I’ve reached the stage of life where memory of certain past events is fluid and uncertain. By past events I mean things that happened before I got married.
This is startling, because until very recently I could name all 34 or so of my form classmates in eighth grade, and it came as a great shock to realize I no longer could even remember most of their faces. Of the dross of the past I remember maybe 10, who distinguished themselves in some way, good or bad. Virginia — a very unusual name in Portugal — who was a red head, with waist-long hair, and so shy she never talked in class, and mostly laughed at our most outrageous antics. The two Jewish kids and the Protestant kid, because the four of us were excused from Religious Education and had the equivalent of home room together. I have a vague idea we once tried to write a book together, but I don’t remember. (Uh? Well, I was excused because I got in huge arguments, until dad signed the papers to excuse me. I’m sure that shocks you about young Sarah.)
But while I remember standing, holding up half of a banner in front of machine-gun pointing soldiers, because it was a stark way of realizing my own mortality and then realizing on the heels of that there are things worth dying for, I am no longer sure of the details. For instance, while I remember taking the train in, I have no idea how we got home. But I was startled when mom told me — when I mentioned it in a phone call the other day — that staid middle aged men fought for the honor to drive us home. I…. what? You’d think I’d remember, right? And you’d think mom who is as paranoid as I am would not accept rides from strangers.
But further back, early teen years? It’s all a haze. There are people I remember unpleasantly and I think I know why, but I’m also aware some incidents have bled together, and that some things I remember other people doing, I might very well have done, and vice versa. Why? Well, because our memory is organic.
People who have done research have found every time you retell a memory you layer something on it. In many ways all our lives are the Iliad. Each teller who tells it adds something, even if all the tellers are you.
The bizarre thing, though, is going through our family pictures from our thirties, and having pictures of people we cannot identify now. At some point, we knew these people enough to have them at our house, and to have taken a picture, but we could not, now, under torture, tell you their names.
I will admit that most of those are probably people we saw once or twice. Friends of friends who came to our massive fourth of July parties (often getting close to 100 attendees) or people we liked but only saw a few times. Or simply people we don’t remember looking like that. This is entirely possible, because when looking through the pictures, I was startled at how young our friends and we looked. I never remember us looking like that in our thirties.
So, what does this tend to other than “I’m old. I don’t remember things.” (I will point out I remember most important things, and that my memory of day to day is great. It’s more things that happened twenty years ago, that — while mostly remembered — have lost their details. The only real “I’m old” things is the fact I will now call my husband’s name, and every cat name, including dead cats, before I call the son I’m trying to talk to.)
It means that… oh, brother, our collective memory is worse than that. And a lot of it was shaped by well…. the fairly uniform narrative that has been the mass news-entertainment complex for the last going on 100 years, which was largely informed by the fact that story creators like just so stories and had become convinced that Marx’s self-contained, illogical pocket universe was the truth.
And some of the stuff we believe in the back of our minds was shaped by things that happened before we were born, or things people were told before we were born. Or one-line in our history books in high school. Or–
Today someone used “the evil party and the stupid party” and it was one of those that kicked me.
If you guys are going to go with that, you’ll have to explain to me how the evil party isn’t stupid. And if you’re going to say “they always win”, no, they don’t. On guns we’ve been pushing them back step by step for several decades. Homeschooling, they committed a major own-goal with the lockdowns, and I suspect the extent to which people are either homeschooling or homeschooling after school is much larger than what we’ve heard. What they’re doing to the economy is not really intentional. Sure, they think America needs to be humbled, etc. But they also have no idea how shithole the shithole countries are, and at some level they’re convinced if they say block all our routes to fossil fuels, we’ll automagically develop that sustainable energy they dream about.
In fact, guys, the level of their stupidity is that they’re trying to follow a plan dreamed up by Occasional Cortex, who thinks we should ask “Native Americans for ideas on how to live in harmony with the environment.” That’s a three year old raised on Disney level of understanding history. AND MOST OF THEM BELIEVE THIS TOO.
So am I saying they’re both the stupid party? Largely.
Look, there are several things at work here. The people in power now were raised shortly after FDR turned the country into a centralized, top-down polity. More, this was praised in every classroom. And the rest of the world was also falling into this. It was “rule by experts” and “scientific rule” and “Don’t you little people worry none, the world-brains have got this.” To the extent there were victories scored (Against other countries that embraced this model even harder.) it reinforced their perception this was the way we should be.
As people age — and have you looked at the left side of the isle recently? Not that the right is much better. I count as a youngster compared to both sets — it’s harder and harder to change the world model in their heads. It might be easier for me, because at heart, and carefully controlled I’m a revolutionary, always waiting to storm the castle, just because castles p*ss me off. Yes, my spirit animal is Samuel Vimes. And yes, the only reason I don’t do terrible stuff is that I watch myself all the time. But this means out of an excess of paranoia, I scrutinize every model I’m given, and never swallow any of them fully. My main thought is always “Yes, but then again, no.” Or the other way around, of course. The only models I more or less believe are those I arrive at with mule-like stubbornness, and can go “No, because this this this this.” (Hence my belief that fraud is massive and also that we’re now in the funny position — population wise — of expecting imaginary women to give birth. It doesn’t work, trust me, I have several of them in my head, and when they give birth the kids remain in my head, and don’t become real. Sad really.)
Anyway, politicians in general are sociable people of the consensus. That’s how they get elected.
So the model of the world in their heads — left and right — is largely upgefucked. It would be even if they weren’t: Screwed around with by the media and their changing narrative
Screwed around with by the fact that they are in DC and therefore live in a bubble, where no one tells them the truth.
This is worsened by the fact the left has been stomping on dissenting voices for… well, my whole life. Though they used to cancel us quietly, and are only now becoming in your face. And by the fact that social media has deliberately skewed things so the country appears to be mostly far left.
Look, politicians know that they rule by the consent of the governed. This was true as far as the Middle Ages (and probably before, but if I go investigate, I’ll never pop up again.) when divine right of kings or not, there were guilds, councils, etc. for every polity, faction and profession. And oooh, boy, would they get antsy if ignored.
It takes late stage stupidity for them to try to do what our “ruling class” (pfui) thinks they’re doing: completely rigging the system so the same people win forever, no matter how pissed the people are at them. (Again, if you think fraud doesn’t matter, you haven’t taken in the full panorama of opportunities for fraud, from same day registration, to vote by mail, to rigged machines. Or you perhaps think it’s a mystery these always favor democrats. Or maybe you think democrats are angels. And if you think both sides do it, you’ve fallen into the trap of “the USA AND THE USSR ARE THE SAME LEVEL OF EVIL” (Which at one time caused me to go over a table at one of our best friends, and would probably have strangled him, if my husband hadn’t caught me in time.) Sure, “truth is in the middle.” and you know what else “The Brooklyn Bridge is a great buy, and I can sell it to you today.”)
Why is that stupid? Because it always ends in tears. Always. Throughout history, even in the middle ages, when a king dissolved the people’s “advisory” groups and tried to rule on his own, out of his “superior” wisdom, it meant they were in for a hard as h*ll landing.
It might be blood and revolution. Or it might be a lot of little outbreaks, and bleeding out, and eventually chasing the king with troops, until he was dead or fled, and then you got yourself a king with a little bit more of a clue.
Now some of these took a few centuries. And some…. didn’t. And history like communications goes faster now.
So, why are they doing it?
Well, part of it because the national and world memory is shot. Like an aged person, what they remember is not necessarily what happened. In fact, it’s often the opposite. And the picture they have of the country in their minds is already so corrupted by fraud, both of reporting and of voting, that they genuinely believe the future belongs to the left.
Both sides believe this. Partly because the left has stomped on anyone who stepped out of line forever.
Worse, they both believe the blue model is only failing because it’s not authoritarian enough. Look at China. They’ve been told China is doing great — AND THEY BELIEVE IT — and they’re a lot more authoritarian.
This while the authoritarian, top-down, center-out model is failing on every front and all over the world.
People, I’m getting old and some incidents from my younger years are fuzzy. For instance, I have no idea who actually locked the new biology teacher in the closet, much less who had the idea and instigated it. It was probably not me, but would I put my hands in the fire about it? Oh, heck, no. I mean, me at 14 was sufficiently different from me now that I don’t know how the young twerp thought enough to figure out what she was likely to have done.
BUT our country is worse than that. Because it’s as though people had been telling it bullshit stories, and intentionally corrupting our national/historical/world memory and understanding.
It won’t work, because what they’re trying to overlay has no contact with reality. But it makes it very hard to understand, sometimes, that the model they’re pushing on us of what just happened, and why is not only wrong, but upside down, sideways wrong. And wearing a clown nose.
Our saving grace is that reality keeps rearing its hard head. “No, you can’t live on unicorn farts.” “Yep, if you suppress oil production, fuel costs will go through the roof.” “No, you can’t lock down the entire country and still somehow be prosperous.” etc etc etc.
And therefore, those of us who have been fed on pap keep seeing the truth behind the lies.
Can we change things enough to avoid the hard landing that shutting down dissenting voices always brings?
I don’t know. Shake the magic eight ball again.
Situation cloudy and with a chance of waking up screaming in the middle of the night.
The only thing I know is that they can’t win. Stupid and evil combined is not survivable.
It remains to find out if we can find our way through the labyrinth enough that we also don’t lose.
That I can’t tell you. But I’ll keep on trying to find threads of reason, of fact, of history and following those.
Lo, there might be some light ahead. If we’re all very lucky, it’s not an oncoming train..