Friday, September 04, 2009

Enough is Enough

In the 1950s I would have been called a New England Republican: social liberal, fiscal conservative. I think government exists to help people with the things they can’t take care of themselves, and that everyone’s position should be viewed as though it was happening to me, or someone close to me. I also think we need to be able to pay for anything we do. The only personal debt I have is my mortgage.

Another term would have been added to me in the Sixties: pragmatist. We can try whatever looks promising, but it has to work. I'm okay with increased law enforcement as a means to combat drug usage in this country. I do have issues with our insistence on doing more of the same when it hasn’t worked all that well in forty years.

As the nation has moved right, these opinions of mine have categorized me as a Capital L Liberal, which is fine. What is not fine is the evolution of "liberal" into meaning a weak-kneed pussy who has no choice but to put up with whatever tripe those on the other side of the spectrum choose to sling.

We’ve all seen pictures of the signs made that show Obama with a Hitler mustache. Yesterday was the first time I saw one in person, as I was accosted by someone ranting about whether this was who I wanted as my president. Something about that moment hit me. I’m not sure why, but in that second something in me decided enough is enough.

I never drank the Obama Kool-Aid. I didn’t vote for him in the primary, and I voted for him in the general election because I truly believed he was a better choice to run the country than McCain, not because I thought he was The Messiah. I am less then enamored of his performance in office, though I think he’s done a generally good job considering the pile of shit he was handed. This is not a reaction to people picking on my president.

What I’ve had enough of are lies and distortions. People on either side of the argument blatantly ignoring, misrepresenting, or making up “facts.” I am always willing to debate and discuss an issue, so long as both sides are debating in good faith. No one learns anything by talking; we learn by listening. Listening to lies and half-truths won’t work for anyone. As for the media’s current attempts to be “fair and balanced” by reporting what each side says and leaving it at that, there’s a quote from The Wire that sums it up: A lie isn’t another side of the story. It’s just a lie.

The First Amendment exists for exactly this reason, so everyone can make their point. We do it a disservice, and disrespect those who have sacrificed to protect it, when we hide behind it to spread falsehoods. I’m sick of listening to, and have no stomach for addressing, the more egregious examples as they occur. With that in mind, I’m going to exercise my First Amendment rights and provide my final answers to some of the worst trespasses.

To those who argue this year’s health care reform legislation had provision for “death panels” and encouraged euthanasia:

Fuck you.

To those who deny all evidence to the contrary and insist Obama has not adequately proven he was born in the United States:

Fuck you.

To those who bemoan the deficits accrued by the stimulus and stayed silent while the previous administration ran up comparable debts on tax cuts:

Fuck you.

To those who would deny gay couples the marriage rights you have in the name of “defending marriage,” yet cannot show one heterosexual marriage that has been damaged, or even cite one cogent reason why giving gays the right to marry would affect anyone else in any way:

Fuck you.

To those who would depict the President of the United States (or any member of his family) as a monkey, or use any other racial slurs:

Fuck you, racist bastard.

I’m still happy to debate and discuss anything. I’m not just going to lie around and listen to some of this bullshit anymore.

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