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Chronicle Politics

Day 107 and Mountain States

My family made its way to Colorado in the 70s. That makes my brother and I second generation. While we may not have deep roots it’s not arriviste either. This is a concern as roots matter now. Every western state seem to worry about the influx of Californians on their culture. My family participates a bit in this too. Despite me having spent the last 15 years in Manhattan I have plenty of opinions about policy.

So I was fascinated by a series of essays showing what was driving the changing demographics of mountain states and who are actually the California carpetbaggers.

The thesis of the tweet storm by David Neiwart that drew me in was that Tucker Carlson and the recent obsession with replacement theory (in this case Mountain state “natives” are being replaced by liberal Californians but it’s actually code for brown people) was actually ass backwards. It’s the white evangelical population who have been moving from California and resettling in the mountains West. The actual demographic taking space from folks already there isn’t California liberals it’s California conservative!

In Colorado the urban areas of the front range won out over the deep red of the western slopes. Other states in the mountain west may have gone red but we managed to be purple without turning into a California hellscape. So our influx of red have blended with new urban blues for a relatively well governed state.

I do find the entire crisis over those coastal elites coming into the mountain states to be pretty funny. As if the politics of the west were ever really totally homogeneous. Plenty of towns have been liberal and we had Democrats and Republicans representatives. This need to always push narratives of polarization doesn’t do anything for the American people. It’s just more bullshit to entrench for us in our corners.

My politics are traditionally Western states. I’m a small government libertarian and I’m also inclined to let people to do what they want with who they want. Going too much to either side just doesn’t appeal to a lot of mountain state folks. I won’t vote for the Republicans till they drop the fascist populism so while I’m not thrilled by Democrats they have my vote for the moment. Maybe the western states are the moderates we thought were a fantasy all along.

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Chronicle Media Politics

Day 83 and Tribalism

For what are probably obvious reasons (a mass shooting inside a grocery store a few miles from my home) I’ve been trying to keep off of political media the past day or so.

I’ve mostly succeeded but it’s a challenge when my primary relaxation space, Twitter, is saturated with commentary on a topic I don’t want to discuss with anyone that isn’t also living through the trauma personally. It’s not even that I don’t want to hear from folks it’s more that even if you have had a similar tragedy in your community your reaction may not be the same as ours. Every trauma is unique even when cultural circumstances may not be.

I bring this up only because I realized today when a new app claiming to analyze your news bubble filter went viral I didn’t know what folks “thought that I thought” about politics. The app said I was 100% leftist in my filter. My immediate reaction was “bullshit” in that I probably tweet once a day “as a libertarian” and regularly discuss my views on small government. So I asked folks what direction they thought I leaned. There is not a lot of consensus so far.

I follow and am followed by a very diverse group of people. I probably follow everything from alt-right fanatics to avowed socialists. I socialize with bro-science masculine fitness folks and queer chronic disease and disability advocates. So I’m not surprised I am hard to place. If you are a trad life carnivore on a homestead your opinion on my politics is probably pretty different than if you are a healthcare for all anti-ableism urbanite. I work with Silicon Valley folks and venture capitalists and the New York media establishment. Finance and the press corp are not generally politically aligned so unsurprisingly those two groups may also think I’m in a very different place on the spectrum. To someone at war with the media I may look left wing. To someone in the media I may look right wing. And yes this comes out in the wash as centrist.

The reality is that I have fairly nuanced views and your take on my leanings may say more about how much you like me and thus how much you want me to agree with you. This is for a nice reason. We tend to like the people we agree with more.

So it’s possible if you want me to like you then you may assign me views that are more aligned with yours than I am in reality. Don’t fret though we can strongly disagree and I will still like you. If we have fun together on social media I don’t need you to agree with me on social or political issues. I spend time on social precisely because I do like all kinds of people and I want to enjoy that incredible diversity of humanity. And we are all here because in the end the only thing that keeps the loneliness at bay is each other.

Categories
Chronic Disease Chronicle Politics

Day 36 and Responsibility For Yourself

As a libertarian, personal responsibility is a foundational philosophy. Owning your decisions and their impacts on others is crucial for freedom. It’s also an impossible standard at which we fail daily.

Humans are selfish and fallible creatures, prone to rationalization and justification. We tell ourselves stories about our innate goodness in order to shield ourselves from the pain of our sins. We believe our own lies first.

This has been particularly apparent to me, once again, during the pandemic, as I’ve watched family members make choices over and over again that show how much they need me to forgive their sins. As if I was their own personal Jesus and not their daughter or sister. Ready to tell them that leisure travel is fine because well they are probably being safe and oh sure winter is just so hard. Mental health is just such a struggle isn’t it?

I’m no messiah. I am not here to take your sins and wash them away. I’m just as much a sinner as you. And I’m certainly not the best person to ask forgiveness of when it comes to the health of others. I’m the personification of how your decisions actually affect real people.

You know our little stories about how “the sick and elderly should stay home and keep themselves safe because…list of rational reasons.” We’ve turned it into an entire political stance. We’ve built it into a moral edifice. When it’s just a lie we need to feel better about our sins to survive.

And so I stay at home. I don’t interact with other people. I see my husband and my doctors. Because I know I’m responsible for my own life and my own health and nobody else will be. I’m not asking others to be responsible for me that haven’t actively chosen this as their life path (with thanks to my husband and mother who did).

But I am asking my other family members be emotionally truthful with me. I’m asking them to admit to themselves and to me that their pleasures are more important to them my quality of life. That by taking a trip to a far away beach that they perceive as safe for them, they add to the aggregate set of decisions on a collective level that forces me to stay at home. That those decisions will keep me at home alone cut off from normal activities for longer. Basic life.

If you engage in those choices, admit the truth to yourself. And admit it to me. That your enjoyment of life is more important than me living mine safely. To not do so is to lie to yourself and to me. I can accept your choice. I cannot accept your lie.

I’m shouldering the sum total of all the bad decisions and little sins of everyone else who either can’t or won’t take responsibility for the impact that their own choices add up to at the societal level. It makes me angry, I’m a libertarian not an ubermenschen. I don’t want to carry responsibility for everyone else. If I was I’d probably have different politics. I’m only responsible for myself. So stop asking me to accept responsibility for yours.