Lately, I have found myself pondering all sorts of issues politic. I am the sort that is likely to overly cogitate an issue, a certain cerebral shortcoming for sure, yet this is a failure born from a general inquisitiveness inculcated many years ago by a father who had a passion for reading and for self- education. For my own edification, this inheritance has been a blessing, but for my comprehension of the workings of others, it has been a definite curse. When I cannot apprehend ideas or actions, a monolith of frustration plants itself before me, a specter of frustration and angst. At this very moment, I am thinking that I enjoy the current mood of my neighbors, domestic, not at all.
First, what has happened to my neighbors who used to excoriate me for my ignoble remarks about the Bush president, last? Were they not the ones who proclaimed that the Presidency was our highest office and that all citizens should show respect to that office and person who holds it, whether they voted for the person or not? I am pressed to confusion by the comparisons to Hitler, to communism, to socialism, to white-faced racist cartoons displayed with a certain arrogant meanness by my brothers and sister of country. Last night, our President was called a liar by one state’s representatives and no doubt that representative’s web page was frozen by all the emailers wishing to laud him for being up front and honest. I am not sure that that representative has any hard evidence that the President is a liar or as a Congressman, himself, has never told a lie. But that is beside the point: either the position is one that traditionally demands and gets respect, at least in public, or it is not. The former vice president, publicly and on the Senate floor, directed the f-word at an elected official of the opposing party, and that outburst was not remarkable to his party. So, the question for my neighbors is: do you respect the office of the Presidency because it is our highest elected position, one full of turmoil and great responsibility and because you respect your neighbors for exercising their right to elect someone who most represents their views of how the country should be directed or do you extend that respect, nay demand it, only when your choice is in office?
Second, what happened to the spirit of compromise and to the democratic ideal of everyman having a right to speak, question, and explain, free from attack, invective, and general mean-spiritedness? Why are my neighbors so obsessed with counting coup: well the liberals attacked Bush; well the Democrats hissed at the President? If it was wrong then, and it was, to hiss Bush why is it less wrong to hiss, boo, call a liar a different man in the same position? Why have my neighbors, brothers and sisters, become so “junior-high-schoolish?” ( You’re a jerk. You are too. Takes one to know one, nyah, nyah, nyah.) In a related vein, why do so many of my comrades march in a constipated, lock-step of a communal mind? Can only Republicans have a genuine idea? Can only Democrats solve the enormous problems that confront this nation at every tick of the national clock? Why are ideas of one persuasion automatically wrong if there seems to be a slight flaw? What human construct is free of blemish? I wish my compatriots could tell me why a person who had sex with an intern is more vile than one who flew great distances for fornication? Why do my Republican neighbors stamp and neigh and proclaim Christian-wrong doing over the idea of abortions but not rally a single syllable for all the innocent civilians killed in our military actions, current? Do only unborn deaths count for the Christian-pro-life contingency? Is an Iraqi child killed by a bomb or small arms fire not qualified for Christian concern; is she any less dead; is she any less innocent than a fetus? Why do many churches know the count of all the abortions in America and symbolize each “murder” with a tiny white cross staked in their front yards, but none can tell me how many civilians in Afghanistan or Iraq, totally and unquestionably disassociated from any terrorists, have been killed as a result of unfounded military actions? Why are SOME marching on Washington to protest, in part, the position on our funding abortions here and foreign and not protesting the killing of innocents abroad? Do they mean, as it appears to me, that a violent death is only murder if it fits their cause?
I openly admit fathomless ignorance about what makes my neighbors tick in these times. There is no reason, no logic, no democracy, no compassion, and not the slightest respect for any who may a genuine but different philosophy about complicated issues. I am greatly confused because I have thought we were better educated. I feel so much like disengaging from this, if it be civilization; I should dismount from the merry-go-round and give up on finding the brass ring; it seems my horses and swans spin in a different direction.