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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's a "Them" in the Mirror.

I’m going to be honest here, I don’t know how funny I can be today. Dangerboy is fed up. I suppose I should know better by now.

I recently clicked on a political post thinking I’d find some political humor. On a site filled with humor by people I enjoy, where one would reasonably assume such humor is featured, I found a hate-filled piece of drivel. I’m not going to put a link here, because I disagree with the entire premise of the post. Suffice to say, it prompted me to exlcaim: “Enough is enough.” Seriously.

I am sick to the gills of the wild hyperbole that makes up our current political “debate”. How can we hear each other when we’re so busy screaming?

Source

There’s just no entering into a rational political conversation these days. It’s like petting a unicorn, it ain’t gonna happen. There’s no reason to be had. You have to dig through a haystack of half-truths, damn lies, and skewed statistics to find the needle of truth.

It seems you can’t be anything right now without somebody actively hating you. I can’t be Republican, because that makes me a “woman hating greedy Nazi”. I can’t be a Democrat, because then I’m labeled a “baby killing peacenik Nazi.” I can’t be part of the tea party, because I’m a “racist Palin-worshipping Nazi.” And yet there are women Republicans, Democrat generals, and a brilliant black man named Herman Cain delivering addresses at Tea Party rallies to thunderous applause.

People claim those examples are the exceptions to the rules, but I say there is a deeper truth we can find. Painting with a broad brush gets that paint all over the trim. It’s sloppy. It’s inaccurate. And it ends up putting a label on an entire group of people which only a small number deserve.

Gang, I’m pretty sure that we don’t have a ton of Nazis running around the country. Indiana Jones would have already knocked them all out. But somehow, people who are normally rational human beings start frothing at the mouth screaming “the enemy” about fellow Americans who just have a different opinion on some issue or another.

Well I’m done with it. Whatever political leaning you have, dangerous or otherwise, the “other side” is probably just another citizen, just another human being, who has different beliefs on an issue or two. The faces on the TV are not us, they are the bookends of a wide range of us.

I’m done with this whole “holier than thou” party affiliation. Politicians have played politics since governments were first formed, and the game is old indeed. It has been called corrupt since the time of Plato. Why should anybody think “their side” is any different?

While I’m at it, let me fire a shot at a group of people who drive me batshit insane. I am done with one-issue voters. Gun control, abortion, party affiliation, immigration, climate, protecting the mating grounds of the left-handed opossum, whatever. It is not our job as voters to vote so we win our one issue, it is our job to select the politicians who will best run the country we share. We forgot that. I’m asking that we all remember it.

I’m also done with the corporate shills we call politicians. Let me make an example here. I’ll show one issue, from two sides of an aisle.

A Republican made a speech about how gambling is destroying American families, and attached the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to a Safe Ports bill that pretty much had to pass. This pretty well outlawed online poker. In speeches, he claims he's protecting family values. But when you look at his campaign records, he received a very large donation from a corporation that runs casinos. Hypocrite much?

A Democrat talked about how gambling should not be outlawed, how it is up to personal choice. He introduced legislation to legalize online poker, but to tax it and of course to favor American companies, and one in particular that gave his campaign a very large donation: the same corporation that donated to the previous politician. Less hypocrisy, perhaps, but embracing the same corruption.

Neither of these men were championing the “people.” They were both championing a company that gave them money, while they claim to champion the people. But whenever you follow the money, true allegiances are revealed. “Our side” really isn’t our side at all. They’re in a completely different game than you and I are playing.

Why on earth are we screaming at each other about how much the other side sucks, instead of discussing the issues and creating solutions? We can do it, if we’ll stop looking at our politicians as captains of our freaking sports team. It’s not about winning, it’s about making a better future for our children.

Did you know that George Washington warned us about this very situation? He knew that “us vs them” party politics was a danger to our very way of life. This quote from his Farewell address in 1796: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”

A “frightful despotism” exists. We hear this every day. CNN vs FOX. Dem vs Rep. Obama vs Bush. Us vs Them. We are “them.” They are “us.” We don’t even disagree on as many things as you may think.

Please, please, the next time your thoughts move you to condemn an entire half of the country as stupid, hateful, violent, or as “the enemy”, do yourself a favor. Look in a mirror. Realize that the other half of the nation is YOU. I did, and I feel better for it. I’m not perfect, not even close (just ask Wifefish!), but I do want to be a good example to my son, and that means being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

We can resist the us vs. them mentality, and more importantly, we can communicate this to our servants, the politicians. We can change this, if we will treat each other with respect. I cannot hate you, for you are me.

I’m not saying we need to all hold hands and sing songs while we roast s’mores…I’m saying we need to tone it down and listen to one another. Take the time to look beyond headlines, and talk to one another. Forget the labels, and communicate.

The future we leave to our children depends on it.




If you agree with me, even a little, I'm asking you to click the button and share this. Together, we can make a difference.

Those of you who follow me from afar (I'm looking at you Australia)...are your politics this screwed up?

21 comments:

  1. Hi Danger,
    I had the same meltdown a while back, and found some funny photos to go with it. Check it out.

    http://alotoflayers.blogspot.com/2010/10/eithereither-neitherneitherlets-call.html

    It is true that the majority of us are all in the middle where reasonableness exists, but we are also all too busy living our mundane lives to shout about whatever from every CNN rooftop. I am a registered Republican (almost have to be in WY) with the heart of a liberal and I dislike the tea baggers movement for the most part. So here I am, in my own little political world, looking for some common sense. Want to be the Mayor of this town?

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  2. Amen! Plus, you did have a slight success on the "being funny" front: "protecting the mating grounds of the left-handed opossum" was good.
    To answer your question at the end, from what I've seen in the news lately, I'd say politics in OZ are just as screwed up as here, just with a down-under twist.

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  3. Do you want to guest post this on my blog? I don't usually get into politics on there, but I really like this one. And it would actually be fantastic if you and Mrs Onion up there could co-post, and put her pics with it!

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  4. The entire political situation makes me sick. Everyone in that circle seems to have an agenda that has nothing to do with the good of the people they are supposed to be serving.

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  5. I have never really liked nor understood politics. From my point of view it has become yet another way to divide our UNITED States. There has never been and never will be a Utopian society where EVERYONE agrees one EVERYTHING.
    Just wanted to also add
    Poli = many tics = bloodsucking creatures

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  6. It's all about media sensationalism, and I for one, am damn sick of it. Making a big deal of things like "Bin Laden was unarmed!" First of all, who cares? It's not like the passengers on the planes were packing heat, nor were the folks in the WTC that morning. The media spreads that crap for no reason other than to get people riled up.

    Loved the "bookend" metaphor. Outstanding.

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  7. Psycho ChihuahuaMay 17, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Poltical bigotry is the current craze in the country, and it sucks the dragging tail of a depressed donkey. Or elephant. I even remember during a redistricting brouhaha one side saying they needed to get the lines right to drive the other out of office because he didn't want his kids to grow up thinking it was okay to be the part of the other side.
    I didn't see anything to disagree with in your rant. People honestly disagree on the best way to do something. Not because they are evil. Not because they are stupid. Not even because they think your idea won't work, just because they think theirs will work better.

    -Psycho Chihuahua

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  8. wow, we just had our elections, not sure if it was federal or provincial now. Crazy! I even found myself asking the same questions as I was swept away in the us vs them mentality. I started it off that way, and then remembered that at the end of the day, these people that want a different "side" are my family member, my friend, my neighbour. Did I really want to burn that bridge over politics? Then I thought more. I agree with many of what each candidate wanted and stood for. I think we all do, just some things stand out more than others as what's more important to me. Just like clothes I wear, some people are not going to agree with the style.

    I was saddened to hear someone I knew on FB even say that they hated politics because the party they weren't voting for got a majority government. And they didn't know why they bothered voting. Many in the news called parts of the country names for voting the majority in. The thing is, the name calling would have went the other way if the result was different. It's a sad sad state.

    I think I need to plaster this post on my FB as there is another election coming in October. People need to be people and vote for their beliefs and what they want without smearing or busting someone else. TY for posting.

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  9. @Onion I remember that one, I enjoyed it for the most part. Great pics.

    @Jester and they never care for the right handed possums.

    @Heather I would be down with that.

    @Empress you know it.

    @superbon I love it! If we could fit a leeches reference in there...

    @Chris thank you and welcome

    @ Chihuahua Yeah, that's pretty extreme right there. Cuh-razy

    @LACE I had that feeling it would be nuts up north too.

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  10. Thanks to all of you who are coming to the blog through this post. Please feel free to look around, we have a great time around here. Most of the time I work on funny...sometimes my BSmeter fills up. :)

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  11. I stopped believing in the political system when I had to testify in a criminal court case (I was part of the prosecution, thank you very much). Let us just say that the "evidence" had been altered BY THE LAWYER and then said lawyer screamed at me...because he was trying to convince the jury that I was lying.

    If those kind of lawyers are what help make up the rest of "them" then we're all screwed. Just sayin.

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  12. I am down with it too. Let me know if you go for round two.

    Waddaya mean, "for the most part". Wanna wrestle?

    www.alotoflayers.blogspot.com

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  13. Hear, hear! I'm voting for Danger Boy. And can we please start with Education Reform? Maybe if we start at ground zero, with the youngest little critters, in a generation or two we'll have some reasonable representation. ;)

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  14. I'm definitely in full agreement and, truth be told, so is probably a majority of America - the majority who don't actually vote because they don't see anything beneficial in voting for the "corporate shills" (good) the parties put up as candidates.

    The big problem is, though: how do you change something that is so ingrained without some kind of catastrophe - history has no examples of major regime change that did not involve war or fiscal insolvency. In other words, things are going to have to get much, much worse before they can get any better.

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  15. Danger,

    Your stuff usually doesn't hit home for me. It's not a big deal, I'm completely out of your demographic most of the time, but this one REALLY hit home for me!

    Thank you SO much for putting into words what I have been ranting to friends and family about forever!!!! Very great post! Keep it up!

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  16. I follow "your" side of the pond's politics with great interest. And I agree about keeping the focus on people and the issues themselves. Mudslinging helps nobody. It only engenders fear and hatred.

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  17. Okay, your guest post will be up on my blog on 6/14, with images from the onion :)

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  18. I FREAKING LOVED THIS.

    I may print it out and hang it on my wall like a damn manifesto.

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  19. You are SO right on. I have sworn off political discussion, though I love talking politics. Today people do not discuss, as you point out they label label label. I have lots of views, some conservative some liberal some just stupid. I wrote a post in June "Facebook Wars" about how I have gotten into arguments and been labeled by both sides. I'm done!!

    Great post

    The cranky old man

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  20. So true Danger Boy. On your side of the world and ours. It is hard to find someone to vote for these days - they all sprout the same self-obsessed drivel. Great political rant! Thanks for Rewinding x

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  21. In Australia we have a choice between a budgie-smuggler-wearing Putin-wannabe climate-change-skeptic who believes carbon dioxide to be weightless, and a self confessed bogan lawyer who has decided to export refugees to a country with a human rights record even poorer than ours. Yay.

    I've considered moving to New Zealand.

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