The World’s Watching

I had something else scheduled for today, but given yesterday’s insanity, that is pushed.

There’s a psychology term that is sometimes thrown about, a monkeysphere. This is the outer limit on the number of people with whom you can empathize as individuals. Outside that number, it’s not that you don’t care about them, it’s just really hard to get there.

Like if your 8yr old kid was making sweaters for a company, you would take issue. But if that kid is halfway around the world, then that sweater is a great bargain! It’s not like there’s a tag on that thing that says “hey, this is made by child labour”. People are just ignorant of something unless its in their backyard – it’s work to care.

When your monkeysphere is made up of similar people to yourself (e.g. an echo chamber) then those outside that sphere are hard to relate towards. Sometimes that builds resentment. There’s an infamous clip of two very rich people guessing the price of common grocery items. Where some people have trouble putting food on the table, others have trouble keeping track of their millions. There’s no way for someone like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk to have any concept of this. Both of them are not self-made, both of them took hundreds of thousands of dollars from their parents to “build their dreams”. Same goes for someone in the rural parts of Georgia… they have next to nothing in common from someone in urban California.

I’m not excluded. I can’t relate to being a visibility minority because I’m not. As a white male, I’ve been given every opportunity to succeed, regardless of my low-income housing beginnings. I try to be conscious of that bias and work entirely on merit, but cripes there are days where it’s not easy.

Yesterday appears to be a day where one group disenfranchised from society were supported by the highest office in the US to march. The world got to watch the supposed beacon of democracy fail on its basic elements. I for one was not at all surprised by the events, it’s been pretty clear that this was a logical step in the process. And not the last one either. On the one hand, I’m happy it happened because this releases some pressure and forces people to look in the mirror. On the other, it’s an interesting quirk that had these people not been white, we may not have seen barriers opened by the police or selfies being taken. Again, another look in the mirror for the US.

The wife and I watched with a lot of interest. It appeared that some decorum had been found in the senate, with only 1 person with greater aspirations continuing to press a dead point (dead in the sense that its entirely outside of their power to manage, as was made clear). The house though, wow. That’s clearly a group that despises each other. The whole thing looks like an episode of Jerry Springer. That’s the leadership team.

I do get that some people are going to say “they don’t represent me”. As a group they may not, but the person you voted for does. That’s the whole point. Maybe it’s the lesser of two evils? I’m sure everyone has their own justification, but again that whole mirror thing.

As we continue to watch from the outside, the question is what’s next for the US? Or maybe, who’s next given that the best of us can’t make it work. Shitty start to the year, that’s for sure.

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