So I finally checked all the messages I receive from this blog, and found a litany of “Are you okay? We haven’t heard anything from you in several weeks.” I am so thankful for each and every one of you regular readers of my crazy dispatches.
We have been busy with moving across the state (down the state, really). This has curiously managed to be more complicated than moving thousands of miles to Florida in the first place. We chose to move via PODS, a company about which I have become strangely evangelical. (Sadly, all the good companies are privately held, otherwise I would take a big position in this company.) I unwisely did not order enough shipping containers for all our stuff.
Usually this is not that big of a deal, but it turns out literally all of America is moving to Florida and Texas at the moment. (And I certainly don’t blame them.) All of the shipping containers were booked for weeks, and on top of that, all of the drivers were booked out. Apparently, if you are moving from New York or California, movers are booked months out now.
So we have had to split our move across several weeks and have been driving back and forth between South Florida and North Florida to pick up stuff, meet with contractors, and all that. It has been a MESS. I am grateful that our family has the resources and work flexibility to pull this off with all the complications, otherwise I just don’t know how anyone could make it work.
And it looked like we might get a hurricane last night, but it went back out to sea at the last minute like a good storm.
So far, South Florida has been amazing. I can certainly see us staying here for a long time. On our first day in our new house, a little girl the same age as our daughter walked up to our front door with her grandmother, knocked, and asked if our daughter would be her friend. They played for hours that night and then woke up the next morning and met up again. The kids here are amazing. They climb trees and pick fruit, swim and fish in the canals, hang out in treehouses, and in general, have an enormous all-welcoming club.
On Halloween, we met another homeschooling family a street over. A pastor and his wife and their four daughters. (The first thing the pastor tells anyone is he has four daughters, a proper caveat, like it’s going to explain everything else you are going to learn about him after that.) Three of the girls are around our daughter’s age and they, too, get along famously. In addition to being homeschoolers, they are classical homeschoolers, just like we are.
A lot of folks wrote asking questions about the election. I am not sure what I have to say about the election except that I am somehow more fearful for our country than I was before it. All of the talk about blocking the distribution of a vaccine and making lists of people who supported the opposition. What is there even to say? I watched a conservative commentator on Twitter have his posts censored within seconds of posting them – that certainly looks more like they are keeping lists than they are designing new algorithms for every permutation of what they don’t want said. Social media just shut down speech about the event entirely, except for the “side” that executives supported. Even Putin doesn’t invest that level of daily interest in suppressing opposition. It’s kind of scary, but it’s also kind of pathetic.
I am glad we moved, because this otherwise would have been driving me insane. At least here our daughter gets to have a happy childhood. That has been the thing that has angered me the most about the past several years is that all of this garbage was becoming our daughter’s memories of her early life. She’s in fourth grade – the year when you are first becoming self-conscious, where you are typically taught about American history, the history of your state, the story of your ancestors. It’s supposed to be their story and the answer to the questions “Who am I? Why does what I do matter?”
Instead she’s been watching her elders devolve into talking bitterly about the American experiment, its legacy, watching folks lose their mind over cable news conspiracy theories and spew hate about the people around them. Van Jones was literally crying on CNN talking about how “it’s easier to be a parent now,” which is such a disgusting comment to make in this context, when he and his peers are the ones responsible for the tone of this country and the shameful display adults have made for children.
But honestly, conservatives are deluded if they think any of this is special. The same generation that clings bitterly to power now, against all communitarian instincts and good sense, were also the ones who declared “politics is personal” in the 1960s and 1970s. They have half a century of this division and rancor behind them. Not for thirty seconds have these folks thought about their own, personal legacy. The Greatest Generation wanted to leave something good behind. They wanted their kids to have better institutions and a better quality of life.
But when I look at Generation Z being aggressively normal in the midst of the worst, most hateful, most irresponsible power grab in recent American history, all I can think is this country is going to be just fine.
I have said this before, but Cicero, Rome’s greatest statesman, was born during a brutal civil war. His parents took him to the countryside where he focused on his education and the wisdom traditions of his people. When he came of age, he was prepared for greatness, even though fate had shit on him given the time of his birth. Even in 2016, I thought this was a great roadmap for parenthood. Fortify your child’s imagination and values and their right to a life well-lived. Let these assholes tear themselves apart in the gutter all they want, but not on your doorstep and not in your sanctuary.