mardi, février 19, 2008

Again with the Hate

Hate has come up before. It caused a little stir. Little being the operative word. So before launching into the realm of the taboo again, let us first clarify.

By "hate" I do not intend to imply the pejorative virulent detestation, but rather hate defined as the bile brought into the mouth as someone displays that special brand of stupidity which makes the stomach churn. When such is churned into one's mouth, one can either swallow it back, or spit it out.

I choose to spit it out. Is there a better purpose for the blogosphere?

Now, before lumping this page in with the angry screeds that populate blogs of the so-called political activists (whose activisim consists of blindly aligning themselves to one side of the argument and throwing up all over the other side without argument) please understand the following: At the heart of it all, I care only about one thing. YOU. Not some movement in which I feel invested and from which I derive my life's sense of purpose. Not some conviction that what is said here will accomplish some wide-spread social change. These are the dreams of idiots. The only way to do them justice is to mock them, where they are insignificant, and fear them where they have somehow achieved a degree of influence. As for me, I care about you as an individual. You are not someone who needs to be enlightened. My opinion is, hopefully, only there for you to care about or not.

And as long as you know I care, we can move on to the matter at hand.

I have hate in my mouth for some of you. Not all of you. Just the stomach-churningly stupid ones. During an election year, as the patience wears especially thin, partisans of all stripes arise and remind us that we need not tire of repeating: IF YOU THINK ONE OF THE CURRENT MAJOR AMERICAN POLITICAL PARTIES IS SUPERIOR TO THE OTHER, YOU ARE EITHER STUPID OR YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION. That being said, it might be of value to observe, having been privileged to associate closely and often with individuals and groups from both sides of the aisle, that LIBERAL DEMOCRATS and those who ride their coat-tails, are without any doubt the most self-righteous, self-important, smugly judgemental group on the current American landscape. Should they continue on their current course, they will equal the so called Christians left over from the 1800's who have been justifiably marginalized into the geographic confines of the bible belt.

Allow me to illustrate.

We honeymooned a the luxurious 7 Gables Inn, in Monterey, California. Staying at a bed and breakfast means sharing the table with other guests. During our stay we had the opportunity to break bread with at least four different couples, who, one might glean from the conversation, spanned the political spectrum. The only, and I repeat the ONLY couple who insulted, who in fact who went OUT OF THEIR WAY to insult people with whom they differed, were the smug liberal couple from Oregon. Of course they waited until there was no one to dispute them. (I guess I came off as one of them. and why not?) Until the conversation turned political, they were a delightful couple. Let me ask then: Why would otherwise pleasant, intelligent people want to leave such a bad taste in your mouth? I didn't want to draw a conclusion then, but as that experience has repeated itself in various forms over the course of the last twelve years (yes, I've been married that long), I have been forced into one: They are dismissive and condescending because their beliefs require them to be.

Don't you dare conclude that I haven't noticed similar behavior on the other side of the fence. Believe me I have. But with nowhere near the acidity and frequency. And don't get me wrong, a vicious partisan of any party represents an equally annoying evil. But I believe with absolute certainty that my experience, which can, admittedly, represent anecdotal evidence at best, will be born out by any neutral observer.

Ann Hood writes a column for a major Newspaper. Therein, she recently described the socio-emotional turmoil that came upon her when she fell in love with a (gasp) republican, and had to face the very acrimonious reaction from the people she calls friends. "How can you stand it?" they ask. "How dare you?" they implied. I could find no such story from the other side of the fence. The only corrolary was that, the bloated Rush Limbaugh seems to have discussed it, as the article was linked to his site. Apparently, he has dated quite a few "liberal" women. My surprise was not that he dated outside of his camp, but that he dated at all. I was NOT surprised, however, to find out that never once did his friends and/or family exhibit any disbelief or disapproval of whom he might be dating. They were, astonishingly, only interested in his happiness. (If I have your story wrong, Mr. Limbaugh, forgive me. I don't have time to listen.)

It goes on and on. These are people who see a one sided mockumentary and think themselves armed to debate. These are people who get their news from the Daily show and call themselves informed. They come to me and say, "Canada is a medical paradise." And when I tell them that, having lived there for two years, I can state a hundred personally observed cases to the contrary, they assume that I pray to a statue of our dullard president every night. These are people who, having never lived anywhere but the U.S.A, and having prospered and thrived for many years, decide they have to raise children overseas. They'll say, "I want them to speak another language." Admirable. "We want to expand our horizons." God love them for it. But when you really engage them, probe their motivations, you get to the bottom of it: "The people here are crude and politically ignorant. Only in Europe can we find people equal to our level of sophistication." When I say, "people are the same everywhere. You're not going to find anything really different," they jump to the conclusion that I am one of the people they are running away from. These are people who, having long ago turned up their nose to the idea of religion, fill the void of larger meaning and sense of purpose by proselytizing people to their convictions like the missionaries they mock. These are people who, caught in rush hour traffic, rail about birth rates and global warming and SUV's, rather than just turning up the radio and enjoying life at a slower pace for a few minutes. When I point out that I don't need traffic to have a bigger meaning, they assume that I hate mother earth.

If you are assuming that because of my current theme I am a conservative wonk, you are probably one of the idiots I'm talking about. If anything, I want to purge both sides of this risible ilk. If I've chosen lefties, it is only because my experience indicated that the condescension on that side was a bigger, more venomous target.

I used to believe in a distant past where politics was about government. Because of this, I had hope for a distant future where people can differ idealistically, but still understand the wealth of common ground available. There is enough to go around. Now I don't know if either of those concepts is tenable.

When he asked "what is the difference between the two parties?" I tried to simplify it for my son. "Democrats, the left, or liberal side, believe in a stronger, more expansive government, and that government is the answer to many problems. They are necessary, and in some cases correct. Republicans, the right, or conservative side, believe in a restricted, more limited government, and that the primary responsibility lies with the individual. They are also necessary, and are in some cases correct. The two sides balance each other out, and insure that we have a government that is just, and can never rise to the level of opression."

Now I look around and see, even from what I just read, how foolish this was. Both sides are full of clubs and cliques and crazies who attach the idea of their political affiliations to a lot of ridiculous places. The result is an acrimonious bureaucratic and philosophical gridlock that opresses us all.

And yes, I hate it, and all those who propagate it. I don't expect them to change. I don't need them to see my side of it.

Because now that I've spit that out, I can go back to earnestly enjoying my prosperous life in a pet free house, in a town where the population is lower than the elevation, in a country where sitting in rush hour traffic means only that I was too stupid to avoid it.

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