Monday, January 28, 2013
I believe the current tone of our nation was first breathed into existence with the exhalation of the phrase "politically correct." The parsing of words slowly fanned the flames of civil unrest and we're now in a new civil war... of words.The blues and the grays again, is it possible? Maybe not with musket rifles and cannons, but the division to our country through words can be as detrimental as the bloody war of 1863. Town criers push extreme agendas with rabid fervor? Their numbers are few, their ideals extreme. Yet, they claim to represent a whole group.
I'm not happy with either political party and now declare my views "dormant." Let's do a little imaginary scientific experiment. We'll pretend that blood is drawn from both non-radical political parties and injected into lab rats. Let's say the experiment goes something like this. There's a large glass-covered maze with a entrance in the middle on the side. There is a big chunky block of cheddar cheese on one end that is tethered by twine to the side of the maze. The other end of the maze has a very teeny tiny, almost invisible piece of mouth-watering buttery brie sitting so that the mouse can pick up and move at will. The door is lifted and the rats go to their perspective party dwellings. Ostensibly, the liberal rat will hit up the bigger piece, even though it's tethered and not under their control. The conservative rat will pick the other piece of cheese, small and risky, but theirs to do with what they will. Now, let's inject the rats with blood from the radical political parties. Only this time, both politically juiced-up rats get to decorate their previously meager abode. Hmm…Now the left winger mouse house has a comfy Lazy Boy recliner, big tv, cable, brie, government-issued cheddar, and pre-paid cell phone. The right winger mouse house has its conservative tiny piece of cheese, a rocking chair, 75 tiny Ak-47 rifles, a spit cup, six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a Bible. Can you see how easy it is to imagine the extremes of the parties?
Yes, there are lazy people who suck on the teats of the government. There are also wild-eyed radical antagonists. The majority of people don't fall into these categories, but by political affiliation they are classified as such. I'm not saying that we should or even could all sit on a mountaintop, drink Coca-Cola, and teach the world to sing "Kum Ba Yah." But, maybe we should concentrate more on what holds us together as Americans rather than what divides us. We shout because it's our right to do so, we shout over each other in viciousness and bitterness and anger. What kind of example are we to those who don't have a voice yet? Who are we going to blame when one of our children comes home crying because he or she didn't get invited to a manicure/pedicure party because they are a Republican or Democrat?
Recently, a friend listed her most admired character traits in people on Facebook. Someone expressed astonishment because honesty wasn't listed. I absolutely loved her reply. "Honesty is good. But I'd take all the others first. Someone who has those is not likely to be harmfully dishonest." Harmfully dishonest, I love it. Because we are all truthfully a little dishonest, aren't we? Maybe a little less truthful about our convictions than we say we are?
Let's say a family member of mine was extremely ill, and I was told that there was a treatment that would cure them. The catch? It costs $75 grand, and the procedure couldn't start without equitable proof. I am sick to death, I may lose my family because I don't have the resources to save them. But then I am told that there's a government subsidiary that would pick up the bill in this extreme situation. What do I do? Do I swallow my pride and bend my beliefs a tad to save my family? Maybe just this once. Let's say on the other hand I am a staunch advocate for peace and am totally against guns of any kind. The house alarm goes off at 1 a.m. There's an intruder in my daughter's bedroom. Do I really want to defend her with a bottle of lemon juice and a butter knife? I squirt the lemon juice at the intruder's face, he drops his Smith & Wesson, and I retrieve it just as he is lunging at me. I'm out of lemon juice. Do I shoot him in self defense to save my daughter? Maybe just this once? Are our values so staunch, so self-righteous, that we don't bend a nano millimeter either way? Or do we pick and choose our fights?
Maybe truthfully we are a little of both party and a lot of one: the human race. Note: No rats were harmed in this imaginary scientific experiment.