Ordinarily, there’s ordinary decency

I have considered the ordinary man believing myself to be one, considered the ordinary life, thinking I have lived one.

However, I’m not sure that the ordinary I am is what ordinary has become.

I’m wondering if somehow, somewhere along the way, my ordinary got lost or buried under a pile of less-than-ordinary things.

I mistakenly believed being ordinary was a simple, straightforward proposition — a little dull, perhaps — but “steady as she goes,” after all. I was convinced it was a status that would endure with little maintenance, believing ordinary would remain much the same as it has always been — pretty ordinary.

But, I have discovered — belatedly — that an ordinary state of being is vulnerable to all manner of unordinary things. I should have realized this sooner, paid closer attention — history told me this could happen.

Much of the change in what is ordinary has occurred for all the usual wrong reasons. People will do the darndest things — like kick the ladder out from under what was an ordinary lightbulb change — causing the illumination to dim.

Doing this not for the kick of it — but the dimness.

Oppositional politics — denial and demeaning — shouts in only one direction, always from the opposite orientation, leaving one of humanity’s most significant attainments ignored — the realization that all of us are wrong a good share of the time.

Take a look around.

We can ignore things from time to time and, if we’re lucky, get away with it, but disregarding an awareness of our capacity to get things wrong is not one of them. Always, it’s best to be honest with ourselves, especially about ourselves.

This self-knowledge is not an easy course; it often takes the better part of a lifetime to achieve a passing grade and arrive at the perception we are an accumulation of ever-evolving fragilities.

Look at it this way: Admitting we are vulnerable and susceptible to mistakes is like allowing truth to screw in the lightbulb, producing an illumination that minimizes dimness, and revealing occasionally — an objective fact.

The exposure to and consideration of an alternative is not an admission of being wrong; on the contrary, it’s a survival technique, because we know that, if we always have our way, we’ll make more mistakes than if we had had the benefit of other’s views from the inception.

All of which brings me to the last election.

Congressman Jack Bergman tried to kick the ladder out from under a lightbulb change.

My congressman tried to invalidate my vote, the votes of tens of thousands of my fellow citizens — his constituents, and millions of other Michigan voters by seeking to deny certification of Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes.

Bergman thought he knew better.

He didn’t.

Congressman Bergman’s decision to try to throw our votes away was based on patently contrived disinformation, much of which bordered on the bizarre. A perverted predicate now entirely and forcefully debunked by the bipartisan Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, whose report concluded:

“The Committee found no evidence of widespread or systemic fraud in Michigan’s prosecution of the 2020 election. Citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan. ”

Perhaps the fact he was a general officer in the military has had a limiting effect on Congressman Bergman’s self-awareness — it wouldn’t be the first time that has occurred.

Like most folks, I don’t have the resources to buy or directly affect legislation. The only political power I possess is my vote, a vote my own congressman tried to take away from me.

Based on a lie.

I think it’s time to give Bergman the boot, time to screw in a new lightbulb, time to eliminate some dimness.

Time to get back to ordinary — and ordinary decency.

Doug Pugh’s “Vignettes” runs weekly on Saturdays. He can be reached at pughda@gmail.com.


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