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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
vasaris
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
A day late and a dollar short

It's an odd kind of thing, running into someone you knew in college that you haven't spoken to in years on LJ. It's kind of frustrating when they ask if you're you and then don't reply when you say, "Hey, wow! Yes! Hi, how are ya?"

Ah, well.

I'm fairly certain that in my various rantings about politics here and/or on JournalFen I've mentioned that I know rational conservatives that you can discuss politics with if you stay reasonable.

It's after the election, I know, but one of my best friends from school (whom I lost contact with and, as I said, I haven't spoken to in a long time) said some things in his LJ during the run up that I think are worth linking to.

David actually said this a lot better than I did. But then he always was more rational than me.

I think he's got a lot of good points (not that this comes as a surprise, he's a very bright guy, is David.) One of the most difficult issues in discussing politics in the US often ends up as being the issue of labeling.

I'm not talking about ari_o's reflexive response on the day after the election, when many liberals were walking wounded and lashing out. I'm not talking about kokopko's out of proportion response to it, either.

I'm talking about the fact that despite the fact that there are moderates all around us here in the US, we can't seem to find enough common ground to talk like grown ups instead of throwing rocks at one another. Or throwing rocks at ourselves.

Over on JournalFen, someone basically said "Not all Republican's are idiots, where's your liberal compassion?"

I thought that statement was both funny and frustrating. As a liberal, I am apparently expected to understand and forigive the other side while they ignore my commie-pinko-bleeding heart-tax everyone to death arm-waving. Suffice it to say, my 'liberal compassion' takes a beating fairly often.

Either way, it was a liberal labeling another liberal as an intolerant ass for speaking out in pain.

And, of course, we have our baby troll who insists that ari_o should apologize for having an opinion. Even if kokopoko found it hurtful, at least kokopoko knows up front what ari_o's prejudices are. (I personally find it hypocritical to say that ari_o is wrong for saying Bush supporters were stupid, while kokopoko thinks Kerry supporters are stupid, but is unwilling to air her prejudices in public. The prejudice is the same, but at least you know where one of them stands.)

But it's that kind of thing that keeps us from rational discussion. Reflexive labeling, whether it's the term idiot or Nazi or bleeding heart or greedy bastard. We're like children on a playground, spoiling for a fight, and the recess monitor isn't anywhere around.

There are some things I won't apologize for -- for saying that the people that bookshop described are fanatics that scare me just as badly as Al Qaeda does or for saying that many who voted for Bush were foolish, particularly those who disagree with him on all issues but one.

I want to encounter more conservatives that I can talk to, who are willing to listen and find compromises. I want to encounter more liberals who are willing to do those things. I would like more politicians who are capable of doing more than voting the party line, and who comes up with the party lines anyway?

*sighs*

In any case, in perusing my old friend's journal, I am reminded a) of why I held him so dearly as a friend in school and b) that I can agree with many things a conservative believes, even if there are issues I would fight with him tooth and nail over.

And since I'm pointing out bits in his journal, once again David manages to express something I believe far better than I could. I am not Christian (although I hope he'd be glad to hear I'm no longer an atheist) but the point is well made. Legislating morality doesn't work very well. We've got all kinds of proof for that (not the least of which is the Prohibition). The only way we really can change things is through discussion and example, no matter where in the political or religious spectrum you stand.

My only addendum would be: Social change is not an instant thing, it takes time and effort and dedication, sometimes through generations. All we can really do is teach by doing and lead through example.

All I can hope is that we Americans, as a people and as a society, can learn to love one another enough to survive the slow splintering we're experiencing and, eventually, to heal it.

Comments
I can only hope so as well.

(I remember reading in a LJ community about someone whose grandmother was a Mexican immigrant, and thus was classed by the Goverment's quota and classification programs as "Hispanic". I expostulated at the time about drawing lines where there didn't need to be any and exacerbating the problem instead of helping it...)

Here and now, we are alive.

Re: I can only hope so as well.

Bright goddess, yes.

Once upon a time, and even now to some extent, there was good reason for Equal Opportunity stuff. I just wish there was some way to do it without creating quotas and dividing us up...

Sometimes it is so *frustrating*. I am of African and American Indian descent. My ancestors come from Germany and England and gods know where else.

I am an American.

That is the only point that should matter. Not my ancestors or my gender. Legislating 'equal opportunity' is both helpful and hurtful in an undifferentiated quagmire.

*sighs*

Social change is one of the most difficult things to try and govern. It kinda sucks that way.

Re: I can only hope so as well.

Don't get me wrong, I don't oppose equal opportunity stuff....but can't we just boil it down to one law, stating that if you can be proven to have discriminated in practice against anyone due to skin color, ethnic origin, creed, age, gender, etc., you get slapped upside the head?

I mean, people have different skin colors. Sometimes I just want to scream that at idiots and follow it with SO WHAT?!

Why should it bloody well matter whether your skin is cream-colored or slightly pink or freckled or the shade of a good latte, any more than it matters if you have blue or green or hazel or brown eyes? I try to be "colorblind", I really do, but the people who scream RACISM!!!! every time they stub their toes make it harder than it should be.

Re: I can only hope so as well.

Don't get me wrong, I don't oppose equal opportunity stuff....but can't we just boil it down to one law, stating that if you can be proven to have discriminated in practice against anyone due to skin color, ethnic origin, creed, age, gender, etc., you get slapped upside the head?

That's it, exactly. One would think that was possible. I've argued with my mother about it a few times -- and she likes to point out that without equal opportunity she never would have had the career she did... and she worked for the State of Washington.

Thing is, it's been a generation now, some of the things that we probably did need legislation for should be a bit redundant and/or perhaps could become 'things you get bitchslapped for.'

I try to be "colorblind", I really do, but the people who scream RACISM!!!! every time they stub their toes make it harder than it should be.

No kidding. You were rude to me while serving me? Obviously it's racism -- not the fact that I was paying for $80 worth of merchandise with miscellaneous unrolled change. You didn't say hello when I came in? Racism. It couldn't possibly be that the door bell was removed and you were dealing with another customer and failed to hear my softly-voiced hello over the obnoxious background music.

When I was an entering freshman my mother wanted me to experience more of my father's culture -- something I'd missed out on since he'd abandoned us when I was an infant -- so I went on retreat with a large number of African-American students.

I've never met more intolerant, racist scary people in my life than on that trip. I have never been discriminated against as badly as I have been by African-Americans. And I adore Bill Cosby for saying what I so often think: It isn't "the man" at this point, people, it's often you. If you're not willing to reach a hand out, obviously no one can help you up.

*sighs*

It's a no-win thing, I think. But then again, it takes a long time for permanent social change, so one should actually try to be happy with the progress that has been made in the last generation. It has been remarkable.

Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. My life has been running in fits and bursts of insanity lately (which, I suppose, falls under the "how have you been doing?" category)...and I suppose I'm kind of loath to leave a personal conversation sprawled hither and yon across a public journal. I've always been an introvert at heart. And...well, enough with the excuses. They're boring.

I've been doing reasonably well in the "since college" timescale: I've been gainfully employed since about three months after graduation, and I've been fortunate enough to so far dodge the layoffs bullet (although there's always the wolf at the door in that regard). My social life is, as usual, a shambles, though I'm off-and-on working on that aspect. And, um...gosh, there's either too much or too little to say, if I want to keep it on that level of things. If you hunt down my email address and load it with specific questions, I can go from there. :)

I really go back and forth on this issue, possibly because I've never met a moderate who didn't end up voting out of economic self-interest. That, to me, means they're just as bad as the ignorant conservatives who want to abolish the separation of church and state, Miranda rights, abortion, and other basic tenets of a democratic states.

To wit: The $388 billion must-pass spending bill currently on the floor, to which has been attached a far-reaching anti-abortion clause. The clause bars federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals.

If the bill doesn't pass, government agencies shut down, as they did when Clinton was in office and his budget wasn't approved. Given the stranglehold by Republicans in the House and Senate, the bill will go through, and it will make abortion that much more difficult to obtain.

Your friend's post was interesting, but I don't have a lot of hope that civil discussion will keep moderates from voting with their pocketbooks, and therefore this country will continue in its tailspin. Did you hear that China is thinking of buying up our debt? Won't that be fun...

To wit: The $388 billion must-pass spending bill currently on the floor, to which has been attached a far-reaching anti-abortion clause. The clause bars federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals.

I saw that (thru little_sibling, I think). Ergh. *growls*

And gotta note, love, I'm a moderate liberal. I characterize myself as such because there's a decent grouping of things that I agree with conservatives on... which is why I hate the whole labeling issue, really.

Thing is, I think David is right -- calling conservatives Nazi's and fascists isn't going to convince them they're wrong. Those who might actually listen may be hurt and those that won't are convinced that *we're* the crazy fanatics.

What I'm trying to say is that hurtful terminology demonizes the other side of the argument, which leads us farther away from solutions. Mind you, it may instead actually take rioting in the streets to make changes, but damned if I am going to advocate that as a form of solution.

I firmly believe that the use of violence means that you've failed to prove your point. One of the many reasons why I think the Iraq war is wrong -- the moment we used violence as the solution, we failed to prove the point that there should be peace and tolerance.

And no, I hadn't heard that about China. Can't say that strikes me as a good idea, either. Bleh.

Then you, my dear, are a unique and special snowflake *g*

I guess I'm still too riled up, because I essentially agree. Problem is, I don't see that being polite has helped change people's minds, and that's why I'm beginning to think we have to play *really* dirty. Not through violence, because I don't believe it's a good tactic, despite the fact that humans have chosen warfare over other forms of political expression throughout the ages.

I'm still shocked that Kerry conceded so easily, that Black Box and Voter Recount initiatives seem to be going nowhere, and that Bush/Rove have moved so quickly to implement Phase 2 of Turning America Into A Dictatorship...

Yup. I is a unique snowflake, much like everyone else ;)

To be fair to Kerry, though, I think he was trying to keep the country from polarizing further, which I think is admirable, actually. I believe he was doing what he believed to be the best for the country, which takes more courage than I believe Mr. Bush posesses. (After all, a good, honest, and fair man would be demanding answers, even if the end result didn't favor him, now wouldn't he? I think that says more about our President than anything other than the War in Iraq and the horrors of Abu Ghraib.)

Would I rather that Kerry'd held on and fought tooth and nail? Probably. But realistically speaking, there isn't enough time to do thorough recounts and/or somehow re-poll the questioned areas, which would only polarize us further. The system wasn't designed for problems that might run into millions of votes. In all honesty, we should vote in June, or something, so that if there are any questions/problems, there's plenty of time to do something about them.

After all, a good, honest, and fair man would be demanding answers, even if the end result didn't favor him, now wouldn't he? I think that says more about our President than anything other than the War in Iraq and the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

Excellent point. But what else would you expect from the men who mobilized an army of family and friends to steal the previous election?

Frankly, my dream tickets for 2008 are never going to happen. The only Republicans I could accept don't have enough allies in their own party, and I don't think the country is ready for Hillary. Barak Obama would be awesome, but I don't know that he has enough political capital yet.

I am disillusioned with Kerry, though. I don't think he tried hard enough, even if he did conduct himself with grace.