Nerd In the Country: Elections; Unity Through Diversity
Here’s an interesting thing that I have learned since I started doing these “Nerd in the Country” posts… The graphic to the left isn’t, entirely, accurate. I have found nerds near me to consort with. Just look at the recent posts to my blog. However, I do feel it is still a relevant graphic, mainly because I view most nerds as free thinkers, although that may not always be the case. None the less, I realize that my “Nerd in the Country” posts are a bit of an obfuscation about my geographic location. This isn’t due to any need for people to feel or give sympathy, but mainly as a means of relation (to other nerds) and humor. All of us have been in a place where we didn’t feel welcome or properly represented. Many people identify with this sentiment around, well, election time. Every four years, the government finds it necessary to make us pick a side, thus every election leaves ~51% of us feeling like part of a greater whole and ~49% feeling like we’ve been ostracized. I know… The first election I was allowed to vote in was Gore vs. Bush in 2000, and I voted Gore. I voted Kerry in 2004. So I understand the feeling that I’m speaking of. On the flip side, I voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. So I’ve been on both sides of it.
In fact, I am currently on both sides of it. Here’s a graphic (somewhat similar to the graphic at the top of this post) that I found on CNN’s website regarding the presidential voting results here in Oregon with my county highlighted. As you can see, my county was Pro-Romney, and not by a small fraction, even though Oregon, as a whole, went Obama. This is primarily due to the fact that the most populous cities in the state were the inverse of my county, and even greater in some cases.
People become so PASSIONATE about politics! Again, I know this feeling. I was one of those people who would scream “FUCK BUSH!” (while mentally holding back giggles) back in 2004. I’d argue with strangers in convenient stores over which paper coffee cup I was drinking out of. I realized after the election that I was wasting my time. I won’t ever convince people to go against their ideals. This led me to a couple of other epiphanies:
- Who said my ideals were better than theirs in the first place?
- Why do I feel it is my responsibility to demand they change their ideals to conform to mine?
I feel the need to address these, because there may be some people out there that will glean a tidbit of information from it for their own personal use. #NotJudging #JustSayin I understand why politics is infuriating. Many people, no matter what their normal demeanor may be, take this harsh stance that they know what is best for all people on the face of the Earth. This applies to both right and left wingers. They both attempt to cram their shit down everyone else’s throats. In this way, politics becomes a sort of religion for a moment in time.
My realization that I was not treating people well because they didn’t think the same as me is one I think a lot of people are guilty of. Not because they believe they are “better” than anyone else, necessarily, but because I think that many people feel like anyone who is not like them will not like them. There’s several responses to this kind of thing, and I want you to imagine these exchanges taking place between two strangers in a public setting that have just bumped into each other. Keep in mind, these are based on the subtext of the exchange, not so much the words:
- Hatred: You’re different from me, so fuck you!
- Abject Modeling: We’re different, that’s totally OK by me. Can’t you see that I am actually a nicer person than you? You should strive to be more like me.
- Avoidance: I know we’re different, but as long as you don’t point it out, neither will I. Sometimes I may, in a passive aggressive way, say/do things that may make you question our previous agreement, and sometimes you will too. Then we won’t talk for a week and pretend it never happened.
- Indifference: You have your own ideas that may or may not be similar to mine? Alright. Bye.
- Personalization: We’re different? Look at all the ways we’re the same! We should totes be friends!
I am self-aware enough to know that I fall into all of these categories from time to time. If I happen to notice that I’m dropping into one of the more negative mind frames (which happens when I’m in a bad mood or caught off guard) I will stop talking and ask to stop the discussion politely. It’s sometimes difficult to have that presence of mind, but I try to. I think it’s interesting to see people who are usually Indifferent dropping into the other layers of the spectrum around election time.
What I’m saying is that we all do all of these things! We all judge people based on our own beliefs and put people into neat little categories. We do it, most of all, to ourselves. That is the primary drive behind my “Nerd in the Country” posts. I think the difference is the intention. I don’t do “Nerd in the Country” to purposefully shit on people around me that aren’t like me, although I make it seem that way for the sake of humor. I do it to attempt to elevate the people who are like me. It’s satire people! I’ll give you, it’s not on Colbert’s level, but I try my bestest.
Many people feel wounded and ostracized after an election. That doesn’t last, as we all know. A few months go by and the whole thing is forgotten. Sure, it resurfaces from time to time when the president or congress does something that tweaks someones taters, but it’s fleeting. Blame the media, blame human nature, blame the fuckhead liberals/conservatives if you want. The point is that we should get back to normal as soon as possible so we can get on with our lives. Hopefully this post has helped salve some people’s wounds or feel more connected with their “across the aisle” brethren and sped up the healing process. All that being said, here’s some satire to rub it in. 🙂
Posted on November 8, 2012, in Election, Geek, Nerd, Nerd in the Country, Personal and tagged albany, alloy matt, corvallis, election, lebanon, linn county, matt jacobs, nerd in the country, obama, oregon, romney, unity through diversity. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.