Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No common ground

No.  As a matter of fact, we can't just get along.

The media likes to pound this drum.  "People are tired of partisanship."  And maybe they are.  But the political divide gets wider and wider by the day.  They decry our beliefs as "socialist" and we decry theirs as "fascism."  And no amount of hand-wringing by the generally uninformed or uninterested is going to make this go away.  We possess completely different world views.  We have completely different road maps to the future.  (Especially since their particular road map leads to a single weekend in 1952 where "men were men and women just shut the fuck up already.)"

Partisanship isn't really the problem, though the media wants us to believe it is.  They like being able to exacerbate the difficulty, and then say "hey, why are you such partisans?"  Maybe it's because we see the world in that handbasket and are trying desperately to get it out.

That's one of the differences between so-called "conservatives" and liberals.  Conservatives look at the world, imagine an idealized past that never was, and say to themselves--and everyone else--that the world is "going to hell in a hand basket."

A liberal, on the other hand, thinks the world started out that way and it's our job to figure out how to get it out.  It seems like every time we get close, some authoritarian asshole shoves it back in and jabs a thumb in our eye.

The right wingers like to use terms like "freedom" and "liberty," but it's clear to anyone willing to pay attention that they don't really mean them the way we liberals would.  In general, it's the "freedom" and "liberty"of those with money and power to use that money and power to get other people to do what they want.  It's never about the freedom of those with no money or power to live without fear of going hungry, or going deep in debt because of a surprise medical condition, or losing their homes because they trusted the wrong bank.  Right Wingers put ideology before people, put artificial institutions before human beings.  It's more important that a business isn't put out than its neighbors be guaranteed they're not spreading poison across the landscape.  Profit before people.  Always.

They use the term "socialist" as if it were a club, swatting down anything they don't agree with like Captain Caveman bringing down a fly.  Well, except for Glenn Beck, who seems to use "socialist" and "Nazi" as if they were interchangeable.  They're not, and everyone but the most rabid right winger knows it.

I almost regret making the attempt to reach out.  In response I had someone tell me he fantasized about kicking my teeth in.  Because nothing says "I'm right" better than threatening violence against those with whom you disagree.  Of course, that's the whole idea behind their "second amendment solution."  Or, as some of us like to refer to it, "fucking treason."

They've got politicians and pundits who think it's okay to dress up in Nazi SS regalia as a "re-enactment."  Except, well, they don't even have the excuse that the civil war buffs have.  If you're dressing up as a Nazi, you're pretending to be a bad guy.  At least one can argue that some (if not most) of the kids in confederate gray were just that--rural kids who didn't know any better.

The Republicans deny the possibility of human-caused climate change (and even if we're not changing the whole damn environment, we're certainly pouring toxic substances into the earth, air, and water.  Hard to believe they don't recommend feeding tuna to children more than once a week because of the mercury levels).  Why is it that we've had to fight them every step of the way to give our children clean drinking water and air that's breathable without mechanical assistance?  Because it might get in the way of profit.

They think their religious beliefs should trump freedom when it comes to the right of gays to enter into marriage contracts with the person of their choosing--even though they have no reason to oppose it other than it offends their religious sensibilities.  They certainly wouldn't want any other religion to dictate to them what they could and couldn't do--why should they have the "special right" to do it to the rest of us?  They equate gay relationships with bestiality, child molestation, and necrophilia, all the while ignoring the great big Catholic elephant in the room.  As long as they oppose gay marriage, stem cell research, and abortion, all the child fucking in the world won't turn the right wingers against their allies in the Church.

They say they're afraid of a "ground zero mosque," and cower in terror at the notion of "Sharia law" being enacted in the United States.  Don't worry, you yahoos--we'd oppose that as stridently as we oppose your attempts to overthrow the natural order with your religious fanaticism.  We'll take our government secular, if you don't mind.  Come to think of it, we'll take it that way whether you mind or not.

So you folks are perfectly welcome to continue believing the Earth is only 6000 years old, that the Bible is literally true, that gays are an abomination (but eating shellfish or wearing polyester isn't), your brand of Christianity is better than any other brand, opposing gay marriage isn't exactly like opposing interracial marriage back in the day, and that there's a secret society of gay European socialist Muslim atheist scientists trying to take over the U.S. and put you in FEMA internment camps (where you secretly believe we should be putting Hispanics), but don't expect us to listen to this drivel without laughing at you.

Seriously--if the premise of your conspiracy theory begins with "there's a vast group of scientists..." you've already lost the battle.

And to all you middle-of-the-road moderates out there?  If you actually think that people who believe this shit are in any way equivalent to those of us who believe science is as much about asking questions as answering them, that we may gain as much from cooperation as from competition, that it's good to regulate how much poison corporations can put in our air, water, and the earth itself, illegal immigrants should be treated like people rather than animals on the wrong side of a fence, we should actually have to prove someone's a terrorist before we lock them away until the end of time, and that drilling in the ocean without suitable safety measures in place is pure stupidity, then you're as fucking daft as they are.  If you don't see that it's unconscionable to take away a safety net for the most vulnerable even as our wealthiest citizens are raking in the money hand over fist... You're not part of the solution... you're a major part of the fucking problem.

One thing's for certain.  The only common ground we can find is in the middle of a swamp, three inches under water, and in the middle of a nest of breeding alligators.  That's not common ground.  That's a killing field.

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