Saturday, October 15, 2011
I’m happy about the Tea Party,
I’m happy about the Occupy Wall Street folks,
I’m happy they both exist at the same time.
They say a good way to lose friends and create enemies is to talk about politics, but I’m going to risk it. On the spectrum of left and right in politics, the Tea Party lines up pretty far right, and they have had a very effective couple of years. It’s hard to argue with the idea that the deficit, which has been growing for years needs to be reined in. They have taken a hard line approach on issues of spending, and their success has moved the center to the right a bit. Occupy Wall Street is fairly new and just starting to gain traction. Occupy Wall Street is not diametrically opposed to the Tea Party, but they tend to be more liberal, and occupy the more far left side of the spectrum. It’s hard to argue with a side opposing rampant greed. I hope they get organized and become a player in the game. (I’m fully aware that this is a watered down, generalized description of both of them, and that there are nuanced differences within each group that the short preceding paragraph does not do justice, so there, this is meant as a jumping off point.)
Why do I like both of these on either side of the equation?
Because I don’t necessarily like either of them.
Because I hate the non-compromising ends of the spectrum.
Because I hate how out of control having a hard line stance has gotten.
Okay, if you are on the extreme end of either side of the spectrum, check out for a minute, I’m going to talk to the majority.
Listen, you guys, this is a good thing. The politicians have had to pander to the loudest, most hard line of their constituency, as we in the middle have had to watch, feeling impotent to do anything, because we aren’t loud, or hard line. But, there is hope. Here is my theory, having groups on both sides will set the center back at the center. Then, I believe the downfall of the loud and the hard line will, in fact be their loudiness, and hard lineyness, which are words I made up.
Because, here’s the thing, the fallacy is that the majority of people are upset that their side doesn’t take a strong enough stance. When, in reality, I would argue that the majority of people are upset that their side takes too hard of a stance, and that the other side takes too hard of a stance. Right? This was certainly evidenced this summer with the debt ceiling debate, where each side stood by their principles and ended up at a resounding defeat together.
In the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself liberal. I grew up in a liberal college town and felt a little conservative, then I lived in the Bible belt and felt a little liberal, now I live in LA and just feel little. I generally tend to agree with Democrats on most things. I have opinions. But you know what? I get the other side, I totally get it. The people I know that are Republicans, I totally get. I think their stance makes sense. I think there are people I know who want the exact same for their friends and family and country as me, who are on the other side. There are people that I greatly respect, who are well reasoned that are Republicans. Also, in full disclosure, I’m not an expert on the economy, or foreign affairs, or wars, or Social Security, so my opinions are just that, opinions. Ultimately, I don’t know if stimulating the economy through government spending, or stimulating the economy through tax cuts is more effective. I have ideas, but I don’t know for certain.
I think that for most reasonable people it mostly comes down to what you think the scope of the role of government should be. For instance, I believe that one of the roles of government should be to help the poor. I have Republican friends who believe that helping the poor is not part of the government’s role. Those same people want to help the poor as much as I do, or more, just think it should come from elsewhere. How do you vilify the other side if you believe it comes down to this?
This summer I got so ticked off that politicians were sticking to their uncompromising “principles,” and that those that wanted to compromise were seen as principleless, another word I made up.
What if compromise was a valued principle?
What if there was a group of people who banded together, just like the Tea Party, and just like Occupy Wall Street, made up of us in the middle. Yes, we have opinions, but mostly, we value compromising, and we won’t budge on that. We can call ourselves the Uncompromising Compromising Party and we’ll revel in the irony of it, because we in the middle don’t take ourselves too seriously, we see the irony in things.
Because everything has irony and hypocrisy, right?
We in the Uncompromising Compromise Party will acknowledge the hypocrisy and discuss things that aren’t supposed to be discussed, and we’ll do it without yelling. We recognize that things can be talked about even if they’re messy. We have to because we recognize the hypocrisy in ourselves.
We’ll get mad at our politicians for reckless spending, then go in the other room to pay our overdue credit card bill. We’ll chuckle to ourselves at our own hypocrisy and think, “Maybe I should take care of my own issues, and shouldn’t get so mad at the politicians, too.”
You see, we in the Uncompromising Compromise Party recognize that the world comes in grays, in fact that will be our logo, a gray square. People who believe in the black and white of things will shout at us, “Don’t you believe in anything? Don’t you have principles? Don’t you hold to those principles?” In a quiet, reasonable tone, we will say, “Yes, I’m holding strong to them right now.” You see, being in the Uncompromising Compromise Party doesn’t mean that we don’t have opinions, it just means that we value compromise first. Our elected officials will come back to us and say, “On this particular bill, I was able to get about 60% of what I wanted and we’ll say, “Yay!” Another time the elected official will come back and say, “On this particular bill, I was able to get about 40% of what I wanted, and we’ll say, “Yay!” Or on another bill they’ll say, “On this particular bill, I was able to get 100% of what I wanted, and we’ll say, “What went wrong?!”
Sometimes one of our elected officials will go on an interview and make a big gaffe. She’ll be on a nationally televised show when she’s asked what she thinks about her opponent in the upcoming election. She’ll say, “My opponent is not at all like Hitler.” She’ll feel embarrassed because she said ‘Hitler,’ even in an innocuous way. She’ll have to issue an apology saying, “My words were taken out of context, what I meant to say was, ‘In no way whatsoever is my opponent like Hitler, or the Nazis, or anyone with a narrow mustache, not at all like Hitler. In fact, from now on, I won’t even mention the word ‘Hitler.’ Dang it, I just did it. I resign.'” Her supporters will laugh at that because we have senses of humor and know that if you invoke Hitler’s name to make a point about an opponent you lose credibility in anything you say going forward, and retroactively anything you’ve said in the past.
We’ll read political articles and not comment in the Comments section. Or, if we do comment, we’ll say encouraging things to the other commenters like, “Good point!” or “I don’t agree, but I can see where you’re coming from!” or “I understand what it’s like to not feel as though your opinions are heard, that can be frustrating, but I imagine you’re still a good person!”
Please comment below accordingly, for I’m fearful of what the comments on this particular post may turn into.