Monday, May 4, 2009

Side By Side

At the store the other day, there were two cars, parked side by side, engaged in a war of words via their respective bumper stickers. (Sadly, I didn't have my camera.) On the left hand side, a blue sedan proclaimed: "If you live your life as if there is no God, you had better be right!" The green (natch) hybrid to its right retorted: "He's YOUR God, They're YOUR rules. YOU burn in Hell!" (I think if the cars had been on opposite sides of each other, I would have suspected a deliberate plan.)

Part of me was tempted to run into the store just long enough to grab some popcorn and a picnic chair, then dash back and hope that both drivers would return at once, and provide some fireworks.

Seeing these two opposed views, sitting side by side in a supermarket parking lot, made me wonder about the political future of the United States. We are becoming a more polarized nation, with more and more of us coming to the conclusion that a single ideological viewpoint can rescue us from everything that ails us, and the solution is to force everyone who might disagree to march in lockstep, or be cast into the wilderness.

Given that we take it for granted that a house divided against itself cannot stand, will we ever see ourselves as responsible for the division, and work to heal it? Or will we endure a catastrophe instead?


catnapping said...

I think sometimes that the views always did run the's just that those in power had soooooo much power that the rest of us dared not open our mouths. So many folks probably pretended to be more middling in their POV.

Even now, it's dangerous not to be a white, straight, christian male in this country.'s possible that those on both ends just get more air time...the press doesn't really care about accuracy...they just wanna sell ad time.

I'm talking out my ass, of course...since I'm someone whose views have always been considered radical (by those in power), I'm not in a position to say what's actually polar.

On this continent...before the christian capitalist views would have been seen as centrist...normal. Funny how that works. In this culture, I'm a commie pinko witch**. If I wasn't into penises, Pat Robertson would've sent a hit squad decades ago.

**it's amazing how many christians think all non-christian religions are alike, and that women who aren't christian are automatically assumed to be witches.

Aaron said...

I don't know. It's strange how one can grow up in a culture, and yet feel that you don't really have more than a superficial understanding of it.

All I really understand is that we aren't a unified culture, in part because we don't want to be, except on our own terms, and the more we understand that those terms alienate other people, the more ardently we insist on them.

catnapping said...

I think you've nailed it on the head.

JohnMcG said...

Interestingly, TAL ran another aborted return to Christianity story, this one from sex columnist Dan Savage. He's found comfort from visiting a Catholic church after his mother's death.

But he can't return to the sacraments because B16 thinks condoms cause AIDS, and what the Church says about him as a gay man and the son they raise.

I suspect that if Savage looked a little closer at what both Benedict actually said about condoms and about what it says about gay people, he might not be so afraid.

But it's easier to say the grapes are sour, isn't it?