Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pessimistically Optimistic

"Whether you are a glass half-empty person or a glass half-full person really depends on whether you are doing the pouring or the drinking."

I think that I read that on the back of a bathroom stall door....or somebody's Facebook wall...sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. But, the point is that it resonated.

Last week at a community event, a friend lost her leather coat. She had placed it over the back of a chair and when she went to retrieve it, somebody had walked off with it. Given that it was a startlingly cold night, and we were in a room filled with upscale Jewish Canadians in November, half the people in attendance, both men and women, were wearing black leather jackets or car coats. As she worked the room stealthily trying to link the offending party with her now missing jacket, her husband was raging. "How could anybody be so careless?" "Don't people pay attention?" My friend preferred to view it as the unfortunate accident that it most probably was, and was certain that the transgressor would realize the error and return it in kind. My friend and her husband saw the same event through very different lenses. I am loathe to label one as optimistic or the other as pessimistic, but rather they were two sides of the very same coin that both had equal validity. But, does every action or thought have an equality? Aren't there just some things that are patently wrong? Why must we give equal time to bullshit?

It is no secret that I am thrilled with the outcome of last evening's election. I am a fan from afar of the president, but I am also very aware of his failings. He has work to do in convincing a good many unimpressed Americans that his ways and ideas are best for the country, but I feel that he has the intellectual heft and abilities to do just that. My issues with this campaign weren't as much about my disdain for Governor Romney, but rather with the bat-shit crazy elements of his party to which he openly pandered. I can have an intellectual discussion as to whether or not their economic policies are correct. (I happen to disagree with most of them, but I can see the other side.) But, I cannot and will not ever find value in any person's platform that uses women's reproductive rights as a political tool. I cannot and will not ever find value in the candidate that thinks rape is just another method of procreation that could lead to an unexpected pregnancy. I cannot and will not dismiss science, math, intellectual curiousity, or climate change as elitist and anti-God. I will never see the equality in any policy that segregates and demonizes my gay and lesbian friends and family. I will never understand nor will I support the supposed societal ethics or laws that say it is ok to stop somebody on the street simply because the colour of their skin makes them suspicious. In my mind, there is no equivalency on these settled issues; no other side that I could ever find palatable.

Last night President Obama was doing the pouring and a majority of Americans were drinking. Today I  join them as a newly minted optimist.

(By the way-my friend found her coat!)

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