I quit writing about politics consciously a while ago. One reason was that if anyone knows me they pretty much know where I stand. I am a free market individual liberty loving person. I trust that individuals can make the best decisions for themselves and that public policy should empower individuals to make that decision. Public policy also ought to be set up so that things are hyper competitive. That puts me at odds with Democrats for sure since they are clearly not that. It also puts me at odds with many Republicans, since they are clearly not that too.
Over the course of the last two years, I have noticed a huge uptick in discrimination and hate. A lot of people say it’s both sides, but I have never heard a Republican say they wouldn’t invest in a person because they were a Democrat. It’s happened to me. I have also been told I am a white male, so they can’t invest. Guess I should display my 1/32 Choctaw Indian more.
Is that what we want in America? Is this where we want to go? I was under the impression that discrimination for reasons like that was wrong. We fought more than a few wars here and overseas, not to mention the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s to dispatch that sort of discrimination. Or am I wrong?
An old high school friend of mine who became a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor put on his Facebook today, “Enough enough, it’s got to stop.” Jon’s post inspired this post and I agree with him.
I think that social media allows people to converse, put out opinions, and connect. But, it’s also very very important to remember that no one can mindread words on a page. Chicago Booth Professor Nick Epley has done a lot of studies on this. He has concluded that to really really understand a person, you need to be physically present. Body language and immediate interpretation come through. It’s almost impossible to get nuance, satire, and other things people do with the written word in a short email, a short blurb on Facebook, or a tweet.
When a person deliberately asks a Congressmen if they are Republican or Democrat, and then opens fire because they are Republican we have crossed a line. When a person runs a Congressman off the road and tried to injure them because they are a Republican, we have crossed a line. When a group of people camps out in front of a Congressman’s home, or the Chair of the FCC simply because they disagree with them, we have crossed a line.
David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) had his car nearly run off the road and was then threatened. Indivisible Team protests at Dana Rohrabacher’s office (R-CA.) ended with a 71-year-old female staffer being injured by the actions of the leftist protesters.
I get that someone would be upset with Congress. However, we don’t shoot them.
I have many friends that are far left wingers. One of my friends is pretty good buds with Bill Ayers. I detest Bill Ayers and everything he stands for. But, I am friends with my friend. We don’t talk politics much. Both of us are tolerant and to tell you the truth he has a pretty great family.
I have invested in left wingers. The guys at Public Good and I certainly don’t see eye to eye on politics, but they are good people. One of the funniest moments I had with them was Opening Day a couple of years ago. I was in their office with my Cub hat on and Jason Kunesh had his White Sox hat on. I looked at him and laughed and said, “Of course.”
I have had dinner with left wingers. Even hard left-wing elected officials like Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin is actually a pretty funny guy. I used to enjoy having lunch with former Senator Paul Simon. It was interesting to speak with him, and listen to him interact with Professor Merton Miller. They were friends, but certainly had no commonality when it came to public policy.
My family has left wing people in it. My sister is a pretty rock-ribbed liberal. My deceased uncle was the same. My Grandfather was a lifelong Democrat. My ancestors in the South were Southern Democrats. My cousin became a Republican committeeman in Mississippi and he visited some friends to persuade them to vote Republican. They told him there was no way they were voting for the party of Lincoln. Some stuff is historical and runs deep. You have to know why it is and examine the personal history around it.
When you tell me that “those people are nuts” you are telling me that friends and family I value are nuts. I know them. They aren’t nuts. What I find with many things is the end goal is agreeable. The process and procedure and the systems that have to be in place are very different when each side tries to get to the goal.
I can empathize with the left. They thought they had this election cold. They rigged the primary so Hillary would win. The left wing media touted Trump and gave him a lot of air time. They never imagined that Trump would be up to the challenge. Neither did mainstream Republicans. I lost friends over this election. My sister will not talk to me. I am not alone. Lots of families and friendships were lost.
Yet, there are protest marches almost every week by my apartment. If I walked outside on the street with a Make America Great Again t-shirt or hat on, I’d be taking my life into my own hands. I saw a person on the Chicago El yesterday with a “Fuck Trump” button on. I wondered what would have happened if I had a “Fuck Obama” button on and wore it around. I think we know what would have happened.
In 2008, I was pretty upset President Obama won. It’s pretty hard for me to think of a politician that I am more diametrically opposed to philosophically. Interestingly, we had been at a party where Bill Ayers was and he said that he babysat the Obama kids. We knew they were deeply connected, yet Obama lied about it and the press covered for him.
My children went to a private city school. 95% of the people were on the far left. It’s still a good school. It was a good experience for them. That school had a day of mourning and counselors for kids after the election. I noticed they didn’t have that for my kids in 2008, but should we be doing that anyway? All this stuff has gone way too far.
Many people I know on the left are unhinged. Truly not dealing with reality correctly. Some that said they were “middle of the road” are showing their true biases now that they are in the minority. Don’t forget, Democrats have lost most of the governorships and state legislatures in the US too. There must be something the electorate doesn’t like about their policies.
I let the 2008 election get to me. If you are on the left, don’t let 2016 get to you. Letting it get to me ruined a lot of my life. It took the joy out of it. It caused me to trade poorly. I had a lot of anger that spilled over into other things. It did not help that my trading career was basically taken out of existence by technology at the same time. It also didn’t help that the stock market melted down, specifically financial stocks where I was heavily invested. It also did not help that some other things were not working out for me as I planned.
So, in short, if you are a Democrat and totally frustrated, I get it.
Some of the issues that separate us can find compromises. Some can’t. I think it’s important to find a compromise where you can. Many people decry the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and looking backward into history it sure is an awful thing. At the same time, it held off a violent Civil War for forty years. That’s where we are headed in America today and it won’t be pretty.
I’d like it to stop. I am not sure it can.
The only way to stop it is tolerance. I think Lincoln put a lot of things best. Here is one quote the left might ponder today, “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has the superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” In Lincoln’s first inaugural, he closed by saying, “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
We are still Americans. America is still the last best hope on earth.