Can’t We All Just Get Along?

by Bill Brenner on October 19, 2011

Man, is this fighting between the Occupiers and Tea Party people getting nasty.

Yesterday, my wife posted something about the occupy movement and poked some nerves.

Mood music:

There was this comment from our cousin Ed:

“I’m sorry Erin, it’s hard for me to compare the Tea Party movement — a political party with an agenda — to a bunch of bored kids trying to find themselves and making US pay for it! I applaud the action, but now I want to know what they want and to move on already!”

That got this response from our friend Jesse:

“The idea that the 99% is a bunch of “bored kids trying to find themselves” is so utterly offensive that words fail me. REALLY? That’s why the movement is global?

“We have troops in Uganda, Iraq, Afghanistan, and are building schools in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the former Yugoslavia with taxpayer dollars. The “war” in the middle east is virtually without objective at this point, costs us millions a day and has cost us trillions in total.

“Our public schools languish in poverty and our healthcare STINKS. We are 27th in the world for maternal fetal medicine and infant mortality! Haverhill is the largest city in the state without a band or orchestra (middle or highschool) for example.

“Additionally, with 2 jobs I am unable to make ends meet. Despite that I’m pregnant for over 2 months I worked 6-7 days a week (7 most of the time) until I became to ill to continue doing so and even then I was NOT making ends meet. I have a Bachelor of Science degree, extensive training in 2 other areas and a TON of work experience in NYC and Kansas City.

“The father of my baby is irresponsible and nearly entirely uninvolved (I’m being diplomatic here I assure you). I haven’t earned so little per hour for my brain and hards work since I was in my early 20’s. I’m 40. I’ve had numerous surgeries and 7 miscarriages and 2x bailed myself out of 10’s of thousands of dollars in medical debt WITH insurance mind you.

“My credit score dropped from 800 in August of 2010 to 650 by August of 2011 because of medical bills and prenatal care/lab bills that I am unable to pay and which the father will NOT help pay.

“Please don’t compare me, the 99%, to the Tea Party where the women leaders boast about returning to a “more constitutional government that our forefathers intended” when those forefathers didn’t even give women the right to vote! I could not possibly care less if you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, Tea Party member or entirely apolitical. JUST PLEASE give a crap that we have outsourced nearly all of our manufacturing and that the ratio of profit dispersement/pay between the typical American CEO and the average worker is now $459 to $1.

“It is criminal, disgusting and if people were not in a television, sugar and carb coma they would absolutely NOT tolerate it. Apparently those who do not tolerate it are only JUST begining to be heard. If you think we are bored kids you are in for a rude awakening. WE are not going away. WE are the sleeping giant who has been awakened and is starving after way-too-long a hibernation.”

This is what happens. If you’re on one side, the other side is evil.

This is nothing new, of course. It’s always been this way.

People get fierce in their opinions and breath hell fire when they’re disagreed with. Then someone comes along and asks, “Can’t we all just get along?” Seconds later, someone comes along and punches out that guy’s teeth for raining on a good parade.

In my opinion, there are some smart, thoughtful people on both sides. I know them. I work and play with them. Our kids go to school together. I’m related to many of them. They are good people, but they disagree viciously from time to time.

Some say it has to stop. I say screw that. A good debate keeps our minds sharp.

Here’s where we are better than some who quarrel in other countries: We yell, but most of us aren’t punching and shooting each other. That does happen, but the vast majority of people on both sides keep it peaceful.

Disruptive? Absolutely. Loud? Sure. But we’re all (mostly) still talking to each other, and I think that says more about our nature than the more violent stuff.

In a bigger sense, we are getting along. We just disagree passionately about a few things.

That’s perhaps one of the better legacies of the Founding Fathers, that the system they created has made for mostly peaceful discourse in the last 230-plus years. Well, except for the Civil War.

People love to quote the Founding Fathers like they’re gods, forgetting that they allowed slavery to exist and, as Jesse noted, forbade women the right to vote.

It just goes to show how this country is deeply rooted in dysfunction. But for the most part, it’s a good dysfunction, because people are still generally caring and responsible beneath all the yelling.

Carry on.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joseph Webster October 19, 2011 at 6:29 am

Wouldn’t better mood music for this post be “Sad Statue” by “System of a Down” ?
In any case the graphic is great. Along the lines of Bre Pettis’s OWM (Occupy the Moon) movement.

Christa M. Miller October 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

It’s not the debate that bothers me, it’s the utter lack of civility and respect. “Libtards” and “tea baggers” are not words for people whose points of view you may disagree with, but nonetheless regard as important to the kind of discourse that leads to solutions (the kind that the Founding Fathers engaged in, sans blanket dismissal via name-calling).

On a deeper level, the concern I have with the current state of affairs is that it’s entirely fear-based. It’s not people trying to make positive changes; it’s people reacting, primally, to perceived threats to their survival. There’s a big difference there.

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