Occasionally I'll see Internet posts or hear a right-wing talk radio host or someone in a bar calling an activist, or Hollywood type, or college professor, or just a person they know, a "liberal" or a "lefty traitor." Most of the time you shrug it off, but recently it occurred to me, "wait... what?"
I honestly don't think the right and left or liberals and conservatives or queer-ass liberals and Nazi boneheads disagree as much as we seem to.
So let's try something. I'm going to list issues that concern me as a parent, a taxpayer and moderate. Then you post and tell me where you disagree or think I'm out of bounds or that I'm being a pussy Democrat who wants to let gay rapists teach our children... Let's see if we can pinpoint all of this insanity so we can end it and get to work on things that actually matter.
1) I don't like it when the Government spends all the money and runs up crazy deficits. Now hold on... don't judge or label yet... I'm going to go slow here so we can isolate the moment when I become a CNN watching jerk off and you become a "true Patriot." Once again, real slow... I don't like it when the Government spends way more than they take in in taxes. Some kind of deficit can be healthy but when it gets too big I think the Government will begin to cut basic services and start raiding Social Security. Easy...easy...I know you want to call me a liberal but that's really it. I'm pretty fiscally conservative. I also don't like this runaway outsourcing and the huge trade deficits that are brought on by companies driving down prices like Wal-Mart.
Okay, let's take a breath. What I have said is no big deficits, no cutting basic services and no catering to corporations by encouraging them to outsource... I don't believe in crazy pie-in-the-sky make-all-people-the-same programs... or taking from the successful and giving to the lazy lay-abouts... And honestly I don't think anyone on the planet feels that way. So let's move on...
2) Now here's a tricky one...I don't like giving big tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires when there's a deficit and we're fighting a 300 billion dollar war where soldiers don't have the proper equipment. Okay... I know I've lost some of you on this... but think about what I'm objecting to. Is that really "liberal" or "communist"? Why tax breaks now and for these people? We've learned over and over again that this trickle down theory is bogus, so why? I don't care which leader or political party we're talking about, huge tax breaks for the elite wealthy in the midst of a war is weird. If Clinton did it, I'd be pissed. If Bruce Springsteen did it I'd still be mad. Hell, if Arianna Huffington did it I'd go post on the Drudge Report about how lousy it is. It's not a right wing, left wing thing, it's just a sleazy thing.
3) So here's another one...I've got two kids and I like to occasionally do stuff outside... so I care about not dumping crazy amounts of junk in the air and water. It's that simple. Once again, please tell me how that makes me a Mutant Paul Begala clone. And here's the other thing, companies have lied about polluting for years, so I think someone else needs to regulate them. That's it. I'm not saying "let's put people out of work to save a rare tree slug," just don't dump jet fuel into my drinking water. And if some animals are in the way, at least spend five minutes looking for another way. Animals are cool. Especially the narwhal and the howler monkey.
4) Okay, this is a fun one to write... I believe in a strong military. I supported the incursion into Serbia. I support what we did in WW II and I support what we did in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. But for the life of me I don't get the whole Iraq thing and how we've all forgiven the mistakes made by our leaders that led to 100,000 Iraqi deaths and thirty thousand U.S. casualties. What am I missing? How is this cool? And how does it make me an acid-crazed hippy to question this? I mean really... I don't get how if the President starts a war then we are traitors to question the war. And I'm not being cute. I really don't get that. But maybe you don't either, even if technically you're a Republican and I'm a lefty pot-smoking swine (even though I don't smoke pot and I'm not a lefty but could stand to drop twenty or twenty five pounds).
5) Finally I'll mention two issues that would define me as a dirty Hollywood hippy by most American standards: abortion and the gay thing. So please tell me where I veer into Satan-land on these... Abortions are awful. They're awful for the woman, the family, everyone. But if we make them illegal, women will still do them and then they will be more awful because shady dudes behind a Wendy's will be performing them. This is grim. I don't want this. If there's a solution let's hear it. The other part of this is, after having two kids I can honestly tell you that it's when that heartbeat kicks in that you start thinking baby. Anything that happens before that is a drag but is nowhere near murder. Is that really a crazy thought? And is that why there's this massive divide in our nation? As for the gay thing... and let's go slow here...I'm not trying to be tricky, I'm just trying to see where we're missing each other...as for the gay thing: I... don't... care. It has no effect on me. So tell me why people are so fired up about this. There are things heterosexuals do in bed that are pretty unsavory, but we still let them get married. I fully admit it. I'm a bit lost on the gay thing. Of all the things I listed it may be the one where I most feel like the people who are anti-gay are very different than me. Is this really how those people on the right feel?
So that's it. I know there's religion but I don't have a problem with anyone's religion so long as they don't hurt people. I definitely subscribe to the teachings of Christ: help the poor, forgive, love... all pretty darn good stuff. So I guess I'm a Christian. But my wife is Jewish and we are hard pressed to see the "in action" differences between the two. There's a lot of "on the page" differences but not much in the way of how you walk down the street and how you talk to your neighbor. I also think anyone who kills people in the name of religion is probably not really religious but in fact is either nuts or pissed about something else...
Now where have we lost each other? I'm baffled. We all support the troops, want our nation to do well, love the children, love nature, love a good pitcher's duel, love the TV show Amazing Race and we all love black lab puppies and a good Burrito or the movie Tootsie... So why are some of us "liberal gay hippies" and others "Cracker Racist Fascists."
I have a sneaking suspicion as to why...it's a whole other subject, but real quick I'll just say it's easier to manipulate people who are divided than people who are unified.
Well screw that... jump in your Prius and put on some Toby Keith and eat some fried Twinkies and some soy milk and then go watch Magnolia followed by Top Gun... and tell Rush and Pat and Tom Delay to go jump in a lake, be they Repubs or Dems or Socialists or Neo-Fascists or Libertarians... A good person is a good person and a creep is a creep.