“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
Maybe it wasn’t meant to be a political song at the time, but Stealers Wheel’s lyrics sum up how I feel about things today.
I pride myself on my independent thought and my refusal to drink purely from the goblets of just the right or just the left. I am sure life is much easier for those who do so because it allows people to close their minds to anything other than what they are told to believe or support. I have not just seen this to be the case with people when it comes to politics, it is also the case with some when it comes to religion.
By remaining close minded, people allow themselves the luxury to justify what they do and what they say by simply telling themselves they’re right, end of discussion. The problem is, these people rarely use logic to argue their beliefs and tend to attack the other person relying on statements or actions that are personal and not logical. They do this because they take it personal when someone points out the flaws to what they are spouting and like a little kid who fails to really think things through, they just lash out. Since November, there has been a lot of lashing out.
Name calling may be a great way to get others who believe as you to provide you with the sense of superiority you seek, but it makes no real impact on someone who is strong enough to hold firm in their convictions and logic. It does lead to great name calling in return, however. But if you are not a blind follower of something or someone, you tend to need more than a few ugly names or put downs to be swayed to what you interpret as another person being hate-based.
When this does not work, things begin to ratchet up until the verbal put downs become increasingly vicious in nature and someone acts out. It is not much different than the crowd mentality we see happen at demonstrations. When enough like minds are poisoned by the personal attacks on others, eventually someone is physically hurt.
But here is where I am truly dumbfounded. When this happens, the attack ends up being justified because the attacker deems it was necessary to straighten someone out. A doctor who performs abortion is murdered and what do we see? People saying he had it coming because of what he was doing to the unborn.
Since Trump has come into office, I have read posts on social media that claim it would be great if he were assassinated as well as posts that have called his opponents promoters of terrorism. One person who was proud of his Christian beliefs actually called me a “fag who should be killed.” When it was pointed out to him by me that his comment didn’t seem to align with the teachings of Christ, he invited me to come up to Oregon and stop by his place so he could put a hole in my head. At this point, a supporter of his original argument told the guy to cool it only for him to be told, “Well he started it by disagreeing with me.”
Comedian Ron White says you can’t fix stupid. He might also want to add hate to that list.
How deep does hate run at the moment? I’d say it runs deep enough to drown much of the nation. When people on the right lay claim to wanting to not just rid us of Democrats, or as they prefer libertards, but add to the list moderate Republicans, I’d say there is a problem. When others say it is time to blow up the moderate elements of the Democratic party and hand over all its power to the thinkers of the far left, there seems to be a big problem.
It’s one thing to be angry over an election result or presidential policies, it’s another to be frothing at the mouth wanting to chew up and rid the nation of those of us who are either more moderate and open minded, dare I say even open to compromise.
The far right and the far left are no longer driving the discussion, they are pushing us to the brink. Even worse, they are poisoning their own wells knowing full well they want a winner take all show down, actually believing we are stronger and better off as a nation of one party in power who has a limited scope of the world and even less tolerance for anyone who is less than blindly devoted to their rule.
So before we get there, let me ask you haters, how are you any different than any previous one party system of government? What do you accomplish if your brand of hate wins and you eliminate all who think, believe, or see the world differently than you? And finally, how can you be so sure at some point your thinking will not comply fully with those you blindly follow now, placing you in the center of their cross hairs?
So at the risk of offending others and being added to your list of names to hand over when the brown boots knock at your door, I am going to choose to remain a free agent, someone free of thought, free of blind allegiances, and most of all free of the hate driven leadership far too many of you have become dependent on. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right …”
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.