Friday, September 20, 2013

Mean People Still Suck

     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?"


Data Viking said...

Hear, hear ! I totally agree.

Roberta X said...


Anonymous said...

It amazes me how (for at least some folks) it's more important to feel good about "speaking truth to power" than to actually advance their cause. I see it all the time on the left; this is the best example I've seen on the not-left.


Larry said...

Just so.

Charles Pergiel said...

I wanted to jump up and down and scream that you're spoiling all my fun, but you are too nice, and I am too tired.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

I read this post and said "hear hear, you tell it, Sister" .
Came to post that comment and Data Viking had already said it, First, even.

Since I'm late to the party (so to write) let me say this German Truism
"If everyone swept their OWN front porch, the whole world would be spotless"... and much quieter too.
Rich in NC

Drang said...

One thing that I have found that is really tee-ing me off is the way so many people are saying of the Gun Rights Community "We blew this one."
Do not ass-you-me that I agreed with the jokers open-carrying an AR15 or other long arm in a retail establishment. I have serious qualms about Open Carry myself, which I might discuss with an Open Carry proponent if I could find one around here who was willing to actually, you know, discuss the issue. Ironically enough, here in the Land of Starbucks OC is legal, but all the people for whom OC is a Way of Life (and maybe that's the problem...?) proceed directly from one's saying "Well, I have an issue" to trying to tear your throat out for not being sufficiently Second Amendmenty. They make Larry Pratt in his most staunch "NO COMPROMISES!" mode look positively wishy-washy.

Jay said...

Well said, Sweet Lady, well said.

Old NFO said...

Excellent points and well said.

Jeffro said...

It do get old.

perlhaqr said...

Drang: I think I get what you're saying, and I certainly wasn't on board with the... antagonistic method being used to advance the cause, but I think we still have to own this one. I mean, for better or worse, those guys are on our team. I think "We" is an appropriate characterization.

But, then again, I am at least an OC proponent. (It galls me to have to get a "permit" to exercise a right. So since I can't CC without one, and I can OC without one... I OC.) So perhaps I'm more on that team than you are. Still, I'd rather not be that divisive, the Gun Rights Community isn't big enough as it is.

*shrug* Longish, rambly, take it or leave it. :)

Roberta X said...

Drang, I think it was an Own Goal.