I need to pause and speak a word about the bane of blogging and political discourse in general: futility.
Any sane person who takes up the pastime of engaging in political and philosophical debate and disputation almost certainly does so with at least the hope of convincing someone. Why else would anyone bother? True, in my own case, I feel a pressing need to get certain opinions off my chest, but even that wouldn't mean much if I didn't think I could be convincing.
At the same time, I do sometimes wonder if the discourse in this country is not poisoned beyond the point of no return.
I'm not fully committed to the liberal position on every issue. I can at least see and sympathize a reasonable conservative criticism to liberal policy, even if I do not share that criticism. I certainly acknowledge that American politics at least used to be entirely about dealmaking. But then you have the "tea partiers" and other conservatives of an uncompromising bent, and that is a different story. Look at the reaction to both parties agreeing to avert a government shutdown. These people are dead-enders. "My way or the highway" is their creed. No argument, no matter how well-founded in logic or reason will convince them. And, I confess, not a single argument of theirs would likely convince me, so perhaps I am guilty of the same close-mindedness. I simply do not wish to live in a country resembling the one they desire to bring about.
And what is the country the tea party desires? Ever decreasing taxation on the rich, ever decreasing services for the poor and middle class. The best health care becoming a luxury only the wealthy can afford. Economic opportunities becoming ever more loaded in in favor of the haves while becoming extinct for the have-nots. Discrimination against hispanics, gays, Muslims*, and blacks (If you doubt this, check this out and then tell me I'm wrong). Open carry of firearms at all times in all places.** Some would even like to see a particular brand of Christianity enforced as a compulsory national religion and religious law enforced on the same level as civil law (they're called Christian Reconstructivists). Laws that completely override the ability of women to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies. More and more wars with countries like Iran and North Korea. And on and on.
Sure, not every tea partier agrees with all of these positions. But as a whole, that list is pretty inclusive, and nothing on that list resembles anything like the sort of country I want to live in. And I don't think I'm alone.
But then, what is the point? Are the disagreements simply so vast that we must throw up our hands and give up? Why engage at all? I wish I had a good answer to those questions.
*While my opposition to religion in general certainly extends to Islam in that I find it to be just as founded on mythology and superstition, and therefore, just as wrong, as Christianity, but I also acknowledge that the law of the land gives Muslims just as much right to practice their religion as anyone else.
**I'm not opposed to gun ownership, but I think the wild west is proof that having everyone packing heat is a recipe for violence.