A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Nearly every week in my job as a public health research specialist, I knock on the doors of 14 randomly selected households around Wisconsin and meet the people who open them.
About half of them invite me in and answer the questions I ask them about their health, their work, their environment. After 90 minutes of structured survey and a few minutes of ordinary conversation, I have a pretty good sense of the shape of their lives, of some of their hopes and fears, of who they are.
And this is the only reason I'm able to avoid being terrified about what this election season might bring.
The political ads make me furious, almost across the board, for their raw attempts to appeal to the lowest part of us.
I hear politicians promise things they can't deliver and wonder why people believe them.
One in a state level election says he'll create jobs, at the same time he says he'll get rid of jobs in education and government.
I hear "grizzly moms," fierce in protecting their own children, turning a blind eye on everyone else's children.
I see people mocking a candidate for ordinary curiosity in her past while ignoring her present lack of qualificiations for the job.
I hear businessmen saying they'll be able to get the job done, apparently unaware that congress is a democratic organization, and they don't get to issue orders and expect them fulfilled.
And I see people wanting to throw the bums out being willing to throw out the one senator who really is a maverick.
Eli Zaretsky, a professor of history at Eugene Lang College, says that we have lost hope, and that's the cause of the present political climate. It's ironic that the candidate who campaigned on hope, President Obama, is now the president of hopelessness.
Finding the truth in political claims is hard work. For one thing, the truth is usually far too complicated to be reduced to a sound bite. For another, we have to test our beliefs and assumptions when it’s easier to just go with what sounds right to us because it’s what we want to believe.
I decided to investigate Scott Walker's claim that he will grow jobs by making the climate better for venture capitalists and keeping retirees here to capitalize on venture capital.