Monday, September 19, 2016


I have come to dislike certain words during the sixteen months that I’ve been working as an editor.

One word that has earned my great disdain is “obviously.” When I come upon it, I delete it, because if something is obvious, you don’t need to point out that it’s obvious, because it’s obvious. Once I’ve deleted the word, I often delete the entire sentence, because if something is obvious, there’s no need to say it, which should be obvious.

There’s another problem with the word: one person’s “obviously” is another person’s “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

That observation brings me around, unfortunately, to the presidential election.

There are in my circle of relationships many people who say, “Obviously, we can’t let Donald Trump become president.” In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I say that, too. We find it ludicrous that anyone would even consider voting for him.

To me and to others, it’s obvious that Hillary Clinton is much to be preferred to Donald Trump.

But it’s not obvious to lots of other people, including many that I know, respect, and love. They say, “Obviously, we can’t let Hillary Clinton become president.” They are confounded that anyone would choose to vote for her.

From my perspective, the criticisms of Trump are accurate while those of Hillary are overblown. 

But that's not my point.

From my point of view, those who think like I do are right, while those who don’t are wrong.

But that’s not my point, either.

My point is that what’s as plain as the nose on your face to some people is as incomprehensible as dark matter to others.

I wonder why that is.

Sometimes I think that it’s because of differing backgrounds and experiences. While I do think that can have a lot to do with it, I’m also aware that many people whose backgrounds and experiences are similar to mine have a different sense of the obvious than I do. 

So I don't know why what's obvious to you isn't obvious to me, and vice-versa.

It seems to me that, for those of us to whom the choice is obvious, regardless of which option is obvious to us, the die is cast.

We’re going to vote for Hillary.

You’re going to vote for Trump.

That’s just the way it is. We may as well stop yelling at each other. We’re not going to change your minds, and you’re not going to change ours.

We can better use our time and energy trying to figure out how we’re going to proceed after the inauguration next January, because no matter who gets elected, she or he is going to preside over a badly divided nation in a horribly conflicted world.

We're going to have to find a way to work together, or we've had it.

Obviously .

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