Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 Days to Go

My friend Tony posted this today, and it elicited a big response from me, which I wanted to further blog about. Read his post and click on the links. :

this is why some on the right are so angry. and this is why some on the left are. and this.

in my mind, it's what is wrong with us. we spend so much time hating the other side, deciding they are so different from us, that some people resort to disgusting behavior. thus, pushing the moderate folks further away from the center.

we have common ground. there is gray area. we can come together around difficult issues. there is definitely room for disagreement, and pushing back, and discussion. but when it's taken too far, we accomplish nothing.

What surprised me about myself, is that when I clicked on the first link, I thought "Heh, amusing. Practically harmless, somebody exercising their right to disagree without causing any real pain or offense." Then on the second link, I thought, "Well...I mean...I guess fair is fair. I'm sure Obama (or anyone in the public eye) expects this kind of reaction."
But then the third link finally made me go, "Oh...wait. This isn't good. How can anyone do this and not understand the implication it carries with it?"

So, three links later, I was offended - and mostly because it was suggesting that a Black Man should Hang. White Men Hanging - apparently not as offensive to me. Perhaps this is because in our history, white men don't typically hang. Unless they're gay. So, would I ever condone anyone hanging Matthew Shepherd in effigy? Not for a moment.

So Tony, you bring up a wonderful point, and one that I have found myself guilty of. We spend too much time hating the other side. But even more than that, we think that what the other side is doing is "HATE", but what we're doing is "JUST GOOD FUN" or "PART OF DEMOCRACY" or some other justification.

Here's the rub for me.

The other day I had drinks with an old friend who had early voted for McCain. He's Asian, he's going to grad school to be a Lawyer, he's a year younger than me, and he lives in Southern California - a rare McCain demographic I'm sure.

I was angry and frustrated and wanted to get at the root of WHY....WHY would he vote for McCain??

Now why couldn't I say "Well...it's your right to choose who you want"? Why couldn't I just agree to disagree without being disagreeable?

If someone likes chocolate ice cream, when I prefer vanilla. Who cares? If you want to go to temple and you want to go to church - c'est la vie!

But the leader of our country isn't ice cream or architecture. If McCain is elected, I believe my life will be affected negatively. I have a VESTED interest in Obama's success. I have something to lose.

So where is the middle ground? And when the middle ground is reached, through compromise and give and take, and discussion - at what point have you also compromised your values? If there's too much "Well, I guess you have a point", ultimately doesn't one person concede and the other win? Is there really a pure truth? A correct answer?

And if...IF there is. Then isn't it our politicians' fault for dividing us, for fooling us into believing there are multiple ways? Mutually exclusive ways? If there IS common ground, if there IS gray area, then why do we vote between two opposing candidates with two opposing parties?

With 7 days to go...I wonder why I feel so angry...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Middle ground is acceptance of another's choices whether you agree with them or not. Presenting one's case and allowing a person to NOT concede is where we need to agree-to-disagree.

I think between Hardball, Jerry Springer, and 'reality' tv, we've lost the ability to have simple discussions about heart-felt issues. It's about 'winning' an argument instead of simply exchanging ideas.

Brett, you're a talented, thoughtful (and handsome, gotta throw that in) guy. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing you in LG15.