Bridging the Partisan Divide (of Both Sides of the Brain)

15 May
Bridging the Partisan Divide (of Both Sides of the Brain)

Because things in Wisconsin are more split and divided now than that terrible part in Scott Walker’s receding hair, people on both sides of the aisle are reaching out.  Here are two pleas to Republicans:

Dear Former Colleagues,

I am writing you this letter to officially announce my resignation from the party.  It’s not fun anymore.  We’ve become the opposite of what we used to stand for.  Up until the last thirty-odd years it had been a real pleasure working together.  We used to believe in prudence – we were conservative.  As in conservation.  Of all sorts of resources.  But now it’s all waste and spoil.  Blood, money – we’ve become a raging hemophiliac with a severe hemorrhaging problem.

And what you’ve been doing in Wisconsin, it’s shameful.  It’s embarrassing!  You’re acting like a bunch of pubescent boys clawing at your poor unsuspecting sister.  What ever happened to being a man?  What happened to being a wise father?  What happened to integrity and self-respect?  Have you forgotten everything about politics?  Don’t you remember the Chef’s Parable?  If you want to cook a live frog you don’t just throw it in boiling water out of the blue!  You coax it into the pot deceptively, and only then incrementally increase the temperature til eventually the poor thing’s belly up dead but died in bliss.  Everyone loves the Jacuzzi!  This is what we’ve been doing for years.  This is how you get things accomplished.  You’ve got to train the frog to ask for more heat.  But you’re too impatient.  So I’m getting out of the kitchen.

By your extreme action and reckless behavior, your lack of tact or creativity, you are jeopardizing the standing of the entire Republican Party, and I cannot abide it.  Commit your own personal political suicide if you must, but not the Party’s.  Since you won’t, I am left with no other choice than to resign.  I do not want even my severance pay.  I shall collect my personal belongings forthwith and turn in my badge before lunch.


The Right

*                   *                    *

Dear Wisconsin GOP,

I want my life back.  There was a time when I still did things – when I had the time to do things.  Those so were the days!  I used to bake cookies, whittle wood, quilt blankets, play games, go fishing, fix things around the house.  I could surf the web and watch a lot of dumb YouTube videos instead of reading 20 different political news sites and citizen journalist blogs.  Back when I had my own life to live.  Back when I didn’t know or feel a need to know the names of state Assembly members or Senators in districts nowhere near where I live.  Back when I didn’t know the names of bills by their actual legislative alphanumeric code.  Back when the rules of Parliamentary Procedure (or what, let alone who currently is, the Speaker Pro Tempe) invoked a bygone memory of high school Model U.N.  Back when I didn’t have the schedule for public hearings marked on a calendar like anniversary dates and birthdays, or looked forward to on-the-floor debates like big games or Monday Night football.

But now my life is given to this, and I resent you for it!  I don’t have time to grout the bathroom wall tiles, much less go away for even a weekend, cause God knows what you’ll be up to!  I can’t turn my back on you people for two minutes without finding out that one of you just co-sponsored the Falling Sky joint resolution or authored the Frozen Hell adoption.  Is nothing sacred to you?  Is nothing profane?  What is wrong with you?  Why won’t you stop?  Are you doing this on purpose?  I just want to play wiffle ball or disc golf or spend time in the garden!  Is that asking for too much?  Do you have any idea how much laundry I have to do?  Don’t even get me started on the dishes piling up in the sink or the weeks overdue vacuuming – good Lord!  ‘Cause there’s no time anymore, thanks to you meatheads.

I don’t even know what’s going on in the rest of the country, much less the rest of the world, so preoccupied with the war at home in Wisconsin!  Something about historic floods and tornadoes down south…?  Beats me; I’m too busy perusing Legislative Reference Bureau minutia, oh boy!  I’ve heard something’s happening in Libya with Gaddafi (who I don’t think was still alive anymore anyway).  A wedding in England and bin Laden’s dead, too?  Beats me.  This is how out of touch I am.  Thanks!

But I want you to know, just so there’s no confusion about this: I won’t give up!  You can bet your sweet ass I’m not gonna stop til all y’all lose.  And lose big.  Lose hard.  Lose a lot.  Truth is, I hate your guts.  I do.  But worse yet, I hate that I hate you.  That too is true.  I’m sorry, but you give me no choice.  That you got me breaking my back every goddamn day over the dumbest shit is the biggest disgrace.  Shit my side won fair and square and’s been settled now for 50 years or 100 years or four score and whatever the fuck.  Labor rights?  The environment?  People of color?  Women?  Gays?  More war?  Gays?  God?  Healthcare?  And why the hell are you still stuck on gays, Jesus H Christ!  Do you hate progress?  Are you so in love with profits?

I’ve told myself that you’re reasonable people.  Wrong.  I tell myself that, outside of politics, you’re just ordinary people with your own boring lives to lead – mortgages, kids, car payments, aging parents.  But even that much I’m beginning to have my doubts about.  Knowing how you vote, I can draw only one conclusion: you were born a rich orphan with no siblings and adopted by dog-eating dogs, you have no dependents, you are not married, you are a virgin, your concept of the outdoors is the area between your house and job, you have never traveled to anywhere beyond a 5-mile radius of your house and job, you don’t know what history is, or psychology, or math, your sense of religion is, I’m sorry, retarded, you don’t smile enough, you would eat money if you could, and either you were a jock who beat kids up or a fat kid who got beat up by jocks.

Sound judgmental?  Well give me something to go on!  I mean, where’s the dissent, the individuality?  Y’all talk the same, vote the same, say the same things over and over and over.  You’re deaf to reason and cast a blind eye to the protests surrounding every goddamn thing you do.  Wake the fuck up already, won’t ya?  God damn, what’s it gonna take?  But rest assured: whatever that is, that’s what I’m gonna do – and then some.  Me and everyone I know.  ‘Cause you done shown who y’all are again and again, and your show ain’t pretty.  Matter of fact, you’re pug-uglier than a prince sucking up a toad’s kissed ass, as my daddy used to say.

Do you even like what you do?  I can’t imagine you can.  All this world-is-evil-and-out-to-get-ya boogieman blather; this people-are-corrupt, sink-or-swim, do-or-die, kill-or-be killed crap.  I got one word for you: Boo!  Sit down already and just stop for five seconds!  What’s this weird power trip repression payback’s-a-bitch vendetta y’all are on?  It’s berserk!

If you hate government so badly, why are you in it?  This is like a vegan working in a butcher shop.  And I don’t know of many Mennonite wives mixing drinks at a titty bar, you?  Trying to rescue government from itself by increasing the scope of government just don’t make a lick of sense any more than saying let me show you how bad this thing is by doing it worse.  Go home already!  Go back home to your private little lonesome lives and leave the rest of us – who don’t find one another all that offensive in the long run – alone!  ‘Cause look at ya: you’re still not happy, and never will be.  You could sell the Constitution itself on eBay and still not be satisfied.  You could sell the tree you planted as a child to Mr Big Timber for all the t-bonds in China, but still be talking about deficits and austerity.  You would spit on your mama’s grave if Jim D Developer could build a highway there or parking lot or oil rig or mine shaft.

What have we ever done to you?  No, seriously.  So you have to wear a seat belt or helmet, and you have to pay a woman as much as a man, or a man who isn’t white – and you can’t just fire any of those people without a good reason – nor can you work them to death like some dumb beast (at least without overtime pay).  So you can’t just piss out pollution in some stream where trout spawn – and not only because some people like to fish when they’re not working their asses off to make you a profit; but because it’s just the right goddamn thing to do.  So we want to regulate telecommunication industries, and finance.  So cigarettes have to say that they’ll kill you.  And you can’t beat your kids anymore.  And so you can’t just make everyone pray in public school.  Big fucking deal!  We’re not taking your rights away, you schmuck!  Or making it impossible for you to have health care.  We’re not destroying the planet.  As a general rule, we pretty much don’t kill people.

Let’s face it: you just don’t like people.  That’s understandable.  Hell, we all get on each other’s nerves.  We look funny, smell bad, dress weird, have terrible taste, eat like slobs, don’t wipe our mouths after or say grace before.  We’re loud and lack moderation.  (Though many of us are this way just to make up for all the times you took something away from us.  Or prevented us from having that something in the first place – you know, like property, or civil rights, or sick days, or equal protection…)  Look, I want to tell you: that you can’t get past the superficial and predetermine everyone’s worth based on how they look (gender, skin color, sexual orientation, religion, handicap, clothing, vernacular, accent, etc) is, well sad and really quite unfortunate, but you’re not alone, so I can’t fault you too much.  You’re just not in the right line of work, that’s all.  People are sloppy hypocrisies walking this way and that, it’s crazy.  And frustrating sometimes.  I hear you, I know!  But you gotta get over that.  Or just get a new job.  ‘Cause it ain’t never gonna change.  And neither will your attitude, apparently.

So do us both a big favor (for which you’ll be glad and thank me later, trust me) and get out now before it gets ugly – ‘cause ugly it will.  You’ll be remembered well: that guy or that gal who, sensing their own indecency, woke up and said sorry.  You’ll stand out from amongst your peers, believe me you will.  Sure, they’ll hate you for it, lay a hex on you like something awful, sure will.  But we’ll accept you (after you’ve proved yourself no longer a raving omniphobe), because that’s what we do: we accept people.  We’re dumb like that, a little too gullible even.  But where God didn’t fit us the good sense to give a goose, at least we’re generally happy people.  In spite of being constantly outraged by everything you can’t stop yourselves from doing.  Look at us!  We make the music and we dance to it, too.  We cook the good food and brew the best beer.  Some of us are high, ‘cause that’s fun too.  Much more so than reading Atlas Shrugged or The Wall Street Journal, Leviticus or The Book of Revelation.

So go, please.  And send us instead some real Republicans, if you must.  (We like diversity, remember?)  An Eisenhower would be wonderful right about now.  Even Gerald freaking Ford would be fine.  But enough already with your wing-nut, bat-shit, peace-hating, gay-bashing, Bible-idol lunacy!  At least where all of us are concerned.  You wanna keep doing that stuff, fine!  We’re a tolerant lot.  Ever hear of eastern Montana?  There’s nothing – and more important, no one – there!  Or North Dakota.  Texas.  Maybe Wyoming’s your thing…  Idaho or Indiana seem right up your alley.  Giddy on over to Kentucky and watch them horses run around awhile; you can dress your Sunday best, sip mint Juleps amongst the gentry, and reap all the rewards of plantation-style life without feeling like you’re really Southern.  (Me?  I like bluegrass (especially in a pipe), honky-tonk, Cajun, collards, barbecue, and ham hocks.  I just get the willies over the Stars and Bars business, alright?)  You don’t want to govern; you just want to run a business and practice a sick vein of religion.  OK!  No problem.  Just mind your own damn business, and please, for the love of God, focus on your own fucking family.

Meanwhile, we who actually like people and are in love with the planet, who believe in this life more than the next one, who champion cooperation more than competition, let us take care of the community.  You can fend your Archie bunker compound from all the meanies and make-believe monsters you like.  We’ll have Halloween for the kids and Mardi Gras for the adults.  You’re always welcome to join us…


The Left


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