Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is It Safe to Come Out?

A few recent conversations have rather unsubtly pointed out that I haven’t updated this blog in ages. To be honest, I didn’t imagine anyone would mind having one less blog post to read, but the real reason I haven’t posted anything in quite some time comes down to one word:


You know, one of those three subjects we’re not supposed to talk about in mixed company?

For the record, when it comes to politics I believe in letting everyone vote in accordance with their experience and values without mocking them for it or labeling them as an idiot if that vote is different from mine. As a rule, I am pretty difficult to offend politically which is one of the reasons I offend people so regularly, I think. Hearing other people’s thoughts doesn’t get me riled up, and I forget that such is not the case with everyone else. Some people are immediately offended the moment they hear someone state a position they feel opposes their own. And since we now live in a social climate where people confuse “I’m offended!” with “I’m right!” I’d rather just stop the drama before it starts.

But now the political fever has played out. Now is a time for petitions for secessions, addressing the fiscal cliff, and ensuring through force that all oil-producing countries accept the US dollar as their currency of choice. It’s time to get back to the grind, reach across the aisle, and throw stones at and declare unpatriotic any company that publicly discusses its concerns of remaining solvent and profitable after paying the additional taxes required by Obamacare.

Yes, the fun has just begun. And as we push forward, I will still have my nose in politics—reading both articles and the comment section to see what topics are being touched on and how they’re being received. It fascinates me. I like to see, for example, if there are any actual business owners calling other business owners unpatriotic over the steps they need to take to remain profitable with the healthcare tax hikes—or if the comments come exclusively from people who are professional employees and have never hired an employee themselves. I like to see the discussions that arise when a group stands up for what it believes to be their rights. I don’t care if it’s the gay community seeking marriage equality, a state fighting for the right not to have tax-funded abortions, whether the ruling on Super Pacs should be allowed to stand, or if high school footballs teams should be allowed to have Bible verses on their banners.

I like the discussion. It doesn’t razzle me. It doesn’t offend me, although I can see clearly that plenty of people are offended, and if I cross their path even as a devil’s advocate, I’m in for it.

Right now the trending conversation is the number of petitions filed at petitions.whitehouse.gov to secede from the Union, and my online discussions have shown the popular consensus that these petitions are petulant and un-American.

For my part, I kind of disagree with this assessment. First off, few things are more American than seceding and threatening to secede from a larger body one feels has become oppressive. It’s how this country was founded, and I would be curious as to how many times a state has legitimately threatened to secede since. I’m guessing it’s a big number. (I’ll need to dig up a historian friend and discuss that, I think.)

As for the accusation that the petitions are petulant? I’d rather give the people the benefit of the doubt and say that the petitions are a cry for serious discussion about the powers of the federal government… about whether or not a popular vote cast in New York should impact what happens in Texas where the exact same issue was voted down.

  • By accepting federal funds, do states lose their right to autonomy?
  • Do Colorado and Washington have the right to legalize marijuana?
  • Do federal judges have the right to overturn popular state vote?
  • In the near future, will doctors have the right to refuse to perform an abortion without negative action being taken against them?
  • Can private businesses be sued for denying services to a paying customer?
  • Should the standards of a “non-profit” organization be altered so that organizations like the NFL can no longer avoid paying “their fair share” (in the NFL’s case, more than $40 million each year)?

These questions, and more, interest me. They don’t offend me, nor does the discussion of them, which is why I hope that the petitions to secede create some intelligent discussion between state’s rights and the rights of the federal government.

And for the record, my stance is that the government should respond to the voice and needs of the people, not dictate what their voice should be. And if that means conflicting laws in different states, so be it. In my brain there’s no problem with allowing a community the legal right to live its own standards as long the laws do not protect predatory behavior. It’s not right for a politician, who has never worked on a farm a day in his life, to dictate legislation on what farmers should do and what chores they can give their children (status: withdrawn), just as it’s not the place of farmers in Oklahoma to create laws concerning the rights of paparazzi.

At least so says I. But remember, I don’t care if you disagree. I only care why you disagree.

So that’s my spiel on politics. I’ll see if I can move my brain on to more fun stuff now.

Until then, I’m off to do some editing on UnPleasant Grove.

Can’t wait to get it into your paws!


  1. When we can have open positive discussions without taking offense that is when we move forward as a country. It is a sad statement about our society that we can no longer talk as adults with a diversity of opinion without issuing threats and offense.

    As for secession South Carolina at the time of the Civil War was not the first. New England had already threatened years before over other issues that were immediately resolved by the Congress and president. I don't know if there have been any since the Civil War, but it is serving the purpose intended, right? Making people think and talk and resolve for changes that are imminent!