The Other Side

I recently came across a frankly brilliant essay about why the other side cannot, must not, win the election in November. It begins:

“The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.

“No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations, and flat-out lies.

“Just look at the Other Side’s latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.”

Even though you will quickly catch on to the idea, read the whole thing. You will see that our side has reason, righteousness, noble ideas, and a sure-fire plan for saving the economy and increasing employment. The other side has nefarious billionaires, undisclosed documents, offensive and lying commercials, biased media voices, same old tired and discredited policies, conspiracies, deranged anger, crazy uncles, etc.

This essay is a mirror for you and for me.

What the essay really reveals is that politics has become large gaseous bubbles, blown free of the wand, and wobbling uncertain through the air. It is all a game, an amusement, a sport.

One very real problem is that when we speak in Pavlovian terms, you know, that code — George Soros, Limbaugh, Biden, Huffington, FOX, red state, blue state, MSNBC — we fall into a binary polarization of language. It is all 1s and 0s. No other numbers allowed. We cannot really converse about real stuff. In fact, I think we obsess about politics (and religion) in order to avoid intimacy. It’s easier to hide behind the code than to expose my own uncertainties, longings, and fears.

William Raspberry once said, “In virtually every public controversy, most thoughtful people secretly believe both sides.” That is true. For example, I believe both (or all) sides about so many issues…from technology, to the Christian views of “hell” and evolution, to writing for pay, to President Obama’s apologies to other nations. Yet, put me in a cocktail party or prayer meeting and I’ll take the short cut every time…finding harmony with almost any position ventured.

I am not weak or deceitful, but Madonna will release a gospel album before I’ll open my heart to strangers.

This is why I often long for “sitting with a friend on bales of hay in a barn on a rainy afternoon…”

I love the imagery of rain-induced isolation and slowness and the intimacy of candor and freedom.

Now, in the words of R. E. M.’s Losing My Religion, “Oh, no, I’ve said too much!” 🙂

Anyway, I hope you find the time to read this essay. Oh, and please vote for our guy in November!