Sunday, January 02, 2005

A Momentary Lapse into the Political Arena

I rarely pontificate on political issues, mostly because it's a real struggle for me to put words to my feelings. Yet this morning, I have somehow found Inspiration.

Two Cents is a daily column that appears in The San Francisco Chronicle. Basically, it's a pool of Bay Area residents who comment on the question of the day. "Should we delete 2004 and do it over?" was today's query.

This perfectly benign question turned into a political platform for all 8 respondents. Seven individuals were derogatory toward President Bush and the war in Iraq. One person felt that Kerry would reintroduce the "lingering Clinton-era recession again." No one had anything to say about their family, their work, or their health.

I don't recall ever seeing so many people state their political opinions so frequently or vehemently. And what put me over the edge this morning is that this Ongoing Anger doesn't stop there:

  • In a holiday letter from a good friend, an entire paragraph was devoted to bashing the president.
  • One very dear friend has stopped talking to us because Kerry didn't win. She suspects my husband voted for Bush, and she has no idea how I voted. None-the-less, we have been written off. Completely. After fifteen years of friendship.
  • I say hello to people and ask how they are doing? They respond, "Terrible...with Bush still in office." Whatever happened to just saying, "I'm doing fine. How are you?"

I don't consider myself to be either a Republican or a Democrat. I share certain opinions with both parties. Overall, I think family decisions should be private. Gays should live free from discrimination and government intervention. What happens in my bedroom is my business and not yours. I believe in social programs that help people live independently. Health care is a right and not a priviledge. Teachers are grossly underpaid and under-appreciated. I support stem cell research because it can be harvested from healthy-born babies...and it could potentially relieve so much suffering. And illegal aliens should not qualify for a driver's license.

I don't believe we went to war with Iraq as a "payback" for Bush senior, because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or to control the world's oil. I think Bush is intent on establishing democracy in an area of the world that has become increasingly volatile and unpredictable. And I have often felt that he was acting on some sort of knowledge that I didn't have. Perhaps the pending likelihood of more countries or terrorist groups growing in strength and obtaining nuclear weapons. I don't like war and I'm extremely saddened by the loss of any life. But I remain open to possibility that stabilizing Iraq with some form of democratic foothold could ultimately save thousands of lives in the years to come.

My heart breaks for the survivors and victims in South Asia. The tsunami brought total destruction to these Muslim countries. And who is there to help? Australia, France, the US. I think about terrorists and how they do nothing to build and assist their fellow Muslims. They just murder innocent people who don't conform to their philosophies, like a bunch of self-righteous bullies with too much money.

Well, that's the extent of my political leanings. That is as abrasive and aggressive that I am going to become over these issues. I don't discuss any of this with friends or family. I guess I'm an isolationist of sorts.

I'm tired of the Red State vs Blue State debate. I'm tired of people saying the 2004 election wasn't "legitimate." I'm tired of people planting their flags so firmly in the ground that we become even more polarized and antagonistic with one another.

The election is over, for better or for worse. Can't we just say, "Enough is Enough!" No more pot-shots. No more squabbling. No more sizzling anger directed at neighbors and friends.

Can't we all just Get Along?