Zach's PEN #24: An Honest Reckoning

2021 Week 1

Hey PENpals,

What a week.

I wrote about my reaction to the events (really my reaction to the reaction to the events, which is pretty much the same reaction as every reaction for the past 5 years):

I've really been struggling to find the right metaphor to frame how a civically-oriented person can make sense of the total failure of our institutions that has led to this. All I see from the other side is verifiably false information and hatred and accusations of hypocrisy on my side (some of which are true).

All I see from my side is blanket judgment of all 74 million people who voted against Democrats as stupid and abominable. And every step, every struggle drops us deeper into the quicksand, with more anger and fiercer declarations about how bad the other side's voters are.

While there's no doubt this is a new low, I try to feel my feelings but keep my attention on ways to fix the problem, and the answer cannot be that 74 million people are evil monsters. Sorry. I've met many of them and they are not that.

And as Americans, we need to remember that precisely this phenomenon is happening all over the world right now. A complete breakdown of trust in any shared institutions or frame/set of facts. I'm sorry, but Donald Trump didn't create that. He just exploited it. And now we've got some 20%-25% of America cheering on the attempted murder of congresspeople and the vice president...

Anytime there's a phenomenon this big and widespread, it's a total cop-out to blame it on individuals. Our leadership has completely failed. They're the leaders, the ones we give the power to solve our problems, and they keep lying and cheating and scheming and covering their own asses and now here we are.

Here are the rest of the threads I wrote this week, with the nerd-o-meter rating (a post every single day again, and I worked out every day too!).

How to roll your Rs πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

The Cobbler’s Dilemma πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

John Roderick, Friend and Stranger (my thoughts on β€œBean Dad”) πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Twitter as a National Park πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Unjustify Your Next Action πŸ€”πŸ€”

Airtable’s Missed Opportunity πŸ€”

Also, here’s my single tweet reaction to my old home state’s two Senate race wins:

Anyway, I'm doing well, and I hope you are too. Our steam oven is finally working (we had an electrical issue when it was originally installed). It has so many amazing features and I'm excited to play with it.

I'm planning to get back into photography here soon (I've gotten totally out of the habit and I miss it). Sorry for the lack of baby pictures in recent months. Some really cool stuff coming.

Much love, PENpals,