out why? … and if the reason is that you feel comfortable here on saying that, thanks …. but I am confused.

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      • Frank, in looking at my comments, I apologize for their extreme length – I didn’t mean to make your blog a platform and that was rude of me. But to answer your question, I think that our First Amendment rights are at stake here in this election – I get very frustrated when I hear people say that the protesters should stop and “get on board” when they are just exercising their rights (you didn’t say that but it is almost overwhelming in the media and online). It is important in a democracy to allow everyone to be heard, including protesters.

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        • Lynn,
          No apology necessary because of the mutual respect we have. Protesting in an unquestionable First Amendment right – plus the majority of them have been peaceful. My disapprove lies in violence on any person, place, or thing. Personally, I have never asked them to stop – although I do believe that there is a time to move on to let time take care of issues. Another side of me says that DT(regardless of approval and disapproval of his behavior) won the election fair and square … and within the rules of the Constitution – so what is there to protest? … or asked another way, what do the protesters want? Nonetheless, the right to protest is unquestionable and undeniable. Thanks for sharing!

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Here’s what I wonder: how will we, as individuals and a society, deal with the many isolated but connected insistences of young (and not so young) people committing sexists, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic acts (i.e., pull off scarves from Muslim women’s heads and telling them to leave America, graffiti in schools on restroom doors saying “whites only” or “no faggots.”) I remember seeing films about this kind of America. Is that what made us great back then?

    Say what anyone will about now being the time to put aside our differences and working together as Americans for the good of the country. Something heinous has been released during the past 16 months that has poisoned our culture, or, at the very least, has uncorked the worst of us. How will we, as a nation (I wonder) ever be on the vanguard of solving critical human problems when we can’t treat each other with common human decency?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lorna,
      The behaviors you mentioned are not new as they were issues long before this campaign started. I agree, Mr. Trump’s actions seems to have promoted this behavior. At the same time, I heard him say today (in a taped interview) that this behavior should stop. The “build a wall” chant at a school in Michigan is deplorable … and now that his has a position that can make a difference, I too expect him to work against those things. BUT, time will tell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know that hateful ideas and actions are far from new, Frank. We had a great deal of social pressure to at least suppress this kind of thing and make it illegal to express it. I wish we, as a society didn’t have to force civility; it should come naturally if only we saw people as people, with essentially the same needs and desires as everyone.

        As for Trump being in a position to make a difference (tamp this vitriol down), I’m not real optimistic. He spent the last 16 months whipping up a frenzy and being the model of a the worst version of a bully. How does a person tell these angry people who have been given permission (by his example) to act on their impulses all of a sudden say, “Do as I now tell you to do, not as I behave or behaved”?

        I, like you, want to believe in the better angels inside all of us. It’s seems harder now.

        Liked by 1 person

        • In terms of his vitriol, I simply am saying that we have to judge him from this point forward. After all, history shows that what one says during a campaign often is tempered when they take office. That does mean that all of us agree all the time … nor does it mean blanket agreement with any president all the time …. Remember, I did not vote for him … and I still astonished that he win …. but I am giving him a chance with a wait and see attitude.

          Liked by 1 person

        • No question that Mr. Trump provides a great unknown … so yes, wait and see … but that doesn’t mean anyone has to automatically agree with his decisions. … then again, they shouldn’t automatically disagree either. Time will tell.

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  7. Super thoughts, Frank. I wish all Americans would sit down and overlook something beautiful and think the same way. If they did the future would hold immense promise instead of the bleak outlook of today. I’m with you in giving the President and Congress a chance. Now that I’ve said that I think it’s Obama’s fault I have such an ecumenical attitude since you know I dislike politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Frank, whatever people’s views are about Trump, Clinton, the election, I believe with all my heart that its vital that we keep wondering and asking questions. Not through fear or anxiety, but to have a stake in what’s going on in the world around us and not simply going with the flow. We can not pass off our individual responsibility to government or someone else. We as individuals also have to be answerable and at least say “I tried”. For me, I largely do that through my blog but through the contacts I have made through blogging,I’ve been more empowered standing up for social justice and equality in my world. My name isn’t up in lights. I am a little person trying to have an impact in my immediate world and that’s what I believe every single one of us is called to do. It embodies that old slogan : “Act local, think global”.
    I don’t know if you have heard of a book called: “The Wave” where a teacher carries out a classroom experiment to teach the kids abou tlife in Nazi Germany. Here’s a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wave_(novel)
    BTW, I have noticed a difference in Trump before and after the election and am curious and optimistic and about what that means.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rowena,
      Asking questions is absolutely necessary – even those seen through a partisan lens. On the other hand, I have a tendency to hedge on those.

      No doubt about the importance of politics at the local. One of the down sides of voluntary voting in this country, the number of votes varies greatly between elections. Obviously, presidential elections bring voters out … but many less in off-election years (every two) … and even less for elections in odd years … and even worse for special elections at the local level. … Sad. I’ve said for a long time that people overemphasize the importance of the presidential election while underestimating the value of the other elections … they are all important!

      In terms of my questions (as a whole), all major elections raise questions … but in this election was unquestionably different than any other I’ve encountered … hence, a possible reason why I wondered more about this one than the others.

      I have a friend who after Obama was elected in 2008, he was saying who Obama wouldn’t make it 8 years and race riots would occur. That was his take through his lens … obviously way off – but it was his concern.

      Like

      • I watched what was billed as Trump’s first post-election interview tonight and he seemed quite likeable. Much more considered and thoughtful. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.
        I think it’s important to keep our fears in check. I get anxious about some things and I ask myself whether it’s real or not. I try no to let that image sweep me away. As a writer, it’s very easy to get swept away and you’re so used to creating that sense of tension and drama, that it’s hard to switch it off.
        Interesting what your friend said about Obama and good to see he was wrong.

        Like

  9. Stealers Wheel was not the first to express what you are feeling, Frank; it’s a dilemma as old as mankind. Ancient Greek mythology called it being between Scylla and Charybdis. In our own language we have other idioms: being on the horns of a dilemma, between the devil and the deep blue sea, between a rock and a hard place. I don’t think it’s a cop out, or fence sitting. It’s a recognition of flux and change and being open to the possibilities of being alive, rather than shutting yourself up in a know-it-all box. Keep wondering…and wandering….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cynthia,
      You are absolutely correct about the dilemma being around for so long. I simply like some of the lines in that song.

      Neither of the two major parties have a place for me … they haven’t for some time … of course they both want my vote and money. 😉 … True moderate independents do exist. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  10. I wonder a lot of these things, too. And I’m saddened by it all because I see history repeating itself, especially after watching the first in the series “Black America Since MLK And Still I Rise.” We haven’t changed a bit. I forgot that Reagan campaigned on a slogan about making American great again. I just hope we aren’t going back to a Fatherland. With Bannon in place, it could be so.

    Also, I noticed a comment about Trump saying the election was rigged. Here’s an interesting article on that: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/uncategorised/donald-trump-was-right-the-election-was-rigged-in-his-favour/15/11/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin,
      Oh yes … history clearly shows that it has a way of repeating. Regardless of the progress, our country unquestionably has a ways to go in race relations. Meanwhile, the voter ID laws in numerous states have affected voting, (and not in a positive way), so I have no doubt that it played a role in the election – but I’m not buying into the idea to use this an excuse.

      Like

  11. One of my very favorite songs, Frank. I was actually playing it the other day, so again, we share our musical tastes. I also share in your wondering. I am absolutely flooded with thoughts and questions and asking how we arrived at this very uncomfortable place. It is indeed a rapidly changing world. And we do need to wonder. Yes, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      There is much to wonder … and with quite the range of thoughts… and even more than here. Of course, some of the partisan Dems are struggling with this list and other things I’ve posted since election day. Meanwhile, I’m happy to be stuck in the middle.

      Liked by 1 person

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