Monday, February 1, 2010

in political

Some years back, WT was working on a Russian project. One day,
he got a call from one of principles of the company, telling him in
broken English that the deal was on hold. "We are in political," he
said. That's all. Just political. I can't think of a better way to sum up
the state of things. Seems we humans are always "in political".

Last week, Leah, of The Weather in the Streets, wrote an impressive
post, listing exactly where she stood politically on most of the current
issues. I admired, and actually felt a bit envious, of her candor and
confidence. Her post made me stop and wonder why, exactly, do I
steer clear of most political discussions. My eyes cross and I
invariably leave the room. I am never in political.

As I recently watched Ken Burns' The Civil War, I found myself
feeling sympathetic for both the North and the South during the
course of the documentary. My Libra scales tilt to one side, then the
other. I can often see both sides of an issue. There are times, when
there's no question, and I see totally black and white. But, for me,
many issues are gray. The scales go nuts. Maybe this is why decision
making for Libras can be so difficult. We can be sympathetic to a fault.

Before the last presidential election, I was accused in the comment
forum of one particular blog of being a "fence straddler". Well,
maybe I am. I see both sides. I like to weigh all the elements, and
when I finally do make a decision, hopefully it's a good one, now that
I'm older, and I like to think, a bit wiser. And you know what?
Sometimes, I still can't decide.

Speaking of things Russian, and civil war, the kooky photo above
is me in my Budenovka, a hat that was an essential part of the
communist uniform of the Russian Civil War. Its official name was
the "broadcloth helmet", named after Semyon Budyonny, and also
known as the "frunzenka" after Mikhail Frunze. Soft and woolly, it
covers the ears and neck, it can be worn alone or under a helmet.
It was created as part of a new uniform for the Russian army by
Viktor Vasnetsov, a famous Russian painter, who was inspired by
the Kiev Rus helmet. It reminds me of a quirky Russian version of
the Tin Man. Don't worry. I don't usually wear this one out and

I happen to love this painting by Vasnetsov called "Samolet",
depicting Ivan, of Russian folklore, riding his magic carpet
to a place where there's no political, no fences.


  1. The Budenovka seems like an eminently practical hat for Russian winters . . . and sometimes being out-of-political is called for, too.

    I tend to get too vehement and overly strident in political discussions, and I often regret it. We were living in Houston during the presidential election of 2004 and I fell out with a lot of friends!

  2. willow - politics describes the management of the outer surface of this world. in my own view, there's so much more that is real that demands our attention and care. the other day my fifteen year-old son said "dad, i wish that our army went places and solved real problems like health, and pollution, starvation, thirst and stuff like that." hmmmmm. what do i say to that? you'll find me sitting a little further down the fence from you willow. i can't see too many issues as black and white as politicians would wish. have a peaceful evening at the manor. steven

  3. I believe sitting the fence offers an opportunity to see all that goes on. Sort of like reading all the editorials to figure out where we might be - even though that may set us in a place where we sit on either side in any given topic. (I do, as a matter of fact.)

    Difficult decision to use this forum for our political beliefs or to remain in the universal. I have rangled with that. Not sure if I've chosen to remain neutral to avoid confrontation or because I don't choose to use this kind environment to go where I can go in conversations anywhere. If I truly need that discussion, I can put an anonymous blog up, if I choose, or stay true, gusty as hell, and put my name on it. Just depends on my purpose for the venture. Not needing that right now.

    Interesting topic, Willow. I thank you.

  4. I, too, avoid the political, and like you, I see life as an essay question, not a math problem. We should get together. We could enjoy a hat for its being a hat and not a symbol of anything more than its purpose!

  5. I love the hat and it is a charmer on you.

    During my 35 years working in broadcast news, I used to go crazy from time to time when I would interview two speakers on two sides of an issue. Both would make reasonable arguments for their view and I could never figure out which one was correct. (Well, almost never.) Now that I am retired, I can watch, read or just ignore, as is my wont of the day.

  6. There are two things I stay clear of in conversations, religion and politics. My faith and my political views are just that, mine. I don't push my view of either on anyone because they have every right to their view and I don't want them pushing theirs on me.I think mutual respect is what makes and keeps friendship in tact.
    Love you dear friend, great post! By the way,you look fab in that hat! :)

  7. As to armies, they serve only two purposes. One is to defend the state from other states who become too aggressive. The other purpose is to topple the government of other states. They are not useful tools for solving other problems.

    As to a passion for politics, I would put forward that some are more interested in people than causes, and will less often be "in political."

    Your balance is good, in this blog and on the fence. Straddle on!


  8. Sometimes being "on the fence" means you are giving something some thought, rather than just a knee jerk reaction based on the views of one favorite talk radio personality.

    Politics is very worldly. And ugly. Is there ugly at Willow manner?

  9. Coming from Illinois, I'm tired of all the crooked politicians in our state. One of our former governors is in prison and the last one will be going to trial soon. I don't care that much about politics, but we do need to vote the corruption out. (Love the hat!)

  10. I don't share this when blogging, but I am a liaison for a very kind and conservative US Congressman, and the rest of the hours of my day, I try to avoid in political. There is, as Steven said, so much more that is real that demands our attention. I love how he put that. Stay well.

  11. i am a mixwd bag when it comes to politics. thus my independant status. nice painting!

  12. I Guess I am a black and white person maybe 20 percent grey.
    I must have a problem about the situation of the English couple being held prisioners.I say go there and get them. Shoot those creeps and get it over with,

  13. I'm perfectly happy sitting on the left side of the fence!

  14. Whether or not we choose to be uber-political or not is our own choice.

    And Willow, I like you just the way you are.

    My extended family is extremely political and while I like listening to their discussions, I keep my own (quieter) opinion. That's just me.

    PS: I love the Russian hat!

  15. Before the last presidential election, I asked the readers of my blog how they felt about political post and several expressed dismay.

    So I refrained from getting
    political, though I suspect my views are crystal clear to readers of my books. Like you, I can always see some of both sides -- but in the end, I generally come down on the left side of the fence.

  16. Hi! Willow,
    A few interesting and nice things going on here...

    ...First,your opinion about being fair-minded.
    Secondly, All the information about the Budenovka hat.

    Thirdly,The painting by
    Viktor Vasnetsov, a famous Russian painter, who was inspired by
    the Kiev Rus helmet.

    By the way, I always have my right eye on your Netflix Queue and books that you are reading.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Take care!
    DeeDee ;-D

  17. Interesting! I'm never 'in political'. (But I'm not human, so that's to be nexpected!)

    Wonderful hat - that would be most cosy for reading, and the ear-coverings would be even more sound-proofing than the teacosy to keep out the sounds of squabbling offspring!

    I love the Emerson quote in your sidebar, Willow - my aims too!

  18. I definately relate to your issue ambivalence, willow. I too can often see many sides (not just two) and it's worse as I've aged and gained more experience (and lived in more places. I was thinking about the blogger, Leah, you mentioned...

    It's probably a good exercise to set down your positions in a clear manner but I wouldn't publish all of them. I imagine I would change my mind about a few of them given more information. I am sure about some positions. (I would say I'm committed to human rights, for example.)
    Beautiful spirited people, like you willow, have an abundance of compassion-if not political sentiment.

  19. Great hat and you look so good in it. The painting with the flying carpet is very interesting. This post makes me think of Yuri's unbelievable eyes and your Zhivago hat.
    Have a happy Sunday night, Willow ; )

  20. I vote and thats about it. This is to my shame, I guess. One things for sure, I decided a long time ago that my opinion doesn't make much difference so why get worked up and stressed or have a heart attack over something I have no control, but one vote. I don't keep up with current issues as I should. Thats why I remain quiet when discussion of politics come up. Oue sera sera! :) The Bach

  21. Interesting post and comments here.

    First of all, fabulous hat!

    Second of all, I totally respect your Libra take on things political. It makes sense to weigh things out...even to be a general that is probably better than taking a hard line, because a hard line precludes discussion and communication.

    As for me, I am still not entirely sure why I decided to post that totally let-it-all-hang-out post (it was kind of out of character for me) but surprisingly I haven't regretted it...well, not too-too much...

  22. As one who served in the "Cold War", I know exactly what he meant...and Leah did have some good points...

    ...nice hat, by the way ;)

  23. That hat reminds me of the movie about the Red Ryder BB gun... not sure of the title, but I'm pretty sure the little kid wore a hat pretty near like yours. (ha ha)

    And there's Politics and politics... one might say everything is small-p political, and the big-P politicos are the ones living in an alternate universe.

  24. I too have kept mum on all things political. You see, most all of my friends are, (republicans) of a different political ilk than mine. I am not Libran, but do see both sides. In fact, I was so filled with loathing and rage during the republican reign, that I decided to look for the good things about GW. It worked.

  25. HMMM
    Actually I like your ability to move from side to side.....I enjoyed your grandmother photo. Our grandmothers could have been related from their appearance!

  26. HMMM
    Actually I like your ability to move from side to side.....I enjoyed your grandmother photo. Our grandmothers could have been related from their appearance!

  27. Theres nothing wrong in seeing all sides - just means you will be all that more informed when you do make a decision. Great post. :)

  28. I is to be political! You to be political with me? Let's political!


    Not sure if the innuendo comes out in that, but it's there! Heh heh.

    As far as your Civil War note, I think the modern tendency to sympathize with both sides (outside of that that nasty slavery business) is why war stories, in general, have enjoyed a bit of resurgence in the last 20 years.

    I read Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain last year, and it fits your point to a T (or would be an i?)

  29. I have to watch myself when it comes to being politico. I am like Bee - a bit over the top at times. Scorpios have a hard time reigning in the passion. We can get kind of nasty with that stinger, too. My best friend is a Libra. I have no idea how she puts up with me!

  30. Great post with lots to think about! I guess I could never be described as a fence-straddler or not gently speaking my mind -- sigh.

    And I, too, love that last photo!

  31. First time I hear about the Budenovka. I can see how it would be practical in the cold Russian winters (even though, a warm woolly scarf seems to be a necessary addidition still, I can feel the icy wind blow in). Looking back at the last century and how much suffering all those wars have brought upon humanity, it feels me with sadness that people still think wars will solve problems. They are only good for those who sell weapons, from faraway lands, never to suffer from the consequences of being bombed and shot at.

  32. 'in political' is a superb phrase and I might nick it now.

    As for balance - my moon is in Libra and I constantly try to see both sides of everything - much to the annoyance of certain people who feel I should automatically take *their* side.

  33. Fascinating, and though-provoking post. Am I ever "in political". Yes, but probably with a small "p", as Politics with a large one is in a rather shoddy state at the moment in the UK.

    The Budenovka is a treasure! I have never seen one before.

  34. By a coincidence my latest post is very political. All of life is politics; sometimes it is hard to separate from morality and legality in my opinion.

  35. "Her post made me stop and wonder why, exactly, do I steer clear of most political discussions."

    I feel the same way. Politics today is like having to live in a junior-high school and never being allowed to leave. :-)

  36. Love the pic!!

    And the painting.

    Hey Willow, I LIVE in politcal! What I believe, where I stand, is that I don't know enough to say without a shadow of a doubt that THIS is correct and THAT is wrong. OK ... in the presidential election it was pretty clear, but most of the issues are way more complicated than many of us wish they were. The people who sit in Congress are public servants. I do NOT envy them or their jobs especially now when everyone hates them (for various reasons).

    You know they've discovered that hive animals, like bees and ants, are extremely political in their behavior, so we're not the only species with this problem.

    Great post.

  37. Quite an interesting post Willow. When HH and I married we were both of the same political mind. As the years go by we have come to opposite sides of the fence. I love history and read and listen to political discussions. He doesn't give it a thought. Just argues from the same old stand his father had and believe me things are not the same. I usually just keep my mouth shut when he brings it up. LOL. I can see both sides of the story too.

  38. I also stay away from poilitical discussions, primarily because I make up my mind a the last minute after researching all the data available (well, at least most of the data). But another reason is because it seems that most political discussions, I'm talking cocktail party banter here, are being conducted by people who only appear to have one side of the "facts" and I find that really annoying.

    Love you in the cloth helmet!

  39. Love the hat! Classic! I was reading your post and hadn't gotten to the part yet where you mentioned that it's because you're a Libra, when I had already deduced that that was your dilemma--trust me, I totally understand that! I ALWAYS feel like I see both sides of things. It can be a real asset at times to have that trait, but it can also be maddeningly frustrating. I love "in political." I'll have to remember that. Hahaaa!

  40. Interesting hat! I imagine that if a stranger were to go through your closets they would be hard pressed to pin-point the type of people who live in your home. hehe

    I used to be much more political than I am now. I blame it on my menopausal brain shift. So much about me has changed in the last ten years.

  41. I pretty much steer clear of them in the blogosphere as well. I tend to be fairly conservative but I can see very valid points from both perspectives...I think it is wise to listen to all sides and get all the facts before jumping in. I guess that's the difference between being objective and being an idealogue.

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  43. Hope there's room on that flying carpet for me, because I WANT OUT OF POLITICAL!!!

    It's not that I don't have opinions or can't decide what's right and wrong. It's just that one of my opinions is that all politicians are liars out for their own glory. Therefore I cannot support any of them. Therefore I am not "in political".

    No elected official will be able to force people to do the right thing in their own homes, and in their own towns, which is what needs to happen for the country to be healthy, to thrive.

    I don't believe the problems we are facing come from the outside, or that the country can be fixed like a machine, as a whole, by a mechanic/president.

    A country is made up of individuals, and sadly the new generations think that caring and doing right are the responsibility of the government. There are millions of young people who are hooked up to computers and televisions and ipods like so many robots - they are growing up unaware of the needs of their families, their neighbors...

    And our country's leaders jump at the chance to war, or to send recovery money, to other countries - to gain glory, or oil... and ignore the problems (New Orleans, for example) and needs that we have right here in our own back yard.

    Until people become human beings again, I fear the country will never be whole.

  44. I tend to be like you Willow. I can usually see both points of view. I might agree with one more, but still can accept another way of thinking.

  45. I love the photo.

    In regards to your 'in political' approach, I totally understand you and I'm with you. Like you, I write a non-political blog, although sometimes as in my latest post I have to address difficult issues. There are plenty of political fora elsewhere, so if someone is interested in politics, they know where to go. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying your photo. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  46. I hoped this post would generate some interesting comments, and you, my gentle readers, certainly never disappoint. I am thoroughly enjoying all of your thoughtful input. I know I always say this, but it's true. You are the best readers in the blogosphere! xx

  47. Hi Willow, my eyes cross most of the times too, when people begin to "discuss" politics.. I sometimes would like to be more concerned about politics, but my brain just shuts down too often, I cannot rely on it when it comes to politics:)

    I should get a Boudenovka and then would take a walk with you on a Paris Boulevard in one of the uppity neighborhoods:)

    Have a great week (I love the picture, it brings back chldhood rĂªveries)

  48. Hello Willow,

    I'm not a fence sitter but I will often play devil's advocate to put the other view. People can become rather unreasonable during political discussions, blind to anything/one that doesn't accord with their view. So I can understand why anyone would wish to remain neutral.

    I want to add how much I love seeing the glowing amber of Steven's crystal in the snow each time your blog opens!

  49. I share the exact same views as Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House. I thought I was writing that response...LOL.

    It is personal and nothing will ruin a conversation faster than talk of politics or religion. I find they are not unifiers but the great dividers of humanity.

  50. I'm often outspoken when it comes to politics. Lately though, I try to not get as involved. I'm getting older and I really do not want the high blood pressure.

  51. "We are in political" is perfect speak. I may begin using that as a catchall at work.

    Hm. Perhaps "we are in legal" would be more accurate. But that just seems kind of an adversarial way to put it!

    Pardon my presumptuousness for suggesting such a thing, but you really need to wear that hat any chance you get. That hat is better than any article of clothing ever worn by any character from Dr. Seuss.

    That's an accolade I don't dole lightly.

  52. You and I are alike on this...I always seem to see gray rather than black or white...each side always seems to some valid points and some not so valid points...
    I am not usually able to passionately take a side...a fence straddler usually... Is this good or bad I'm not sure as I only see the gray:)

    Last night I watched "The Way We Were" on TCM and was admiring Katies passion...something that I missed in the movie when I was younger...

  53. Hi Willow...tres chic headwear indeed. Wear the hat and spare the politics indeed !!!...smiling.
    I must post a photo of my headwear...worn despite the chagrin of my friends and
    Where oh where is the party that truly represents the wishes of we the people? It isn't on this side of the big pond that's for sure...sigh.
    Just put a big tick in the social democratic camp for me...
    Be good W.

  54. Dogimo, I'll do my best to follow your advice and wear this unique hat whenever the mood strikes!

  55. This picture reminds me of Lady Gaga!

  56. Hannah, you are too cute! You're gaga for Gaga! :^)

  57. I stay away from the political, and really I don't see what is wrong with being a 'fence-straddler' as you were called. Takes all kinds in the world I say, and I can often see both sides to an issue.

  58. I'm with you, Willow. On the one hand, I hate politics because the political process itself never seems to change anything. On the other, I think the IDEAS being expressed during that process are immensely important ... but it drives me nuts that because of the way politeness has been defined in the America, that vital-to-finish discussion is usually way too short and incomplete. People are afraid to admit they disagree for long enough to define terms and tease out assumptions. So each side trots out their favorite phrases, which they don't realize are mutually unintellgible to the other side and might mean nothing to casual observors.

    So you get either buzzwords, stereotypes and insults (in speeches, campaigns, and the press), or polite non-discussion (in private life).

    Sometimes I wish I'd grown up in a country where a group of friends coudl go to a cafe and drink coffee and argue politics for five hours, and enjoy it and still stay friends.

  59. Jen, that would be Ireland (the Republic, anyway). Only your wouldn't be drinking coffee.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)