My goal is to live a life immune from assholes. By definition, this means a life immune from politics. As a white man, I have a fighting chance to live that life…but many of my friends don’t have that luxury so I feel compelled to speak up from time to time before going back to the cabin. That means that every so often, I have the same debate with myself.
Self: Maybe it’s time to blog about politics again.
I: Because of all those readers looking to me for guidance, right?
Self: Because, you know, silence looks like acquiesence. Elie Wiesel says that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
I: I’m not neutral. I’m merely quiet. No one in the history of the human race has emerged blinking from a political argument saying, “Wow. You really turned me around on that. Thanks!”
Self: People are social creatures, sometimes swayed by a preponderance of argument instead of evidence. That’s how all those lawn signs work.
I: Ugh. Who wants those people on your side?
Okay, look. I don’t like talking about politics for two reasons: it makes me angry and it does no good. This doesn’t mean I don’t have political opinions. I just believe they’re futile to discuss. A friend of mine at work knows that the best way to win an argument with me is to say the same dumb thing twice because then I give up on you as a rational being.
But as a person with a blog, it is my duty to inflict my political opinions on you at least once. So here’s my line-in-the-sand exercise in futility.
- Fixed political ideologies are indistinguishable from football rivalries and they’re just as important.
- The government exists to do the important things in our society to which the profit motive doesn’t (or shouldn’t) apply. It’s how we pool our money to do things that most billionaires won’t (as is their right). It includes wars and bridges and walking on the Moon and helping mass numbers of people in trouble and protecting the rights of a minority against the majority. Charity is awesome and Bill Gates is awesome, but sometimes we need everybody to chip in.
- Neither party is any more fiscally responsible than the other: they just blow the money they don’t have on different things. If I had to choose between the boondoggle of Iraq and the boondoggle of covering Americans with health insurance, I know which one of those makes the more noble failure even if it doesn’t succeed.
- The issues I care about in politics tend to be social issues because, frankly, I haven’t seen much evidence that one party over the other makes that much difference in the general oscillations of economics. I do know which president left us with a surplus and which turned that into trillions of dollars in debt, though, and which one pulled down our pants for the mortgage crisis.
- I don’t vote solely on the issues of gay marriage, women’s rights, and abortion choice, though I’ll admit that the resistance to them shows a dangerous disregard for individual liberty — a disregard that has heavy implications with other “faith-based” decision making.
- I’m not sure if there’s a God or not, but until we see better evidence of him/her, we should probably make our decisions based on what’s in front of us.
- I’ll confess to a deep personal revulsion for the creepy weirdoes who believe that Helter Skelter is coming down fast — uh, I mean, believe that the whole country is one presidential administration from total despotism and ruin.
- I have an even deeper personal revulsion for the kind of people who resist the progress of our ideals with petulance. “Wah, I don’t wanna” is not the basis of a political philosophy.
- And I have absolute hatred for the far too many people voting on the principle that “I got mine so fuck you.”
Amusing as it is to mock people for becoming mesmerized by Rush Limbaugh’s Jonestown death-chant, I acknowledge that I’m probably getting the same thing from my Internet echo chamber. The good news is that either these horrible, terrified screwballs will plunge headlong and screaming into the abyss of irrelevance, or I will.
In both cases, I’m rid of them so it’s win-win.