It seems to be that the world is suffering from a lot of black and white thinking lately. I am not talking about the racial divide in America and elsewhere, but in the figurative sense. Any topic you mention, people are ready to argue the polar opposite, without any sense of nuance or of all of the steps between the two sides of the spectrum. It’s nearly become impossible to have a considered debate without tempers flaring and one or more parties drawing their line in the sand and screaming.
In general, I don’t react well to shouting and belligerence. Once someone begins yelling, I have a visceral reaction which brings up the old fight or flight bodily functions, and shuts down my word processing center. If someone starts yelling, oh say, “You are stupid if you don’t believe what I do!” all I can hear is “ROAR! Blah blah blah ROAR!” and my instinct says run or crawl under the table, and maybe cry.
Yes, dear audience member, you may be shocked to read this, but I do not enjoy loud debates or acrimony of any sort. When you consider that at least once per show, two or all three of us are yelling about something or other, you now have an idea what a feat of intestinal fortitude doing the show actually is for me. I am a sensitive flower, DAMN IT. But let me just add that what allows me to participate in the debates on the show is that I have grown to trust and love my brothers, Davin and Joe, to be able to shake hands when it is all over and agree to disagree. This is not so of the majority of the yelling and carrying on I see in the media and on the street, if you will. Oh dear, and on Facebook.
I made the mistake of making an offhand comment about gun violence in America on my page, after the recent murder of two news crew members at the hands of their disgruntled ex-coworker. Within minutes, the gun debate erupted on my Facebook page, with either black or white, pry it out of my cold, dead hands or let’s get rid of all the friggin’ guns already, being the majority of the comments. I didn’t really see any way that either side was about to convince the other side of the correctness of their position, so I opted out of the conversation more or less. There is nothing I’d rather do than spend an afternoon watching my friends hotly debate this subject, or any other hot-button subject. I am exhausted by it all. The constant bickering gets us nowhere.
Besides in the area of gun debate, I see that there are a rising amount of people who argue religious points regarding subjects that should not be ruled by any one religion, in this country that is supposed to believe in separation of church and state. If you are a stickler for rules, it IS there in the Constitution, no matter how many times in the 1950’s people added the name of God or other religious wording into our Pledge of Allegiance and into the engraving on our currency. Our Forefathers agreed on the separation, and that is supposed to be the law of the land. The delicate distinction between being a country that is predominantly comprised of Christians versus this country being a “Christian Country” is lost on people. Yes, most of us are believers in one Christian faction or another, but that does not make it a Christian country. We are a country built on rationality, facts and the ability to govern ourselves free of religious persecution. However, if you mention this, or, imagine the horror, mention that you are an Atheist, then you are condemned as a Godless heathen and perhaps even in league with the devil. All of that would be amusing, if history didn’t tell us that religious fanatics and witch burners sometimes overcome rationality and stomp over the rights and lives of those they fear.
We can’t continue to be so divided on every conceivable issue to the point that conversation is not possible. Two groups of hotheads screaming at one another about who is Good and who is Evil is not going to get us anywhere. One ant colony attacks the other, and then vice versa. All that is accomplished is a stunning single-mindedness to keep focusing on the other ant hill.
The real joke is that the largest problem we have in America is that a very small percentage of obscenely wealthy people and corporations run everything of import, and they sit and laugh while all the rest of us rip each other to shreds over the scraps. Vaccinate my child, will you? Rip! Rip! Look at that group (insert whichever one you like) taking away my (insert need or perceived entitlement)! Rip! Rip! Much finger pointing and yelling, with no solution in sight.
Wondering why there are so few government dollars available for (fill in the program)? Take a look at the tax breaks the 1% wealthiest Americans and the Corporations are getting. How’d they get that? Oh, the people we voted into office gave it to them. Why did they do that? Because they can’t get voted into office without a lot of money to run their campaign. Where’d they get that money? From the wealthy and the corporations. This is not conspiracy theory, this is the absolute truth. Follow the money. The rest of society is completely left out of the power loop.
What are we solving fighting bitterly to keep our couple of scraps? Not much lately. Do we keep paying tribute to the “job creators” and wait for that money to trickle down into the economy to the rest of us? How’s that working for you so far? Do we keep sending our young men and women off to fight wars based on lies and hidden agendas? Sure we will, as long as there are fat government contracts to be gotten by the war machine corporations, and fat cat politician friends to ladle out said contracts. Should we still put all of our faith into corrupt bankers and Wall Street, who tanked the entire economy and got a slap on the wrist AND government bailouts for their punishment? Your neighbor who got caught with too much grass got a longer prison sentence than the people who put the entire economy into the shitter.
But let’s keep fighting about everything down here on the ground. Worry about who has a gun, who can have an abortion, what the gays are up to, and who is stealing your job. That’s exactly what they want us to do, while they sit back in their armchairs with a big cigar and watch the war between two anthills. As long as we are distracted, we can’t focus on the biggest problem.