Please Shut Up

An open letter to political extremists: You are your own worst enemies.

Highlights from Hair Balls

Political Animals

Dear Political Extremists,

I'm going to imagine you've been bound and gagged for a few minutes because I assume if you were not, you would run roughshod over my attempts to speak with you in a reasonable tone. You talk (and type) a lot, you know that? And this is coming from someone who has more than once been accused of needing to shut the hell up.

So now that I have your attention for a moment, I want to start by saying you really confuse me. I understand that we all have moments where we think we know it all. In my case, it is the belief that the best five-year period for album releases was 1974 to 1979. In this regard, there is no argument. But as important as that issue may be, it clearly pales in comparison to gun control, global warming, health care, taxation and a host of other political issues that are flash points for extreme dialogue online and off.

And let me take one second to let you off the hook if you are religious and opposed to abortion, gay marriage or some other issue that lands you on the perceived moral high ground. I will never be able to convince you that these aren't sins as told to you by God, so I'm not going to argue. This doesn't mean I'm with you, but like Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone agreed to disagree in Anchorman when Burgundy believed San Diego was German for "a whale's vagina," it's not really worth the fight.

The issues I'm speaking of are not specifically religious. Of course there is that one obscure verse in Colossians that said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Cleave thy assault weaponry unto thy bosom and let not the heathens strip it from you, thus sayeth the Lord." Also, if you believe that everything from tattoos to passport stamps is the mark of the beast and clearly foretells the end times, I can't help you.

What I'm trying to figure out here is if there is ANY middle ground for you. I'm looking at both sides of the political aisle here.

On one hand, we have the idiots who tweeted that NRA members should be rounded up and killed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. On the other is Bushmaster Firearms, which posted a photo of a boy who had just shot a deer with an automatic rifle captioned with, "Hunting with a AR is fun at any age. Do you hunt with your AR?" There are the people who believe that, despite mountains of scientific evidence, global warming is a hoax. There are also people (a.k.a. hippies) who believe we should give up all fossil fuels and live off the bounty of Mother Nature.

In every political argument, there is a din of shouting from both extreme sides of an issue that makes it impossible to get anything done. Even though, by many estimates, the most politically entrenched ideologues represent only 20 percent of the voting populace, you dominate the conversation. Whether it's the fiscal cliff or health care or government regulation, you are the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

Worst of all, the very thing all of you crazy fighting extremists don't want to happen above all else is inaction, which is exactly what we all get thanks to your fighting. You are the cause of your own misery. Congratulations!

The irony is you believe you are doing this because things are so much worse today than ever before in the history of, like, history. You're joking, right? Fifty years ago, an entire race of people was subjugated and women were second-class citizens. One hundred years ago, children were forced into labor and influenza killed millions (not hundreds or thousands, millions). Go back a little further and you get people owning other people. It's not like these are some hidden facts buried deep in dusty textbooks. We're talking about the Industrial Revolution, equal rights, slavery and the Civil War. This is U.S. History 101, first day of class for a third grader stuff.

There's a time for fighting the good fight and a time for allowing cooler heads to prevail. But you seem physically incapable of that last one, feeling instead that even the slightest win for the other side is an evisceration of your personal belief system and an abject failure. Even in victory, you are forced to hold onto whatever incremental gains you managed for fear they'll be taken away from you. Sucks to be you, bro.

Okay, I can see you fidgeting, so I'm going to let you go. I said my piece and got that off my chest. For a moment you were subjected to what I'm sure you think is utter bullshit. Welcome to my world.

Sincerely,

The Rest of Us

 
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