Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Goodwill Toward All (kind of)

I've learned through the years that the perceived value of "bi-partisanship" seems to fluctuate according to how much power one actually holds. In America, the party out of power is always more interested in working together than the party with control. Depending on who has the White House or a majority in Congress, you'll hear different arguments as to why bi-partisanship is pointless.

On the left, the anti-bi-partisanship argument tends to be that the right isn't truly interested in working together or even particularly trustworthy, so we'd be suckers to lend them an olive branch. On the right, it tends to be that the left are a bunch of pinko wack-jobs and we'd be idiots to try things their way...besides, we know what's best (for us, anyway). Until the right or left is out of power, that is. And then, well, the argument shifts to how bi-partisanship is the "American way" to govern the country...it's what "the people" want of their leadership.

The longer you pay attention to such hypocrisy, the more you understand the attraction to becoming an Independent in this country. At least that way you can be consistent in your self-interest.

The truth of the matter is, I love debating politics with Republicans...I always learn something, if only how to strengthen my argument (and the confusion on their face at times is priceless), and, to be honest, many of them are more fun-loving than their counterparts tend to be. Feeling you own the place tends to help you relax and enjoy life.

Moreover, I cringe at the thought of spending dinner sitting next to a certain breed of Democrats, who aren't content until everyone else at the table acknowledges that they are more liberal and more righteous than anyone else present.
Yes, yes, Jesus was to the right of you...we get it.

And I would rather spend a long airplane ride next to an independent than anyone else. As much as I clearly love it, there are certain contexts in which politics is a painful topic to engage in, especially those where you can't get up and walk away, and independents tend to shy away from bringing up hot-button issues, which is probably connected to why listening to independents talk to each other is a good substitute for a sleep-aid while traveling.

Now that I've likely offended someone of every political stripe, let me write what I really feel:

At the end of the day, I honestly don't care what your politics are. I've never felt the need to change anyone from who they are or what they believe. I will object strongly to statements I disagree with that someone puts out on the Internet, but mostly just to try to consistently counter the assumption that silence = agreement. And, because I love to debate. So sue me.

In the end, though, I'll enjoy a cold beer and non-political chat with anyone. People are people. And people are interesting. As Bambino will attest, I don't particularly like noisy people or those with a warped sense of personal space, but that usually only depends on the context.

And so this Holiday Season, I'd like to wish goodwill to all people, regardless of whether we violently disagree on this or that issue. May you find a few moments of nonpolitical solace during this time and enjoy the people around you for who they are (irrespective of how they vote). May you find a human connection that sparks, if just for one brief moment, a mutual appreciation with even those you can't stand.

There will be plenty of time for acrimonious bickering in 2011. For what's left of 2010, I wish you and yours peace...or at least a meaningful break from all that...in whatever form that makes you most happy.

Images shamelessly lifted from Google searches, but for more, check out http://dogs.icanhascheezburger.com/ and http://www.loldawgz.com/2008/08/10/kung-fu-fighting/ and http://www.catspictures.net/

Labels: happy holidays, politics


Anonymous Charles Browning said...

Happy Holidays, Ed and Bambino!

12/21/2010 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel said...

Hey Ed - long time no comment. Also for viewing pleasure:


12/21/2010 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If everyone approached everyone else with an equally open mind, the world would be far more enjoyable. I think I love you.

12/21/2010 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Peace,lots of love and may we be blown away by some art in 11'(enchantment would work too)

12/21/2010 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Charlotte Lindenberg said...

Right. Nothing to add.

12/22/2010 06:23:00 PM  

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