Excuse me, you’re standing on my rights…

I always choke up at the end of Independence Day when all the nations of the earth come together to defeat the aliens. “That’s what it is going to take,” I think. Until something else comes along and tries to kill us we will keep plenty busy attacking each other thank you very much.

It is because of this Charlie Brown optimism that I am going to read S’quatch’s reccomendation- The Big Sort.

S’quatch says it explains how America got the way it is, a collection of myopic cultural enclaves turned inward toward their own interests and beliefs and disdainful or hostile of those who do not share those beliefs. I’m talking about the so-called culture wars, or I think I am.

I made a recent foray into the quest for bi-partisanship and civil discourse by introducing two friends by means of a popular internet-based social networking tool. One friend, whom I would characterize as quite liberal/progressive/anarchist, a true secular humanist, adept at ranting about issues of civil liberties, the green movement, and the unhealthy relationship between government and multi-national corporations.

The other friend is what I would consider a devout Christian, a man who views all things through a spritual lens, or is capable of doing so if asked. He also believes the relationship between government and multi-national corporations is unhealthy, and he may not believe that global warming is manmade exactly, but does believe the scripture commands us to be good stewards of the gift ( I think that is right.)

I’m thinking one speaks apples, one speaks oranges, but they are both fruit right? Both guys are in their way smart and eclectic, and gifted with words. I was hopeful for spirited debate and broad-ranging dialogue. It didn’t happen like I pictured. I think the corporate world would call my error a “bad roll out.”

What a shame I thought. So now I am about to read this book that will hopefully help explain how we got so divided that not only will we not listen to one another, but the sound of each other’s voices sounds like those styrofoam peanuts rubbing together.

Here is an example.

I see a “Choose Life” license plate and I don’t think to myself, that person values all life as holy and is deeply hurt by the thought of a mother choosing to end a pregnancy.”

I think to myself, That person thinks they get to tell everyone what to do and how to be. They can go to hell.

You see? Lots of anger there. I know I’m not alone. We are all tired of being shouted down, but are we tired of shouting?

I’m going to read this book. I hope I find some answers. The question I have for you is, what is the point? If we have gotten to where we are by shunning those who aren’t like us then why go backwards? Everbody knows that long breakups are the worst. Is there more left to say at this point other than kiss my ass?

I hope so.


14 Responses to Excuse me, you’re standing on my rights…

  1. And yes, that would be the perfect example. Who doesn’t feel the urge to squash someone’s free speech rights? I know I do, but I resist, and that’s the point.

  2. I grew up in a family with a grandfather who was a socialist (probably with a capital S) and a big brother who was, and still is, a Right Wing, well, Wing Nut. But we never argued about politics, and we had fun at the dinner table. I guess that’s how it “used to be,” huh?

  3. So nobody can give me a single reason why any of us should bother trying to tolerate or compromise with others?

    That’s a relief.

  4. Because all is NOT black and white, but many shades of gray, and we don’t know, respectively, as much as we think we do, and we can only have a democracy if we learn to listen and, yes, folks, compromise at times.

  5. This post was so good I had my wife read it.

    The pendulum swings and tolerance, grace and open mindedness is currently at a low point.

    Spambot above.

  6. It’s interesting that you brought this up. I see this all the time in my work, on a much more local level. Appraisng homes involves study of what drives the buyers. People want to live near those of similar thought process, interests, ethnicity, etc. You appraise a home in the co-op, don’t compare to homes in Killearn, not the same buying pool. Now Hippy Killearn, that’s another story. The Bobbins are even subdivided amongst themselves, with Bobbin Woods, Bobbin Trace, and Bobbin Mill. Yet they lie within the same square mile. Funny thing is, you have to be very careful of so called “red lining”. In the lenders efforts to squash racial, cultural, social and economic bias, they don’t want you to come right out and say, these people don’t want to live next to those people. That’s politically incorrect.