It’s not the substance, it’s the utter lack of style

I won’t go so far as to say that I’m in favor of the heathcare reform bills that are out there, primarily because I don’t know what is in each one.  I’ve tried reading one or two of the versions, but was no more successful than when I tried reading Dickens in high school.  Frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my life.  So I’ve done what I can to educate myself, listening to and reading various media interpretations, listening to the debates and town hall footage…

Oh, I see: you already caught me in my web of lies.  Because there are no debates going on in the Town Hall meetings — just a lot of screaming and hysterical accusations of Constitutional trampling and cries of how “their America” has been lost. And it occurred to me today that all of you that are screaming down the lawmakers that are trying to hold these Town Halls are no better than the moron jocks in high school classrooms: you want to be the tough guy, insulting the teacher and making a scene, and concurrently preventing the rest of the students from learning.

Guess it never occurred to you that some of the students actually want to learn?  Or maybe it did, but the world revolves around you.

I’m neither conservative or liberal, but somewhere in-between. I see positives and negatives in what I’ve heard about the bills.  I’m all for helping out the self-employed and those that have fallen on hard times temporarily — I’ve been in both positions myself.  I’m a very big proponent of making sure that children, especially, have access to quality healthcare, no matter the socioeconomic position of their familes.  On the other hand, I’m tired of supporting freeloaders, the lazy and those that have figured out how to work the system.  I like the idea of regulating the healthcare and insurance industries, to some extent, but I’m also inherently suspicious of government intervention in anything other than highway maintenance and national defense.

For years, though, I’ve instinctively been — well, not so much a Democrat as an anti-Republican.  There are issues of money and class distinction that I’m sure work into that somehow, but I’m coming to realize that it has less to do with politics (I’m learning that I lean very socially liberal, economically conservative, and Libertarian in the amount of government I want in my life) and more to do with behavior.

Since I can remember, the Republican party is the one filled with the hypocritical and unethical behavior.  I know, I know — that’s politicians in general.  But maybe the Democrats are better at not getting caught, or their naughty behavior falls more in line with what’s acceptable in my belief system; either way, that’s my experience.

The Right-wing folks are the ones who scream about how horrible something is right before they get caught doing it.  They’re the ones who want to impose their thinking on the rest of the world — whether that’s a style of government (see: Iraq) or a religion or what you should be allowed to read or watch or listen to.  They criticize with no interest in educating or persuading, but rather with pummeling into your head that you should believe position X, and if you don’t you’re a moron or a pinhead or – gasp! – unpatriotic.

I don’t deal well with bullies.  I can’t watch Limbaugh or Hannity or O’Reilly without getting genuinely angry.  Rather than expound on why they believe what they do, or try to persuade you with logic and reason, they spread disinformation and lies.  It’s not just the media people — the ones that can maybe be excused, because their job is to get ratings, and their style certainly seems to work — but 95% of the conservatives that I run into on a daily basis.  And the sad thing is that most of these people to whom I refer are intelligent people; it leads me to wonder whether they are genuinely misinformed, or if they’re actively and consciously spreading lies, hoping they’ll stick.

Look at the current “death panel” part of the current healthcare reform debate.  What the right is spreading: the government will be determining your care based on your perceived value, that if you’re old, you’re gonna be forced to get counselling on ending your life sooner…

{Seniors and the disabled} “will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

Sarah Palin on Friday, August 7th, 2009 in a message posted on Facebook

Sounds absolutely insane to me.  Seriously?  ANYONE believes this, outside of the anti-government folks that border on paranoid?  What sounds more rational to me — and I’m just a guy, so maybe I’m the crazy nutjob here — is the way that it was explained on NPR recently:

The claims have been highly upsetting to groups like the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which strongly support what the bill really does — pay health care providers to talk to Medicare patients about creating so-called advance directives, or ways to express their health care desires in writing before they become incapacitated.

Look, conservatives: I’d love to hear your viewpoints on some of the issues that we disagree on.  I’ve got a lot to learn about the world — I’ve told everyone repeatedly, the more I learn, the more I know I don’t know shit.  I’d like to discuss facts and even opinions that stem from educated research.  I really, really would.  But when you insist on repeating facts that have been disproven, making things up, or even promoting viewpoints that are just downright insnaely implausible, I’m not talking to you.  And it’s not that I think I’m better than you, but rather that I’ve got better things to do with my life than waste time listening to bullshit that does nothing but reinforce how much I don’t like you.

If you want me to listen to you — and I think ,truly, that many of you have a lot to say that is worth my time and energy — then start talking like a rational, educated, intelligent adult.  If you want to bring facts to the table, be prepared to show me your sources (and please don’t let your sources be as insane as some of your claims).  Be ready to listen to me, as well, and participate in some give and take. Question what you hear, whether it’s from a trusted source or not.  Read both sides of the argument, then check a non-partisan site like Politifact or The Center for Public Integrity.

If you believe that anyone that disagrees with you is wrong, then you’re just too smart for me to talk to.  Seriously.  Take it elsewhere.  Exposure to that level of brilliance will drive me instantly mad, like the heroes of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.

It’s not high school anymore, and you can’t bully people into believing what you want them to believe.

Sadly, you might be driving more and more intelligent people away from very intelligent substance with a complete lack of style. I’m fairly sure that I could have been more active — and probably a much more reasoned and educated person, politically-speaking — had your presentation not completely blinded me to whatever it was you were trying to say, all these years past.

Yep, hindsight is 5150.

Here: boobs! (Special thanks to Phoebe Cates and the makers of Fast Times at Ridgemont High for providing me with a happy Zen place to which to retreat when I get too stressed…)

Phoebe Cates Nude Cut 1 - Fast Times At Ridgemont High

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