Too Much Blame or Praise

Visiting blogs since starting this one has been an unexpected learning experience. The general impression that almost everyone is concerned about the state of the world and the nation wasn’t a surprise.

But the fortified positions, the polarization, the nagging thought that a lot of people would gladly enforce their viewpoints on others at gunpoint if they had the option, is troubling if accurate. The middle ground, the concept of a loyal opposition, even the concept of people still potentially being okay if they have different political, religious, differing gender viewpoints just isn’t out there anymore. No live-and-let-live in the mix.

The level of rancor between opposing opinions approaches a level where it wouldn’t be too shocking if, say, a 9/11 happened in an environment limiting US victims to a particular political or religious bias, and sets of blog dialogues appearing to express:

“What the hell! They were all Tea-Baggers!”

Or,

“What the hell! They were all pinko liberals!”

Or Democrats, Republicans, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists.

There are already posts on blogs I visit saying, “Let God sort them out.”

I can’t help wondering whether I’m the only one troubled by this.

I used to know a guy, a good man, who was also an alcoholic of the sort you’d rather not be too close to. Jay was his name, an ex-Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Air Corps, B24 pilot of um-de-umph hundred bombing missions over Germany during WWII. War hero.

By the mid-1960s Jay had a drinking problem bad enough to be placed repeatedly into the hands of the Texas Alcoholic Rehabilitation Commission to dry out. Finally, in those days a bright new shining light among the mental health medicos was the pre-frontal lobotomy, was chosen as the tool of choice for curing what ailed old Jay….. But the unfortunate side effects were that a lot of him ceased to be Jay.

But those wise medicos knew what was best for him, they’d read all the recent advances and articles, so they strapped him down to a gurney and inserted electrodes on his temples and shot the juice to him. Several times.

I’d heard about all this, thought it was fairly awful, but what the hell. A few months later I was among a group of young folks friends of his who got invited to spend a day on Galveston Bay cruising around in Jay’s cabin cruiser down there.

Jay was wearing a tee-shirt that proclaimed, “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy”. And he did.

It finally killed him, alcohol, the lobotomy didn’t change that…. but he always believed, afterward, that it was a fairly shabby thing for society to have done to him, that lobotomy. Deprived him of his right to make his own mistakes. At least, it attempted to.

If you boil all that down and scrape the leavings off the bottom of the pot, that’s about the way I feel about the likely outcome of the undercurrents at work in this country.

Someone’s going to get the upper hand, one side or the other.

The ones left holding smaller bag might need a bottle to soften up the resulting enforced prefrontal lobotomies and attitude adjustments.

A Great Cultural Revolution

If old Jay were alive he’d probably buy a tee-shirt.

Old Jules

5 responses to “Too Much Blame or Praise

  1. The U.S. has always been polarized just like the rest of the world. It’s what humans do. Even those Pilgrims escaping religious persecution started persecuting as soon as they were on their feet. While there are folks trying to get the right to be “radical some-thing-or-others” we here, where it was first legalized, have a lot of folks trying to keep anyone from having that freedom. I have worried as I have seen it growing. I fear that it will continue until something is done in the “name of god” or “for the children” that will be so shameful that it has to stop.
    The numbers tell me there is enough room on this planet for all but what I see and hear has all the earmarks of “too many rats in one cage”.
    We have no leaders. Those who hold the positions where leaders should be do not lead. Instead they divide. We are too old to do anything about that because we fall into the “what the hell! They were old anyway” group.
    Sorry this is so wordy but I have trouble saying a “few” words about this subject.

  2. “We have no leaders. Those who hold the positions where leaders should be do not lead. Instead they divide. We are too old to do anything about that because we fall into the “what the hell! They were old anyway” group.”

    Old’Un: I appreciate the long post. I consider the subject important enough to be worthy of almost any length. I have to agree, in the end, we humans are going to persecute one another if we’re able to accrue the power to do it. Nobody much to stand in the way of it.

    I’d prefer not to be among the persecuted simply because I’m an older guy, but I figure during my lifetime I’ve had plenty enough flaws and been responsible for enough pain experienced by others by being inappropriately zealous, lousy in judgement, you name it, probably if I end up being persecuted for something I didn’t do it will just be payback time.

    Thanks for the trouble you went to posting. I’m obliged to you. I welcome all the new insights I can get because every day I find I’m more stupid than I was the previous day.

  3. I think the extremists help keep most people moderate, and keep one side from getting too strong.

  4. goodbyereality: Thanks for the visit and comment this morning. I tend to lose track of what piece of reality ‘most’ people occupy because I’m not around people much. Maybe you’re right.

    I hope your day’s a good one.

  5. I’m not completely up on the latest terminology, but I think you are confusing lobotomy with shock treatments. My understanding is that lobotomy is surgery, while electroshock treatment is what happens when they put the electrodes to your head and run a current between them. Both procedures are pretty much out of favor these days. They got pills for everything.

    My dad had some mental difficulties just before I was born. His first child, my sister, got polio in 1945. She was 3 years old. Polio was a scourge prior to the vaccine. I’m told it went like this: On Wednesday she was fine, got sick on Thursday, went to the hospital on Friday, died on Saturday. Just like that. Like a candle in the wind.

    After the burial my Dad disappeared for a couple of days. They finally found him sleeping in the mud and the rain on top of Karol Lynn’s fresh grave. He drank heavily. He quit going to work. He got in fights. He put his fists through walls. Finally they got him to go to a psychiatrist, who said the only way to break that impassable depression was with a new-fangled electroshock treatment. He had several treatments.

    It worked, over a period of weeks. He calmed down. His troubles didn’t disappear, but it was like they went into the next room. Like all that happened to someone else.

    My mother said it took a lot out of him. He was never quite the same after that. Kinda worn out. Artificially calm. But it let him live and raise a family. My mother had problems of her own. She said she couldn’t walk down the street without feeling a force like gravity pulling her into the path of oncoming cars.

    The way she got over it was she had me. She said if she hadn’t been pregnant with me when Karol Lynn died, she wouldn’t have made it.

    And of course, neither would I.

    Bob

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