Bill Maher told a joke the other night on Real Time. "Sarah Palin just got an iPad. She didn't find it all that absorbent." It made me laugh and I posted it as my Facebook status. Most people took it for what it was, a joke, and responded accordingly. One friend went off on me. This friend professes to be very conservative, I am not. He began to question everything from my sexuality to my patriotism. He wanted to know why us "liberals" were so afraid of Sarah Palin. He said, Maher would never say anything so derogatory about the President. Obviously, he does not watch the show. Everyone is fair game on that show and they take their shots.
As the discussion went on I realized something that supports a theory I have had for quite a while. I believe that we are a nation divided by common beliefs. I may have said that before in this forum but this circumstance illustrates it perfectly. As the thread continued, and it is continuing today, my friend expressed regret that we, as a nation, used to be able to discuss different sides of the issues without anger and contempt. He missed the days when you could discuss a political issue without rancor and accusations. This made me smile, I was under the impression that was what I was doing. When I pointed that out his attitude changed. He began offering his opinion and accepting the opinions of others. (By now there were a seven people involved in the discussion.) One friend said it perfectly in regard to the Sarah Palin joke, "Comedy is truth, that's why we laugh. We laugh at the acknowledgement that someone 'hit the nail on the head' truth-wise. Not saying that Sarah Palin actually used the iPad as a sanitary napkin but saying that she is not smart enough to know she should not do that. We laugh because the joke illustrates what we are all thinking based on opinions that have been formed from her actions and comments."
Come to find out, my friend, the conservative, is not a big Sarah fan. He doesn't believe that she has any real qualifications or character. Wow! He told me that his original point was about respect. I replied that to me respect is something that is earned not given. He agreed. Now his conversation shifted to believing that the entire congressional environment is twisted. He believes their focus is not about solving problems but about notching wins. It doesn't matter what a particular bill says, only that your party is the one to get it passed or defeated. Congressmen consider that a 'win'. He expressed his frustration at the two party system and how it has devolved into the Hatfields and McCoys. Wow, again. Exactly what I believe. A country divided by common beliefs. Cats and dogs sleeping together.
So how did the country get into this universal head lock? Why are people so intolerant of opposing opinion? My theory is talk radio, the devil incarnate. When someone with narrow beliefs, either conservative or liberal, can go to one place and hear their own narrow opinions spewed back at them it is not a good environment. When the opposing view point is never presented with any legitimacy or belittled and made fun of with no chance for rebuttal, how is it to be taken seriously? When congressional success becomes about liberal wins and conservative losses or vice versa, and not about solving problems and making the country better how will things ever improve?
I believe that, at the end of the day, I am very similar to most people in this country. Most people call me a liberal yet many of my beliefs do not necessarily line up that way. I am pro-life. I am anti-big business. I believe in the constitution but do not need a gun to present my views. I would never protest at a military funeral but I would never stop someone who needed to do that. I don't believe I need a gun for personal protection but would kill anyone who attempted to hurt my family. I believe in freedom of speech and religion even if you are showing off your ignorance at the top of your lungs or are not Christian. I do not find racial humor funny, even when black comics do it.
A country divided by common beliefs. I say we turn off the radio's and stop letting loud mouth talk show hosts tell us what we feel and begin talking to each other. I believe that we will soon find out that while we may not agree on everything, we will see eye to eye on most. After all, most issues in this world can be solved with a little common sense and talking to each other is the surest way to get there.
Causes Thomas White Supports
Kerry Daveline Memorial Golf Tournament for the Melanoma Society. http://www.hacknsmack.org/