Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The fars are all about fear

“It’ll be me, my daughter and her friend who writes for _____ magazine,” says a co-worker. “Will you join us for dinner Saturday night?”

Seriously? Dinner with a professional journalist? In New York?


I haven’t read his particular publication all that much, so I take 10 minutes before booth duty to Google the writer and learn more about him.

I’m from the Midwest. While we do our best to avoid generalizations, we tend to believe that people living on the far right (New York) and far left (Los Angeles) coasts are more liberal.

So I was shocked to discover that I’d traveled all the way to New York to dine with one of the most hard-core conservative journalists on the planet.

And me, an Obama girl. Yikes.
We’re through appetizers and the first of two ridiculously delicious bottles of wine when it starts.

“And tell me, what the hell has Obama DONE?” says the journalist.

“And his middle name is HUSSEIN!” says the daughter.

“And he has no international experience!” says the journalist.

“And his middle name is HUSSEIN!” says the daughter again just in case we didn’t hear it.

This goes on for about 15 minutes until my co-worker glances over and says “Looks like you’re outnumbered, Heather.”

Shocked silence. Then feigned embarrassment followed by pseudo-sincere apologies.

“OH, we didn’t KNOW…we’re so SORRY…my mom actually likes Obama.”

It was rather odd, honestly. Because I wasn’t offended.

I actually ENJOY hearing opinions different from my own – I’m comfortable enough supporting my views and love love love it when people are informed and confident enough to do the same.

I explained how Obama appeals to people like me because he talks about what we can do, rather than what we can’t do. He talks about personal responsibility and education and working together to make a difference rather than fear, negativity and politics as usual. I said Obama - more than any candidate in my lifetime - stands to unite our country. I said Obama’s popularity is an indictment of the Bush administration’s reckless disregard for the electorate and that the Republican party and McCain will suffer for it for years to come. I told them my only concern was that Obama seems to be peaking early.

It's obvious I've scored a few points when out of the clear blue the daughter mentions the fact that the journalist was a Rhodes Scholar.


It was the educational equivalent of whipping out your wiener.

As if something like that would impress someone like me, a college dropout from suburban Detroit who finally finished her undergrad at the ripe ol’ age of 36.
“So who do you like to read?” I ask, curious how this brainiac high-dollar scholar spends his down time.

“Well, I like this writer from one of the Chicago papers,” says the journalist. “Mark Steyn. And I like Ann Coulter.”

I don’t care if you’re on the extreme right or left, the language seems to be the same: It’s all us vs. them, hate vs. love and fear vs. hope.

These are people who are all about freedom of speech until you disagree with them.

These are people who believe it’s harmless entertainment when Ann Coulter says it’s a good idea to invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert all of them to Christianity.

These are people who will tell you that the government has the solution to all of your problems.

People who seriously ought to know better but enjoy the power that comes with playing on the fears and prejudices of the ignorant.
Aren’t you being elitist yourself by calling certain people ignorant, Hedy?

Not really. Now more than ever, knowledge is free. It takes nothing but time.

Here’s how I define ignorance: People who willfully avoid educating themselves to improve their lives. People who willfully avoid educating themselves about other cultures; people who are content condemning others rather than trying to understand them.

And that, my friends, is the trouble with the fars.

Far right. Far left. They’re all about fear.

The far right wants to control the ignorant by playing on their fears that the world is nothing but One Big Threat and the government will protect People Like Us and Our Way of Life from Them and Their Dangerous and Different Ideas.

The far left wants to control the ignorant by playing to their fears that they’re not good enough or capable enough to do anything without government assistance, intervention, and supervision.

It’s elitist on both sides. But it's the worst when it is sitting across the dinner table from you, wearing its education like a star and pretending to be enlightened.
I am listening to: Another incomprehensible episode of Lost
I am reading: Anything but a certain journalist
And I am: A little tired of all of it


Susan said...

Are you sure that this isn't the Hedy version of the last episode of Dallas or the Bob Newhart Show - where you awake and it was all just a bad dream?



In regards to what that 'Far away group' at dinner said, when they discovered what your views were, you'd think they'd just been told that you were dying of cancer based on their verbal reaction.
"Oh, I'm so sorry,.." and then wait for it, the common human reaction,.."I had a friend that had lung cancer too..."

That's a pretty ignorant reaction if you ask me.

People like that drive me up a wall! I'd rather change shit diapers all day then be in a room with that pompus(sp?) crap.


molly gras said...

Knowledge is free. It takes nothing but time

This is now a very large quote taped up in my office.

Thank you

PS ~ I'll sit in the empathetic-taking-some-responsibilty middle with you any day!

the dilf said...

You say Obama is not about Fear...BUT, he's as far left as they come.
He wants to tax one group...and gift it to another. That's Far Left to me. It's called re-distribution of wealth. And it puts FEAR into me.

MirzaDude said...

Should've smacked the daughter!!! Just hearing about her irritates the sheeyat outta me.

As for the dude... got a photo of him? I can put that on my homies Most Wanted List!

I'm supposed to know people cause of where i am from!

Dave said...

Good stuff.

Posolxstvo said...

Another reason why you need to follow up on that dream of going to Journalism school -- provide a voice for the underrepresented (in the media at least) Tweeners.

Come on -- ya know you wanna do it. All the cool kids are going to journalism school.

Go at night.