Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tea Party in the Cafeteria

All too often, we form our political affiliations the way we made friends back in junior high. It's all about who we want to sit beside in the cafeteria.

But we are supposed to be grownups. We graduated from junior high school long ago, and it's about time we started to act like it. When we're kids, we avoid doing anything we don't absolutely feel like doing: eating our vegetables, doing our homework, hanging out with the dorks. As adults, we are supposed to learn that there's a whole, big world full of different people out there, and hard tasks that must be done whether we like them or not. We have to learn that we can't always have everything our way.

It's hard for us to learn that, and many of us never seem to. I haven't always lived up to my own advice.

During the enthusiasm over Obama in 2008, and especially after my unethical sacking by the last company I worked for, I got sucked into the junior high mentality once again. All my friends -- the cool kids, with whom I liked to hang -- fell for Obama. They told me that libertarians were dweebs, that Obama was the savior of the nation, and that big corporations (by which, they generally meant, the entire free enterprise system) were evil. I was genuinely scared of what Boy Bush might have done to the country, and when I was dishonestly downsized out of my livelihood by yet another scummy company, I especially welcomed the consolations of my friends.

I began to think that libertarians might not be as smart as I'd thought they were. My friends all thought they were the uncool kids, and didn't want them sitting at their table. The very few actual, flesh-and-blood libertarians I knew -- jerky young guys who fit the stereotype those who dislike libertarians tend to have of them -- were no help. I came to them with questions, and instead of recognizing my questions as an opportunity to clear up misconceptions, they saw them as a threat. All I got from them was arrogant put-downs of my friends, and of myself for having dared to challenge their dogmas. They didn't want me to sit at their table, either.

Foolish as I was, my enthusiasm eventually came to a crashing end. Though my friends are still telling me how much Obama has "on his plate right now," and blaming everything on Bush, I have come to realize that the libertarians predicted almost everything that has happened in the past year. To limit my contact with them to a few jerky guys was a mistake.

I went back to reading, reached out to a wider circle of libertarians, and rediscovered the truth I had so prematurely abandoned. In short, I remembered that I'm an adult, living in the grownup world, and that junior high school is over. I have a responsibility to act like it, and never has that been more urgent than now.

I still love my friends, but I realize I don't have to think like them on every subject. I'm making new friends -- not instead of the others, but in addition to them -- and broadening my horizons. And I'm confident I'm moving in the right direction.

I'm even considering getting involved in the Tea Party movement. My friends gasp -- how dweeby of me! Don't I know who "those people" are?

They come, actually, in a wide variety. There are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians (capital "L" and small), straights, gays, Christians, Jews, freethinkers -- you name it. They are united only by the urgent need to take the country back from the politicians and restore limited government, preserve the Constitution and protect the American way of life.

Are there people in the movement at whose table I wouldn't want to sit? Of course there are. Some of them are certifiable loons. But the only way the loons can take over the whole movement will be if all the sane people -- which is to say, the great majority -- leave it to them.

Of course there are unscrupulous operators trying to infiltrate it and take it over. The only surprise in this is that so many people are surprised by it. Any time a movement really takes off, manipulative people are going to come along to try and hijack it. If we abandon the venture simply because of this, we will never be able to accomplish anything. The only sort of movement sharp operators won't be tempted to jump into and try to take over is one that isn't going anywhere.

We have never more urgently needed to lose the junior high school mentality and act like grownups. If you think all the founders of this country got along like buds, you need to go back and read some history. If they'd behaved like the Mean Girls in the cafeteria, this country would never have gotten off the ground.

Again, I'm leaving up all the posts on this Blog that now embarrass me -- all the ones that, when I read them over now, make me cringe. They are a record of my journey to the present, and I think they are instructive. But it's important for me to make sense of them in light of what I have learned since. Our society has become so childish that it's no disgrace to be affected by the madness every once in a while. The important thing is to recognize what's going on -- and be strong enough to rise above it.

I was able to do this before it was too late for me. I can only hope and pray that enough other Americans will do the same.

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13 Comments:

At 6:24 PM, Blogger 3d電影 said...

你個blog影d相真係好靚!!! ....................................................

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger 龐克搖滾 said...

任何事都是由一個決心,一顆種子開始。........................................

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Well, oooo-kay, then! I wonder what's going on with the funny messages. Little, tiny square pictures, the word "blog," and three exclamation marks!!!

They're very enlightening, I'm sure.

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger 佩璇 said...

When everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane.............................................

 
At 4:49 AM, Blogger 佳玲曉豪 said...

笑口常開~~天天開心........................................

 
At 6:25 AM, Blogger 長宜芳修 said...

It's great!!..........................................

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger CelsaNajar0998 said...

Cheek brings success.........................................

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger 茂恒 said...

旁觀自己的悲傷是解脫,主觀自己的悲傷是更加悲傷..............................

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger Lori Heine said...

I keep coming in here and finding more comments that are nothing but little boxes.

"...And they're all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same..."

I don't know what's up with that. I guess it's time to put up a new post.

 
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At 8:27 AM, Blogger 70713ang_eloknuth said...

天下沒有意把鑰匙,可以打開所有的門......................................................

 
At 5:53 AM, Blogger Lora said...

I don't think you're going to build blog readership when you refuse to allow comments that are debateable. You're blogging about a contraversial subject. If you've made it your world, your blog, and you write things people disagree with but only post comments that agree with you -- it makes a for a dang boring blog. I know I wouldn't read it.

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger Lori said...

Well, Lora, since I've never deleted any of the comments that have appeared here, I'm not sure what you're talking about. Pray post one on something debatable, and we can debate it.

 

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