Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I am a moonbat.

That (or worse) is what they call me, those wingnuts.

I don't know when it happened, that we started lumping people into these fractious factions.

Red states.
Blue states.

Hippies, Fascists, Nazis, & Commies.

What ever happened to judging people as individuals, with a little good in 'em & a little bad in 'em, instead of sticking people with these labels, & evermore using the label to "know" who they are?

To be sure, I am a partisan. Most of what I think and believe about America & the world falls on the left side of the spectrum. And I don't mean a little bit, either. I am pretty far over. I voted for Nader. Not just in 2000 either, but in 2004, when Democrats (& a little bit "because" Democrats) were blaming me for Bush winning in 2000, and even though I knew how bad Bush had been for this country.

I'm not a perfect lefty, though... I'm almost hawkish on illegal immigration. I can see the value of owning a firearm (though personally, I do not (as of this writing, anyway. By the time you read this, anything's possible.) And perhaps most damning of all, I don't hate wingnuts.

There's plenty I'm not so crazy about, to be sure. Some are rude, rude people. Others are too judgmental, or worse, prejudiced against moonbats like me. There are many I would never think of having over for dinner, but you know what? The same is true of my fellow moonbats. Some are great people. Others, real assholes.

To the best of my ability, I am going to avoid using the terms "wingnut" or "moonbat" as insults anymore. (It won't be too tough. I tend not to use wingnut at all (though, there was a time), & I only use moonbat occasionally, in conversations about specific wingn... ...I mean, conservatives. (Though it's getting more popular now, there was a time when hearing a person use "moonbat" denoted a certain kind of conservative that there was no point bothering with. It was more or less conventional wisdom that the Cons calling the opposition by that name were big Ann Coulter fans, with all that implies. No point engaging. They were far gone over to the dark side of both politics and civil discourse..

So, why make a blog with those words as the title?

First off, I like how each of 'em sounds. Even though they've become stupid insults, I like the words themselves. I don't think I've ever written the sentence "I am a moonbat." before, but I wish I had. I kinda like it. (In fact, I like it so much I went back up & changed a sentence in the preceding paragraph. It used to read "I'm going to avoid using the terms wingnut or moonbat anymore," but I like 'em too much to stop, so now I'll just try not to intentionally hurt any feelings with 'em.)

I like 'em together, too... Aside sounding like a breakfast food, it expresses what I want; to bring the fractious factions together, a little. I don't expect the left and the right to ever agree, but that doesn't mean I can't talk to a guy from the other side, and have a civil conversation... We'll still disagree, but maybe I'll learn something. And maybe he will. Or maybe we'll still vehemently disagree politically, but find we share a common love of early 80's Frank Zappa or something. (FZ was always good, but the stuff with Ike Willis on vocals was some of his best work.)

I got inspired by spending the last several days visiting a conservative blog, Mike's America.
It didn't start out all that well, and only went downhill from there. It never got to name-calling, but accusations & judgments flew. Lotta talk about being anti-American. It was only a matter of time before would've devolved even further. (I use the past tense there, but I don't know that I'm not going back, for sure. Even though I wasn't getting exactly what I was hoping for, it was an eye-opening experience, seeing how some of 'em think, and trying to understand them.) If I do, I don't know whether I'll continue trying to contribute. I have a fairly thick skin, but there's a limit. And there's times before where I've gotten too wrapped up, lost my cool & become a real ass. I could see that happening there eventually, for sure.)

Having a conversation was damned near impossible. They didn't want to answer questions or provide evidence. I was always looking for the GOTCHA sentence in their posts. They stated opinion as fact, and built a whole narrative on a foundation of air (or so I thought). I'd post too much & too often, so few bothered to read/reply to my posts (or so I was told). Preconceived notions and rigidness doomed the possibility of getting anywhere, almost from the start. While I think I behaved alright, I could've behaved better. (& I'm sure if one of the folks from that blog visit this one, s/he'll have a different take to offer on my behavior, and his or her own. Each of us filters "the facts" through the prism of our own beliefs.)

There has to be a few souls like me, who just want to have a conversation. Maybe a debate even, but a civil one, where namecalling & blame for the actions of the worst on the opposing side doesn't take the place of the topic. We're individuals, not parties, interests, & causes. There's no reason liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Greens, Democrats, & Libertarians can't get along at least well enough to have a conversation, is there?

I mean, we all hate them fuckin' fence-sitting moderates, don't we? Damned wishy-washy bunch-a... Yeah, I'm kidding, obviously... ...though not all that well... 8>) I think we can do it. I don't think conversations have to devolve into bad names & phony notions about each other. We just need to talk & teach, & listen & learn.

That's what I think, anyway...

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