Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Musings: Focus on Romance

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Walgreens wants me to ”focus on romance,” and get in right away to take advantage of 50% or more off on condoms and a “doctor developed male enhancement” called “Libido-Max.”  If Republicans admitted they engaged in sex that wasn’t intended to result in conception, I would have concluded that Walgreens was run by Republicans.  The fixation with a result awkwardly and obviously divorced from the process of achieving it, as well as reality in general, just seems so early twenty-first century Republican.  Forget conversation, connection, or even dinner … just get naked and give me some “romance!”  Forget compromise and collaboration or anything remotely like a conversation about the issues, just give me a smaller government and lower taxes, and do it now!  And I don’t care if I even know what romance or small government is!!  Call me crazy, but not only do I like to know something about my goal I actually enjoy the process of getting there.  I think that’s what Walgreens and the closeted Republicans that run it have forgotten … often the journey is as important than the destination … and damn it, you can’t get there without it.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

W-etiquette Wednesday: The NRA's List

The NRA has a list of people and organizations that are “anti-gun.”  It includes such radical leftist organizations as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Mennonite Central Committee-Washington Office, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the YWCA, A & M Records, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Sara Lee Corporation, St. Louis University, and the Christian Science Monitor.  Also on the list are opponents of the Constitution and America like C. Everett Koop, Vinny Testaverde, and Christie Brinkley.  In the eyes of the NRA these are radicals, presumably because that gun control legislation is important and should be enforced.  Either you see the right to have a gun as an absolute right, never to be meaningfully regulated, or you are the enemy.  This is an unfortunate position, and one that has no grounding in the Constitution, the rulings of the Supreme Court, or common sense.  This you’re with us or you’re against us mentality works in Westerns, but it doesn’t work in real life in the year 2013.  We need to come together and work to make school shootings less common, gun deaths in our cities a rarity, and suicides using firearms uncommon.  We can only do that if we see ourselves as working together to solve these problems, as opposed to lining up for a shootout at the O.K. Corral.  We can only do this if we recognize that gun control is one part of the solutions we are looking for.  We can only do this if we stop listing our enemies, and start listing our suggestions and the premises which support our conclusions.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuneful Tuesday: I'm not crazy and I don't think you are either

Well, you've gotta be crazy, baby to want a guy like me.  Yeah, you've gotta be out of your mind … crazy.”  Crazy - Icehouse

The protagonist in the Icehouse song thinks that this woman must be crazy to like him.  If he were in her shoes, it sounds like he would not make the same choice.  Of course, he probably doesn’t really think she’s crazy.  He just doesn’t understand her decision making process and is exaggerating for effect.  Which, I suppose, is what a person is doing when they say another person must be crazy to think the earth was created in six days, to really believe homosexuals are a threat to America, to vote for Obama, to try to take away people’s guns because of one school shooting, to try to blame the financial crisis on unions, etc. etc.  The problem is that this sort of exaggeration has an effect, and it is pretty negative.  The effect is that the person being called crazy is less likely to listen to, agree with, work with, and even compromise with the person calling them crazy.  This crazy person isn’t really crazy.  They have reasons for believing what they believe in.  They may not be good reasons.  They may not be well thought out reasons.  But, they are still reasons.  Their positions are not the result of actual psychosis.  Rather than calling them crazy, which is the easy way out, us ‘sane’ folks should try to figure out why the ‘crazy’ people think the way they do and try to explain to them why we don’t think that way.  “You gotta think differently baby” doesn’t capture the confusion of love nor does it make for catchy song lyrics, but it works better in politics.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Musings: Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Here is my new test for political arguments.  Go into the bathroom, turn the light on, and shut the door.   Find the mirror and look into it.  Distill the argument down to a sentence and say it out loud.  If you turn red, laugh out loud, or feel ashamed … never say, write, or think it ever again.  Here are some arguments, distilled to their essential elements, which do not pass the mirror laugh test.  “I was created by God on one of six days, along with grass, water, trees, and a lot of evidence of evolutionary change that God planted there to throw us off.”  “If two men get married, it would mean the death of Western culture as we know it.”  “Requiring people to prove that they are not criminals, insane, or criminally insane before they buy a gun puts us all at risk of a gun tax and/or having all our guns taken away.”  “The free market solves everything, and I yearn for the days of child labor, sweat shop fires, and rat feces in my food.”  “I oppose abortion because it is killing and I support war and the death penalty, but not just because they are killing … see the difference?”  “When people succeed, they do it on their own and you are a socialist if you think that roads, telephone service, the internet, mail service, employees, partners, police protection, teachers, or parents made any difference at all.”  Now, try this one: “Everyone deserves an equal shot at success, something that can only be done if we come together under the leadership we ourselves elect to provide everyone with meaningful education.”  How about this: “Government can be inefficient, but it isn’t evil and if I take a few minutes I can think of quite a few benefits I derive from the existence of a strong central government which I would not be interested in giving up.”  Or this: “the goal of the Constitution was to strengthen the federal government.”  See the difference.  See how well it works?  So, why don’t you use it?  Before you try out your arguments on other people, try them, out on yourself.  The rest of us would really appreciate it.