Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Partisan fools, come to your senses!

Partisan fools, come to your senses!

If you call yourself 'American', let me ask you: What is remotely American about pointing fingers over our problems? Aren't we great pragmatists? Don't we roll up our sleeves and get the job done? As far as I know, this country was not built on blaming each other, but rather on working together to find real solutions, putting our petty quarrels aside for the greater good, always the GREATER GOOD.

If any of you are able to project into the future (and clearly, based on your childish behavior, you aren't), what do you suppose all this partisan posturing will ultimately lead to?

Do you see matters somehow miraculously resolving? Do you see 'the other side' somehow coming to their senses and agreeing with everything 'your side' believes?

Based on how viscerally you condemn one another, how wholeheartedly you distort each others' beliefs, ideas, and perspectives, you don't. (and HISTORY for the love of God! Where have all these 'historians' come from!?! Never have I witnessed such incredible interest in early American history, and never have I seen said history so painfully manipulated! With apologies to the ancestral residents of BOSTON, that fine Atlantic city!).

You see, when the two sides ignore the Greater Good and begin to behave only to spite, to inhibit, to arrest the other, then things do not miraculously get better, they GET WORSE. The behavior of one provokes a similar response from the other and vice versa - tit for tat so to speak (that should be French) - until the two perspectives are so divided that 'divided' is indeed the only way to describe them!

My sense is that most Americans still don’t understand this reality. They still imagine that when push comes to shove, our politicians will come together to do what’s necessary. But that was another country.
- Paul Krugman, NY Times

In our recent election we had some paid 'progressive' political activist holding up a provocative sign and generally acting foolish until she was tackled by a cohort of 'tea partiers', one of which stepped on her head so violently she received a concussion. The media discussed things ad nauseum, the partisans pointed fingers at one another, the campaign suspended the fellow, the girl gave her interviews, all neither here nor there.

The real point was simple: violence.

Of the mildest variety.

Sooner or later we will see more of said violence, and it will be far bloodier. Someone will be killed. Maybe many. It will be spontaneous, reactionary, chaotic, and sudden, like all violence in history that portends what is to inevitably come - a fracture, a schism, a divide - reconciled only by... God knows.

And all the partisan folk (which apparently is everyone, as no one can think clearly enough to act in genuinely conciliatory and solution-oriented good faith), yes all the partisan folk will condemn this act of violence as the fault of 'the other'. It will only reinforce and reiterate all the things they already believe, and both sides will perceive it only as an attack on them, no matter how nuanced (or not, such things are rarely nuanced, are they?) the truth may really be.

And when people begin to spill blood over the divide, if history is any guide there is no going back (there is probably no going back now, but when blood is spilled, there is no going back from spilling more blood). And so we have....

Civil War.

A real one. Ugly. Horrific. As terrible a thing as we poor living creatures have ever known. Apparently our memories are short and we have forgotten that the last American Civil War, a mere 150 years ago (but a second of history), left more casualties then all other American wars combined, before or after.

At the moment we seem to be senselessly, almost gleefully, wishing this on ourselves, and that, in my humble opine, is foolish.

If you think I exaggerate, or go overboard, then how is it you see the future? Everyone kissing and making up later? All of this hyperbole and rhetoric evaporating into the ether? Perhaps 'YOUR' party taking power, solving everything? Have you really thought about that?

In the present milieu, if the country, a faltering ship in heavy seas, tips liberal, the conservatives scream and shout and do everything they can to prevent whatever they can. When they 'START' to undermine policies that they would clearly otherwise support, it is all a sham. All they want is power. The conch shell. And if the country tips conservative, remember all those masses marching in the streets not so long ago? Do you think they will be marching so peacefully? And what will you be doing to stop them? And how effective will it be?

Fracture. Divide. Tell me it isn't so.

I haven't lived long but I've read enough to see all the identical signs happening now that have, in the past, preceded terrible civil conflict. The parallels are astonishing. And once the dominoes are lined up it is only a matter of time before someone tips one over. Really, we have come that far (I think), and in today's accelerated, senselessly media-magnified world we would be surprised if what once took 50 years to happen now took but five.

What fools we are! I feel like Pierre in Tolstoy's 'War and Peace', looking around wonderingly at everything, marveling at that unseen force that compels us to move and act so wretchedly, so inhumanely!

Partisan fools, come to your senses!

If it is not already too late, reach out to your brother or sister and roll up your sleeves to genuinely work together! The lives of your loved ones may depend upon it!

Paul Krugman of the N.Y. Times is the first credible figure I know of to first state what to me seems very obvious. Read his article here.


  1. True enough. The thing that concerns me most about the current situation, especially (though not exclusively) on the right, is its similarity to the political environment immediately prior to the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, 15 years ago this month. Then, as now, one side openly referred to the democratically elected leader as a traitor, even a Nazi; then, as now, that side proclaimed God to be on their side; then, as now, that side assured its followers that the continued leadership of the head of state would result in the end of all they held dear.

    And then, after the assassination, those same people who had condemned, slandered, and shrieked, could only disclaim, "How could we have known? We don't condone this sort of thing." Sure.

  2. Great post Jeff. On my recent trip to India I visited the Gandhi museum. There is no better way to feel like a complete degenerate than by examining Gandhi's life. Gandhi's non violence applied to the opposition but not to himself of his followers who died over the cause.