I know what I want to rant about today. I want to shout and yell, name names and point fingers. I want to rail against the idiocy people blather online. I want to post charts, and memes, and bang my head against a wall. I want to stab people in the face for using monikers like libtards or warmongering capitalist pigs. I want to unfriend just about everybody, crawl into a hole, and drink margaritas. But I wont… Because that solves nothing. (Though, the margarita’s may help.)
Here is the crux of the matter. We are all a bunch of damn idiots shouting so hard in support of our own team, that we have forgotten the fact that there are no teams. There is just us. White, Black, Green, Brown, Liberal, Conservative, Muslim, Christian, Rich, Poor, Mother, Father, Daughter, and Son. We are all in this boat together, on the same plot of land, and like it or not, we are stuck with each other.
That was kinda the whole point of it all, I think. You know, the part that goes, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We are all equal, we all have to live together, and we all have different values, wants, and needs. But, we can’t all get what we want all the time. We have to compromise, so that maybe in the end nobody gets everything they really want, but at least nobody gets everything they don’t want either. That is the way it works, or was supposed to work. People are supposed to sit down together, talk through their differences, and come up with a compromise that serves the needs of the whole, not the few. Not the elite. Not the ones with the biggest pocket books, or the most impressive book of holy rules. The people. All of them.
But you can’t sit down and talk if everyone is shouting. You can’t sit down and talk if nobody is listening. You can’t sit down and talk if you insist that everything is your way or not at all. That is not compromise. That is not democracy. That is a bunch of overgrown friggen toddlers with their fingers in their ears throwing a temper tantrum. That is the death of civility, of governance, of progress.
And you know what, it is all our fault. Yup, I said it. We are the ones that elect bozos to represent us, allow them to pad their pockets, and cheer them on when they take a hard line stance we happen to agree with. We are the ones that scream, and shout, and sling insults at each other. We are the ones that forget, so friggen easily, to get rid of those who aren’t doing their jobs. We are the ones that elected them, no matter who you voted for or if you chose not to vote at all. We the people, whether you like an official or not, are the ones who put them there and keep them there. And we are the ones who form up into team, create catchy memes, that threaten to crucify those who cross the lines, those who extend a hand to their opponents and say “Lets put our differences aside and solve this problem.”
Believe me folks. There is a problem.
There is a problem when people half of the country looks at the other half as the enemy. There is a problem when people hate their neighbors instead of accept them for their differences. There is a problem when innocent people die at the hands of ANYONE; be it a police officer gone bad, a vigilante shooting at car jackers, a death row inmate falsely convicted, a hospital hit by an air strike gone wrong, or a group of students massacred by another nut with a firearm.
We are the problem. And we will never solve it by putting our fingers in our ears and shouting our points at the top of our lungs.
In fact, there is only one proven way to solve problems. First, they say you have to admit you have one. I don’t think anyone in this country, nobody sane that is, will stand up and say that everything is perfect. I don’t think anyone will stand up and say that people killing people is a good thing.
So there is a problem. Yay! Step one is out of the way. Moving on!
Here is step two, and its a doozy. Sit down, shut up, and remember that we all have a right to be here. We all have a right to our own life, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness. We all have a right to our opinion, even though some of us have opinions that are just plain wrong and as stupid as cow farts. You can still have them, it just means you are a idiot. At the end of the day, we all have to work it out, morons or not. Nothing is off the table, we don’t all get everything we want, but there are solutions we can craft together.
I am going to point out a guy I know named Lance. He is not a moron, though he and I actually disagree quite a bit in our political outlook. We come from different backgrounds. His father was a mechanic, mine was a gardener. He has lived here all his life, I am a refugee from another place entirely. He has said some things at times that really piss me off, and I am sure I have said some things at time that piss him off too, or make him roll his eyes, or whatever. But the thing I know about Lance is that he loves his family and he is a really smart guy. I mean, he went to school to be an actuary, whatever the heck that is, and he can totally wrap his brain around numbers and figures and such. I admire Lance as a person, even though due to our upbringing and values, we butt heads over ideology. And we have butted heads hard, at least once or twice.
A few days back, I shared to facebook an article I found that listed 8 things that, to me, are totally common sense solutions to the current issue of crazy people getting guns and killing kids at school. A lot of my friends went “Rah rah! Go team go!” and that is alright. It is to be expected. They are my friends because we have common ground. Lance however, did not go “Rah! Rah!” Instead, he made a point of disagreeing with me. But I know Lance. He is not just a talking head on a screen. He is not an enemy. So I asked him, do you really not agree with ANY of this? Are we that broken that we can’t even see how this issue affects all of us? Do we not even, as people who live in the same town, have any similarities at all in how we see the world?
His answer: 5 of the 8 things I had posted, things that made total sense to me, also made sense to him.
Whoa! Wait just a danged minute! You mean this guy who disagrees with me, who by the very nature of the game is supposed to be my enemy, and I am supposed to hate him and call him names and he is supposed to do the same with me, agrees with five whole friggen points on that list?
People, that right there is the start of a discussion. That is the way to solve a problem. Listen to each other, respect each other’s right to exist, respect each other’s right to disagree, and find the commonality. START LISTENING and STOP SHOUTING!* You will be surprised how many similarities we will find with each other.
Too bad Lance and I aren’t the ones in charge of fixing the world. It would be like, Boom! Done, moving on. Let’s solve world hunger next. But first, a few beers.
It is also friggen awesome that Lance and I aren’t in charge of finding solutions for everyone. We are two guys, from the same town, from the same social class, who like beer. We don’t represent the entire country, I am sure some people out there hate beer. Seven year olds for instance. And dead people.
But you know who does represent the entire country? The people we elected to do just that. The people at the top who posture, shout, and flat out refuse to sit down and listen to each other. I am not naming names, I am naming a profession. Politician. All of them. They exist to do the will of the people. They exist to compromise and work out solutions. And they are not doing it.
They can’t be. Because I flat out refuse to believe that we have to be divided up into teams. That we have to stand by our figureheads no matter what stupid things they do, or think, or shout. Us against them! You against me! We don’t have to sit here and be cheerleaders!
It is We the People. We gotta stop playing games and calling names and start making sure that Life, Liberty, and the eternal struggle to find happiness actually means something for everyone. We are a nation of laws, we are a nation of differences, and we can solve our problems without throwing a bloody temper tantrum.
So do it. Or get the hell out of the way and let someone else have a go. Me for one, I am sick of kids dying so that some politician can earn a few votes and companies can make more money. I am sick of people ignoring the problems and refusing to find solutions. I am sick of people clinging to ignorance and hate because to do otherwise might actually make them look like they aren’t cheering hard enough for their own team. I am sick of all of us…
So how about that beer, Lance? I think I need one now.
*(Yes, I get it. I am shouting in all caps and boldly telling you not to shout. It is humor, go with it. Some of us are just born brilliant.)