Both sides now

I don’t know.  It could just be the post holiday fatigue, or the emotional let down of having the whole big feast behind me, but I seem to have lost my usual opinionated rage.

This has almost never happened to me before.

For some strange, inexplicable reason, I kind of feel like I can see both sides of most things today.


You guys are on-line reading these words, so I know that you know how easy it is to find stuff out here to get all worked up about.  War in Gaza, Black Friday store hours, the appropriateness of celebrating the genocide that came with that “First Thanksgiving”, the election, the outrage that is turducken….I could go on for hours……..

I’m usually happy to jump into the fray, and to argue with one side or the other.  I love the fact that the internet has allowed me to always feel surrounded by those of like mind.  I mean, I must be right if all those cool people on Facebook and WordPress and Pinterest agree with me!  Very comforting, and very validating, you know?

But today I just can’t muster up the outrage.  Sigh.

Today I can understand, to some degree, how scary it must be to live in Israel, to know that Iran is sending weapons to your enemies, to realize that they want to blow you up for various reasons.  BUT, I can also understand, at least a bit, how powerless those Palestinians in Gaza must feel every day!  Unable to get basic supplies, unable to build or rebuild because of the blockade, knowing that one of the worlds’ strongest armies is poised and ready to unleash its anger on you and yours.  I can’t side with either armed and dangerous group today; mostly I am just sad for both populations of children.

And I have been reading a lot out here on WordPress and on Facebook about the outrage that so many people feel about celebrating Thanksgiving. I love US history, I really do!  And I know that the Puritans were a bunch of narrow minded, stiff necked, intolerant religious zealots.  I get that.   I understand that from the vantage point of 21st century global enlightenment they were morally wrong to come to the shores of North America to set up European style settlements to the great detriment of native populations.  I get it, OK?  I get it!  Europeans arrived in North America, the natives were decimated, it was shameful in so many ways!

But the point of our modern feast is not to celebrate the harvest; its not to mark the first year of survival in a harsh world, to let the natives know that we are here to stay or to show them how well we can fire our muskets (yep; all of that was part of Plimoth’s first harvest celebration in 1621).  The purpose of the feast now is to get together with people we love, to share food with them, to tell them that we love them, and to take some time to be grateful for all of the beautiful parts of life.  I’m not gonna apologize for that.

As for “Black Friday”, I will take no part in that madness.  It makes me feel sick to think of pushing through the crowds in the big box stores, fighting for my “share” of the junk on sale. I don’t want to give my hard earned money to those big corporate giants. Yuck.  So I’ll stay home with my leftover pie and my cup of good coffee.

But I don’t have it in me to get all huffy and outraged at my friends and family who think its fun and who want to get out there and get started. I don’t have little ones to shop for, so I don’t have to find a way to buy tons of toys.  I don’t need any electronics, so I don’t need to save money on trinkets.  I plan to buy little goodies from local stores, and I plan to cook for a lot of people in my life.  Well, goodie for me.  It doesn’t mean that I have to feel superior to the people who are shopping today, does it?

No doubt I’ll have a good night’s sleep tonight, and will wake up rested and refreshed. No doubt I will once again feel myself empowered by the energy of my outrage.  I’ll be mouthing off again in no time, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the opportunity to see life from both sides for a change!

Is it all worth it?

I have been watching it all unfold.  The little tents, cramped together in a small space. The people huddled in folding chairs, wrapped in coats and scarves against the frigid night air, or standing in small groups talking.

I have seen the surging crowds, pushing forward, breaking down barriers in frustration and anger.  My heart starts to pound as I watch video of people shouting, pushing, shoving to get through.  And I wonder: is it worth the risk?

The scenes become scarier as people begin to turn against each other, trying to shout each other down, trying to drown each other out.  And then, of course, the police and security people appear on the scene, determined to keep order.

I have seen photos and videos of people screaming from the effects of pepper spray, weeping at the pain and fear.  Videos and photos of a man lying in a pool of blood after being pushed to the ground by police, who surround him and try to keep the crowd at bay.  With all of the passion and frustrated emotion, there have even been shootings and at least one stabbing.

And I have to ask myself: is it worth all this?   Is it worth putting your life and safety on the line?

My answer?


Everything that I have described here came from media coverage of Black Friday Shopping.  So, NO!  Absolutely, positively NO. It is not worth fighting, scratching, screaming, bleeding and hurting other people just to save fifty bucks on the latest electronic gizmo, or the current chintzy toy.

I stayed home yesterday (other than a visit to the vet!) and I will shop locally today.  I plan to make as many Christmas gifts as possible this year.  After watching yesterday’s national horror show, I will never enter a Wallmart store again.  Mass hysteria, mass consumption in an age of want, mass chaos in the aisles of retail stores.  Is this what we have become?

There may be times when it is right to gather under tents, to march together and demand to be heard. There may be times when it is worth the risk to face the police, to refuse to disperse, to stand shoulder to shoulder with others in order to make a statement.

Getting a deal on an X Box surely isn’t one of those times.