Friday, December 1, 2017

On the Road Again

It is 0625 in the morning here in Westlake Village, CA, and despite my best efforts, my body clings to Eastern time. When I woke with a start two hours ago, I tried to roll over and carry on, but ten thousand thoughts crept into my mind ("hey, you've really fallen behind on the blogging") and so I've been up and working.

I am here as I have been three years previously around this time to attend the Reagan National Defense Forum held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It is worth it to click the link and check out the agenda to get a sense of how interesting this event promises to be. At tonight's reception and tomorrow's event, the glittering stars of wonky defense Washington come here and drink each other's bath water. Last year I attended--like most others--in somewhat of a state of shock at what had happened in the election, and this (generally) right of center group met without a clue in the world at what lay ahead for the country. Trump administration folks litter the attendee and speaker list for this event, and it will be nice to finally put faces with names of people who I had generally never heard of before their nominations to office.

I flew out here on Southwest through Phoenix, with both flights on time, and full. I continue to believe there is rampant abuse of wheelchair-conveyed early boarding privileges, but of course, exposing it would be worse than the crime. And so on a flight of less than 130 seats, I watched 9 people pushed down the runway and early seated. What I found interesting was that when I exited the plane, their immobility had generally not impeded their early EXIT from the therefrom. Astonishing.

My self-imposed exile from Twitter and Facebook between Thanksgiving and Christmas continues. When I read my feed on Twitter-fed Nuzzel (which delivers to me the things people I follow link to--so I get the news/features I want without all the opinion/silliness--and when multiple people link to the same thing, they are simply aggregated under the same link--rather than a new story being posted) I often find myself impulsively thinking about a snarky or clever response, but then realize I am prohibited from doing so.

This new method of getting news created interesting fallout the other day. As I read my Nuzzel feed, I saw a story (with lots of people having tweeted about it) that said at a White House event honoring the Navajo Code-Talkers, the President had referred again to Senator Warren as "Pocahontas" . I read the story and thought to myself two things. First, that this man is such a tool. Second, that it is still pretty funny. That's it. I heard and processed the news. I rendered an internal opinion, and then I moved on to the next story. Had I been active on Twitter that day, I would have read hundreds of tweets echoing and magnifying and amplifying every side of this event. I would have read those who mocked the mocking. I would have read those who thought Warren deserves it. I would have read those who believe the President is an idiot. I would have read those who think he is a genius. But essentially--I would have gained zero additional useful information or news. I had an epiphany at that moment. This is how normal people (those not Twitter addicted) live their lives. They watch the news on TV or they read content on the web, they form an opinion on it, and then they go walk the dog. I need to be more of a normal person. This Twitter exile is helping with that.

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