A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Heavy Stuff

No, not neutron star heavy, but philosophical and stuff. Temporary Costello responded on his blog to my post chiding him for agreeing with this guy. In the process of writing a comment on tc's blog, I reread Rod's comment on my blog (follow all that?), and I found these two bits both wise and dead on ball's accurate (it's an industry term):

I find this entire liberal/conservative ...thing.. just very very sad.

If you find yourself calling yourself a "liberal" or a "conservative" then maybe just maybe you are as closed minded fearful and ignorant as the "other" side. open your mind and step to the middle for a while where it is OK to change your mind..you just might find it "liberating"

Amen, brother, on both counts.

Folks on both ends of the political spectrum love this country. They do. Ann Coulter saying liberals don't doesn't make it so. Howard Dean saying republicans are brain-dead doesn't make it so. The vast majority of liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans alike want what's best for this country. They just often disagree on what is best and how to achieve it. That's okay. That's natural. That's good.

What isn't good is the emphasis in today's politics on winning at any cost. Not just winning-- naturally everyone wants to win-- but winning at any cost. Winning an election by damaging the infrastructure our republic is built upon is, longterm, very bad. Which is why you have to give Al Gore credit for not pursuing the 2000 election any further than he did, and you have to criticize him for taking it as far as he did.

An example. Lots of conservative derided Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and such like for their criticism of the war and of Bush. I disagree with Robbins and Sarandon on their criticism, but I respect them nonetheless, and I believe their opinions need to be heard. Why? Because they clearly do care about America and are concerned about the direction they see it headed. And there's always the possibility they are right. Maybe not on everything, maybe not even on most things, but on some things, it seems entirely possible, even likely. How will we know if we silence them before they can say anything?

Another example. Fewer conservatives have ripped on Johnny Depp for his comments regarding America, and I think that is completely backwards. I disagree with Depp and I don't respect his position because I really don't think he gives a dingo's kidney about this country. He ridicules and laughs at it. Go stick your head in a bucket Johnny and shut the fuck up. You we can do without.

Karl Rove is good at winning at any cost. Really good. Which is too bad. The goal shouldn't be to get the presidency, it should be to get the best person possible into the presidency and to govern as well as possible once the office is achieved. Something which both parties in this country seem to have completely lost sight of. Completely and totally on nearly all levels.

We need to shake the scales of "politics as usual" off their eyes and remind them, all of them, that they work for us. And for U.S. We need to build a coalition in the middle. Reasonable people who realize that compromise is not a dirty word, that changing your mind does not make you wishy-washy, and that party affiliation is not more important than the well-being of the country.

How do we do that you ask? More on that tomorrow, but I leave you with one of tc's wisest quotes to date:
Which leaves us in the sitch that Nick suggested earlier, finding and pushing a third party outsider candidate.
Nick, I have one major disagreement with you. Why should anyone care about Tim Robbins' and Susan Sarandon's opinion? Everyone is entitled to one, but just because you are a movie star, doesn't mean we give a shit about your politics. In fact, because they are movie stars, I automatically don't listen to their opinions.

And while Johnny Depp is being especially glib (not in the Matt Lauer way), he is correct that the whole French Fries / Freedom Fries thing was idiotic and childish.
I didn't say we had to care about it in the sense of giving it any more weight than anyone else's. I said I respect their opinion because it is clear they really do want what's best for the country.

The point was that people that disagree about the means to an end can still want the same end. Namely, a free and safe America. The Shining Light on the Hill.

And yes, the french fry thing was lame, but the "puppy that bites" line was not. The man, from what I can tell, does not love, nor even care for, his country. He can go bugger himself with his superiority complex. Or something.
The thing about Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon is: they spoke out EXPECTING people to listen, expecting to sway us great unwashed, because Timmy and Suzy are celebrities. They made them worthy of being loathed and mocked.

And when SA says: “In fact, because they are movie stars, I automatically don't listen to their opinions” he gives us our best solution to boobs like that.

The thing about Johnny Depp is, he’s happy to come here and make money. You don’t see him demanding that his movies open only in Europe. And what kind of movies does he make? Violent movies. So he’s part of the problem he loathes so much. He’s an idiot.
"Maybe" one is close-minded if they consider themselves "liberal" or "conservative?" I suppose. I also suppose that "maybe" one is ignorant, lazy, and disingenuous if he always hangs out in the middle. There isn't anything virtuous about being in the middle of the road, as opposed to one of the sides. I agree with TC to the extent that there are certain positions on issues that I don't feel obliged to hold, even though they are the "conservative" ones and that is basically what I am. However, if I think the issue concerns an important principle, I don't consider myself close-minded simply because my principles dictate that I hold a certain position or take certain action. I don't think TC is advocating that people be unprincipled, I just think labels may serve a purpose sometimes in identifying areas where important principles may be involved.

And if you don't agree with me, then you're all immoral, just like Nazi Germany . . . . Just kidding, Nick.


Thanks fo rthe comments, here and on my blog. I like being challenged.

But I am comfortable, and proud, being labeled a liberal. Calling myself a Liberal. I have a certain temperamental aversion to the middle. Just ask Jack.

I actually prefer the term Progressive, because that's how I would describe most of my attitudes. actually, a lot of the things I think are shamelessly radical; you know that old saw about being a Democrat at 20 and a Republican at 40? I'm going the other way. Democrat/punk at 20 and going leftward from there.

But labels and pigeonholoes are counterproductive. As you may be able to tell from my blog, I have a lively interest, even obsession, with rock music of various forms. Many of my favorite bands cross genres, and are sometimes not even necessarily describable. which doesn't stop people from trying, which gives me hives.

I think it's a form of mental laziness; once you've labeled something, you can put it into a box with other stuff that's similar, and never have to spend much time analyzing it any more.

you've got to try and help people think outside of constraints, outside of the box. Which makes me think of a piece of graffiti I once saw on the wall of my bathroom: 'Question Authority!' Below that: "Why?"

Who exactly is writing graffiti on your bathroom wall? Yikes, man, there may be such a thing as being too liberal!

There's nothing wrong with being liberal or conservative. The problem is that far too many people who are one assume the others are either stupid, immoral, or incapable of contributing anything useful to the debate. This is the problem.

Anyway, I'll reveal my personal candidate for President tomorrow. And start trying to convince all of you to vote with me.

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