Sarah Palin and Sponge Bob in 2012

Here's a picture of our neighbor's truck. His Bush/Cheney '04 sticker makes me sad and mad every time I see it (we go to work and come home at about the same time). And I noticed this morning, when he stopped at the little neighborhood cafe, that he has a brand new sticker:
This guy, not the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin neocons, not the economy or climate change or immigration, is THE top problem in America. We have the power and the wealth to become a pretty cool country ALMOST OVERNIGHT if half of our people weren't morons. The average American car sits unused 22 hours a day and the average American commute is 16 miles. GM had a production ready electric car in 1999, the EV1, yet after testing it and leasing out about 1,000 of them, they took them all back and crushed them and sold the battery technology to Exxon/Mobil. The drill-baby-drill mentality prevailed.

I do, however, realize it's not that simple. I've finished Obama's first book, Dreams From My Father, and I'm halfway through his second, The Audacity of Hope, and I'm learning from him that by focusing on what tears us apart rather than on what binds us together, "conservative" and "liberal" adversaries push one another to extreme positions.

I'm actually kind of a Republican at heart, and I do understand where these guys are coming from. If we "liberals" were given free reign, the world we'd make might not be a utopia at all, but more like a communist nightmare. Capitalism works great when you have a gigantic almost-virgin land mass you can rape, while communism seems to go very, very bad very, very quickly no matter what.

But now that the whole world is in peril, and since there are no more virgin continents to settle and rape (unless we want to make Africa the new America and kill off those pesky Africans like we did the Native Americans), we Americans really need to find a brilliant amalgam of capitalism and socialism. There are literally millions of possible permutations of human economic activity possible, but it is morons like our neighbor who put it all in terms of only two choices, rather dead than red. And it is morons on our side that make a more socially responsible world seem so goofy, weak, and corrupt, e.g., teaching Ebonics as a real, viable language. Our neighbor, who might have some valid insight about the potential horrors of socialism, digs his heels in even more and becomes almost clownish in his politics.

On some level he knows that his new Palin sticker makes him look stupid. But just as rap and hip-hop music have made the ghetto (a sad and tragic place if there ever was one!) seem cool, somehow, with the popularity of shows such as "Jackass," "Sponge Bob," and "The O'Reilly Factor," STUPIDITY has become cool!

This neighbor is unteachable. However, if he had to experience terror and extreme physical hardship due to the policies of his capitalist masters, he might completely change his tune. He may soon have the chance to go through just such hardships, thanks to his voting against himself (and against me and my children and you and yours) during the last few election cycles. If I sound a little self righteous, it's just that it's very hard for me to abide people who think it's OK to hog the supplies on a lifeboat, that they're somehow better than the other passengers, especially when they call themselves "Christians."


  1. Jeff,

    You are right on the money in saying that we have to concentrate on finding common ground. We have people all around us trying to distract us from focusing on the real problems, trying to clothe the issues into either patriotic survival garb, or anti-business-establishment terms, instead of taking note that the greatest destructor of wealth is conflict.

    We have had several years of bad political management that bring us to where we are today. I have made the point before that things are going to get worse before they get worse, but most people are being distracted by the "little green shoots" economic fictions.

    It is time to really fear for the future of America, and start working together to fix our problems. I have found that most people respond to adult-adult communication, but are alienated by parent-child, child-child, or parent-parent communication, because they are 'anger' modes of communication, and people hear the anger and exasperation, not the message.

    The people who threaten the stability of this country are the people who cannot hear, and are prepared to take up their guns to follow their beliefs.

    These are the people we have to reach out to, and all anger will do is to get them to start shooting.

    We have to find a way of getting through, and let opposing views in, sharing with consideration and respect. We have a great start, with legal protection of freedom of speech. Now, everybody just needs to get heard on their issues.

  2. Thanks, Richard, for your great comments to Anon in response to your article, below, "Explanation of The Split."

    And thank you for your comments about my Sarah Palin / Sponge Bob post. It's good to be reminded about the importance of finding common ground. I'm sure you noticed that while I laud this higher way, I'm also calling my neighbor a moron.

    Jesse Ventura recently said, "Sometimes you've got to upset people to make them think." I believe there is some truth to this. People have a HUGE drive to try to seem cool (remember high school), and when something seems culturally uncool, they back away. I've been around long enough now to know that people like my neighbor simply don't change, unless their own son is killed in Iraq or something drastic like that. But your adult-adult strategy is the highest, the most respectful, and probably, in most cases the most effective way. I'm going to give this strategy a lot of thought, compared to the parent-child or alien-to-Earth-moron technique I often use.

    Thanks, man!!

  3. Jeff,

    That is really good to hear. You have the communication skills to reach out to people, and the mastery we all need with these skills is cohesion, not conflict.

    You have probably read some of the things I have written about the probable directions we are all headed in, economically and socially. I don't like to be seen as preaching the end of the world is nigh, but I think much of the worst is yet to come, and it is going to bring unprecedented change with it.

    To survive this, we are going to need to put all our heads together and figure out the best path.

    If we are infighting, we may lose our way.



  4. Good Advice, Richard. Have you read "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope" by Obama yet? He really emphasizes this.

    Infighting is what is destroying Iraq. If Iraqis would have been able to get along after young Bush's invasion, they could have used us while we used them, and perhaps actually come out with a better country, like the Germans and Japanese did.

    It will be sickening if America has another Civil War, and I'll even name it right here: Civil War Two. It will be, in a way, more horrible because the "bad" guys won't be in discernible geographic areas, but instead mixed in with the "good guys," shoulder to shoulder at work, at school, at the market. Kind of like Iraq is!