I had this huge post about the tea-parties, the town hall meetings, the people that love them, the people that hate them, and how life would have been so much easier if we had, long ago, avoided Jerry Springer style politics and actually tried to have reasonable discussions on matters of import to the country.
And then I realized that nobody’s going to listen anyway. You see, the sick secret is that the people being annoyed by the irate protesters now were themselves the creators of the massive demonstrations during the last president’s 8 years.
One side watched the other, and learned. If you cheered the antics of Code Pink, be aware that the 9/12 Project has seen you and learned. And if you think the signs complaining about Obama are out of line, perhaps you missed some of these.
Society works on a simple principle. It goes something like this: I act civilly, and you act civilly, and everything will be all right. I pay for the goods you sell, and you pay for mine – neither of us gets what we don’t pay for. We respect each other’s lives, property, and ideas.
Then society got large, and larger, and now any country you care to name contains enough people that they can only be expressed as an abstract number in the minds of 99.(another number that can only be pictured in abstract)% of people.
This means rules, and laws, and traditions. Rules are fine, Laws must be absolute, but it is the traditions that really make a society work.
It is not the Rule that says: People can discuss politics at this place with their representatives…
It is not the Law that says: People have a right that cannot be abridged to discuss politics at this place with their representatives….
The core that makes society works is the Tradition that says when citizens discuss ideas of import to a nation that they do it respectfully. By being respectful they give weight to their argument, as coming from a reasonable human being. By distancing themselves from passion they show that they have thought out their arguments.
That tradition has apparently died, because now both sides of the political spectrum have learned that if you shout long enough the cameras will come and tell your story to everyone. And over all I have no trouble with tit-for-tat, but the rift in the country is wide and getting wider, leaving those of us who thing both sides have some pretty wonky ideas out in the cold. I find myself praying for a new movement, a new party.
I want freedom that’s freedom for everyone. I want government that’s there to protect me, but not to nanny me or control me. I want them to take as little as possible and get the hell out of my way. I don’t want to be afraid of those who have power over me. I don’t want to be afraid of the words Patriot or Reform, and I definitely think that the only thing government does halfway well is take money.
Mostly I believe that government is a machine, and the larger the machine, the more people get ground into the gears.
Nobody is even talking to one another anymore. Friends I’ve had for years support or decry positions of our current president without even knowing what is in the bill. They hate me for my doubts, either way, but some are willing to talk while others just need to insult me. I am looking at my country and having trouble dredging up a happy thought, guys.
Inside of my head there are worlds without end, worlds within worlds, heroes and villains of every stripe. Now if I can figure out what to do with them I’ll be OK.
And suddenly I realize that I’m talking about politics after all.