Thursday, May 28, 2009

Coming to Terms With My Country

The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is bringing out the hate. The charge of "reverse racist" is being collapsed into simply "racist" as conservative media are working themselves into a lather over this nomination.

It makes me so angry, that someone who has spent her lifetime overcoming obstacles of povery, gender, ethinicity and plain old everyday life is being so crudely attacked. The principle seems to be: "If we throw enough mud, some of it will stick."

The anger is not good for me. I mean, really, what good does it do for me to get upset about Rush Limbaugh's ill considered bile? Why should I care what Fox News says? I long ago dismissed this class of "journalism" as a desperate need to fill hours and hours of air-time. Saying anything is more important than what is actually said in that world. If you can say it loudly, with a tone of alarm, you can even fool people into thinking what you are saying is important.

But it still gets through my defenses. And I find myself trying to explain why the Rushes and Newts and Coulters are wrong, which just sends me down the rabbit holes they have constructed. It's not pretty.

And, really, does anybody listen when I take them on? Honestly, no. Even if I had a national platform and millions of people listening, I don't think I could change the minds that have already been made up.

So I am doing this for myself. Because this is how I can live with the clamor of what is going on. I have come to decide that the conservative mouthpieces and blowhards have set themselves the task of being The Opposing Party. Their job is not to consider, to weigh, to evaluate and pursue nuanced solutions. Their job is to oppose.

So, when the president nominates anybody, the job of The Opposing Party is to find any grounds on which to oppose that person. This time around, it's Sonia Sotomayor, but it doesn't matter who it is. The problem isn't that she is the wrong choice, it's that she is a choice. And The Opposing Party has to point out what is wrong with it.

This is an easy place to be, in some ways. Much easier to sit back and veto than to offer suggestions, right? Haven't we all been in a situation like this one?

"Where shall we go to dinner, honey?"
"How about that hip new Mexican place?"
"I don't really feel like Mexican."
"There's a great new dim sum restaurant."
"Um, no. Not really up for that."
"We could get pizza and beer and see a movie"
"Eh. Just doesn't call me."
"Then you pick something!"
"Oh, no, I don't really care where we go."

And then when the couple finally goes somewhere, the veto-er can say "that wasn't very good, was it?"

Nice place to be. Asshole.

There is a solution, though--at least one that is currently working for me. If I consider that the job of The Opposing Party is just to oppose, then it is up to me to do the synthesizing. It's very Hegelian: the president offers a thesis, The Opposing Party offers antithesis, and I forge the synthesis.

President Obama offers Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a nominee. The Opposing Party calls her a "reverse racist" and claims she is unqualified. I accept that The Opposing Party will never never never never change its position. So then I consider whether I accept TOP's position, or not. In this case, it seems to me that TOP has grabbed at something that has no solidity, so I can reject that claim--and then I don't have to get upset at the stupidity of TOP repeating their claims, even in the face of new evidence, because TOP is supposed to not change.

We'll see how long this works for me.


Anonymous said...

You go, girl! You should have a wider platform; your thinking process and writing deserve one.

Anonymous said...

You rock. Keep at it. We need this perspective.