Monday started out oddly; while waiting to pick up my meds at the Kaiser Clinic pharmacy, I felt a terrific thump on my back. Turning around, I saw that the man behind me had fainted and slumped into me. The man behind him was holding on to him, and I grabbed the collapsing guy under his armpits and held him up. Within 30 seconds five medical personnel were there putting him in a wheelchair and taking his vital signs. He was OK, just had not eaten breakfast, it appeared, and I wasn't hurt.
So then I did a little recreational shopping at a craft store and then went over to the Senior Center and had a long talk with a cohort, who is (guess what) voting for Bernie and delighted that our Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has quit the DNC in order to back his candidacy. Like almost everyone in my social world here, she is gaga for Bernie, " I trust him" and so on.
We talked for quite a long time and I was able to ascertain that she had put everything out of her mind about Reagan, the Gulf War, the Bush years, the Iraq War, 9/11, New Orleans, and when I mentioned these things she said, impatiently, "Well that was then." She had some faint memories of Perot and NAFTA. On the subject of Medicare she said, 'Well now I'm eligible for Medicare, so I'm getting all these tests. I wouldn't do it otherwise." She is ten years younger, than I am, so maybe she never experienced functioning institutions but more or less depended on herself and a few people who could do favors for her. I have a feeling that she was well off once upon a time. That's how she strikes me anyway. She seemed anxious; strangely enough she said, "Well, I guess these are the end times." It was then I realized that the rational part of her thinking just wasn't there, for all her intelligence and creativity, which are considerable, I have to say. At odds with her ideology of forgetting the past and living in the present, her worries about the future were evident, money worries especially.
I told her about my Buddha Board art. When I said I took photos of the board and put them on my computer she said, "Stop. Stop right there. That misses the whole point. It's supposed to just disappear. You are supposed to be living in the moment." Well that is true in a sense, but it's a tautology. You live in the moment because you live in the moment. When else can you live?
There are so many old hippies like her in this town, and they are just as cliche ridden as any other group I've known. Fun, brave, etc etc. for sure, innocent. Live for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. But I could be French. I like to think things out and am wary of enthusiasms, even my own. As a matter of fact, whenever I feel attracted to an idea, I think, "All right, is this really a good thing or are you just kidding yourself?"
But people are over the moon about Sanders, just as they are for this candidate:
As to Sanders and his record, she said, "Well, I like him. He's honest." Aside from that and knowing he was the Senator from Vermont she had no information. She liked it that Tulsi Gabbard was backing him. She did not know anything about Gabbard either. But she knew how she felt about Bernie.
Now I'm reading Blessed:A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, by Kate Bowler, which Jan Adams mentioned on her blog. We used to laugh at the " Holy Rollers" and people, in general, who believed things that were so obviously not true, such as that you could influence events with your thoughts or be rich and healthy by having the right kind of relationship with Jesus. We did not understand that this was not really Christianity as we have understood it traditionally but a new and powerful religion, one with an internal dynamic that knocks out higher cognitive functions in favor of grandiose fantasies. Now I understand why the people I've known along the way who believe in the prosperity gospel are immune to facts, and I can see how this dynamic has affected even Americans who are not religious or who don't belong to those groups.
Blessed is the kind of book that explains this social phenomenon as sociology and not as opinion or in terms of personalities, even, beyond stating the facts. It takes no sides and avoids sensationalism; it is relentlessly analytical and damning enough on that basis. It's real scholarship, in other words, and well worth the $15.00 download onto my Kindle. Americans should all know about this stuff and have it explained in just the terms that Bowler does. When I'm done I'll write a review.