Days Without Power
After an October windstorm a few years ago knocked out our power for over a week, Leah and I bought a generator. In the three years since we made that purchase, we’ve put over 100 hours on that generator.
I’ve never lost power quite as much in my life as we have since moving to Maine. We elected this, of course. We eschewed the city of Bangor in favor of the bedroom community of Winterport. We chose a 12 acre wooded lot with a driveway that is a quarter mile long. Being a city kid (as urban as Lancaster, Pennsylvania is), the thought that trees blow over and knock out your lines simply never occurred.
At first, I was that entrepreneurial nitwit who figured, “have chainsaw, will travel.” I’ve cut my share of logs off of lines at this point, which as it turns out, is ill-advised.
I’ve been thinking out this in the context of our current electoral landscape. I try to abide by Rambam’s Golden Mean and the Masonic virtues of “subduing my passions” in all areas of my life, be it work, personal relationships, and most especially politics.
There is so much political recrimination in this world. We don’t just take issue with the issues, we take issue with the way people vote on the issues. I don’t want to live my life at people’s throats ideologically, and yet, I find myself both bewildered and angered by what people on some sides of the political spectrum consider reasonable and rational positions.
It’s easy to look at the vituperative attacks on “socialists and communists,” but what is the need or perceived need driving that? Why is a happily outgoing populist like Donald Trump still so revered by people who ought to find his serious moral shortcomings disqualifying for the position of dogcatcher, let alone President of the United States? Yes, at times it’s infuriating.
But why is it there?
By and large, I think it’s evidence of the general irrelevance of political campaign promises and federal government to people. I tell this story over and over again, but when I would return home to Pennsylvania from Maine, I would frequently take US 209 down across the old anthracite region. This is an area that has been falling apart for decades, served by neither party particularly well, from state to federal government. The passion for Donald Trump in these towns was unlike anything I’ve seen before.
If you ever wonder why I similarly balk at left-wing idiocy: the borrowed academic concepts of privilege, politically self-harming slogans like “defund the police”—it’s because these issues are so far and away from “red state” life outside of the South. Rather than understand that this is why only moderate Democrats stand a chance of success in these places, progressives get tunnel vision on a largely urban agenda, and write off people for whom food insecurity, education, employment, and opium addiction are every bit as bad or worse than an urban constituency. I’ve done it, too. We write them off as “deplorables” who should stick to the Fuddruckers fixins line, and leave governance to the grownups.
These elections are Country Mouse vs. City Mouse, and until we really come to grips with that and start talking about non-partisan, common solutions to common problems, and break down the political sense that we must attend to one at the exclusion of the other, the proles on both sides will be without power.