G. Murphy Donovan posted another excellent article, “Rent Seeking and Other Blood Sports”, at The American Thinker the other day. Real life intruded on my time, so excuse me for lagging behind on the blogging. Real life versus politics in my own very mundane life isn’t even a choice really, because for me gabbing about politics here is more like a hobby and having a few readers is a gift I never expected to receive. Once again thanks for your time. This difference between how I embark on blogging and how many others approach it, struck me recently when I ventured onto a blog, where a genuine question about a stereotype of Tea Party folks as “despising constitutional principles” led me to question this. Polls were cited, I was castigated as being a Fox viewer, all with the intent to discredit my opinion as next to worthless and maybe it is. GMD’s article made me think of this difference between those who take themselves very seriously and people like me, just ordinary Americans, who watch in disgust and dismay as our country teeters ever closer to collapse. Now, the issue on that other blog was about whether we need a new Pledge of Allegiance or no pledge and all I could think about are the millions of Americans struggling to survive, raise their kids in this crappy economy and hope there’s some future worth inheriting from us and these folks on this blog, who tout all their academic and career credentials are worrying about whether we keep the Pledge of Allegiance. I got lectured and dismissed, which is fine, but really GMD highlighted the real problems, where we are failing large segments of the population, especially way too many children and the mentally ill.
One more comment about that other blog (which shall remain nameless, because maybe they do have great solutions that I failed to see), but the way in which my simple question led to automatic stereotyping of me as an idiot Fox viewer/Tea Party sympathizer irked the hell out of me. And here my last lengthy response (because I can’t just leave well enough alone) went as follows:
“The trick is not to mark groups’ opinions as “not worth talking to”, because finding solutions to our country’s problems will require pulling along as many people and they come with widely divergent views. Every team is built by finding some common ground, so it’s an inclusive process and that’s how to begin uniting America.
Our problems are much deeper than whether we have a pledge of allegiance. We’ve got so many people so keen to stereotype based on perceived political groupings, that we’ve lost touch at looking at all Americans as individuals with lots of potential strengths, ideas, skills sets, etc. that might be useful.
I won’t be posting here again, so you can put me into whatever group you choose – just place me as far away from your elitist snobbery as possible. I haven’t heard one solution yet here, just who you think shouldn’t be listened to based on your stereotyping. How on earth you think you can fix what’s wrong when you start off writing off entire large segments of America is beyond ridiculous – “Oh you stupid person, you don’t understand the Constitution, so your comment doesn’t count!”, “Oh you must be a Tea Party member, because you asked why this thread says they despise constitutional principles or you’re dreaded Fox viewer or something – you’re just not smart enough to post here among the enlightened few!”
The Constitution was written with a mechanism for change – to add or repeal amendments – suggesting such a change does not make one despise the Constitution – it’s the exact mechanism that follows constitutional principles. The founders also, in their infinite wisdom, made it a steep hurdle to make such changes – thankfully. And no, I never supported repealing the 14th Amendment, I never joined a Tea Party, I watch Fox news, MSNBC and CNN, because I like to compare coverage, mostly I read as many newspapers online as I can, I oppose capital punishment and drone strikes ( except maybe in a declared war and under tight controls), so I am not sure what that makes me. Maybe when you’ve decided amongst your chosen few, you can let us ordinary Americans know and show us the way. I spent most of my life as a homemaker – I talk to just about everyone and I try to learn as much about what they think, what they’ve done, so I know who they are. I don’t discount anyone.”
Now of course my views were cited as utopian and wrong, on pulling as many people along as possible, with the factual statistic on the very small percentage of rebels who launched the American Revolution, (but of course they worked damned hard to up that percentage quickly). This behavior pattern of wiping the floor with other people, by quickly stereotyping them into convenient political boxes is the problem of thinking in terms of factions and not of people. At the end this blogger lectured me about resorting to name-calling when from his first response to my honest question he discarded me as a “Tea Party sympathizer/Fox viewer”, making whatever I had to say worthless. The further elaboration was that the Tea Party is made up of angry old white people, who are racists and can’t accept a black President. This entire attempt to find out why he stated the Tea Party despises constitutional principles ended with this lame stereotype. More breaking down America into rabid political factions. And while all these factions keep throwing gasoline to keep these fires burning out of control, the rest of us, ordinary Americans sit here hoping the wind doesn’t send the flames in our direction and closer still to the flames are all those who are least able to beat back the flames – those living in poverty, especially children and the infirm. Factions and political party identification be damned, since 2008 the group of those not able to find a path to upward financial mobility keeps increasing, as does the number of children and the infirm, who need help.
You can’t unite a country if you constantly work to discount and marginalize large segments of it. We’ve either got to find a way to reach some middle ground on some very existential problems or we will crumble. And we’ve got to welcome everyone to the table, put some of the rabid politics aside and find our talents and strengths and rebuild the American team. GMD’s article presented our failure as a society, one that we prefer to talk about in abstract terms, but he knows each one is a life, not a political talking point. We all need to remember that beyond the political flame-throwing are real lives left in ashes.