Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two dueling idealists

The picture above was only a trick to get you to read the post below.... It was taken for a friend to establish Rhys' size in relation to a familiar object. As all liberals own iPhones I thought that particular object was both appropriate and telling.  Rhys has no current political affiliations, dear reader.

I have a friend, whom I've written about here in the past a handful of times, Bobby.  He leans heavily to the right, by my estimation. So far right in fact that he has lately disavowed the Republican party and admits to a conservative-libertarian view (I couldn't bring myself to capitalize that phrase).  He is a fan of Glenn Beck and has told me that he only wishes that he had listened to Beck more carefully, that he might have been better prepared for the housing bubble to collapse had he done so.  Imagine hearing that from a friend: that not having had a closer adherence to the ideas of Glenn Beck is an admitted regret.

He mentioned a publication that I should read. It is a re-publishing of The Federalist Papers but in a modern, updated version of English, so as to be more easily understood.   At the time of his telling me this I did not realize that he was referencing a work by Glenn Beck*. I found an alternate modern publishing of The Federalist Papers and ordered it from Amazon.  Upon telling him this he said that he's sure that the one that I ordered is fine also, surmising that I will make the same conclusions with this one as with the other. Then he said something that surprised me.  He said, "... maybe you will be a beacon to your left leaning friends. U never know" (It was "said" in a text message, hence the use of "U", etc.).

This sentiment strikes at the heart of what bothers me with both the left and the right. There is a basic model that the right uses to address the left.  It is with a condescending sympathy, as if the left is mostly in need of education, particularly historical education, and that this would perhaps solve the nation's many woes. Once they became educated in the proper historical sense then the whole nation of 300 million would happily defeat immigrants together.  This overlooks little details like the passing of time and the changing needs of a society, as well as slavery once being legal, and The Constitution applying to only white land owners.  But hey... slavery is implicitly approved of in the Ten Commandments also.  So, why fret over mere trifles... It is written.

The left similarly reduces the right down to gun-carrying racists who are much more in need of socialization rather than education.  They are personified as all in desperate need of an empathy injection, but alas there is little hope for these suburban troglodytes of middle-America.  They are hateful and styleless.  None of them are funny, ever. The males wear white "tube-socks" with pants and the women wear white after labor day... Most of them are poor and are too stupid to realize that their elected leaders hate them, that they have been tricked by the political system, but that's probably only because they don't watch 30 Rock and Sex In The City.  Can you even imagine?

Some of this is true, of course.  I mean, Republicans are often nasty and snide. I can hardly stand to listen to many of them talk for more than a minute or two without offering debate or silently farting with enthusiasm while locking a generous smile on them.  Liberals are so woefully misguided on tactics to aid society that one need only ask them simple questions on affirmative action to see how they've never bothered considering their beliefs beyond that they fall in line with the left's various program for social justice and the absolution of guilt. I guess that's it, both groups see a different past: the right sees a glory, the left sees shame.  Neither side seems very good at acknowledging there was a fair share of both, and that wholly embracing either will likely be a solution for neither.

But my friend Bobby keeps talking to me as if I simply need to grow up, and that one day hopefully, I will.  He has said things like "All of your pie in the sky schemes don't work." Though I have never, to my knowledge, presented any political or economic "scheme" of mine to improve society. He can not say the same. He is a non-stop fountain of society improving ideas, all seemingly based on ideas from the 18th century as if The Constitution was actually written to perfection, like with the phrasing of the 2nd amendment. Once I get his permission to re-print some correspondence that he has sent me privately here then I will dismantle them with great joy and relish.  Fox, indeed.

He has suggested that having a child will finally draw me back to the herd and my views will naturally shuffle to the right, one day falling in line enough that I might even be welcome at one of his North Carolina barbecues, or even some deep sea fishing off the coast of Florida.  All of that sounds great, but let's leave politics aside for any adventure like that...  Having a child will only deepen my commitment to liberal ideals, I am certain of it.  I have not spent my entire life defending the world as I hope it to be to suddenly turn my back on my own convictions and go running to the right for protection, as if I've finally returned from a 30 year Rumspringa.  The prodigal neo-con comes home. 

If you watch Glenn Beck uncritically, and pretend that you have no knowledge or sense of American history whatsoever, then he can be convincing as he perpetually works towards his own paranoid conclusions, never doubting his own doubts, offering all contrary evidence as proof of certainty.  He is a living, breathing conspiracy theory, ever citing the past as proof, even pre-determination, of said doom. It is written.

In the same way Jon Stewart's condescending laugh convinces many on the left that they are not only correct, but quite charmingly so.  But Glenn Beck is a paranoid imbecile and Jon Stewart is really only good at interviewing people, exceedingly good at times.  As a comedian Stewart is quite off-putting and smug, to me anyway.  His contrived laugh is worse than nails on a chalk board, it's like chalk on a chalk board.  It is forced and affected.  His laugh was planned.  I'd have to go back and watch some very early episodes of his show to verify this, if I get some time then I will.  Don't hate me dear liberal readership.  I can do no other.

Everything Glenn Beck says is funny too, but nobody ever laughs.  The right must see laughter as a sign of weakness.  Dick Cheney's chuckling grimace was one of the most telling giveaways in the history of modern politics.  I'm certain that it is only a matter of time before this issue is raised as a means of telling the true patriots from the "others."  Soon humor will be added to the signs to watch for.  

They say that it is as unique as a fingerprint, laughter. 

Please, don't tell Beck....

* - Apparently the "scholarship" was not Glenn Beck's but that of a student.  I was told this by my friend and have not researched it myself, nor am I likely to. I only thought the detail significant to the conversation.