In the FURIOUS DEBATE edition of Ask A Bastard, I talked about striving to be a better person. Kathleen asked me a question that I will answer next monday. I’ve been thinking about it since Kathleen asked it, and given this morning’s commute, I needed to start blogging about it.
I have no idea where all my anger comes from, but I am angry. I have to force myself to drive defensively (I think I drive passive-aggressively, which is worse than typical aggressive), I shout at the radio (typically in an attempt to come up with a decent one-liner) and I am (occasionally) easily offended. I rant and rail against things that I probably don’t need to–and often without thinking. This is especially true in regards to politics. When I get to talking about politics, and I get angry, I blame those who who are to the right of me.
It is not a good idea for me to have a “liberal knee jerk reaction” as all that does is reinforce negative ideas regarding liberals. While I recognized this trait in college, I was often surrounded by people who were more liberal than I was, so I did not need to reign these attitudes and behaviors in.
Now, in the adult world, I have problem with my personal belief of tolerance and my angry anti-republican rants. I appreciate a certain level of hypocrisy (it comes with being human) but I am worried that my anger is preventing me from understanding “the opposition.”
Here’s the kicker–I never get mad at my clients for what they have done. My kids have done some heart-wrenching things to other people. I hear Bush speak and I get mad. Really Mad. Like yelling at the TV mad, except I yell at the radio. I spend most of my time at work dealing with emotionally draining factors, but I cannot be bothered to understand some of the basic tenets of the Right.
This will not do, so I am trying to change.
I have been trying to channel my anger into researching topics. I’ve also been limiting my angry by writing off folks (specially talking heads) and changing the channel. If people don’t want to debate and learn from each other, I shouldn’t bother listening to them. That is a useless form of anger, one that doesn’t channel as easy.
That being said, I am willing to engage in debate or discussion with folks to the right of me. In fact, if you’re interested, I will engage in a bookswap. I’ll send you Wellstone’s masterpiece if you promise to read it. In turn, I promise to read something with the same tone(intellectual, reasoned, researched) but different spectrum.
I am doing this because I don’t understand Social Conservatism. I understand fiscal responsibility (even though I am having a difficult time practicing myself), and I would count myself as one. I think rehab is more fiscally responsible than prison. I think Head Start and other social service programs are cheaper, and more effective, than Juvenile Justice or Criminal Justice. I’ll be honest–for most of my life I have blown it off as simple wingnuttery. I am trying hard to understand it.