Sunday, December 10, 2017

On the radio

Yesterday I was the guest on WGHC's "Loud and Clear" which highlights the arts. Host, Alicia Hempfling and I talked mostly about this blog, how I started it, what I write about, how I started writing as a child and topics such as depression, being part of an immigrant family and the state of American politics.

I had a great time. Alicia's show is an hour long, with musical breaks, which might seem like a long time to talk with no idea of what you're going to say, but I loved it. She said there was nothing to prepare and I should just think of it as a chat over coffee, so that's what I did. Sitting in the studio, waiting for the music to end and our cue to start, I didn't even feel nervous.

Although I feel perfectly comfortable talking about most topics on my blog, there's one that is not my forte: politics. When Alicia asked me for my opinion about things in the United States, I took my time answering, saying, "This is all going to get worse...now the rest of that phrase would normally be before it gets better, but I'm not sure about that half of it, so I just think it's all going to get worse."

Later Alicia asked me about the possibility of impeachment (the process by which the House of Representatives officially documents the crimes a president is accused of, and the Senate votes on whether or not to remove the president from office). Reluctantly I gave her my prediction about how El Idiota's term will go: "I think that impeachment is not going to happen. And I think that we are going to have our first president who was indicted and will continue to serve. And I believe that he will not leave office except on his own terms."

Alicia said my words made her sad and it hit me that I'm a terrible person to ask these questions of. But it's not because I'm a pessimist, although most Americans would call me a pessimist. It's because I lack the optimism bias most people (especially Americans) have. We Americans like to look on the bright side of things, expect the best of people and believe we're going to be okay. I don't. I'd call myself a realist and even say that depressives are the true realists.

Because I know how sexist and bigoted the United States is, I told a friend in 2015, "I'm afraid that if it comes down to President Hillary Clinton or President Crazy Town, we're going to get President Crazy Town." I believed that was extremely likely and I didn't like believing that, but it just seemed like what my country would do.

So I caution everyone (and certainly all future interviewers who might talk to me) not to ask me about politics or what I expect from the future. What I expect is that the US will just go back and forth between political lucidity (such as the passage of the civil rights act) and our worst instincts, back and forth, back and forth, with no net movement forward. Here and throughout the world, people will continue to exploit and kill each other.

In crisis, some people exhibit the worst of humanity and others the best. But the worst always dominates because that side of us is more wily, more violent and more ruthless. Our worst side has nothing to lose and that’s always the more powerful position.

People say they have hope that, given enough time, humans will achieve world peace and equality for all. I remind everyone of an inevitability we think about even less than our own death: that the human race -- like all other species in our genus -- will eventually die out. And we'll die out long before we reach world peace and equality for all.


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