We Need a Time Out

18 Apr

I’m really worried about this schism in the US.  We have the Right and the Left and each group is far too busy beating up on the other to work together and get some work done.

For the sake of argument, let’s anthropomorphize them a bit (and, admittedly, simplify things).

Righty is white and male, fundamentally Christian.  He believes that the ills of society are due to an erosion of values and excess government influence.  He doesn’t want his taxes wasted, and since he feels that the government, by definition, cannot use his tax money wisely, he’d rather not pay taxes at all.  The only thing that seems to make sense for taxes to pay for is defense; everything else is socialist coddling of the weak.  Corporations must be strong to feed the economy, and if you can’t make it, well, that’s your problem.  He sees the other side as elitist, bleeding heart snobs who want to take his money and throw it away on loser criminals who will ruin society.  He’s pretty sure he’s got it figured out and everything would be just fine if that Lefty idiot would just listen to him.

Lefty is a woman, minority of some kind.  She went to a small, women’s college and honestly doesn’t go to church much, if at all.  She believes that the ills of society are due to heartless corporations who care about nothing more than money and small-minded bigots who want to tell her what to do.  She wants her tax money to help people, even if it doesn’t always work out.  She is impressed with the potential of the government and has faith that its programs will make the world better.  Everyone gets the same opportunity, and if you don’t like the way someone’s living their life, well, that’s your problem.  She sees the other side as stupid, closed-minded sheep who are either duping the lower middle class or allowing themselves to be duped.  They want to institute a fascist government where everyone must conform to their model.  She’s pretty sure she’s got it all figured out and everything would be just fine if that Righty idiot would just listen to her.

And that seems to be all we want to talk about.  Every statement I see from either one of these two may have a passing reference to an actual issue, but it’s a thin note wrapped around a huge brick that each is throwing into the other’s window.  And no one can get past it.

The example that made me want to go hide under the bed was this article I read about the new movie The Fountainhead.  Now, it’s a movie.  Not a budget, not a constitutional amendment, not a war.  A movie.  And we can’t even talk about if the movie is good or not without getting caught up in this viscous ad hominem debate that we just can’t seem to get enough of.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/04/rightbloggers_o_15.php

I, for one, am getting tired of it.  And it needs to stop, because it leads to Very Bad Things.  The rhetoric is already getting violent (on both sides).  And while we’re playing Punch Buggy, serious problems are going unsolved.

I still have my opinions on how things should be done, and disagree strongly with some other opinions.  And that definitely needs to go on, and be aired.  But we need to stop and find a way to do it without making it a “that Righty idiot” or “that Lefty snob” issue.

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