A Sharp Turn in the Road

Though I’m on FaceBook and enjoy seeing news and humor from friends and former students, there are changes I’ve been observing over the past few months that are draping an ugly shroud over that social experience.

I thought that, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic, we might all be able to lift up one another in supportive and sympathetic ways as a nation. My miscalculation in that regard has been nothing less than cosmic. The increasing rancor and division in our nation, often based upon blind party loyalty, social class, skin color, misguided and twisted religious fervor, and utter paranoia, have turned the country upside down in a vortex of suspicion. I suspect that all these reasons have been bubbling like molten lava beneath the surface of whatever social equanimity we at least thought we had before.

Composure, discussion (not wrangling), and actual reasoning seem now to be on hiatus in favor of passionate denunciation of one group or political party by another in the most insultingly simple ways. Both sides are guilty of this, but the problem is that the two sides rarely if ever anymore merge for the good of the nation, where there is terrible need amid the rage of name-calling and constant accusation hurled hourly by one party at the other…in both directions. What does this solve? “Nothing” is the correct response, friends. If Vladimir Putin himself were the puppet master (which I believe he may well be), he couldn’t be pulling the strings for his own benefit more successfully in order to encourage our self-destruction.

On FaceBook there are posts every few minutes, not of news and facts, but of stories about supposed evil plots (i.e. mail fraud, blown way out of proportion for the benefit of the current administration) that make the National Enquirer look like The Farmer’s Almanac. Much of this, of course, has to do with terrified and suspicious people who find comfort in myths about conspiracy theories, ones that are shared as “factual” instead of the absurd, dangerous lies they are. Such terror and hopelessness are, I believe,  origins and nursemaids of the terrifying “Q” phenomenon upon which history will someday look back the way we now see the appalling ignorance and horror of The Dark Ages. High emotion based upon hunches and preconceptions are being systematically tweaked and polished as actual news by those whose blind worship of our current leader in The White House couldn’t be more terrifyingly strange if it were based upon Voodoo, or secret mass lobotomies after which the scars are covered by hair and the victims continue to function, but in the most bizarre ways. The real reason for the sudden and massive changes in limiting voting rights has nothing to do with facts, but rather with fear that the current jig may be up for our current absolute monarch.  JB

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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5 Responses to A Sharp Turn in the Road

  1. Pam Ogilvie says:

    As always, John, great thoughts! Right in the money! Spot on! And I can always count on your style of writing to make me feel that you’re talking right to me. I can relate… and not feel like you’re trying to impress everyone with you vocabulary. Love ya!! Keep up the good work!
    PS. Can you begin to imagine what Bob would have said about this whole situation??

  2. Allan Dewes says:

    A Sharp Turn in the Road – A great position paper on the current state of Facebook and our country. I always enjoy reading your writing.

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