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dance card

[this is the standard "written on the fly and in the heat of passion" disclaimer. typos, bad grammar and spelling and mixed metaphors may or may not be edited later. this is raw meat.] Ten. That's how many emails I received today from people telling me that they, too had been cast aside by old friends because of political differences. Ten people who once had good friends, but one date - that date being September 11, 2001 - drew a line between them. sharksjets.jpgI've been living on that line for two years now. I had been doing a balancing act for a while, swaying to the left and right, wondering on which side of the line I would eventually fall. That I had to fall on one side was not my idea, it was the idea of people pulling me - or pushing me - in either direction. I've written about the chasm between "us and them" before. It's only getting worse. When I said that this year is going to be like 1968 all over again, it wasn't hyperbole on my part. It's getting there. The build-up is going to go on for months and the culmination will happen in August or November. It's ugly now and it will only get uglier as time goes on. But who is making this divide? It's not me. I can say that with all honesty. I'm not threatening you or blackmailing you with friendship so that you vote my way. I'm not telling you that you are an idiot for voting the way you see fit. I don't hate you if you don't think like me. I have not dropped one friend since I crossed that center line. They have made the decision to drop me. I have not declared liberals or democrats or whatever you call yourself on that side of the fence my enemy. I don't hate you. I don't want this divide. I don't want America to self destruct in a couple of months. And there's that hippie/liberal who still lurks deep down inside me coming out. I do want to live in peace and harmony. Who doesn't? I do want rainbows and fuzzy bunnies and a world where everyone smiles. I want to hold your hand even though we don't see eye to eye on everything. I want to be able to talk to you about what we do have in common rather than fight over the things we don't. Most of all, I want to learn from each other. I want to know why you feel the way you do, why you vote the way you do. I want to talk, to debate, to understand where everyone else is coming from. When I was in high school I had this vision of a perfect America, where everyone wore flowers in their hair and were pleasant to each other and to other nations. I had a dream. It was a stupid, naive dream, but it was mine. The older I got, the more I realized how unlikely it was that I would ever see such a peaceful America. But I never in my wildest dreams imagined anything like this. As an eight year old child, I stood in the midst of an all-out riot that broke out during a protest of the Vietnam war. Even at that age, I read the paper every day, I watched the news and I knew that America was not a happy place. People were mad at each other. People were hating and fighting and crying. But I never once felt the venom that and pure hatred that I am feeling now. I never thought in 1970 that the divide was final. I do now. And it's depressing. Just remember when you talk about the great divide in that I have not disowned you. I have not crossed you off my Christmas card list or taken your email out of my address book. Those ten emails I got today were all from people who have been dropped off the cliff by people who use voting for Bush as a litmus test for friendships. That dream world I envisioned when I was 16 is just a fantasy. The nightmare I'm seeing now is real. It eats at me every day. I admit that I was part of it for a while. But I realized what I was doing and stopped. I stopped spending my days writing about what the folks at Indymedia were up to. I stopped scrutinizing every sentence a liberal columnist wrote. I tried to be kinder and gentler and less divisive so I would not be part of the death of my own teenage dreams. I put on my smiley face and hoped for the best. I wrote about my family, my life, anything but what the left was up to. It's been almost five months since I went on my left-bashing hiatus. When I write about politics now, I try to do it from my own point of view and not spew hatred against people who don't share that view. I make the effort to spread peace, love and understanding. I am so angry today, so disappointed and sad. What have we done with this country? What have we become? In October I compared the tension between the left and the right to West Side Story. Towards the end of that entry, I wrote: There's a definite rumble coming. There's gangs lining up on every side; the terrorists here, the protestors there, the pro-war people, the Jew-haters, the Death To America crowd, the extremists and Bush haters; it's showdown time in the back alley! We've been dancing too long. The tension in the gym, all decorated with flags and anti-flags, depending on which side you are standing on, well, its become unbearable. We're gonna rumble like it's 1968. Alas, everyone loses in this rumble. Everyone. We all go home with our heads hanging and blood on our shirts. Too bad. I was really hoping we could dance.

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Comments

Waltz, Madame?

I didn't see an email link, so I'll post it here. This blog doesn't render properly on Mozilla Firefox 0.8. The links on the right do not show up unless you Select All. It it fine in IE 6.0

Well-articulated, accurately drawn...

Concur yr analysis.

I chose the American-expat life BECAUSE I can speak Korean, Thai, and American English... And American English is a language full of hope, can-do possibility, enthusiastic courage and ebullient respect... not to mention radiant acquiescence!

Too often, these days, my Bangkok ears hear poisonous echoes of the virulent spew curdling the conversation across America... and around the world.

The ANSWER wants America castrated... blinded...
while the Baha'is want America freed and strong!

That dividing chasm judges, day after day, and the judgement sweeps all humankind.

Thanks, for your courageous and caring comments.

There's nothing wrong with the dream. The key is to realize it's a dream. And to not hate the people who tell you it's a dream (at least for long).

I've been getting this pariah thing for a long time. Trying being pro-life among liberals. Even as a very liberal Democrat on all other issues, my refusal to toe the line on one issue was enough to make me a pariah with certain folks. Tough. Better off without 'em. But it still hurts sometimes.

Best of this issue.

Good lordy, cast aside friends for handing the USA over to the Coup? No - just remind them of their strange lack of thinking.

Michele, your comments on this general topic in the last day are eloquent, moving, and very, very sad. I fear you're right. 2004 has the potential to be an absolute heartbreaker of a year, personally, and espeically for the nation as a whole. I expect we'll pull through -- 2004 is 1968, after all, not 1861, but yeah.

May we (not) live in interesting times (anymore).

I have several friends that I can no longer talk issues with. We used to be able to agree to disagree but can nolonger. I am 54. I was subject to the draft. I spent 8 years the military. I am a history fanatic. I have visited over 35 other countries, some for years. The left has lost all touch with reality and so has the far right. People who don't know us want America destroyed. Those who are jealous will help them. The only real international law is "might makes right".
Anyone who does not understand this level of truth has become lost in a fantasy world.
Let us just get along.

There's more that brings us together than casts us apart. You and me...probably far apart on the political spectrum. Love of country and love of family? Much closer. Respect of your opinions and right to hold them? Of course.

Can't dance, s'why I'm in the band. Tune request?

Michele, as a worrier from way back... the nice thing is that our fears always exceed reality. That's why there aren't really vampires. Fear, in my own belief system, is just the biggest lie by Satan.

Being raised Catholic makes it worse. Everything's a sin, wrong, soul going to hell. Just walking down the street could create a disaster. Sins of omission, for crying out loud! Not doing something and going to hell???

I've meant to write and tell you that I'm thinking about you. Psychic hug and all that.

Damn, this is just one of those psychically depressing days. At least, that's what I'm calling it. I really do empathize, Michele. For all the differences I have with many of my friends, I always hope that our friendship will overcome all. Sometimes it hasn't. But I've never been the one to cut the ties. If anything, I bend over backwards to try and make it better. I think I'm finally realizing I can't fix every broken friendship, and that I make myself nuts by trying.

Virtual tequila headed your way :)

When you can side with people like Tom DeLay, with people who would call teachers terrorists, with people who don't care what is done to the nation or how devided it becomes for political gain, for people who have degraded the health standards of the country, for people who have created 10 times the terrorists they have killed or captured, with people who have wasted hundreds of lives and billions of dollars on something that drains resources and does not make this country any safer than before, when you can side with people who don't ask anyone to make sacrifices except the people who die, when you side with people who have violated numerous national security laws for political retribution, then I can only question your ability to reason.

Look at It...

BIG tummy zzzrrrbert! AND noogies!

When you can side with people like Tom DeLay, with people who would call teachers terrorists, with people who don't care what is done to the nation or how devided it becomes for political gain, for people who have degraded the health standards of the country, for people who have created 10 times the terrorists they have killed or captured, with people who have wasted hundreds of lives and billions of dollars on something that drains resources and does not make this country any safer than before, when you can side with people who don't ask anyone to make sacrifices except the people who die, when you side with people who have violated numerous national security laws for political retribution, then I can only question your ability to reason.

Well, here's the thing. You don't know any of that about me. You're on of those people who assume that because I support the war in Iraq that must be a staunch Republican who swears by the party line.

See my post from earlier today when I tell you why it's not a good idea to judge people from one thing they have written.

60s boomers came in w/a bang, and they're going out w/a bang. Which is part of the problem, they're going out along w/their dreams. And they're very angry.

At some point in time, we will have to stand up and be counted. This is one of those times.

This will determine where we go from here.

Whether we like it or not, it is up to US to defend western civilization and for those of us who believe, the judeo-christian religion. Our "allies" can't do it. We have to go back to the basics, our roots, that 18th century relic created by a bunch of egotistical slave-owning oppressor white men. We're not European, and I'm tired of being forced to give up my beliefs to get along. It's a lonely road, but with the blogosphere it's not as lonely as we think.

It's understandable that the world doesn't like US, because we're not supposed to be here, the experiment was never supposed to work. Every day we exist is a poke in the eye of their failed ideologies (sp).

I've heard that after the Dec of Independence was done and they came out, a woman asked Franklin what were you doing in there? He replied something like, "We gave you a country, if you can keep it."

I'm just a couple years older than you, they're getting really pissy now that the 20-year long party stopped and we're insisting on them being adults and live in the real world.

I agree it will be ugly and bloody, but it has to be done.

I can really relate to this. I haven't had friends dump me - they don't do anything that obvious. But I know there are dinners and parties I'm not invited to, and discussions that trail off when I come near.

I don't mind a friendly healthy debate, and I can separate that from emotional issues that threaten friendship, but too many people can't.
I think the more people believe in "peace and love," the more they run their lives based on their emotions and the more they have trouble separating out intellectual differences.

The flip side of this - which you don't mention - is that I have made many new friends and deepened some existing friendships as a result of politics. Agreement on basic political issues is no more an emotional bond than disagreeing on same is an emotional rift, but usually these folks become friends because we do think the same way and react the same to the same things. That's why we ended up agreeing politically in the first place.

I would also like to add that for many of us the divide was over Israel, long before 9-11.

Michelle, thank you so much for putting this into words.

Especially in the last few months, I've had the "ultimatum" speech several times. It feels like being hit by a brick each time. These are people I've know for years in some cases, and usually people I deeply respect even if I don't agree with some of their views.

It often seems like tolerance is a one way street.

I can't thank you enough for this post.

So....wanna dance?

This isn't an issue for me because I don't have any friends.

Seriously? I fear for our country, because the internal conflict could do more lasting damage than any terrorist threat short of a nuclear attack.

When I was 10, my dad served as a chopper pilot in SE Asia (1971-1972). While he was over there, I answered the phone on a couple of occassions and was told that, since my father was over killing innocent women and children, the caller was going to come kill me, my mom, and my family. This is the "anti-war" crowd to me and partly the reason that I am a political and social conservative. The "liberals" called and said they were going to kill me and called my dad a murderer.

Michele, I think you are right: we are looking at 1968 all over again.

Phil

Let me start by saying that I am not a regular reader of this site and politically on the opposite end of the spectrum from you, but...

Your friend is dead wrong. People have a right to form their own opinions. It is wrong to force a choice between ones political beliefs and a valued friendship. I live on the east coast and am, by and large a liberal. I also have many friends who live and work in the deep south and we couldn't be further apart politically. That being said, we talk, we argue, we drink, we laugh, we are friends. I would never even consider disavowing them on the basis of who they choose to vote for and neither would they. It's childish and very shortsighted. Bush can only last another four years. These friends I hope to have forever...

Michele, this struck a chord:
"I stopped spending my days writing about what the folks at Indymedia were up to. I stopped scrutinizing every sentence a liberal columnist wrote. I tried to be kinder and gentler and less divisive so I would not be part of the death of my own teenage dreams. ... It's been almost five months since I went on my left-bashing hiatus. When I write about politics now, I try to do it from my own point of view and not spew hatred against people who don't share that view. I make the effort to spread peace, love and understanding."
Thank you.
Amy

Those weren't your friends, Michele. They were just users, looking for another symbiote. But darn you, you insisted on keeping your brain to yourself. Let them drown in their own self-righteousness.

When you can side with people like Tom DeLay, with people who would call teachers terrorists, with people who don't care what is done to the nation or how devided it becomes for political gain, for people who have degraded the health standards of the country, for people who have created 10 times the terrorists they have killed or captured, with people who have wasted hundreds of lives and billions of dollars on something that drains resources and does not make this country any safer than before, when you can side with people who don't ask anyone to make sacrifices except the people who die, when you side with people who have violated numerous national security laws for political retribution, then I can only question your ability to reason.

Let's just reduce it to your level of discourse, and say "oh, fuck you." Sometimes that's the only sensible response.

Michele, I'm with you. I'm tired of the sort of "political discourse" that reduces everything to regurgitating political demagoguery. Think you're own thoughts, goddamn it.

To "Look at it This way", two can play...
>> When you can side with people like Tom DeLay
What are you saying? Tom DeLay is EEEVVIIILLL? He murders puppies? He wants to reinstate slavery? He smells funny? Better to side with Jose Bove, Michael Moore, Al Sharpton...or Jonh Kerry? This is not argument, it's Ad Hominem attack; look it up.

>> with people who would call teachers terrorists
And no Democrat, liberal, or anti-war activist has EVER called a Republican, conservative, or pro-war activist something similarly absurd. Does "Bush = Hitler" or "Taliban-wing of the Republican Party" sound familiar? At least Paige apologized.

>> with people who don't care what is done to the nation
Do you truly, honestly believe this? Of course we care what is done to this nation. As do you. We just have different cares, concerns, and approaches. If you really believe this, you need to see a psychologist about your paranoid delusions.

>> how devided (sic) it becomes for political gain
Dividing for political gain? Who said: "We do not need to divide America over who served and how." And yet who is constantly questioning Bush on his service in the National Guard during Vietnam, or is letting his surrogates suggest, without proof, that Bush was AWOL. The presumptive candidate for the Democrats, Mr. Kerry. Divide the country for political gain? Hello Pot.

>> for people who have degraded the health standards of the country
Which health standards, exactly, have been "degraded"? Are you refering to the last-minute regulations that Clinton signed in January 2001 that Bush put on hold, such as the Arsenic restrictions? By putting the regulations on hold, Bush did not "degrade" the health standards but instead froze them at the level they were at for 7 years, 11 months, and 29 days (give or take) of the Clinton administration. Please check a dictionary. Moreover, Bush eventually allowed most of those regulations to go into effect with minimal modification.

>> for people who have created 10 times the terrorists they have killed or captured
Pure speculation. Since September 11th, how many similar events have occurred in this country? How many of our embassies have been bombed, or our ships blown up? I'll take the risk that Bush's approach will be more effective than the do-nothing approach most Democrats appear to favor.

>> with people who have wasted hundreds of lives and billions of dollars on something that drains resources and does not make this country any safer than before
Removing a regime that hosted Osama (The Taliban in Afghanistan) and another regime that was actively pursuing CBN/WMD weapons, that had killed hundreds of thousands of its own citizens, that had attacked two of its neighbors and threaten another, that had ties to terrorist groups and loads of cash...all this...did not make us safer? We have far different definitions. As for billions of dollars spent, that's a fraction of what this country produces every year...I think we'll survive.

>> when you can side with people who don't ask anyone to make sacrifices except the people who die, when you side with people who have violated numerous national security laws for political retribution
I don't even know what you're talking about here.

>> then I can only question your ability to reason.
First question your own.

Fer cryin' out loud -- stop taking this shit so seriously. Yeah, people want to kill us and our way of life, that's not new and has been going on since 1776. You know what? We're still alive.

You have great kids and a decent standard of living. You have more friends than you can count, a health care plan to fall back on if a child gets sick and a family that cherishes you.

If you haven't figured out your not going to save the world by now, your as deranged as Ralph Nader. But, you can bring that little bit of peace, love and understanding you so desperately desire to the people in your life, the people who really matter. And you know what? That's enough.

Maybe one of your kids will save the world, but saving them first isn't such a bad deal and it's something you have a real shot at.

When you're a Jet,
You're a Jet all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin' day.

What's lost in all this is that America really isn't such a bad place, the fact we're having this conversation at all speaks for itself. Life isn't that bad for most of us and there is always the hope it will get better. When your youngest is our age he's going to look back on this the same way we look back on Vietnam -- he'll remember it as that thing his parents got all tweaked about and the time Mom yelled at the television. But it won't matter, there will be a new threat and a new solution. Just like there always is.

Would you care for a dance? I should have read this post before responding to the one after it.

There's nothing wrong with dreaming. Even if the dreams seem impossible at present they give us a goal to aim for.

We could do far worse than a goal of 'Peace, love and understanding'.

But we do have to stop dreaming long enough to realize that there are those who want war, hate, and prejudice. Those we must fight. Without becoming them. Somehow...

And if we who realize that we must fight lose a friend or two along the way, it's sad. But I'd rather lose them as friends than watch them jump from a tower. I'll gladly pay that price. They may no longer be my friend but I'm still theirs.

and thanks for scaring the hell out of me. As a young man who has only the relatively benign 90's for political context I had just assumed that I hadn't noticed it before and maybe this is how it always has been. forewarned is forearmed, I guess. I'm used to being the only conservative in the room. I'm not used ot the level of hatred I've been receiving lately.

I think maybe I'll pick another box of ammo on the way home tonight. just in case.

I too have lost friends and been delinked and shouted vulagairties at simply because of politics.
Ridiculous, but at least I know who my REAL friends are.

To put it all in perspective: let's not forget who was the MC at that dance in West Side Story:

John Astin.

Gomez Frickin' Addams. Perfect, no? He played a social worker named "Glad Hand." True.

Michelle, I'm surprised and saddened that someone of your age and maturity can have such a short viewpoint on life. You've lost a friendship over one issue of a political campaign, but you should know that a true friend will realize his/her own short-sighted shallowness and return. You remember 1968, and yet you forget that our country and way of life survived 1968, just as it survived December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001. We do live in interesting times, but never forget that the key is to carry on and know that tomorrow will always be a better day. The marines say it best, girl, Semper Fi! (Keep the Faith)

As I was reading through the comments the mp3 player served up Ohio, talk about timing.
I think this is different from 1968, in some ways worse because the nation was not yet as split as it would become by the time 4 students died in Kent.
There is a fifth column in the country, there was then too but it is much stronger now and has been working for much longer. A lot of these people who want to see America fail are in our colleges teaching our young.
Will New York become another Chicago? I doubt it but there are a lot of people who want to make that happen.
A lot of the worst leftists are going to go over the edge this year, my hope is that watching some of their so called leaders self destruct will bring a lot of our former friends to their senses but I may be wrong.

This post really struck a chord with me. I used to be an academic and often had to hide my (really rather mainstream) political views to be socially and professionally accepted. My guess is that a large part of the problem lies with people whose politics forms a substantial portion of their self-esteem. They like to think of most other people, people who disagree with their politics, as disagreeing because they are hateful, intolerant, selfish, greedy, racist, xenophobic, and other genuinely nasty things. By embracing their politics they demonstrate their goodness. For them political disagreement is not caused by knowledgable, intelligent people of good will disagreeing about complex issues, it is about purity of motives and desires. Unfortunately, when you disagree with such a person, that person perceives the disagreement as an attack. To admit that an intelligent,well informed, kind-hearted person of obvious good will could disagree with them can be so shattering to their self-esteem that they must break off the friendship. In cases where they are truly good-hearted, but misguided, people this situation can be very sad.

Michelle--Thank you for a very insightful and poignant post. I am a lifelong conservative whose closest friends are mostly liberals. Some love me enough that we can discuss anything reasonably. Some have a distaste for, and fear of, any politics. Some, well, we agree to disagree. However, some have shunned me(and my wife). I was still their friend, but they couldn't suffer my "backward" thinking. These were people about whom I cared deeply, and it has been painful to accept their lack of depth, and intolerance of other views. Their fragile worldview could not entertain foreign ideas. I learned a long time ago to tread gently, but bravely, when discussing political or religious philosophy. It is depressing when even loved ones are not able to calmly, reasonably discuss--and ACCEPT--wisely held philosophical differences. Like you, I have noted that most of the people I have encountered who exhibit political intolerance of friends and family are those on the left. However, that is anecdotal evidence which may not be an accurate representation of reality. My questions for those who rail against President Bush as a "divider, not a uniter" are--Who is really doing the fundamental dividing? Who is writing off old friends, and distancing themselves from those they once held close? Which side is using the most divisive and personal political rhetoric? Who is making charges of "ruining America" and "threatening democracy?" I don't want this divide either, Michelle. It seems it it being thrust upon us.

Kathy K--"I'd rather lose them as friends than watch them jump from a tower." That is a sad, bare truth.

Michelle--again, thank you for putting words to something that has bothered me for two years. Remember, there are a lot of good, decent Americans on both sides of the political divide who care a lot more about our country than they do about scoring political coup. If you will allow me a personal aside--My best wishes go out to you. Hang in there.

The Left hath no fury like that leveled at someone who has stepped off the party line, on even one point. David Horowitz's biography "Radical Son" shows his experiences in this regard.

"I never liked any of you sonsofbitches, but I always wished I could have."

(My chosen epitaph. No shit.)

Like I told you, Michele: there is something extremely profound about all of this. I still need to ponder and see if I can pull it all together in one read. It has to do, however, with a cultural tension (really: a radical dichotomy, which I could name, but it wouldn't matter, here & now) that's been building for a long, long time. Generations. And I'm convinced that its roots lie in ethics. That might seem obvious, but it's really not, when one considers that the manifestations are principally political, and that it's the political arena that captivates most peoples' attention.

It's getting worse, though.

It's not gotten as bad -- as rapidly -- as I thought it would, say, twenty years ago, but there is no question but that this is a rotting culture. Every fang bared, and every door locked.

I fear for the children. Horribly.

Fifteen years ago, approaching the threshold of marriage, I made -- and announced -- a conscious, deliberate, decision that I was never going to have children. I am more convinced every year: I called that one right. I want no part of it, because I couldn't stand it.

It's bad enough, to me, that I've been here to see what my forefathers' works have come to in this place, the best hope in world history.

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

...

Michele, perhaps your friends should learn that the first step on the road to fascism is intolerance.

Yet more casualties of the terrorists. It never fucking stops. Every day something else in this country dies because of what they did. I hate it. I really fucking hate it.

Michele,

You're definitely on to something.

Last night I tuned in Hugh Hewitt's show and he was playing this bizarre tape of Martin Sheen giving what sounded like a mescaline fueled soliloquy down in Iowa yesterday. Afterwards Hugh said that Sheen, Rob Reiner and Howard Dean all were on a campaign bus, apparently traveling the countryside inflicting their weird, thundering blather on the locals. This is something out of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The bus called Furthur. The sign on the back that said "Caution: Weird Load Onboard.''

It's all clear to me now. These guys are 1960s re-enactors but they have the ethos all wrong. Instead of the summer of love, they're promising the summer of crankiness. Call them The Unmerry Crankstersl. With his shallowness and frequent fits of girlish pique, Howard Dean is their Un-Kesey. One pill makes you angry and one pill makes you small and the things that Howard tells you make no sense at all. Then, on the news last night, I saw John Kerry, just back from Vietnam, putting his thumb and forefinger to his lips and he sucked in his cheeks -- obviously an "If-elected-I-won't-Bogart" promise. If not Clean for Gene, then [expletive deleted]-A with J.K., I guess.

Dennis Kucinich is already on the peace train. And we all know train hundred and two is on the wrong track and headed for you. And somewhere along the line you can expect to hear the rumble of Harleys as the geriatric Hells Angles roll in to provide "security" while demanding free Lipitor and low-carb, Atkins friendly beer. The re-enactors may be coming to your town, so you better get ready. The long, strange trip is starting all over again, I'm afraid.
(From Power Line)

Ah, Hell, Michele, I complain about that Goddam Left Winger Rush Limbaugh and often disagree with you over political issues. So what?
Remember when you were about college age and a friend joined the Moonies or the Hare Krishna's and broke off contact with you because you didn't?
The people breaking off from contact with you do not do so because they disagree with you politicly. They do so because their politics have become their religious cult. There's no arguing with a cultist. Some will grow out of it, some will drink the Kool Aid.
Mourn for them the same as you did the friends you lost to Jim Jones and his ilk, just remember, it's not about you. It's about them.
I wonder how much of the hurt you feel is from loving and trusting someone so shallow as to put that kind of a price on their friendship, the price of being their puppet?
I disagree with you on a lot of details, I like and respect you. I like and respect a bright, tough, articulate and couragous woman from a different American subculture. Keep it up and ignore the cultists.

I suspect that it's inevitable, Michele. The coming storm has that feel to it. And believe me - I know that feeling: I've lost a few friends over my views and my refusal to see things their way on a couple of issues. September 10th friends, and we're September 11th people.

Probably the difference between us is that it saddens you, and I see it as inevitable and I no longer give a damn. Ah well...

"And as the flames leapt high into the night...
to light the sacrificial rites,
I saw Satan laughing with delight -
On the day the Music Died"

shrug Let's rock and roll. It may not be pretty, but it's bound to be entertaining. ;]

I've been thinking that this is the 60s for a new generation, another period of unrest and war and civil rights struggles that will eventually end and produce a more settled America again. But you don't seem to see that half-decent ending, and I find that depressing, 'cause it really is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you've just barely entered it and it curves a lot. I shudder to think of your prediction coming true, of the country just being torn apart more and more until it crumbles -- hopefully, it will rise from its own ashes then, but still, change like that is really scary to think about sometimes.

Since it seems to be the Word of the Day, best response to all this I've read was a comment at Making Light: You are not responsible for your actions in someone else's dream.

Which in this context means that if someone wants to accuse you of being believing X, thinking Y and hating Z because of how you're planning to vote. . . ain't much you can say to 'em.

And while I'm here, about that little de-linking fracas I started about a year back? That was exceptionally childish of me, and I apologize.

So what happens when it's your sister that you disagree with politically, religiously, and socially... especially before 9/11? With some people's reasoning, I guess we should have broke up the family. To me it just proves how ridiculous and narrow minded some people can be. Don't let it bother you, Michele. Those who love you for you, always will, and that's what matters.

Do I relate? Utterly and completely.

I have family and friends who refuse to believe that my point of view has changed. I'm frequently forwarded the-earth-is-falling/save-women's-right to-choose/we're-living-in-police-state emails.

Oddly enough after 9/11 I became closer to quite a few people. Several of them commented that my cynical atttitude toward Islamic extremists, American security and the treat of an attack was right. As far back as 1987 I was predicting a terrorist attack on the US by Islamo-fundies, which got the normal nastiness from the left and a bit of warriness from the right.

If your friends cease to be over politics, they were never true friends in the first place.

It's easier to simply write people off, that way you don't have to hear ideas that might challenge your beliefs....

"When you can side with people like Noam Chomsky, with people who would call the president Hitler, with people who can look at all the good this nation has done and still tell us we're like the nazis who set up the camps we freed people from, for people who have degraded the educational standards of the country in the name of self-esteem, for people who have enabled, aided and succored every terrorist moron who spouts their rhetoric, with people who have wasted hundreds of lives and billions of dollars on something that drains resources and does not make this country any safer than before, when you can side with people who don't understand that freedom is worth dying for, when you side with people who have violated numerous national security laws for political retribution, then I can only question your ability to reason."

I will make a blanket statement, as least as far as I've experienced it. People on the left take great umbrage and any position I take that contradicts theirs. They tend, after encountering those points, to distance themselves. People on the right tend to argue, to debate, to try to keep the lines of communication open. They may not agree with me on things like gay marriage, but they're not deciding I'm Stalin because we disagree.

Michele, I think that you've noticed that it is the left, the party of tolerence that trends towrds intolerence when it's views are challemged.

I wonder just how wide spread this is?

123...123...123...123 Don't talk to me I'm counting.

I'll dance anytime!

Let's just call it the Blog Party and kick everyone's behind.

Joy, you should ask your relatives then how come they didn't choose not to get pregnant? Then step back and watch the fur fly.

I love stirring the pot. And if it's really true that the plurality if not majority of abortions is from the 30-40 age group, one would think by then they know where babies come from....hehehehehehehe

It really is easy pickings sometimes.

Jeez, talk about the topic that won't die....

In addition to my previous post's in response to this topic, I'd like to add that "Lefties" aren't the only ones who play the "write-off" card when it suits them.

I'm a pretty liberal guy, definitly left of center. I'm literally surrounded by staunch right-wingers who love to blast me with religious-themed emails and pro-Bush sentiments. The friend that wrote me off sometimes sent me as many as 10 in one day. This went on for weeks. I responded to ONE. Haven't heard from him since.

It'll be interesting to see where it goes from here... our wives are best friends. He won't be able to avoid me forever ;).

Whichever side one is on, some people just can't handle a well-contructed arguement. They're too accustomed to being surrounded by "Yes-men" and being told their beliefs are the only truth.

The sheer level of support you've received over the past few days should give us all reason to hope.

One of my favorite things is to engage in a heated debate on a hot topic. Raised voices, indignant tones of voice, jumping out of our chairs in the heat of the moment. And then parting as friends. Some people just can't do it. Doesn't mean I'm going to shut my mouth though. Much to my wifes chagrin.

No dancing.... I might spill my drink.

The dance is about who get what. Years ago, when boys and girls lined up on opposite walls, wating for someone to tentatively step out on the gym floor and maybe embrace the other side,we idealized it as the way we should be. Now, we've decided that we are better off with our own. The music has died.