“Beginning with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably, the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda settler. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation’s charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one.”
Andrew Bacevich, from The Limits Of Power
I think we could superimpose that statement on our expectations of any would-be successor to the president, even if it’s too late for the current president.
Let the arguments begin.
How hard is it, I ask myself multiple times each day, to just bow out of an argument for the sake of our nation’s health…? Arguments today, especially those within social media platforms, are incredibly superficial, waste time, waste energy, frequently alter moods to a lesser state, and accomplish absolutely nothing except to fulfill the immature need for self-gratification among the craving participants.
Craving…? Craving attention. Craving stimulation. Craving fulfillment. Craving superiority. Craving to stir the pot. Craving craving craving. Increasingly, many crave arguing in the same way they crave sugar.
Argument, in that frame, is the Type II diabetes of our national health.
Within and between my social media connections, at least when it comes to politics, I’m usually the quiet one and argue little or not at all, in the same way I’m the one who passes on dessert at the end of a meal or goes for the asparagus before I go for the potatoes.
Decorum, I reckon, is the insulin of this increasing national health crisis.
I did a search recently, of how many times I used the word decorum in my writings, going back about 15 years. Since 2003, between my social media outlets and my personal writing, I’ve used the word decorum approximately 120 times. Apparently I’m big on the word, as well as the idea it represents.
Decorum, it seems, has gone the way of sensible portions at meal time, and sensible snacks. Think about that — as meal portions were once more responsible, so too was how spoke to each other in matters of politics and government. Think Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan.
If one takes the “s” out of the word politics and changes it to politic, the word takes on a whole new meaning, and becomes an actual synonym for decorum. Conversely, if one puts an “s” politic, it begins to lack luster. Say that fast and you’ll see you where I’m going.
Practicing decorum, I’m learning in the social media era, is a lot like eating better. If everyone did it, our health as individuals would improve, and so too would our collective health as a nation. Like with good eating though, most people know this, yet few choose to practice it.
As it shouldn’t be that hard to mix in a vegetable a couple times a day, it shouldn’t be that hard to say “Okay friend, now it’s your turn to speak and I’m going to listen“.
In that same light, stopping short of calling somebody a “pompous jerk” could be just as beneficial as stopping short of that second helpings ice cream.
If a career in fitness has taught me anything about culture, and the poorly motivated apes that drive culture, is that it’s easier, and on most levels probably feels much better, to get away with things we know are going to hurt us in the long run, as individuals and as a nation. With argument, we will tax our nation to a point of social diabetes.
This is what I think about when I ride…. Jhciacb
This Week By The Numbers…
Bikes ridden: 6
15.3 mph avg
11 hours 41 minutes seat time
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Marty Willson-Piper. Enjoy…!