Note: This blog post deals with very serious social issues and any attempts to find humor or inject levity into the pain of human existence will be met with stern glares from all my liberal, college-educated, white friends.
This is a post I’ve rewritten maybe three times over the last year, trying to refine exactly what I want to say. It’s tricky. Things have really changed since the brisk, carefree liberalism of my youth.
When I was first developing my political views, America was a far more conservative space than it is today. All a bright-faced, rebellious, optimistic teen had to do to be liberal was NOT support the war-mongering, anti-intellectual, technically unelected president.
Times have changed though. America’s current president is both democratically elected AND half-black. No matter how cynical you are about racial politics, the fact that black people can go from literal property to Leader of The Free World proves that a fuckton of progress has been made.
Disregarding any political feelings one might have about Barack “Probably-a-Secret-Terrorist-and-Antichrist-Hussein” Obama, his election was a massive, historical event in American history. Following this election, a tidal wave of mainstream liberalism drowned popular culture, splashed unpopular culture, and dried completely before it hit anyone rich or powerful.
The liberal flood, combined with the almighty connecting power of the internet, has created such an ocean of social issues that even a friendly, open-minded fella’ like myself has some trouble keeping up.
The thing that constantly divides me from my generation and all their new ideas is not the ideas themselves, but the fact that no one is willing to admit this stuff is fucking nuanced. These ideas are cutting-edge, digital-age, precision technology, and yet I’m constantly at odds with people I agree with due to their insistence on wielding progressivism like a blunt-force object.
In my mind, the point of all this rigmarole, the apex of creating a progressive society, is to build a place where people are kind to each other. You know, that thing all your heroes wanted.
Call me sequential, but I cannot envision a society that achieves greater kindness and understanding by refusing to acknowledge perceptions and beliefs beyond their own, no matter how irrational the opposing side’s viewpoint may feel.
Let’s try to be kind.
True dat. Hating on or humiliating someone that doesn’t think the same way as you rarely achieves much in the long term (despite how awful their views may be). Listening to them, trying to understand where they’re coming from, and subtly trying to influence them is a better plan and its the kind of thing I aim for more as I get older. It’s also way, way, way harder and provides no instant gratification, so most of the time we can’t be bothered.
I volunteered for a liberal political party recently (but not the Liberal party, who are actually not liberal at all – Australian politics is weird) – it was a good experience and really drove this point home. I liked doing the phone calling, and you quickly found that the best thing you could do was ask them about their own problems, then shut up and listen.
I looked into your country’s politics a little bit after you asked me to draw that picture. Your government is a lot more conservative than I would image a place full of kangaroos to be.
The kangaroos are conservative as hell, man. They’re always boxing people outside abortion clinics, showing up at environment rallies and smacking down everyone with their tails, writing letters of protest about TV shows featuring homosexual characters with their tiny little paws … if anything it’s the kangaroos that MAKE us so conservative!
God, I’ve missed these. I’m so jealous of your ability to distill so many weighty themes into something that’s so palatable and readable. How do you do this? Oh, I know… sorcery! 😛
Sure, but you draw better.
It is amazing how difficult nuances can be for some people! If such divides in thinking continue, there will inevitably be an uprising of moderates who are tired of the one-sided arguments of both the fanatical conservatives and fanatical liberals.
Thanks for the comment, Jason. America’s two party system is basically designed to create the problem you described.