Wednesday, March 11, 2009

tired, schmired

Throughout the year preceding this past Presidential election, I received a lot of politically-themed e-mails, most from or authored by Republicans or at least expressing some sort of anti-liberal, anti-Obama sentiment. That's been fine with me; I'm all for open discussion and as I've said here before, having a political debate with people who only agree with you turns out to be pretty boring. My problem is when somebody shows up to such a roundtable armed with nothing but rhetoric and sweeping generalizations.

Today I was forwarded in an e-mail a diatribe from one Robert A. Hall who blogs at: . I won't reprint his entire text here, as it can be found on his own blog and also, inexplicably, at Infidel Bloggers Alliance, here: . The e-mail was sent to me by someone I've had an ongoing political discussion (argument) with, and as I wrote my admittedly half-hearted response -- I say half-hearted because I'm just so tired of getting these e-mails that are nothing but a bunch of hooey -- I thought I'd post these thoughts here. Although I was tempted to, I didn't respond to every statement I disagreed with, simply because I actually have some things to do today and didn't see any benefit in taking the time. The e-mail and the essay by Mr. Hall were titled, "I'm Tired" and this was my response (you might want to take a quick look at the original piece at one of the above links, or this won't all make sense):

Well, I read it all the way to the end. While there are some good, logical points that I completely agree with, I think that most of what this Mr. Hall wrote are sweeping generalizations and/or opinions -- not necessarily based on fact. I can appreciate that it bothers him that while he has been working hard his entire life, he's been paying taxes to support a lot of other people who don't want to work so hard. I agree that the welfare system is flawed, but until the administrators can find better ways to differentiate between those who are sick or unable to work, and those who are just plain lazy (sometimes they look awfully similar on paper), we'll have to deal with the fact that some people are going to take advantage of the weaknesses in the process. And on that note, what about health care? Is this Hall fellow okay with the fact that most medical care -- even basic preventative care like checkups -- is out of reach for a great portion of the population? The fact that medical care is privatized and runs on a capitalist model is great for those who are profiting from it financially -- doctors and hospitals can charge as much as they like for procedures and supplies so long as they remain "competitive," but the prices are now up to a level that makes treatment a luxury for people like me. If I were diagnosed with cancer right now, I would DIE because I do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for treatment. I can't even pay for a one-night stay in a hospital, and beyond immediate emergency treatment, I won't get help even if I have a terminal disease. There are no provisions for lower-middle class working people who can't pay the doctors.

By the way, I don't believe that either the Republican or the Democratic Party are doing everything right; my beliefs fall somewhere in the middle. I don't know what the answers are to our social or financial problems, but as a journalist I plan to explore them in as fair and open-minded manner as possible. I will say that if this Robert A. Hall is going to trash the left wing while unequivocally supporting George W. Bush's administration, he might want to keep in mind that W. didn't seem to know where the answers lie, either. George W. Bush's administration made the most socialist-leaning moves this country has ever seen, by effectively nationalizing the banking system, and by introducing a bill that would provide prescription drugs to the elderly. If you ask me, we should start taking some cues from Canada, where they have one of the most stable banking systems in the world.

I'll tell you what I'm tired of: people talking about tolerance and fairness while, in the same breath, they're proclaiming that Muslims (not just some Muslims or a few Muslims, but Muslims in general) are violent and are "using our oil money to preach hate of America" here on our soil. Sure, some are committing atrocities, but most aren't. Some Christians commit violent acts in the name of God, too. His obvious distaste for Muslims certainly isn't helping to bridge the gap. What happened to treating people as individuals? What happened to believing in the goodness of your fellow man? I refuse to hold hatred for an entire country, race, or religious group because of the actions or beliefs of a small number of its members. I'm tired of people like this Robert A. Hall guy who complain about everything from "latte liberals" to the media to John Kerry right down to the religious freedom and opportunities for wealth this country has to offer, while claiming to be patriotic. Does he really love this country? It doesn't sound like it. Complaining is a waste of time and negativity doesn't help anything, so why doesn't he suggest some solutions?

What do you think?


Frank said...


I like. I don't know what else I'd add, this was clearly a well-reasoned argument. While I tend to be very far to the left, I don't think Obama is a saint, and I don't think Bush was pure evil. Personally I would love to see a nationalized banking system and a national system of healthcare, but I understand that my views can be construed as being overly socialist, so I do like to think of myself as being open to compromise.

And as for the whole Muslim thing, I totally agree. Making sweeping judgments about a whole group of people is dangerous...that would be like me saying that, say, ALL Christians are superstitious schemers who plan to "take back America for Christ," just because I saw that movie Jesus Camp and made a broad generalization. It's just wrong.

V said...

Thanks. I tend to lean to the left, though I have always had a soft spot for capitalism. I also see how over the past few years I have come to appreciate capitalism in theory more than in practice, which I guess is the first step toward changing my beliefs.

I think what really got my goat this morning was that this was one more glaring reminder that 1) most people are under-educated and over-opinionated on political, social and economic issues; 2) even kind, intelligent people are wont to make harmful generalizations because it's easier than dissecting the issue, and 2a) this isn't exactly relevant to this particular discussion, BUT it bugs me that half the time when people make generalizations they'll cite some exception to the rule that they think keeps them from sounding like a total asshole ("I used to work with a Muslim fella, and he seemed like a real good guy.")