Thursday, March 17, 2005

Apolitical Bend

Let me start with this: I'm registered as undeclared. Up until the recent elections did I never care about politics, and even when I became wrapped up in the insanity of the 2004 election year, I always felt like I had a bad taste in my mouth, like I really didn't like what I was being a part of. I hate politics, not a specific party.

Andrew Jackson was our nation's seventh president and was considered one of the men that created the modern presidency. He was enigmatic, a man that appealed to the "common man" of the United States of America. He was a boisterous man prone to agitation, and was known for participating in many duels that disputed the honor of his wife. He loved battle and always had an enemy in sight, whether it be the opposing party or the Native Americans that haunted "his" frontier.

It seemed like he always had a point to prove to the majority of the U.S., particularly the aristocratic segment. He was not liked by many civilians, many of the popular poets of the day, Thoreau and Emerson, vocally disliked the man. He was often considered absurd, a redneck, and a war-monger. He was a staunch advocate of nationalism, of the awesome power of America, and firmly believed the country could do anything. Coincidentally, he is also considered the man that founded the Democratic Party.

Stay with me; I promise not to get political. I'm only making observations that have bothered me in the past few years.

Though the personality (and seemingly political) similarities between Jackson and what some would consider the advocates of the modern Republican Party (to be stereotypical: gun-toting, god-fearing, nationalistic, aggressives), many would be surprised that this guy is officially a Democrat. At some point, the sides switched. Back in Jackson's day the tree hugging Henry D. Thoreau was the quintessential Republican; a radical to some degree as well. What happened?

That is not a point I would ever like to discuss on a forum such as this. What I would like to say is that I have noticed an extremely tense relationship between the opposing parties and it worries me. When cruising the internet one day, I found this. I had to stop what I was doing. This is just uncool. I browsed the other merchandise made by and for the right-wing masses, and found even more products that proposed violence toward the other side; well, not so much violence as the inspiration for outright hate.

Is this really what people want? A "liberal" (a term I will use because it is thrown all over the place in this site) can in no way be a friend, or someone you care about? Must we really define ourselves by these lines drawn in the political sand? It seems that Republicans out-and-out hate Democrats, and would love to, apparently, kill one on sight if given the chance. Would they kill their best friend from kindergarten? Or son? Or mother? These are people for crying out loud!

So, in all fairness, I decided to check out the left-wing merchandise offered from the same company that sells the right-wing products. The most notable differences I found were that they tended to attack the President more than the Republican party, and that they relyed less on imagery and more on language and the written word. Some were even self-depricating. There seemed to be less violence associated with the left-wing merchandise, which was the main thing I was looking for. This and this were the only ones that I found that came close to a "violent act."

I don't mean to make one side look bad. As I tried to show with the historical anecdote above, 170 years ago it would have been the Democrats with the stickers saying "Imagine no Republicans," etc. I'm bothered by the fact this is happening at all. Doesn't this show that there is a problem with how we are viewing things? It's not about what party you belong to, there's always going to be someone who thinks differently, but it's about preparing for the future. In that respect, I think that both parties should be able to make a general consensus.

Having us divide ourselves seems to be doing just that. Hostilities are growing, especially when listening to the likes of Al Franken, Barack Obama, Michael Savage, or Sean Hannity. It's grown to a simple yelling match, and I wouldn't be surprised if people start fighting over stupid stuff like politics. How is this helping our country grow?

And people wonder why I spend all my time inside...


Eben said...

I saw an interesting cartoon in Hopedance magazine the other day (a wacko liberal tabloid produced here in SLO county)
In it there was a cartoon of a timeline about how the people lost control of the country. On one half there were these people saysing We shouldn't use birth control because its not what God wants and on the other half there was a couple saying we should use birth control. Eventually the side with the non-birthcontrol users grew in size to the point where they wanted to kick the birth-control users out.

Anyway Dan I think my favorite shirt was the one that read : Bigot: A conservative winning an argument agaisnt a Liberal
close second : Waco - How Liberals seperate Church and State.

I almost want to buy one of those shirts just to wear it and see what happens... they probably don't sell them to people that live in California...

DCVB said...

I'd probably wear the conservative shirt that read: "Club liberals, not sandwiches"

On the liberal side, I'd wear: "Four more years of Hell" to set some people off.

It's funny, if you read the caption they put to the shirt that reads: "NeoCon" that says one should wear the shirt to (and I quote) "Shock that Liberal (friend?) and take another label-arrow from the Liberal quiver."

What bothers me is the parenthetical hint at insulting a friend. What is trying to be said here? It just seems like people want us to be fighting each other, defining our lives by our political alliances, not by our personalities or behavior.

This type of mentality is almost the type I addressed in a previous post ("The Principle of Division") where the modern American is supposed to be easily lead and shunned when he or she yearns for an intellectual life beyond what is fed to us via major media outlets (television, newspapers, movies, etc.)

Maybe I hear Walden Pond calling my name, or maybe I just need to play more violent video games.

Eben said...

May I recommend Star Wars Galaxies?
It's totally killed most of my urges to think and be creative.