I read an article today (is it just me, or do a lot of my posts begin with that statement?) that truly sickened me. The article itself was written beautifully, and it was enlightening to say the least, but the topic was not one I love to dwell on. Titled “The Most Curious Thing,” It was written by a filmmaker named Errol Morris who has completed a documentary on torture at Abu Ghraib.
(The article can be found at nytimes.com. It’s worth the read if you have time, but squeamish be forewarned. Lots of photos.)
Upon finishing the article I was a bit fired up, to say the least. It was in the middle of a rant to my (more conservative) sister about how much money is spent in Iraq every week – the lyrics of War Pigs furiously swimming in my brain – that I realized I’m on the road to becoming that girl. The girl whose blood starts boiling when discussing politics, particularly with those who do not share her point of view.
“This is what I hate about politics,” she responded. “People spend their time defending their political positions when they should be talking about the weather.”
The simplicity of the statement made me giggle. Very “stop and smell the roses.” But it drove home a point.
I’ve often drawn the connection between political sparring and playground antics. In our progressive (right?) society, every form of discrimination is discouraged, save one. Politics. In political arenas it is completely acceptable to act as childish as one pleases when another is speaking. There is no compromise, no gentility, no going out of one’s way to make another feel comfortable or accepted. One only goes out of one’s way to ridicule all those opposed.
It’s immature and offensive, but it’s easy to get emotionally involved in political talk, and I do it myself. I’ve discovered I need to check my soapbox at the door in certain arenas.
I find myself in the position of having differing values than most I grew up with. My ten-year high school reunion is in a few weeks, and I’m struck with the thought that I might not have much in common anymore with some of my former classmates. Then I tell myself to let go. Take everything less seriously for a bit. There is more to life than talking about the negativity of current events.
I came from a world of black and white politically, and I’ve grown into someone who sees more nuances of color every day. I’m miles from where I began, and I’m happy about this, but I know that sometimes you need to let go of your politics and just be for a while. Sometimes you need to just sit and talk about the weather.