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Cancel Culture Birthed an Informed Idiot

A week before Christmas I decided to join the cancel culture craze... but in true blonde fashion, did it backward. I socially canceled myself instead of socially annihilating someone else. I think I was supposed to shame myself first or launch a campaign asking everyone to participate in silencing me??? But I misunderstood the objective and snuck out quietly without fanfare by deactivating all of my social media accounts. I abruptly cut myself off from every form of virtual announcement, no proclamation, no opportunity for goodbye.

Politically speaking, I tend to stay out of the fray and have perfected the art of scrolling past things that don’t serve me. I prefer political facts over political feelings. My mantra regarding politics has always been, “cheer for your team.” In other words, highlight why I should vote for your preferred candidate because if your only strategy is to demean the opposition I’m going to assume your candidate has no merit and you’re just a bully looking for a fight. You won’t convince me of your candidate’s ability to govern by hurling vitriol at their opponent.

I’ve survived election years on social media in the past. They’ve been ugly and brutal but I endured. This most recent election cycle had the added calamity of a pandemic… cue the intensified venom and heated debate on social media. The fun of social media was completely overshadowed by rabid toxicity and I was in danger of becoming infected. I found myself thinking less of people I once admired and wanting to abandon relationships I once valued. The thief of joy entered the virtual realm, I exited.

This self-imposed social isolation has served me well, it helped me identify triggers and develop discipline in how I react to them. It also gave me the gift of time, which I used to ponder investments...not the financial variety, but ones that yield a better return on the things I’m passionate about... relationships, communicating (via the written word is my favorite), and understanding my fellow humans. I considered ways to invest in all three that would be mutually beneficial to myself and others, and here is the result...I am currently educating myself on various aspects of politics and civics. I’m not focusing on polarity and divisiveness, I’m familiarizing myself with basics… identifying the branches of government by their specific responsibilities, understanding terms that trip me up because they make me giggle (like caucus and gubernatorial), and developing an appreciation for my individual role in all of it. I’m sharing my journey for two reasons…

1. Because I obviously didn’t retain any instruction I received on this subject during my formative years, and likely still won’t in my 50’s, so digitizing it here will provide a reference I can consult as needed.

2. Because I refuse to believe I’m the only person who feels “less than proficient” (that’s my nice way of saying, “idiotic”) on the subjects of civics and politics and perhaps some of my fellow idiots could benefit as well.

Unlike this initial post, I promise to keep my refresher attempts concise and direct. Follow along if you like.

Informed idiot lesson #1: the difference between civics and politics

Civics defines our role as citizens and how the government operates, it encompasses the aspects of government that are agreed upon regardless of party affiliation. Civics is the stuff that doesn’t change like: Congress writes laws and the executive branch enforces them, or supreme court judges are appointed but senators are elected.

Politics, by definition, is the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government. Politics affect the things that DO change, like policy. (Taxation, immigration, etc.) These are the things parties usually disagree on.