Remember this post? And this book? The discussion there being my frustration over our lack of ability in the US to find common ground. Sometimes I think it’s the internet – our greater ability in finding like-minded individuals being a double-edged sword. In a moment of distinct serendipity I came across the book, “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart” by Bill Bishop. I’ve only made it about half way through the second chapter, but it’s really beginning to click.
As much as it clicks, there’s also something about it that makes me feel a bit off-kilter. I’ve been known to decry the fact that we can’t seem to find common ground on the one hand. On the other hand? We live in a decidedly conservative (read: Republican and outwardly “Christian”) county. For that reason it’s in our 10 year plan to move further North. Why? To find a community with which we feel we have more in common (read: not Republican). We’re poster children for his book (it also explains exactly why my parents moved here).
The “Tea Party” rally in front of the Post Office yesterday (modest in size) is just one of many reasons why we don’t quite fit here. Oh…and for the record, there’s something a bit disingenuous in the “Tea Party” rally given that I’d say 90% of the folks there are old enough to collect both Social Security and Medicare. Seriously…if you have such a big issue with so-called “entitlement” programs and other government actions, don’t you think it behooves you not to collect them? If what we really need in our country is more “personal responsibility” shouldn’t those “Tea Party” members in town lead us by example? Oh…that’s right, there isn’t a problem with the so-called “entitlements” you collect…just the ones “those other people” collect. Ok…so maybe I just proved the author’s point even more.
For the record…I think retirees should take both Social Security and Medicare. I think both programs are a fantastic safety net made even more important with the recent Wall Street shenanigans. I also think that we need to fully fund both of these programs as well as other vital safety nets including health insurance as a basic human right, free education for all, food assistance, housing assistance, free libraries, etc. With my city’s dismal graduation rates and the fact that children outnumber men in homeless shelters in the county directly to the North of us it seems clear to me that cutting taxes and other issues at the forefront of this movement is so very much-needed. Oh, and a much belated to a response my Mom asked me more than a year ago when my vote in the last Presidential election came to light. She asked me if I’d ever be able to vote Republican in future elections. I mumbled something incoherent because quite frankly I wasn’t sure what to say. On a gut level the answer was “No”, but I didn’t know why. Reading this book now I do. See, there I just did it again. You really must read this book.
*sigh* My head hurts and I haven’t gotten near enough sleep thanks to a little person who’s having some difficulties sleeping lately. Suffice it to say…something bigger is afoot indeed…