Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Facebook, Cage Fights and the Elephant


This morning I’ve been all over my usual haunts on the internet---Facebook, eBay, email, my favorite political cage fighting site and, of course, my blog hoping to see new comments to moderate through to public viewing. I’m a comment/feedback junkie. I admit it. They make me happy. I wish the Bloggers platform had icons like on Facebook where readers with no time or desire to write a full comment could at least click on an icon to express “like, love, haha, wow, sad or anger.” But I know from personal experience that sometimes even having to choose between those six icons can be a challenge. I mean sometimes I’m wowed by something posted on Facebook but it also made me laugh or cry. What icon do I use? Why can’t we pick two of the six? No matter what we have, it’s never enough, is it.

I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, a quick stop morning and night because sometimes the young mothers in my family will share photos of the baby boom going on in my family. Otherwise, my Facebook feed is predictable: One relative posts her daily quota of a dozen pro-Trump, anti-immigrants and anti-democrats crap, one friend posts a smaller quota of ‘resist’ and pro-activism information and one relative posts at least two dozen times a day---all beautiful and inspirational photos and memes. My Facebook feed is a surreal mix to scroll through, but at the same time it does illustrate where we’re at in America right now. Ya, I know, I can take people out of my daily feed and make my Facebook feed as bland as milk toast and I have done that with a few people but I like keeping my finger on the pulse of the worst hater and best lover in my world. I rarely engage with the Trump fan, learned my lesson a long time ago because her pet reply to me was always, “You are SO naïve!” I don’t even use my power of the icon on her posts. She knows where I live.  

No, instead of engaging her in her hissy-fits where facts are dismissed and conspiracy theories reign supreme, I’ll go do some anonymous cage fighting at a site designed for that purpose. It’s a busy message board with dozens of political threads. I usually pick just one thread to engage in because they can get time consuming. The topic I’ve been haunting most recently is about the MAGA bomber. Since the first pipe bomb was found in the mail that topic thread has been posted on nearly 5,000 times (me contributing maybe a 100 of them) and it has over 65,000 views. It shouldn’t have shocked me how fast the conspiracy theories started, but it did. People out there are buying into the conspiracy that the bomber was a patsy set up by the democrats and FBI to make Trump look bad. A false flag theory brought to us by the same InfoWars and Allen Wests of the world who push the narrative that the Sandy Hook massacre of little kids a few years ago were all crisis actors. My Facebook relative buys into conspiracy theories like these yet I’m the ‘naïve’ one?

Well, aren’t I little Miss. Mary Sunshine today. Honestly, I did try to come up with a subject to write about that was fun or inspirational or My Gal Friday-ish just dispensing the facts, ma’am. Instead, I’m ending up writing my way around the elephant in the room…the upcoming election. I’ll be glad when it’s over. People who follow politics, now, are often akin to the ancient parable of the blind men and the elephant. From Wikipedia: “It’s a story of a group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before and who learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant's body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their limited experience and their descriptions of the elephant are different from each other. In some versions, they come to suspect that the other person is dishonest and they come to blows. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience as they ignore other people's limited, subjective experiences which may be equally true.” 

There are many interpretations of this parable including one that claims the elephant is a metaphor for God and how various religions disagree. But I’m using the parable to illustrate how we are all so focused on our little part of the ‘elephant’ aka narrow world views that we can’t pull back to see the beauty of the whole elephant viewed through a wider lens. Where is the melting pot known as America that we were so proud of not so long ago and will we ever get that back again? Will respect for truth, honesty, education, science, compromise and taking the higher road ever be universally valued again...and in my lifetime? Maybe the election results will give a clue on how to answer these questions. ©  

43 comments:

  1. There wasn't much to say except the mid term elections and me being a Canadian unfortunately I can't vote over in the states but I wish I could being just across the Detroit River. We get all of those very negative commercials. I so SICK of them. How can my American friends know whose true or not and Trump is the devil in disguise. Your country is totally split. I'm worried for all of you. I can't understand how your country gets anything done with Trump running around with these negative meetings every day. As a Canadian, I just hope that in some way
    those Democrats win the House and slow Trump down because if they don't...............???????????????????????.
    Now, how are you doing my friend? Check my new blog on Saturday. Let me know how you feel about it. I tried not to be negative in no way. Enjoy your day Jean and good luck on election day. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I'm doing fine, Paul. Life goes on despite what is going on in D.C. or not going on. Most of us when we are face to face ignore the elephant in the room so we're not fighting face to face.

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  2. Laughed out loud at "She knows where I live."
    The Elephant parable does describe how so many have such limited and intense views with little absolute truth. Can't wait till Nov 7th when we will know the results.

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    1. I can't wait either. My mailbox is filled with political junk, the phone calls keep coming and the TV commercials have gotten nasty in recent days. Living with the Trump administration is like living in a reality TV show where every day it's a new, contrived drama that doesn't need to happen.

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  3. I wish I didn't have to check Facebook, but it appears to be where I find out about things like my granddaughter suddenly getting married last Sunday to the man my son said wasn't a serious relationship for his daughter. He found out via FB, too. Karma, really, because that's how I found out he got married four years ago. Is getting your family news via FB the norm now?

    Sheila

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    1. Unfortunately, that seems to be the wave of the future...for younger people to announce everything on Facebook and we no longer can expect those personal phone calls or bits of mail inviting and announcing stuff. It's kind of sad, but it's better than not hearing anything family related when we have to get it off Facebook.

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    2. My youngers tell me FB is so old-fashioned. For old people. LOL They post, but infrequently. Many Tweet, use Instagram and Snapchat. Or stay off social media, and just text their news out to friends and family. They may be right about FB -- I do see mostly older folks on it. Like me. LOL

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    3. Facebook use had gone down a lot since last summer when they had all the security issues. But I've heard the same as you have about how the younger people have moved on.

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  4. Ah! The morning and evening routines. I don't watch TV so the ads haven't bothered me. The mail? That's a different story. And no land line phone and so far, no intrusive cell phone calls (although I did put a scam detector on my phone ... so it usually can see that before I bother answering.

    My routine is email, NYT brief, blogs then Facebook. I think if I gave myself just one hour a day on facebook I'd sure get more accomplished!

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    1. Oh I forgot the Washington Post online in my morning routine, mostly reading the headlines. You spend a lot more time on Facebook than I do...maybe 15 minutes morning and then again at night.

      I did not know you can get scam detectors for your cell phone. I have gotten political robocalls on my cell and my landline.

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    2. It's called HiYa ... $20/year, I think. Doesn't catch them ALL ... but probably 85%. Then I just block that number. This morning I got a political TEXT! I'm such a hermit!! And I forgot to mention my routine includes three word games as well!

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    3. Thanks for the information.

      I actually don't consider the time I spend on the computer a waste of time. I consider it exercise for the mind, especially the "cage fighting" because to do it right requires research, logic, debating skills and self control under pressure.

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  5. I am reclaiming my life on November 7 no matter what happens. I'm exhausted.

    Also, when I first set up my blog there was an option for including "response boxes" or something like that on the template. I put them on, but they are routinely ignored. Like you, I'd love to get even that small amount of feedback. As you know you are the only one who routinely comments on my blog. Others swear they've tried, but don't understand the interface....which stumps me. Anyway, take a look at the bottom of my posts to see what i mean. Maybe you could add those for the ones who don;t want to type a comment but want to indicate their response to the post.

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    1. I've forgotten about the responses boxes. I'll have to give them a try again. I had them on once but no one used them. I've had people tell me they couldn't figure out how to post a reply. I think it takes too many steps and they stop too soon thinking they are done.

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    2. I follow some blogs through Wordpress and they all have a feature where you can like the post or the comments, but no other option but "like"

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    3. I'm not sure but I think you have to be a member of WordPress to use that feature.

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  6. Jean:

    I used to think cagefighting is bad things to do, didn't realize that also requires skills, you got to do enough research to be able to win in debate. I will rather get along with every one then argue. I can so understand elephant theory. I tell hubby when I was in India & lived in my circle & hadn't seen world. I felt tha's how one lives, till you step out & see world then you realize & see difference. I am reading Fire book by biob woodruff. We are highly conscious of our civic duties, but reading bob woodruff's book you want to go & start getting involve in making sure people go out & vote on election night.
    Asha

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    1. I call it 'cage fighting' but it's debating with people from all sectors of society. You have to follow certain rules so you don't get yourself kicked off. Since I used to be a moderator on the site where we met I'm skillful at not going over the line so that the moderator have no choice but to give me a time out. I used to be on a debate team way back in college and I like the challenge. BUT I don't like debating/arguing with people I know in person because emotions get involved.

      I also read Bob's "Fire" book. I've already voted by absentee ballot, but we all need to remind each other how import it is...or we rise losing the right someday.

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    2. I thought the book was "Fear".

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  7. I like your interpretation of the parable. I think you're right on!

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    1. That parable can be applied to so many things. I've always loved it.

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  8. I'm a lot calmer now about the Election since I know I've done everything I could do. I early voted; wrote 15 personal letters to voters in pivotal districts in OH, NV, and AZ; made phone calls to voters in FL; took a voter to the polls; texted voters to remind them to vote; donated small $$ to candidates in critical races; recruited other volunteers; and I've been a member of the Resistance since Day One.

    Ohio is always a nasty battleground and the televised ads are constant and irritating. They've gotten more personal this cycle, and I'm sure we all can guess why.

    If voters don't repudiate this administration and its horrific policies and corruption this time, then something is terribly, terribly wrong with this country.

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    1. You and Donna (above) can be very proud of all you've done to get out the vote. And I totally agree with your last paragraph...only I wouldn't put it past darker forces hacking into key voting distract to change votes in mass. Why the Russian involvement last time doesn't bother all Republicans, I don't get that.

      Michigan has had a lot of nasty TV commercials in recent days, full of lies. Thankfully, I won't be home much tomorrow to see them.

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  9. I will be so relieved when the election is over. I hope. Oh, I hope. I'll be relieved when I can answer my phone again without looking at the number and relieved to stop getting mail from candidates and relieved to see coverage ease up on TV. Of course, it won't, it will just change. And pretty nervous.

    FB -- I've hardly been on except to post since I've returned from England. I don't want to fall into it the mess again. Same with my Twitter feed. Maybe after Tuesday. Or whenever the complaining of Tuesday's results (either way) dies down.

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    1. No matter which side of the aisle we're all supporting I think the universal thing we can all agree on is we'll be glad when this election is over and we'll get a few months before it all starts over again.

      I have twitter and Instagram accounts but I've never understood their appeal and thus I tend not to ever check them out. I am staying off all social and mass media tomorrow.

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  10. I very much like how you used the elephant parable for insight into what's happening at this moment in history. There are two things that I've learned over the past two years that I didn't fully realize before. I think I've mentioned this here before, but... There are more extremists than I previously believed, and our democracy is more fragile than I thought. We have a president who is challenging democracy. At best, the checks & balances are straining at the seams. At worst, they are completely failing. It is the most frustrating thing to watch and very sad. I want to live long enough to see us walk out the other side of this. I worry.

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    1. The last two years has been an eye opener for most of us regarding how fragile democracy really is. I'm not sure if there are more extremists now or if the internet just has allowed them all to connect and the president is giving them permission to come out into the light. It almost makes me glad I don't have grandchildren to worry about. It's very sad! I, too, want to see walk back so much of what has gone on these past two years.

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  11. I agree with one of the two things you didn't fully realize before. There are a LOT more extremists than I was aware of, and I think part of that is they have been emboldened and are out in the open now. They're more visible. But I've been shocked to find out that we've never really had a democracy if you're a woman or a person of color. Which means this has never been a democracy, it's been (and is still) a white male oligarchy.

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    1. It's both scary and sad, isn't it! I do see the generation just entering voting age as being better informed and more engaged in bring about some needed changes. They give me hope or the future.

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  12. The awful political ads have me sooo ready for this election to be over. We have a toss up congressional race in my district, and the ads from the big money PACs on both sides are all about distorting the other candidate's record for the best effect. My favorite example is that the Democratic candidate's one-time donation to the Maine People's Alliance, which is in favor of policy to wean us off fossil fuels, is presented as consorting with dangerous radicals that would force elderly Mainers to sit in their cold houses because they would be forbidden to buy heating oil! It would be laughable if it didn't have the potential to sway some votes. Wouldn't it be wonderful if some of those ads were actually trying to illuminate the differences between the candidates instead of distorting them out of any relationship to reality?

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    1. I don't ever remember the level of nastiness in political ads like we have this time around. No low too low for them to go. If those kinds of ads and all the lying that is going on wins them this election, this country is in serious trouble.

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  13. Another thoughtful yet humorous post, Jean. Nope, you are definitely not the naive one. No sense wasting your breath and energy - a wise counselor once told me to stop wearing myself out using logic on an illogical person. I was never going to win that battle even when I WAS winning. Hehehe! Crossing my fingers for your election day....Deb

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    1. That's good advice regarding "you can't use logic on an illogical person." I don't cage fight to actually change the minds of the stubborn who hold on to their conspiracies but rather for those who might be on the fence viewing it all. I don't like to see stupid not challenged. But of course, there are people there who probably think they can sway people like me to their crazy side. It can be a lot of fun.

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  14. You can't match wits with those that are unarmed. I have deleted most of those from my FB. I don't care to see how they are thinking. I see the enough of that orange ass to know what hate and racism he is spreading and it's all I can take. God love you for being open to reading that poison. I can't take it in because it poisons me and I refuse to let it.

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    1. I sure don't take it in. I find it a good way to deal with the stresses that come with seeing Mr. Trump's stupidity.

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  15. me, I went to the market (10am! On a Monday!) and bought a big box of chardonnay. I figure one way or another, I'm going to 'need it' on Tuesday night...

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    1. Sounds like a great plan. LOL

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    2. I'll be glad when it's over too, but regardless of the outcome, as we head closer to 2020....we'll, we ain't seen nothing yet.
      Two things that surprised me out of all this is the amount of racism out there and the discovery of friends or family who can somehow support this trump person...people I thought I knew. People I thought were rational.

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    3. Same with me! I see racism in people I never would have guessed two years ago. And ignorance. Three people i know who consider themselves to be good Christians especially shocked me.

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  16. The questions you ask are ever so pertinent. Whatever the election outcome we must continue seeking to restore America's values. Those dedicated to undermine our democratic republic and those who don’t recognize that’s what current leadership is doing, will continue their destructive efforts under the guise of making America great again in the years ahead,

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    1. You are so right...but I wish you weren't. I wish one election cycle could put us back a few years for a do over.

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