Friday, August 12, 2011

back to the caves

i get my news largely from the newspaper and from online news sources like the new york times, the guardian and the huffington post, but also from radio station P1, the danish answer to NPR. i am also a devoted fan of jon stewart's daily show, which we get here in denmark, only one day behind. so, like many, i get my news from sources where i am likely to agree with the slant that's presented. and that's a problem of this increasingly online world we live in...we can isolate ourselves in enclaves of people who share our beliefs and our interests. less and less do we challenge ourselves to listen to views not in line with our own. i'm as guilty of it as anyone.

and so views and the expression thereof become increasingly strident and dramatic (see the streets of london, the recent massacre in norway and the behavior of the so-called "tea party" members in the US congress). and i'll admit that as an educated, liberal-thinking, left-leaning sort of person, i continue to think that arguing with those extremes is still somehow not worth it. the beliefs they spout seem to be so ridiculous as to be beneath argument ("intelligent" design? a new knights templar? a congressional "super" committee? please.).

but those of us who are educated and have the power to reason and articulate good arguments are going to have to start arguing. because what a lot of these groups appear to want to do is to completely turn back modernism and possibly even all of the gains made after the enlightenment, taking us back to something resembling the dark ages, but with really cool electronics.  

take just the tea party conservatives....they're against abortion, homosexuality, humanitarianism, taxes, welfare, the environment. they're for the bible, guns, the death penalty, censorship and the general surveillance of society. what they preach is a fundamentalism not unlike the fundamentalism preached by breivik in norway and even members of al quaeda, who are also largely against that same list of things. and what's worrying is that, like al quaeda, the tea party appears to be shouting loudly and are well-funded.

if we're not careful, we'll find ourselves clubbed over the head and dragged back to the caves by our hair. i don't know about you, but i'm not keen on that...


Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

You are so right! It is time for us to start screaming from the rooftops about what we are observing!

These fundamentalist zealots differ only in their specific beliefs from other fundamentalist cretons around the world. The problem is that no matter what the ideology, fundamentalists always align themselves with god and therefore become intractable in their views. It becomes impossible to come together and reason for the greater good.

We are being dragged into the dark ages. America was 'born' with the Boston Tea Party. Let's hope America and her humanist ideals do not die with another Tea Party - of a very different ilk.

Another thing: These poor fundamentalist zealots, not being able to observe or think beyond the end of their nose, (spurning educating themselves any further because they have read a holy book and think they know what god wants them to do) have no idea how they are being used by capitalistic structures (oil, war industries, mega-corportations, etc.) to further their materialistic aims.

Snap said...

And, do I hear a big AMEN!

will said...

Reason and good arguments are not enough when it comes in interacting with dolts and zealots. In fact, that's a reasoned person approach to the mess we have. Zealots aren't interested in debate unless they win. They deal in absolutes while moderates/progressive attempt to understand the values of their opposites.

I suggest a two part answer:
1. We change the world so that the issues zealot rally around are eradicated. Of course that's near impossible because poverty, lopsided distribution of wealth, generational ignorance and bigotry, etc. run deep in most societies. Still, get rid of the hot button issues and moderation and logic might stand a chance.

2. Bullies, such as, the teabaggers and Taliban found political and philosophical methods for gaining authority. If moderates and progressives want to be rid of these people - then displace them via elections and ballots.

Voting and complaining isn't enough. Moderates need to organize, create networks, stay focused, lobby congressional representatives - they need to become political salespeople. And they need to do these things on a daily basis.

rayfamily said...

Great post! I read it out loud to B this evening and his response was "Amen Sister!"

Since we're driving through Iowa this weekend on our way to Colorado, our friends and us may be spoilers in lobbies full of straw pole voters...heck the Bachmann campaign is staying at our usual hotel in Des Moines, so we couldn't get a room!

I think my biggest concern is that everyone is so engrained. Like with my family for example, we cannot discuss politics because we're so far apart that we aren't going to change each others minds. B and my dad spent one evening long ago, up all night arguing/discussing, going so far as to the computer to print articles and highlight pertinent sections, illustrating their individual views. No minds were changed, or swayed. How do we get passed such an impasse?

I feel it so much here (but we're in Wisconsin and that has it's own story this year), politics is so entwined in everything, it effects all interpersonal relationships from client/ business, to friends. People are discussing or arguing in lines at grocery stores.

I just began reading the George R.R. Martin books, and I think the phrase "Winter is Coming" is appropriate.

Okay, that got much longer than I expected, sorry for the vent!

Kelly said...

Brilliant! So clearly stated! Scary times. Time to get mad and loud.

Sammi said...

Amen. Even my sleepy part of the country is on riot alert- altho' my closest town has a facebook page called "Not rioting in Yeovil because it's already a sh*tehole", which I liked because it's true.

I think everyone feels like no one is listening anymore. And if they are, that they simply don't care.