Tam started it -- and this post is something of an online apology, since she took my annoyed outburst at mockery of the mockable as being directed at the mockers.
Nope. I'm irked at the excessive degree of polarization, especially as it is directed into criticism of the freely-chosen, harmless-to-others behaviors of our fellow citizens. Left-learning folks do it, Right-leaning folks do it, Libertarians do it -- and for Authoritarians, why, it's their prime commodity.
When it's obvious who threw out the first sniffing, "Well! I never! Such outlandish behavior/attire/expression," as far as I'm concerned they're ripe for mockery and criticism in return, by the ancient principle of estoppel: what you do to others, you cannot object to when it is done to you. But geez-o-pete, the effort and vitriol people put into it in the first place would gag a goat. (In the example that prompted me, someone was complaining that old ladies weren't old-ladylike enough -- blast it, if they can't be who they want to be after a long, long life, when will they?)
Extreme polarization isn't helping. There are times and places to do the marching-and-chowder society thing -- political conventions, political protests, revivals, etc. But not when you're at the grocery, or having a coffee, or talking with your neighbor. Whatever your own pet issues are, most people don't share them. Whatever set of politicians you think are whacked-out wreckers, at least half of the people around you would disagree -- if they bothered to think about it at all, which they rarely do.
It is -- as I am fond of saying -- a damn big world and we would all benefit by a little more nibbing out of the other person's beeswax and a little less promoting our own causes in places where it just annoys the uninvolved.
The recent developments at Starbucks provide a nice microcosm: while it's odds-on that Howard Schultz leans a bit more D than R, I'd bet real money that until very recently, he spent little time thinking about how to limit your gun rights. It wasn't his worry -- sure, the Bradys and Mommies were yammering at him, but as long as they said "Starbucks" in every news release, it was just more free media mentions of the firm's name. Then the antis and the less-subtle pros stepped things up and made it his worry and lo and behold, he swatted at what buzzed around him.
That kind of thing is unproductive. When you go to the range, when you hunt, do you just blaze away ignoring the sights, or do you stop and think, "Where's this going? What'll happen when it hits? Should I take this shot?" and take careful aim. If you won't practice your politics with the same care and discretion, do everybody a favor: shut the hell up. --And the same is true for those folks who shuddered in horror at my shooting analogy. It applies all across the board, Left, Right, Up and Down.
Maybe "the political is personal." So's relieving yourself, and we all disapprove of people who do that in public.
Stop. Think. Ask yourself, "Is this ego-trip really necessary?"
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
1 year ago