No Thanks, I’ll Have Some Carrot Juice
There is a common misconception in this country that if you are opposed to Republicans you must be a Democrat, and vice versa. To say we are “polarized” is like saying 25 F water is cold.
Last summer I got a job working for an Independent newspaper that one of my friends edited. The original premise of the paper was to offer “balanced” news and opinion, grand ideals. My friend is a very conservative young man, and obviously I am not. (At least not socially). But we co-existed, and had some very interesting discussions about life, religion, politics etc. The first thing I noticed is once we got past the rhetoric we are actually very similar in what we want from life. Our way of getting there is where we differ. Now I realize this is no great discovery. People are just people right? But for many people politics are the defining characteristic of who they are. It’s in the way they present themselves, and it is a political lens through which they view the world and other human beings.
After working there for several weeks I finally drove up to the office to meet with my friend, and to meet some of the other staff. When I came in my friend immediately introduced me as “The Token Liberal”. He was kidding of course, at least he said he was, but the response from the others was unpleasant. They attempted to conceal their disappointment, but it was there on their faces, if only for a second, “A liberal? Gross. He’s not going to do any drugs or kill any babies while he’s here is he?” From that point on it was downhill.
Our grand idea of “balanced” news soon fell by the wayside, and the paper became overtly right wing. Ironically I did become the “Token Liberal” although I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life. But that didn’t matter. I was a “Liberal” because I don’t like George Bush who is a Republican. And this is where I started getting confused.
Without going into too much detail, I was raised Republican. I’ve met George’s father, Ronnie Raygun, and even Gerald Ford. My mother is/was extremely involved in Rep politics when I was younger, and I grew up believing the GOP stood for “God’s Own Party”. But as I grew up my “love” of the Party began to fade. It all started with Reagan. Reagan is most responsible for the Christian Right’s not so subtle hijacking of the GOP. Reagan pandered to them when he was Gov. of California, and his pandering increased once in the White House.
Theoretically I have no problem with religion. I view religious people the same way I view someone with a cold. “I’m sorry to hear you don’t feel well. But don’t give that crap to me.” So, long story short, I’m no longer a Rep. But that doesn’t mean I’m now a card carrying member of American Communists for Global Mediocrity. In fact, I don’t care for Dems at all. They regained power months ago, and aside from grandstanding and sabre rattling what have they accomplished? Pretty much what they usually accomplish, nothing.
The point is this, if I have a point at all. (I’m not much of a linear thinker by the way). When were our choices narrowed to Pepsi or Coke? I don’t like either of them. What happened to Independent thought? Sure I rail about Bush, he’s the worst President in my lifetime. You don’t have to be a Dem to acknowledge that unfortunate truth. My interest really isn’t in politics anyway. As a student of Psychology and Sociology I’m far more interested in people and how they interact. Bush fascinates me because he’s a sociopath. Of all the people I ever worked with when I was a counselor it was the Anti-Socials who sparked my interest the most. Maybe because we have a lot in common. I’m sure my friend would agree. But more likely it’s because they are impossible to understand. Like a puzzle with pieces that don’t fit together.