Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm Right and They're Wrong - Speaking Freely #32

The political season is really picking up and the scathing remarks and accusations are flying. Not just on TV and the campaign trail, but in the workplace, bars, malls and anywhere where at least two people with opposing views are meeting.

It’s a rugged task to debate your views while diminishing someone else’s. Recently it almost came down to fist-a-cuffs at work when the line that was drawn in the sand was violently disturbed by differing philosophies. The camps are pretty easy to distinguish with the Liberals (of which I am one) are grouped on one side (designers and most of the writers) and the Conservatives are on the other (Web people and management). Both of course are right, but neither seems to get it.

So push came to shove as one elder Webbie guy flew a few pot shots about Obama to one of the graphic designers. Overhearing his interpretation of the first book by Obama, I was sort of shocked and that only made me listen-in more intently. He said that Obama was an admitted racist, which is not what I got at all. Now this man is very very old school. He grew up in a very different culture where black people were meant to be separated from the whites. (Which some I know still believe to this day, including a couple neighbors of mine – but that’s another story.)

Well this ticked the graphic designer off and her powerful sense of liberalism boiled over. This was his open to cast the first major stone – “baby killer”. Oh and then it all fell apart. Names were thrown around like daggers and no one would let the other speak. However, she took the high ground eventually and said no more. He took it as a win for the “Right” side, but I congratulated her on not taking the bait, especially at work.

In the last big election I worked with people on both sides. I respected them, mostly. Kristin had her Republican views and I appreciated and respected what she believed. Ramsay, a die-hard Democrat also would debate, but it was always very friendly. I miss that. I think it is better when people can freely exchange ideas instead of calling names and yelling.

Now there is a time and a place to get all wired up about this, lord knows I do, but I prefer to share it with the converted since the other side is a bit too hostile. But what good does that do?? I figure I’m not changing anyone’s mind who is dead-set on a particular stance or candidate so why get everyone’s blood pressure riled?

But the name calling really gets me. I used to be a tosser myself with “Fascist”, “Hitler”, and such, but I have left that beside my acid-washed jeans. I learned and grew up. I believe in civilized discussion of beliefs and truths, but don’t go playing like a five-year-old with pinching of the truth and spitting of hurtful titles.

So what am I grateful for? That we can actually have these discussions in a positive or negative way. In some countries to disagree with the people in power means death. In others there is a complete disregard for even caring about the body politic. It is a blessing that something so powerful can be openly woven into our every day imprints on this world and that at anytime and anywhere there are people in heavy debate. Whether it makes a difference or not is not the point, it is the mere act that allows us to thrive.

So go on with your beliefs and sell your soul to whatever church or philosophy you believe. We are all customers of what they sell in one way or another. We may pick a candidate because of their stance on topics that are close to us, because of their background which may be similar to ours, because of their color or religious beliefs or because we’re horny old men and think that we want a MILF as a VP. It is your right, at least in this country, and at least for now.

I’ll save my opinions for another day, even though I must admit that I am all Obama at this point. It’s not that I hate McCain, it’s just that his first big decision (the one about a running mate) was so inept, that I lost all faith in anything else the old man could conjure up.

But there is another point to be made here. I was acosted at home from my own mailbox with a DVD that was pure conservative propaganda. They used my full name and that issued a warning bell in my mind that this “non-partisan” organization was one funded or funding the Republican Party since apparently they had access to my tax return. Should I be paranoid or should I just toss the trash where it belongs … in the can? I watched it and found not only the film making high-schoolish, but the message was so over-burdened with hypocrisy that I turned it off after 20 minutes and will pass it on to a like-minded friend who didn’t raise the red flag to get one.

So I am righter than the Right and they are just wrong – and that’s OK.


WAC said...

Wish I was there, as I know who you are speaking of. Very set in in his ways.
Sad really that the conversations are so polarizing these days.

Praers said...

I agree with you - we are all too polarized and it is a shame. As long as some of us stay above the frey I think we should be just fine.
I may not agree with someone's views, but respect their right to have them. Most of the Time!