Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Imperfect Saviour.

I was just reading this essay by Michael Pollan and it reminded that Obama as a Senator has been very supportive of farm subsidies for Illinois factory farms. Which is bad. (Probably anyone reading my blog knows this already, but just to summarize: factory farming, enabled by federal farm policy which includes huge subsidies for farmers who grow massive amounts of corn, has wrought havoc on the energy-food supply cycle, leading to more pollution and less nutritious food, among many other problems.)

Anyway, being reminded of something negative about Obama actually felt reassuring to me. He's not perfect, he's not our saviour. But he is a man who listens and responds to reality, and I think that's the essence of the "change" we all keep talking about. Knowing there is an issue I disagree with him about makes me feel more engaged. There's a conversation. Democracy is supposed to be a conversation, isn't it? (The closest I've gotten to a dialogue with the Bush administration has been shaking my head and saying "unbelievable.")

The other area of disagreement I have with Obama -- regarding war -- seems very different to me. Somewhere deep in my heart I'm a pacifist. But I am able to somehow reconcile that deeply-held conviction with a kind of philosophical distance from some military action.

For instance in the case of Osama bin Laden. Even though I find killing people morally repugnant, I understand the need for justice. When Obama says "we'll take him out," something deep in me reacts with sadness and horror. But at the same time I understand how killing Osama bin Laden in exchange for him having killed thousands of people may be necessary to restore balance, or justice. I know this is intellectually incoherent.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Thing About Cats.

It's bedtime, but J's cat Timmy is asleep on my bed and I don't want to disturb him. That's the thing about cats.

I slept till 9 this morning, so I'm not really sleepy anyway. I've adjusted to low-level sleep deprivation since going back to school. Actually I kind of like it. If left to my own devices I'm one of those people who need a lot of sleep. At least 8 hours, and 9 is even better. But on the other hand if I have to be somewhere in the morning I like to get up at least 2 or 3 hours before I have to leave the house so I can be fully awake when I need to be. And I hate feeling rushed in the morning. So these days, 6 or 7 hours is about all I get.

Timmy rarely hangs out with me, except when J is out of town, and J is out of town this weekend. That's one of the advantages of living together but not being a "couple": everything doesn't have to be ours. Some things can be mine, some things can be his. Like the cat. I get all the nice things about living with a cat -- companionship, entertainment, rodent control -- without any of the responsibility. Except when J is out of town.

J and I used to have a bunch of cats. Two of them were his, and two of them were mine. And all four of them were ours.