On finding common ground

DJ comments

As long as we let the talking heads put words in our mouths, we will perceive the two “sides” to be diametrically opposed, when it fact we are on the same side and it is the talking heads (both politicians and media) who are our opposition.

It’s time to sit down, face to face, and find that we agree. Sure, we have differences on abortion, immigration, gun ownership, religion, and such. The truth is, these are not the deal-killing issues the talking heads make them out to be (unless you seek a single national answer imposed on everyone, in which case one side or the other has a reason to opt out)– and they are not the most important issues.

Let the most divisive issues be locally solved. And let the most important issues– democracy, responsive government, fiscal responsibility, the repeal of corporate personhood– come to the forefront where they belong!

Watching our government become hollowed out as a parasite banking class loots at will, well, such things are infinitely important than whether someone should be able to own an AK. But don’t just listen to me.

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes.

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

— Teddy Roosevelt

  • woody

    I would love to sit down face to face with most conservatives and liberals to have this talk with them. The problem I’ve found is that many of those on the far left are almost as bad because they’re super-defensive after being battered and watching society as a whole shift so far to the right in the past decade that what used to be centrist is now labeled liberal. Those on the right have been trained to attack any form of intellectual discussion about any topic. Those “talking heads” you mentioned are far more numerous (and venomous) on the conservative side, and spread the concept that it’s “our way or the highway”. Most “ditto heads” parrot their “facts” to anyone that doesn’t agree with them 100%, and promptly disengage from further conversation and/or thinking.

    DJ says: “Let the most divisive issues be locally solved.”

    Like gun control, abortion and gay marriage? That’s a great idea. Why not let localities decide if slavery is legal too, or if segregation and anti-miscegenation laws should be re-legalized? They were locally solved, “divisive issues” less than 50 years ago. I’m sure having your rights decided town to town sounds like a great idea when you’re a straight white land-owning man. It’s less appealing when you’re a step (or two or three) outside that super-privileged group.

    Just as a “for example”:
    To some people, gay marriage is an important, life altering topic. It’s preventing couples from sharing parental rights for the children they’ve raised with a partner if that partner is injured, killed, or if they travel outside of their locale. It’s stopping them from having legal recourse or social protections that most straight spouses would in the cases of death, adultery, domestic abuse, and a whole host of other situations. (And no, even in states that have “domestic partnerships”, many of the things I’ve mentioned aren’t covered. Even if they are, that only protects them in their locale, since it’s a locally solved issue. Step outside your protected town, or have others come into your town to overturn those laws (ala Prop8 or challenges from relatives in another state), and you lose all of that as a gay couple. How different would your life be if, on leaving your town, you no longer were considered a legal guardian or parent of your children? Or were considered nothing but a “friend” of your spouse, with no more legal rights than your local poker night buddies?

    The same can be said for abortion, gun control, and the other “divisive issues”.

  • DJ

    I have a problem with categorizing gay marriage as “one of the most important issues we face” at a time of assault on the civil rights of everyone, including straight, white, landowning men– though minorities are much more likely to be arrested without charge… when the most progressive government we can muster still has us barreling down the road toward climate destruction at an accelerating rate… when the government charged with maintaining our economy gives our assets away to crooked banks and Wall Street liars.

    With the magnitude of the problems we face, I can’t get excited about abortion, flag burning, school prayer, or health care either. Only gun rights, and that’s because at the rate we’re going I expect gun ownership to be relevant to survival within a decade.

    In a perfect world, I’d like to see same sex couples have the right to enter into the same civil contract as me. But when faced with enormous issues that affect our very survival as a nation and as individuals, I prefer to focus on survival. What good is gay marriage if there’s no functioning government to administer it? If you’re dying of starvation because the breadbasket has been in a multi-year drought? Or because the dollar has entered hyperinflation because of repeated administrations’ fiscal irresponsibility?

    The empire is crumbling. We need more than an oil change and a paint job; the wheels are coming off. We’re talking about problems likely to kill people– a lot of people– and yeah, some pet issues (including mine) need to get set aside if we’re going to make it.

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