My brother in law is somewhat of a hippie. He's not full bore mind you. He doesn't own a 1969 VW van and follow around Phish. He doesn't have long Willie Nelson hair that is tied back by a bandanna that smells like weed. But he does have a compost heap and he eats bean sprouts. He once showed me the plans on how to make bio-diesel fuel and told me how much the oil companies are screwing the American working man.
He eats a lot of vegetables too although he does love the red meat. Organic of course. And for one glorious summer in college we shared one giant bed. I know how this sounds but it's not what you think. I had pushed two twin beds together to make one giant bed. Halfway through the semester he moved in. Instead of actually taking the 10 minutes to separate the beds back, we said screw it and just slept side by side for 2 months. Laziness, which I submit to you, is a sign of a liberal hippie. He obviously felt entitled to the bed but didn't want to put the work into separating them.
This was the guy that I was waiting to post something about the health care debate. This is where I knew I would find many liberal responses and personalities so that I could complete my experiment and prove my hypothesis. My hypothesis being "People think that squirrels on skies are funny and that in a political debate someone will be called an unpatriotic goat rapist without any supporting documentation, supporting facts or alleged goat."
I was counting on him posting something the night of the vote but he didn't. Again, liberal laziness. I imagine that most liberals were waiting for someone else to post. I would then enter the debate on the conservative side, thus busting up the little hippie commune that I would find there. By the end of it, someone was sure to call me a heartless Nazi.
I had done the same thing the night before but with the conservative side. I argued the liberal side in a pack of ravenous conservatives. I expected to be eaten up, slapped around, maybe given a cigar and some money, and then booted. That was the theory but it was not the reality. Stupid Republicans were nice about it with good arguments. We call that an "aberration" in statistical research, which this is not. So we are going to throw out those results in my study as not being the "norm". The norm is defined by what I think it should be and not what my data shows.
Seriously, I think I would love being a researcher after this stay at home dad thing doesn't work out and my kids are sucking on the public teet.
The Liberals have an agenda. Everyone knows that. It's talked about all the time by the liberal media. It's a nice agenda that has bullet points, a nice looking border and is printed on biodegradable paper. At the top is a picture of Hello Kitty because that's just cute. 10 years ago that agenda was thrown to shit by an inconvenient truth. The truth of course being that Al Gore lost the election. For the next 8 years Liberals were subjected to the ruthlessness of Dos Bush--that Bush the second for my non Spanish speaking friends. For those 8 years the agenda laid dormant like Lord Voldermort living off the blood of unicorns.
But then Bush fucked it up. He became unpopular and Hope and Change rolled into town. Now the Liberal Agenda was back on track baby. It got dusted off, updated a bit, and then put right back into play: on the floor of the House of Representatives. There's a saying in video game land. "First you beat them, then you embarrass them." It's really the American way.
And that's what happened here. So now it was time for the Liberals to come out and gloat. THAT is the American way. Watching online news chat rooms, that was exactly what was happening. And it is what I expected to see when The Hippie finally posted his thoughts on the bill the next morning. About time to. I have a limited attention span and I was running out of YouTube videos to watch while I waited.
He did post and I was a bit surprised. I was surprised because first off it didn't smell like pot. After that I was surprised because there was no gloating, there was telling no one to suck it and take it, there was not even accusing anyone of bombing a country without reason. In fact, it was well written and even broken down into easily defined points of argument.
Ya know, in last nights "aberration" I ran into the same thing on the other side. A calm argument. I came to the conclusion that the reason for this was because the first poster was calm. I was going to fuck that up tonight. I was going to piss someone off.
I threw out my first debating point almost immediately. I was passionate in my response, hoping to show that that I was spoiling for a fight. I even threw out the word "outrage" thus provoking an emotional response from the very next poster. That was my hope.
Unfortunately, it was The Hippie that responded next and that little bean sprout eating fucker didn't take the bait. He didn't take it like the big mouth bass that I thought he was. Instead, he just turned around my own statement and put it back on me.
This was not going well. So I bent the rules a little bit. I bent them because I had to. And I had to because so far my hypothesis was taking a beating. I bent them because there are no real rules in this thing as I am completely making them up as I go along. I called the Hippie on the phone.
I very kindly, and with much feeling, told him that he could not longer post on his own thread. That to do so with his reason and patience was jacking up my blog. I reminded him that I had married his sister. Does he want to see his sister unhappy?
Now with that taken care of, I was ready to continue my little dialogue with any and every liberal flower child that came around. And they did come around as I knew they would. A lone conservative draws a crowd of ravenous liberals like a pack of wolves to a wounded baby kitten and I was meowing loudly. Oh yea baby, I was a little wounded kitten here with a bleeding leg. Be nice if I had some health care but it turns out I'm a lazy kitten. Come get some.
But they didn't. In fact, the first post after mine and after I banned the Hippie from his own thread was a guy agreeing with me, another fellow conservative. Get out of here, this is a one man show. The next post was someone talking about empathy. Empathy! Are you kidding me! Empathy! You just whipped some conservative ass and now you are talking to me about having some empathy for others like you having empathy for me? No, no no no no!
I kept going using all the conservative arguments. Big government, higher taxes, entitlements, state rights. Some of the stuff that I said wasn't even my own. I quoted Papa Scrum almost verbatim on one answer. They weren't biting. They weren't getting pissed. They weren't shouting or typing in ALL CAPS. There wasn't even an exclamation point used. It was turning into another reasoned debate, a calm exchange of ideas and an easy dissection of each point. My hypothesis was getting screwed. So I did the only thing I could do. The only thing that I thought would really send them over the edge.
I questioned their morals. That's right, morals you liberal pansies. I am basically questioning your commitment to this country, this ideal and to your own fellow man. It was meant to be a jab right to the solar plexus. Basically, I said that if it such a "moral" question then everyone should pay for it, not just one section of the population.
If there was a field, I would be standing in the middle of it with a smile on my face. My hands would be stretched out and my head would be tilted back soaking up the glorious sun as I prepared for the onslaught that would surely come. My shirt would be off and my rippling muscles would be covered in the sweat of the righteous.
But there was no field and there was no onslaught. There was agreement.
There was actually agreement in a political debate where the two sides believed vastly different things. How could this happen? I don't understand. I don't get it. These are the same people that gave us the term "hanging chad." People who couldn't even punch a hole through paper just undercut my entire hypothesis.
They were my last hope after that fiasco with the conservatives the night before. And they didn't do it. They didn't rise up and spit on me, or call me names, or threaten my profession. They agreed with a point that I had made.
Through two debates I had attained friendship and agreement in an arena where this shouldn't have been possible. It never is. Ever. And yet, it did. Imagine a single tear falling down my cheek, as I am sure it is falling down yours.
My hypothesis is wrong. I have to admit it now, there is no other conclusion to be drawn from this experience. It needs to be amended. Perhaps there is room for a friendly debate that will not sink to a level that embarrasses us all and embarrasses the ones that came before us. It may be some small room tucked away by the kitchen with no windows but it is there.
I have thought long and hard on this experience and have tried to determine why there was such a gap on what I read in the chat rooms vs. what I had seen on facebook. From what I see on the evening news and what I hear being yelled from mobs. It may be the anonymity that is the culprit but I don't think it's the only reason. After all, almost all the participants in the facebook debate had no idea who I was or what I believed really. They only knew what I wrote. And yet they never went to far or took any of the easy opportunities to debase me or my ideas. So I don't know, maybe you do.
But after listening to this debate from both sides, and taking the arguments on both sides seriously, I do feel that there are some things that I want to point out. No matter what issue we Americans find ourselves faceing, it needs to be debated. It's how we debate that truly matters, not the issue in which we debate. Today it was healthcare, tomorrow it may illegal immigration or social security or abortion. And as we get to those issues (and we will), there are some things that we must keep in mind.
Whatever derogatory things are being said by the side you disagree with, were once said by your own party at one time or another. Think about it and you'll see that it's a universal truth. Those things have no place in a debate that concerns the very future of our country. I have used a lot of tongue and cheek in these blogs to prove that point and I hope most of you were able to pick up on it.
After the passage of the health care bill there has still been alot of passion and debate. There has been violence directed towards both parties, don't deny it and don't just brush it off. It's true on both sides. Again, intimidation and bulling has no place in a debate. This is not an "us" Vs. "them" country and it never was meant to be.
And finally, and now I'll get off my soap box, in most debates both sides usually have valid concerns and good points. It is our duty to recognize that and decide for ourselves if we agree with them or not. You don't have to agree with them but it is your responsibility to decide for yourself if you do or not. If you let someone else tell you what to think then you have failed to truly give any significant issue facing our country any true consideration. Extremists on both sides will spill forth passionate arguments complete with inflammatory statements. If that is your only source of "facts" then you are bound to never make an informed decision.
At the end of this I realize that there is a glaring hole in these two blogs and I plan to fill it now. How do I feel? What is my true thoughts? There has been a lot of debate and a lot of talk. I can honestly say that I have listened intently to the pros and cons, from liberals and from conservatives and from those who just aren't sure. I have studied and looked at all the possible consequences, the ones that are known anyway. I have even stepped into opposing roles and it has helped me understand this issue more than I thought I would.
I feel pretty confident in my decision:
Squirrels on water skies are very, very funny.