Thursday, September 11, 2008

You’re entitled to your opinion as long as it agrees with mine

Politics brings out the best in everyone, don’t you think? Yeah, I’m joking. Politics brings out the ugly beast in so many people that I wonder where it’ll stop. Instead of discussing the issues that impact our country, we now have to constantly be on the defensive for daring to voice our opinion because some nut bar may decide he doesn’t like the way we think.

Case in point, my friend, Annie, was driving around yesterday and had some loon sneak up her tailpipe, making all sorts of wild and angry gestures – mostly with the middle finger. My friend wasn’t poking along twenty miles under the speed limit, so what gives? She pulled over to let the driver pass. Narrowly missing her bumper as he flew by, he flipped her off while screaming through his open window, “Fuck you and your lipstick- wearing candidate!”

She told me about it last night over margaritas and beer nuts. “Can you imagine somebody getting that upset because I have a different opinion? I never thought putting a bumper sticker on my car would end up almost getting my car rear-ended. What happened to the idea of having the right to our opinions?” It went out with bell-bottom pants, I told her. This is still America, right? she asked. Yes, yes, for now, I replied.

It’s strange. I mean, Annie was right. What happened to the idea that we are entitled to our opinions? I remember when I had a bumper sticker on my car years ago, and someone came along and keyed my door. My car was only a week old. I cried all afternoon while I peeled the sticker off. It also pissed me off. I was, in essence, being held hostage from expressing my opinion. The actions of these two incidents proved to me what is really going on; you’re entitled to your opinion as long as it agrees with mine.

I never got this particular memo, so the idea that I have to conform to others’ opinions or I risk getting my car keyed, or run off the road, or being roughed up makes me wonder at this brave new world of bully opinion. Civility went the way of the dinosaur, and we’re left with having to shut our mouths for fear of reprisals. We’re now a world where the media skews their news to favor their favorite candidate, and Hollywood is the new royalty on all political matters. I’ve actually had people roll their eyes and scoff because they asked me about my political beliefs. What the hell is going on here? Isn’t this how Russia stamped out independent thought?

I’m incredibly sad about this move toward having to force my opinions underground, and I can’t help but feel America is the worse for such intolerance. We could all use major Reiki hugs.


mark's tails said...

Lynn, George Washington in his farewell address warned the American people of the problems that a party system would likely bring.

"It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration....agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one....against opens the door to foreign influence and corruption...thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."

Despite the lip service that many politicians have about bringing parties together it really is something that needs to be done, the problem is that so many people have such strong convictions that there is no room for compromise.

Unfortunately it is the acts of individuals like you describe that divide us even more and that makes me very sad indeed.

Lynn Price said...

I hear you, Mark. It's hard to imagine us ever foregoing the two-party system since so much graft hinges upon its existence, but I'm beyond sick at what this country has become. I know we're far better than this.