Oh, to Be a Low-Knowledge Voter!

 

For the first time that I can remember, I wish that I were ignorant of politics. To want to be ignorant about anything is so contrary to my nature. Although I know that I can’t undo what I know, I can’t help contemplating what life would be like if I didn’t know the disruption that was happening in the election process . . .

I could focus on getting my ingredients together for Thanksgiving. I make my own cranberry sauce with cranberries, sugar, dried cherries, and a bit of fresh orange juice; I love to watch the mixture bubbling and rollicking in the pan. And savoring it with the juicy turkey.

Or I could imagine the smells of my mother’s stuffing recipe made of matzah and other goodies, scents that fill the house with memories and joy.

Or I could think about the few lovely people I will see on Thanksgiving Day, whom I haven’t seen in many months. We’ll be catching up on smiles and stories and reminiscing about times past.

Or I could think about my beautiful orchids that are starting to bloom a whole new batch of flowers, swirling their colors around our lanai, a reminder that winter, even in Florida, is just around the corner.

Or I could look forward to our decorating our entire street with Christmas lights, standing wood ornaments, light post ornaments, and strings of lights on trees. It’s a time of man-bonding and woman supervision.

Or I could think about Hanukkah which is coming soon and our life-sized menorah that will be out early this year for the start of the holiday, for the commemoration of heroes, resilience, persistence, and miracles.

Or I could appreciate how fortunate we have been to remain healthy through these challenging times.

And then I am compelled to realize that I can’t unlearn my understanding of the difficult times we live in. I am a resolute lifelong student, not just of political stories but of life itself. I can’t stop myself from continually trying to be aware and engaged. I can’t imagine avoiding the painful stories, any more than I can ignore the smiles on children’s faces as they anticipate the holiday season.

Life demands of me that I watch and listen and learn, and embrace all of it, the joy of friendships and the holidays and the stories as they unfold.

I believe all of us are called to find a way to hold all of it, the tragic and the beautiful, the disappointments and the rewards.

We can do it. I trust myself. I trust you.

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  1. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    I’m with you. I’m so distressed by the state of the country that for the first time in my life my unhappiness is overshadowing my generally optimistic nature. I’m losing faith in so many things that are important to me. We’re having guests from California for Thanksgiving and I’m having to pretend that I’m looking forward to it. Thank goodness they’re only staying two nights.

    • #1
  2. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    At the moment I have more personal matters to focus on than politics. So I am doing a lot less reading of political play by play. Can’t control it. And what will be will be. I am just going to try to keep my small part of the world tidy and ordered as best I can.  

    • #2
  3. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    I have descended to the point of regarding the USA as a failed country, where all we get to do now is watch the remainder of the decline. If the aggressive moves the new administration is telegraphing are actually executed our lives will get a lot worse, and quickly.

    I keep being reminded of a line from an old Tom Lehrer song; “sliding down the razor blade of life”.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    I have descended to the point of regarding the USA as a failed country, where all we get to do now is watch the remainder of the decline. If the aggressive moves the new administration is telegraphing are actually executed our lives will get a lot worse, and quickly.

    I keep being reminded of a line from an old Tom Lehrer song; “sliding down the razor blade of life”.

    Well, at least there might be some entertainment from those who denied a Biden administration (for as long as he actually “leads” it, anyway) poses any serious danger, taking on the role of Baghdad Bob assuring us that everything is fine.

    • #4
  5. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    I have descended to the point of regarding the USA as a failed country, where all we get to do now is watch the remainder of the decline. If the aggressive moves the new administration is telegraphing are actually executed our lives will get a lot worse, and quickly.

    I keep being reminded of a line from an old Tom Lehrer song; “sliding down the razor blade of life”.

    Well, at least there might be some entertainment from those who denied a Biden administration (for as long as he actually “leads” it, anyway) poses any serious danger, taking on the role of Baghdad Bob assuring us that everything is fine.

    As I read this I was reminded of Dr Phil’s famous formulation: “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?” Well we certainly won’t be happy to be right  

     

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    I have descended to the point of regarding the USA as a failed country, where all we get to do now is watch the remainder of the decline. If the aggressive moves the new administration is telegraphing are actually executed our lives will get a lot worse, and quickly.

    I keep being reminded of a line from an old Tom Lehrer song; “sliding down the razor blade of life”.

    Well, at least there might be some entertainment from those who denied a Biden administration (for as long as he actually “leads” it, anyway) poses any serious danger, taking on the role of Baghdad Bob assuring us that everything is fine.

    As I read this I was reminded of Dr Phil’s famous formulation: “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?” Well we certainly won’t be happy to be right

     

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    I’m with you. I’m so distressed by the state of the country that for the first time in my life my unhappiness is overshadowing my generally optimistic nature. I’m losing faith in so many things that are important to me. We’re having guests from California for Thanksgiving and I’m having to pretend that I’m looking forward to it. Thank goodness they’re only staying two nights.

    Maybe you’ll find yourself enjoying the festivities. Just don’t get into politics, @justmeinaz!!

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    At the moment I have more personal matters to focus on than politics. So I am doing a lot less reading of political play by play. Can’t control it. And what will be will be. I am just going to try to keep my small part of the world tidy and ordered as best I can.

    Sounds like a productive and wise plan, @rodin. You’re pursuing a life-changing experience and that’s where you need to be putting your energy. As you say, we really can’t change a thing. Best wishes!

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    I have descended to the point of regarding the USA as a failed country, where all we get to do now is watch the remainder of the decline. If the aggressive moves the new administration is telegraphing are actually executed our lives will get a lot worse, and quickly.

    I keep being reminded of a line from an old Tom Lehrer song; “sliding down the razor blade of life”.

    Ouch! Then all the more reasons to turn our focus on the immediate nature of our personal lives. If we pay attention, I think there’s lots there to mine. At least I hope so, @headedwest!

    • #9
  10. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Ah well, living in a country where our H.S. students rank 30th (out of 35) in the world when it comes to mathematics and 19th in science  (I suspect it’s probably the same in reading comprehension) we may as well be content with being happy.  

    As it turns out, ignorance really is bliss.  Who knew?

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    As it turns out, ignorance really is bliss. Who knew?

    You’ve made me smile, @cacrabtree. Thanks, I needed that!

    • #11
  12. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    At the moment I have more personal matters to focus on than politics. So I am doing a lot less reading of political play by play. Can’t control it. And what will be will be. I am just going to try to keep my small part of the world tidy and ordered as best I can.

    Sounds like a productive and wise plan, @rodin. You’re pursuing a life-changing experience and that’s where you need to be putting your energy. As you say, we really can’t change a thing. Best wishes!

    Susan, please do not gently go into that good night.  ignorance is not bliss, so stay and do the best you can with what you got, for as long as you can.

    • #12
  13. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    I’ve stopped watching most TV news/opinion shows and largely abandoned Twitter and Facebook, except for keeping track of family and some friends (the ones I haven’t put on snooze or unfriended). Might hear a bit of Rush or Larry O’Connor on the way home from the golf course two or three times a week, but I’m avoiding talk radio. I’ve read 77 books this year, walk and swim laps a couple times a week, listened to a lot of music, and gone through a “bit” more beer and wine than in past years.

    My wife usually keeps me informed of the daily outrages, unless she can sense I don’t want to hear about anything.

    • #13
  14. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I’ve stopped watching most TV news/opinion shows and largely abandoned Twitter and Facebook, except for keeping track of family and some friends (the ones I haven’t put on snooze or unfriended). Might hear a bit of Rush or Larry O’Connor on the way home from the golf course two or three times a week, but I’m avoiding talk radio. I’ve read 77 books this year, walk and swim laps a couple times a week, listened to a lot of music, and gone through a “bit” more beer and wine than in past years.

    My wife usually keeps me informed of the daily outrages, unless she can sense I don’t want to hear about anything.

    “Beer and wine”? You have two of the basic food groups covered.  You’ll be OK.

    • #14
  15. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I’ve stopped watching most TV news/opinion shows and largely abandoned Twitter and Facebook, except for keeping track of family and some friends (the ones I haven’t put on snooze or unfriended). Might hear a bit of Rush or Larry O’Connor on the way home from the golf course two or three times a week, but I’m avoiding talk radio. I’ve read 77 books this year, walk and swim laps a couple times a week, listened to a lot of music, and gone through a “bit” more beer and wine than in past years.

    My wife usually keeps me informed of the daily outrages, unless she can sense I don’t want to hear about anything.

    “Beer and wine”? You have two of the basic food groups covered. You’ll be OK.

    It’s why God gave us whiskey, then taught us how to blend it to make it cheaper and last longer.

    • #15
  16. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    For the first Thanksgiving ever, I find myself simply going through the motions. 

    My daughter will be hosting this year. It started small, whereby she borrowed my dishes. Then a few serving platters. Then the roaster and the electric knife. By October the gig was up. She asked if she and her family could host – they did most of the cooking anyway and would rather be in their own kitchen. 

    And so it goes. I’ll make the cranberry pies and the stuffing. We will say grace like always. 

    But I’m in no mood to decorate and throw myself into the festivities. For the first time. Ever. 

    • #16
  17. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    I would add the following to your list, based on emails I exchanged with an aunt and woman I’ve known for about 30 years:

    AND, even when I’ve said that the progressives occupying the Democrat Party have big plans once a Democrat gets back into the White House, you could think that Biden and Harris will bring back normalcy to the White House. 

    AND, in the face of evidence I provided regarding Trump’s policy successes and her stated willingness to be open-minded, you can think that Trump is evil, no matter how much I point out the extremity of that position.

    [I’m keeping the emails, in the event that I hear any grumbling from them regarding things under a likely B&H administration.]

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rōnin (View Comment):
    Susan, please do not gently go into that good night. ignorance is not bliss, so stay and do the best you can with what you got, for as long as you can.

    I can’t help doing just that–I can’t help but stay engaged, @ronin. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I’ve stopped watching most TV news/opinion shows and largely abandoned Twitter and Facebook, except for keeping track of family and some friends (the ones I haven’t put on snooze or unfriended). Might hear a bit of Rush or Larry O’Connor on the way home from the golf course two or three times a week, but I’m avoiding talk radio. I’ve read 77 books this year, walk and swim laps a couple times a week, listened to a lot of music, and gone through a “bit” more beer and wine than in past years.

    My wife usually keeps me informed of the daily outrages, unless she can sense I don’t want to hear about anything.

    It sounds like you’re following a wise strategy, @oldphil. I need to give more thought to  my “exposure level”! I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself.

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Annefy (View Comment):
    But I’m in no mood to decorate and throw myself into the festivities. For the first time. Ever. 

    I’m so sorry, @annefy. I hope on the actually Turkey day that you’ll be able to enjoy the blessings of family, at least for a short while. 

    • #20
  21. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I’ve stopped watching most TV news/opinion shows and largely abandoned Twitter and Facebook, except for keeping track of family and some friends (the ones I haven’t put on snooze or unfriended). Might hear a bit of Rush or Larry O’Connor on the way home from the golf course two or three times a week, but I’m avoiding talk radio. I’ve read 77 books this year, walk and swim laps a couple times a week, listened to a lot of music, and gone through a “bit” more beer and wine than in past years.

    My wife usually keeps me informed of the daily outrages, unless she can sense I don’t want to hear about anything.

    “Beer and wine”? You have two of the basic food groups covered. You’ll be OK.

    One of each!

    • #21
  22. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    I have never been no utterly indifferent to an election as I have been for this year’s, and I don’t consider myself “low information”.  But in the last 4 years (though the process started really after 2012), I gradually became emotionally detached from American politics.  Few here on Rico want to hear this yet, but it may as well be said “Trump did this to himself”.  In the end, every losing candidate does it to themselves, fraud or not.  It took over a year here on Ricochet for members to finally square to the fact that nobody had “betrayed the party” in Romney’s loss, but that Romney was a terrible candidate who just didn’t connect with people.  So too people need to admit with Trump that in the end a lot of Americans rejected him personally – they just didn’t like him, and I’m not sure I’d call them “low information” for calling it that way.

    While this loss has put many here into a funk, it’s not as if it’s the end of the world yet.  We all have lives to lead, and hopefully also families to love, even if we cannot visit with them this year.  We’re not done yet, and we bear no responsibility here for the loss.  Biden/Harris are already getting set to overreach quite badly, wrongly seeing their pyrrhic victory as some sort of “mandate”, and the whiplash is going to be fun to watch and join in on.  Might as well enjoy the ride.  

    Just stay away from the outrage machines like the TV news, or Twitter, or talk radio (Rush Limbaugh is a notable exception, but avoid Glenn Beck or Mark Levin at all costs, they’re angry and insane).  They serve no good purpose, and are emotional parasites.

    And seek out humor where you can find it:

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/civil-war-ii-here-we-come/

    Postal workers hiding ballots accidentally then discovered the secret Fox transmitter which had been broadcasting mind control instructions not only to vote Republican, but also to purchase MyPillow, items from that fishing store that has way too much stuff for just fishing, and massive amounts of Flexi-Seal people didn’t need so it’s in the garage now behind the cooler. The conservative economy collapsed. The images of conservative children forced to eat soy products when their regular high-fructose food supplies ran out haunt even the toughest Resistance fighters to this day. Thoughts and prayers.

    But those images of children are nothing compared with the nightmare unleashed when Nancy Pelosi liberated the Kids ‘N Kages camps along what used to be America’s southern border (known today as “Newer New Mexico 2.0”) After being fed only expired Taco Bell products in what was assumed to be a failed humanitarian gesture by the Venezuelan Red Cross, the migrant children were each awarded H-1 visas posthumously.

    • #22
  23. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    So too people need to admit with Trump that in the end a lot of Americans rejected him personally – they just didn’t like him, and I’m not sure I’d call them “low information” for calling it that way.

    He did receive the votes of nearly 74 million people, 11 million more than he got in 2016. So after four years, MORE voters liked him. Seems important.

    • #23
  24. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    So too people need to admit with Trump that in the end a lot of Americans rejected him personally – they just didn’t like him, and I’m not sure I’d call them “low information” for calling it that way.

    He did receive the votes of nearly 74 million people, 11 million more than he got in 2016. So after four years, MORE voters liked him. Seems important.

    Sure, there’s that too, which ought also to temper any despair over Biden’s win.  Just as it’s important to remember that 4 years ago, a lot of people pulled for Trump because they despised and / or feared Hillary.  Biden is taking office with a weak hand, despite his vote total – many many of his votes were not really for Biden, but against Trump.  Hardly a ringing endorsement.

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Few here on Rico want to hear this yet, but it may as well be said “Trump did this to himself”. In the end, every losing candidate does it to themselves, fraud or not.

    Fair enough, @skipsul. But I think we’re looking at different groups. My “low knowledge voter” is the one who has no idea what is going on in politics. I think the people you’re referring to are those who do know what’s going on but have taken less interest in the political scene, mainly due to their dislike of Trump specifically and politics in general. And then there are those who felt such hatred for Trump that they would do whatever they could to discount him. The latter two groups are not “low knowledge.” I found myself supporting Trump in spite of his detestable behavior, but for his accomplishments. The paradox is that his belligerence might have helped him break through the complacency of the Right, but also may have defeated him in the end.

    I’m assessing my relationship with politics at this point. I knew when I became really interested (about 10 years ago) that it was an ugly business. But I feel some obligation to stay engaged because of my concerns for the country’s future. Then again, I’m not going to become directly involved in politics, so how much do I need to know?

    This bears discussing. I hope others will join in. Thanks for giving me food for thought!

    • #25
  26. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    But I think we’re looking at different groups. My “low knowledge voter” is the one who has no idea what is going on in politics. I think the people you’re referring to are those who do know what’s going on but have taken less interest in the political scene, mainly due to their dislike of Trump specifically and politics in general. And then there are those who felt such hatred for Trump that they would do whatever they could to discount him. The latter two groups are not “low knowledge.” I found myself supporting Trump in spite of his detestable behavior, but for his accomplishments. The paradox is that his belligerence might have helped him break through the complacency of the Right, but also may have defeated him in the end.

    I’m assessing my relationship with politics at this point. I knew when I became really interested (about 10 years ago) that it was an ugly business. But I feel some obligation to stay engaged because of my concerns for the country’s future. Then again, I’m not going to become directly involved in politics, so how much do I need to know?

    I guess I’m just trying to say that one need not be “low information” to be feeling, if not OK then at least not despairing about things right now.  I like the old warning that a little knowledge is dangerous because it gives the illusion that one has lots knowledge.  When I was following politics more avidly, really trying to keep score on the nitty gritty of it all, I thought I really was “high knowledge” – I wasn’t, I was drinking deeply from shallow wells.  The more I’ve studied, though, apart from the daily ups and downs, the less invested I was in the low level game.  One doesn’t have to remain in blissful ignorance to avoid the slough of despond.

    As you say, we also all have lots of things we can (and should) look forward to.

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I guess I’m just trying to say that one need not be “low information” to be feeling, if not OK then at least not despairing about things right now. I like the old warning that a little knowledge is dangerous because it gives the illusion that one has lots knowledge. When I was following politics more avidly, really trying to keep score on the nitty gritty of it all, I thought I really was “high knowledge” – I wasn’t, I was drinking deeply from shallow wells. The more I’ve studied, though, apart from the daily ups and downs, the less invested I was in the low level game. One doesn’t have to remain in blissful ignorance to avoid the slough of despond.

    Your thoughts here are very helpful, @skipsul. Actually I’m not in despair, more frustrated and uncomfortable by the whole mess. I am fascinated by your comment that you were “drinking deeply from shallow wells.” Does that means that you relied on the media without having a clear understanding of what was happening? I’d be grateful if you would clarify.

    • #27
  28. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I am fascinated by your comment that you were “drinking deeply from shallow wells.” Does that means that you relied on the media without having a clear understanding of what was happening? I’d be grateful if you would clarify.

    Not so much lacking a clear understanding as only following the visible game.  

    I’m going to try an analogy here – and all analogies are imperfect so apologies in advance.

    We tend to think of politics like a sports matchup – our team is up, our team is down, we have the ball, we’ve lost the ball, and so forth.  And we think of the media as the refs in the game, and of “everyone else” as the goal to win – that is to say we see ourselves as the spectators and fans, and the “undecided voters” as this faceless mass of stupid people who need to be won over by the field antics that we ourselves are, of course, too smart to be swayed by.  

    But this isn’t the game, and we’re all chumps thinking that it is – they’re playing us too. 

    I told this story before on a different thread last week:

    When our milquetoast House rep, Tiberi, abruptly quit with less than a year to run out in his term in 2018, we had to have a special election to replace him for the last few months of his term, and the winner would then be the party nominee in the regular election 2 months later. 

    Well, a friend of mine, who had run for her first office as township commissioner in the Tea Party enthusiasm, and had made enemies among the other commissioners for unearthing decades of double-dealing over zone and land sales, ran for Tiberi’s seat. She was a strong contender against Troy Balderson in the Republican primary, but with less than a week to go all the news outlets started running stories with dubious sources, claiming my friend had disgraced her office, engaged in land deals, etc. All of it deep and utter rot. Balderson was right up front calling her corrupt and dragging her through the mud. It was enough to tip the voters.

    To this day I cannot vote for Balderson – he smeared a friend of mine with out and out lies.

    It’s like this at all levels.  It’s not about positions or platforms, it’s about power.  You cannot convince me that Balderson, for being a Republican, is principled, not after what he did.  The Dems barely bother to field reasonable candidates against Balderson though, because our district is solidly Right, so they usually just let no names bash their heads against the wall.  And that’s the game.  Both sides do it, while stoking our fears of the other side to keep us in lock step.

    The outrage machines are complicit in this, we’re all pawns to them, distracted by what we think is the “real game”.

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    The outrage machines are complicit in this, we’re all pawns to them, distracted by what we think is the “real game”.

    Thank you. It reminds me of a few years ago when I pointed out on this site that the truth didn’t seem to matter to people in politics. Telling lies was part of the game, although people tended to focus on the lies of the other side. I was essentially told to get over it, that lying went with the political territory, so I stopped expecting truth-telling. My bad.

    Your comments are really helpful to me in thinking this issue through, @skipsul. I’m so very sorry about your friend’s experience; it was ugly and unacceptable. And educational, clearly, for some of us.

    • #29
  30. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Ignore politics all you want – unfortunately it’s not going to ignore you. 

    Twice someone with a video camera has been spotted outside my husband’s factory. There’s a reward for turning in businesses who are not complying with all the Covid restrictions. 

    My two grand daughters have to wear masks and haven’t been to a park or a library since March. While their school has opened for their grades, it’s assumed to be temporary. It’s a parochial school and the teacher’s unions are gunning for them. Did I mention that people who live in the neighborhood of the school have taken videos of the children not social distancing and sent those videos to the county?

    My husband’s company is doing battle trying to get “permission” to buy a motor needed to fulfill a customer’s order. 

    We have a couple of friends hurtling on the way to bankruptcy (one a gym owner and one a restaurant owner)

    I wish the individual and politics would ignore each other. Sadly not possible 

    • #30
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