I heard about the denomination saga at midnight in my home country. I want to learn more, but I know nobody from my country whom I trust to be unbiased and objective to ask more. The last two years have been divisive, and the years before had not been easy at all. The national dialogue, and the local dialogue, have become splintered, have become narratives of us-verus-them.
Critical thinking and logic have fled the roost, and I have highly educated compatriots who find it hard to bring clarity of thought to social issues that they have emotional attachments to. It is tragic. The causes run deep and cannot be easily fixed.
The country is divided, and religion is something I strive to avoid discussing at all cost. I have strong opinions, but I don’t care to be judged or persecuted for holding them. My time and energy are too precious to be wasted on such discussions.
Sibelius is upset about the election. We were waiting on tenterhooks as they counted PA and MI, and his nervous comments nearly pushed me out of my usual calm. Later, as I attempted to soothe his worries, he fretted so about the what-ifs, about what might have gone differently if Bernie Sanders had won the nomination.
I wonder too.
I have had the fortune to be there, for a Sanders rally in Long Island, and then for a Trump speech in Manhattan. This had been back in April. Sibelius had taken me to one of them by intention, and we had shown up at the other accidentally, after a stroll in Central Park, after a lazy day at the Met. I remember the kinds of people who had shown up at both the rallies, and I remember how fervent and hopeful they had all been.
Strange as it may sound, I had seen a common quality in the supporters. They had all wanted change, from the establishment, from the status quo, from the tried and the broken system they had been so far under. They had felt disenfranchised, they had felt deprived of voice and decision-making power, they had felt isolated and alienated, and vilified too, by a set of ideologies that they did not believe in, that they had felt weighed down by. The kinds of changes they wanted were different. So, I wonder, if Sanders and Trump had been running against each other, what would the electorate have decided?
Globalization has shrunk the world, perhaps to a nexus of city-states that are focused on technology and higher education in the sciences, and centres of finances and policy-making, and all of this has given rise to progressive and liberal group-think in those centers, and the rest of the population had been left out in the cold. Is it too late? I see the same happening in many countries. The education gap is growing, and it has severe implications in terms of opportunities for improving the quality of life.
It is an unexpected set of developments. Nevertheless, here we are, trudging along, and quoting Ecclesiastes once again.
For now, I console Sibelius, and promise to make for him the Malabar Biriyani he loves for some reason. I can do that. I am yet to stop marveling at his beautiful birthday gift. It has been a difficult year, coming on the heels of a few difficult years. There are stars in even a black sky, though, and I am grateful for that.