regaining perspective

Lately I have been spending time on Facebook. I've had an account there for a long time, but recently I have made connections a bunch of people that worked at Detection Systems, Inc. during the 1980's and early 1990's - I was there from 1980 through 1995. After I left, the management sold the company (that they had built from nothing into a highly respected manufacturer of high-quality fire and intrusion detectors and control systems) to Bosch. All of their manufacturing eventually moved overseas while the engineers and designers remained in the U.S.

During DSI's heyday - the years when I was there - we were like an extended family. My first eight years were spent in the stockroom, so I knew folks at all levels of the company, from top to bottom. Almost everyone I was friends with has moved on, whether by choice or through downsizing; through Facebook I can get a peek into what has happened to my "cousins" since we parted 15 years ago. Who looks old, who looks surprisingly good, who looks very different, who looks the same.

Then I started clicking on the Facebook "Like" button on certain web pages that I would previously have simply linked to here. Some were merely humorous, others were potentially inflammatory to persons of particularly right-wing beliefs.

That didn't last very long. It dawned on me that I was beginning to spam my friends with politically charged opinions, and that the desire to avoid that was the original impetus behind this blog.

Before I started blogging, I was emailing political screeds to practically everyone in my address book. It didn't feel right. I sought another outlet, and found Blogger.

A couple of days ago I received an email from a very good friend from high school and early adulthood. It was pretty funny, but as I scrolled down for the punch line I was shocked. A photo of Michelle Obama was right next to a picture of a chimpanzee and they were both making the same face.

This really pissed me off for a minute or two, until I remembered how mercilessly those of us on the left picked on George W. Bush for exactly the same thing. There is a website called The Smirking Chimp, named of course after the phrase we used to describe Bush, not to mention web pages devoted entirely to comparisons by the dozen between Dubya and various chimpanzees.

But it didn't start with attacks on Bush, either. The same "physical comparison attacks" were made against Abraham Lincoln.

Turnabout is fair play.

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