First off, let me say that I tend to be pessimistic about most aspects of American politics. I was pessimistic about the chances of Obama winning re-election in 2012. And I was totally wrong about that. So, grain of salt and all that.

I’m not optimistic about Bernie Sanders.

Everyone I know on the left is super excited about Bernie. And why not? I get it. I love what he has to say too. But I’m not so sure the general American public is ready for him. The Bernie supporters that I’ve spoken to claim that it is. Perhaps they’re encouraged by Obama getting elected and then re-elected. But Obama has spent his presidency governing more like a moderate Republican, and half the country STILL believes that he is an evil Communist. So I’m a little worried about the chances of a self-proclaimed Socialist.

And I’m very worried about the chances of Scott Walker getting the Republican nomination, since that is the direction I believe the GOP is heading in. Scott Walker makes me nervous. I’m an American worker, and he’s got a legacy of either doing or trying to do awful things to the workers in his state. Keep in mind, this is the pessimist talking–I believe he could win the whole thing. I think he could easily beat Bernie, as Scott has a way of pretending that he’s a centrist during his campaigns. He will portray himself as the moderate and Bernie as the fringe candidate.

What are some of the things I fear a President Walker doing? Reclassifying overtime pay law, so that fewer jobs qualify for it. Killing the weekend and the 40 hour work week, as the Republicans in Wisconsin wanted to do. Repealing the ACA. Privatizing Medicare. I don’t buy for a second that there wouldn’t be any difference between a Hillary presidency and a Walker presidency. Yeah, most Democrats are part of the corporate system too, but none of them are going to go after the average worker in the aggressive way that Walker will.

Of course, Bernie would be perfect at addressing all these issues. Sadly, America just isn’t progressive enough for him. Maybe there’s been a deeper and faster demographic shift than I realized. Otherwise, I don’t see it.

I should add that if Bernie does become the Democratic nominee, I will definitely support him and put time and effort into working for his election. Until then, I remain cautious.

One thing is for sure–volunteering for Hillary’s local campaign should be a lot of fun. I expect to get abuse from both sides, the conservatives *and* the Bernie supporters. Bring it on! I’ve always enjoyed a good debate.

My life is a daily battle against pessimism. This is not because I’ve had it that hard–in fact, I’ve probably had it easier and have been luckier than most people on this planet. It’s simply because my mind has a natural tendency to move in that direction, to sink into negativity and worry. This means it’s a constant, moment by moment, day by day effort to refocus myself on positive actions and thoughts. Frequently, this effort fails, and then I get back up and start over.

That’s why if I come to you because I’m sad and depressed, it really doesn’t help to tell me to “think positive!” or “choose to be happy!” Because chances are, I’ve already been working on that. I’ve been trying and trying and trying to do that, and it’s likely that by the time I’m coming to you for help, I’m ready to give up. So just give me a sympathetic listening ear. Let me talk about how I feel for a while. It will be a relief for me, and then I’ll be ready to go back to fighting my mind again.

It’s been a nice change to hear depression and mental illness discussed so openly and matter of factly over the past couple of days. It’s sad that it took the death of a wonderful and creative person for us to get here. But this might be a good first step to understanding that there are real ways to treat and address these problems–and that it’s not enough to tell people to smile.

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Had to take a moment to express my love for Grumpy Cat…finally, another creature with as much of an appreciation for pessimism as me 🙂  Fuck all that positive thinking bullshit.  Although unlike me, Grumpy Cat would probably say “Drone strikes on American citizens?  GOOD.”

Yes, to all of the people mourning the Supreme Court decision today:  it’s true, your liberty has died.  As someone who grew up under a universal health care system, I can tell you that it’s just complete tyranny.  They forced you to go to the hospital!  They forced you to take an ambulance!  Even if you weren’t sick!

Actually, no such thing happened, of course.  When we lived in Holland, we went to the doctor and got the same treatment for our problems as we do here, except that over there, we didn’t have to worry about the financial aspect of the situation.  The people we know in Europe who get a serious illness only have to stress about the illness, which is bad enough in itself.  They don’t also have to stress about going bankrupt.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned all this in previous blogs, but it bears repeating, since people continue to tell fables about how in a single payer system, you will no longer have “freedom” when it comes to your health care.  The only loss of freedom which I will freely acknowledge happens under a single payer system is that you may end up paying higher taxes.  Speaking of which, I’m thinking of taking the train to the library tomorrow–yet more terrible impositions from my local government which I will have to suffer under.

On a small added note, I’m so glad I was wrong about how this decision went today.  For once, my pessimism was proven incorrect.  But I’m still feeling pessimistic about the election in Nov…hope I’m just as wrong about that one!

Something that’s been difficult for me to get used to since coming to the States has been all that boundless optimism.  Not that optimism is a bad thing, not at all.  But in America it gets a little over the top.  It seems there’s always another inspirational story of the person who just lost her home and job, lost both her legs in a car accident and was diagnosed with a terminal illness, but still managed to crawl her way through a Marathon using only her arms to pull herself along, with a big smile on her face.  Even though she was homeless, she still managed to collect enough donations to participate!  And the key phrase in these tales:  “And she never complained.”

Well, maybe she should have complained.  I’m just saying.  Of course endless bitching doesn’t do anything for you, but it’s human to complain when you’re in a bad situation.  It’s a bit Stepford Wife-like to go through it with a fake smile plastered on.  It gets even worse when this concept is used in the “We are the 49%” context.  Remember that website—it was supposed to be the conservative response to the “whining”of Occupy Wall Street, and it was filled with stories like “I have to work 3 jobs just to survive, I get no health benefits and I sleep in a garage.  And I never complain, you wimps!”  Well, again, you *should* complain.  If you’re getting screwed over by the society you live in and you don’t complain, you’re not an optimist, you’re a doormat.  Not to mention that if the things which are happening around you are dishonest and morally wrong, not to complain is to comply with whatever is going on.  If I were a cynical European (heh), I could even say that the optimism myth is used to keep people passive…nahhh, right?  “No matter how much they’re stomping on you, act happy!  Smile!”

Okay, so I should add that my attitude toward American optimism is not that completely…well, pessimistic.  Some of my difficulties come from the way I was raised.  When I was a little girl and my parents would get together with their friends, their favorite activity, besides chain-smoking through the night, was that of making witty quips about the meaninglessness of life, and how it always ends in disaster.  It’s not that they were gloomy—they would spend plenty of time laughing at the absurd joke that was human existence.  I guess you can’t blame them for doing so in the drabness of the Soviet bloc, but this kind of cynicism is a general Euro-habit.  I’m automatically suspicious of too much positive thinking…there *can’t* be a happy ending to all of this.

I’m not saying this was a good way to grow up, and I like how determined Americans are, how they believe they can achieve greatness and that no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path, if they put in their best effort, they can overcome them.  That is the good side of American optimism, and a quality I admire.  I just hate to see the powerful using the innate optimism of this country’s citizens to hoodwink them.  I like Americans too much to watch this happen to them…without complaining about it.

So this is it, 2012.  This is the year when it will all end for us, or we will all get elevated to a higher level of consciousness.  I’ve heard some interpret the Mayan calendar to say that this is when “He will come”.  And of course, the Presidential election will save or end America as we know it.

So here’s to 2012 being the year of something I sorely lack in my own life – the Year of Certainty.  It will once and for all become clear who and what is right in this world.  God’s existence will be proven or disproven, especially if the year includes His arrival.  Scientists will find the God particle and we will understand why the Universe is here.  The election results, whichever way they go, will make America a great country again.  Either the free market or socialism will give everyone prosperity, security, and a job.  I will finally know what I want to do with my life.  

But naturally, none of this will happen.  Instead of coming to a swift, graceful end, our existence will continue to plod on.  There will be nobody returning to us from the clouds, and nobody at our door.  My heart will veer wildly from spirituality to cynicism, depending on how much pain it is in at a given moment.   Those damned quarks and anti-quarks will keep doing their own thing.  And I’ll keep working at an insurance company because I can’t come up with anything better to do.

Still, I wish everyone a happy doubtful and dithering 2012.  To those of you who already have the miracle of Certainty and who know that you are always correct about everything, I envy you.  For the rest of us, may the decorations on our tree be funky, our cups of chocolate mint tea steaming hot, our dogs and cats cuddly on our laps, and our blogs controversial.  Happy Holidays!