Planned to write a blog post this morning, but making some braided ribbon bookmarks with one piece of ribbon and watching kumihimo braiding tutorials sidetracked me a bit. Politics vs. crafting, hummm, well, no real competition there. Talented people fill the blogosphere with great tutorials, so it’s like a virtual crafting and sewing circle of creative ideas. I often sew simply hemmed receiving blankets as part of my baby shower gifts and I found this pretty cool self-binding receiving blanket, that I’ll have to try.
Yawn, yawn guys, I know. I shared this, partly because it’s truly how I spent my morning, but moreover to begin this political post about how we’ve lost sight of respecting individuals in our polarized, diversity-crazed, hyper-politicized culture. This cuts across just about every aspect of American culture, where even the most innocuous things like an Easter egg hunt, can turn into a full-throated battle about religious sensitivity/intolerance. No aspect of American life is immune from being targeted as somehow offensive, insensitive or subject to being banned by some politically-motivated idiots. Our daily lives seem confined, coerced, constrained by ever-louder nutty rules, edicts, criticism from fellow citizens caught up in the throes of particular political agendas and we’ve reached the point where commonness curtails any hope of finding common ground.
Watching TV political punditry follows an in the gutter, street-fighting ethos behind perfectly coiffed hair and syrupy smiles, lies partisans liable to hit below the belt and even stab with stiletto-tipped talking points prepared ahead of time. Two incidents this past week made me pause. CNN and FOX offer the “balanced” fights, like the Mother’s Day face-off with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Michele Bachman hosted by Candy Crowley. Even more disgusting was Dana Loesch and Jessica Erhlich going at it on the Kelly File on FOX last night while discussing the Benham Brothers controversy centering on their personal religious beliefs regarding homosexuality impacting their HGTV show deal. No one discusses much of anything. Folks choose a side, memorize the partisan rhetoric and off they go, indoctrinated to the point where objective truth, objective weighing of facts or objectively seeking solutions no longer matter. It’s all about scoring political points and forcing your agenda on the other side.
Admittedly, my political leanings fall far to the right, that’s upfront and obvious on my blog, but I try to keep politics out of my everyday life as much as possible. I prefer to talk to people and learn as much as I can about their lives. You won’t find me holding up a hashtag sign, attending a political rally, protesting, or forcing my political views on anyone. John Schindler, at the XX Committee blog wrote a piece on America today that’s definitely worth a read. I rarely agree with his expert foreign policy and strategy writing, but in this concertedly “even-handed” critique, he hits on the sad shape of American society:
“If you cannot get out of the country, read more. Talk to foreigners, see the world through their eyes for a bit. Get out of your comfort zone. If you think either FoxNews or MSNBC has a monopoly on truth, you need to diversify your mind. If you believe the flaws in our foreign policy can be explained by just one word, and that word is either “Bush” or “Obama,” you’re part of the problem.”
Last year I wrote a piece, “Getting To Know You”, which sums up my view on the problem of living your life “knowing about people” compared to getting “to know” people and our leaders could start by talking to each other rather than sending out political hit squads to annihilate their opponents. I’ll stick to my advice in that piece, for a new American revolution…… getting to know your fellow Americans:
“Americans need to wake up and realize that before they side up against other Americans they had better take the time to walk up to those who hold different views and sit down and talk first. Perhaps by actually getting “to know” other people, we might be able to bridge the gaps and build a stronger nation, where all views from all people get heard at our political kitchen table. And just maybe communities might get back to holding potluck dinners where everyone comes and shares a meal and gets to know his/her neighbors. What an amazing concept that is – getting to know other people, up close and personal. It just might revolutionize America;-)”
Time to get supper finished – stuffed pasta shells tonight and tossed salad….. I like to cook too:-)