What are you looking at?
Wednesday morning we woke with a collective “WTF?” For some, it was a happy noise. For others… not so much. As far as I can tell from exit polls, America got its coveted “I Voted” sticker by sucking it up and voting for the candidate they hated least, or against the candidate they hated most. I totally get that, since my own ballot did not contain these names:
- Mother Theresa
- Michelle Obama
- Whoever invented mojitos
Along with just about every pollster, prediction, and human I spoke to, I don’t understand what happened. But that’s nothing new. On my own blog, for example, one post which has gotten thousands of hits recently is this one about the amazing things I’m discovering as we remove several hundred years of unfortunate decorating choices from the walls and floors of our Victorian cottage on an island off the coast of Scotland. Maybe my visitors are looking for guidance from the past. Maybe they have decorating tips. Maybe they’ve already packed their suitcases and want to stay in my new guest room (once we have a few luxuries installed like working bathrooms, floors, a kitchen…).
Since I don’t know why the visitors keep coming to this particular post, I decided to look into it. (Maybe if pollsters and journalists had looked at the most popular online search terms before the election, they would have spotted the number of people querying “suck it up?” or “calendar date for #EndOfDays?” At least they might have noticed #LeastLikelyToCauseProjectileVomiting trending on twitter.)
I decided to test this theory with a quick look through the search terms that brought people to my own blog. After discounting the usual—people looking for reasons not to get married, have children, people searching combinations of sex and Taub (such as the disturbing “girl work castration fantasy”, plus several requiring eyeball bleach), people typing-while-drunk (such as the poor fellow who actually put in eleven searches for “ned womne big boobse” and must have been SO frustrated when he kept ending up at this post)—I noticed something amazing.
People are looking for inspiration. My own posts that have received the most queries, searches, and hits aren’t the book reviews, stories about my travels or my life, or my attempts at humor. Instead, the ones which have received thousands more visitors are the following posts where I talk about things that have inspired me personally (in descending order of blog visitors):
- What the past tells us [What will you leave behind?]
- What our values tell us [Through the awful grace of God]
- What our heroes tell us [Thank a Hero]
- What our friendships tell us [Oh, America]
As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ll close with a link from another post that still gets lots of visitors [We won’t leave the light on… ]:
We have a Lady welcoming all to our shores. She rose from pennies raised by French and American school children, and she raises a lamp against the darkness. She says welcome. She says that’s who we are.
Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
–Emma Lazarus, 1883
Are we really ready to turn off her lamp?