For the past 10 or so years I have been uneasy about the world I live in. Not bothered by a specific action, situation, or person. I just have had fairly constant and general feelings of unease. I can't blame it on ThePinkThing, although I have definitely become much more of a worrywart since she arrived on this planet. An only child provides for much fodder in the worrying business when her (or his) mother is inclined that way. Nothing in particular is bothering me about TheHusband (although I wish he would remember to clean his dirty dishes off the coffee table). It's not my job. I changed that a couple of years ago and really like my current position (I am probably in the minority in that I actually like my job). TheHusband's business seems to be weathering the recession or depression or whatever it is, so far.
I am uneasy about the general climate of my country. I am not overtly patriotic in that do-or-die, One-Nation-under-God kinda way. I love my country, but in an abstract sort of way, like you love a favorite uncle -- you love to spend time with him but you don't think about him constantly or even on a daily basis. Not like you love your parents, siblings, or children (if you are lucky enough to love them). Or your best friend. I am grateful that I was born, raised and live here. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had and still have.
But I feel like my country is slowly and (not so?) silently becoming something else. Not mine. Not a place in which I am comfortable. A place in which people of substance and regular Joes cannot have a discussion about difficult topics from opposing sides. A place where emotions overwhelm rational thought and reason. A place where a dance teacher who proselytizes to young Jewish girls in her class sees nothing wrong with that and literally can't understand why the parents find it objectionable. A place where my father said to me (shortly after the election) "Now we'll see what Barack Obama does to this country; this man who people like you voted into office." People like me? People like me? What was he thinking I am, a Martian? A bogeyman? A dirty tree-hugging Liberal? This was my father, fergoshsakes, someone whom I love, saying crap like that to me, outlining the unbridgeable divide between someone like him and someone like me. A place where compromise and consensus are evil words, not goals to work toward. A place where it's all about winning and getting your way, even at the expense of other people and other ideas. A place where people use fear tactics to bolster their agendas, to separate their group from the "others", to convince their adherents that what they believe is right/good/better/God's will/whatever. A place where things like McCarthyism, fascism, and a Holocaust could occur and/or flourish.
When did this happen? Why is it happening? Am I being overreactive and paranoid? Perhaps. I don't know. I would like to be wrong. But if this is the case, how can we fight it? How do you make someone (or really boatloads of someones) see that this is where the country is heading. People who think that they are Right. And if they are right, you must be Wrong. How do you have a meaningful conversation with people who are uninterested in reasonable discourse and rational discussion?
I just don't have any answers, although I am still uneasy.