Posted by: minnow | December 5, 2017

Compromise

An agreement or settlement of a dispute which is reached by each side making concessions.

I was told by an individual I respect and often discuss politics with that I needed to find a compromise. I needed to seek out some kind of common ground with conservatives who voted third party as well as those who didn’t vote in the last election if I hoped to effect compassionate, healthy, long term change in this country.  Compromise, according to this individual will be the only way we get rid of 45 and bring order and sanity to Washington. In other words, my rants about the Right and what is right have fallen on deaf ears and will only cause further division, which makes room for 45 and friends to go about their dealings unchecked.

Compromise: an agreement or settlement of a dispute which is reached by each side making concessions.

But, how does one compromise with greed and hatred? How does one find common ground with consuming self interest and the power hungry elite? Obviously, these descriptors don’t fit most of the people I was told I risked alienating. Most people who voted third party or chose not to vote aren’t that power hungry. They aren’t that greedy.  Most just want a job, a few weeks vacation, a roof over their head, food in the refrigerator, and a reliable car to drive. Most aren’t overtly racist or sexist or xenaphobic. Politics just isn’t their thing.  It’s boring. They prefer binge watching Netflix. They’re tired of the fighting, scapegoating, and whining. They just want people to do their jobs so they can be left alone.

They don’t want to be bothered. So, those of us who are bothered need to compromise.

Those of us who are bothered need to find some way to get the rest of everybody to vote with us. You know the ones I’m talking about–the 46 percent who didn’t think their vote mattered and thus didn’t vote and those who didn’t recognize a difference between HRC and 45 (or wanted to stick it to the Democrats because of how they treated Bernie despite Sander’s pleas not to). And, we need to do it without ruffling their feathers too much, without asking them to actually care about something that doesn’t directly impact them just yet, without casting too bright a light on what’s wrong with this situation, lest it shines on them a little. Because suggesting their apathy–their privilege–is part of the problem is not cool. Suggesting they are part of the problem by neglecting to be part of the solution wouldn’t be helpful. It muddies the water. And, THAT would be offensive because,…well….because privilege is just privilege and it’s not the privileged’s fault they’ve had an easier row to hoe. They would have worked just as hard if the road had been harder. The slightly less lucky just need to step it up a little more. Just because the unprivileged started a little farther behind in the race doesn’t mean they can’t get to the end.

My debate partner suggested I was playing the role of Malcolm X when I should be going for Martin Luther King, Jr. And normally, I might agree (except I’m not Black and so to equate myself with either one would make me guilty of cultural appropriation which isn’t a road I care to go down) honey (peaceful protest) is, usually, a better lure than vinegar (anger and potential violence) when trying to persuade others to join your cause.

Lately however, I’ve had trouble finding any thread of commonality with those on the other side of the isle. I used to think they wanted good things for our country they just differed on policy. But now,…their repeated attempts to revoke the ACA and their most recent tax plans–passed without review, their callous talk as they defend their behavior, and their willingness to undo every check and balance, every protection for the unprotected, makes me doubt the righteousness of the Right. What is happening in Congress is not a question of the ends justifying the means because the ends themselves lack compassion, morality, and reason.

Yet even with all this the bigger truth is, I’ve lost faith with those willing to tolerate, or worse defend, 45’s blatant fear mongering, unfettered bigotry, unverified assertions, and out right lies. I’ve lost respect for a group of people willing to look the other way when the likes of Roy Moore and Sherriff Arpaio want to join their ranks. Which brings me back around to those with which my critic wants me to play nice, almost all of whom can be described as middle class and upper middle class white people many of whom (though not all) identify as Christian. Your continued apathy, your on going silence in light of what our country’s current situation tells a story and I want NO common ground with you.

White disengaged America I cannot identify with your desire to just  be left alone. Sure, you work hard but so do a lot of people who don’t have what you have. Statistically, your white skin means your schools were fully staffed, the buildings maintained, and the technology upgraded. Your white skin means you grew up in safer neighborhoods and your children live in safer neighborhoods now. Your white skin means most people trust rather than suspect you when they encounter you as a stranger. Your white skin means even if you commit the same crime as a black person you are less likely to be arrested for it. If you are arrested for it you are less likely to be convicted of it. And, if you are convicted of it your time in jail will be shorter. I could go on but the point has been made–for now, your privilege protects you from any real discomfort but it won’t protect you forever. I just hope you get up off the couch and figure out what’s happening, before it’s too late.


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