I hate the fucking closed-minded polarity in this country. Everything is black or white, this or that, all good vs. all bad. If you like dogs, you have to hate cats. If you are Democrat, you have to hate Republicans. If you like one sports team, you have to hate all other teams. Christ, it gets old.
I just read two bookend blog posts from the Denver area about bicycling. One was a pro-beach-cruiser item by Britt Chester. The other was a spiteful rant by Josiah Hesse. Chester’s piece was well thought out, amiable, and left me feeling as though I’d been invited to try bicycling and join them on their Wednesday night cruises. Hesse’s blog? While he could have espoused the virtues of using a bicycle as a commuting tool, he stooped instead to hateful name-calling and disrespect toward anyone who would dare ride a “beach cruiser” style of bicycle. Chester gave a nod to the spandex-wearing, expensive-bike-riding commuters, even though they are nearly the polar opposite of cruiser riders. Hesse did no such thing. Guess which of them I’d rather hang out with, and which one of them I think is a whiny little bitch.
But while these were two well-thought-out, well-written (even if I didn’t agree with them) pieces meant for public consumption, the adversarial nature; the holier-than-thou attitudes are downright pervasive in many Americans’ psyche.
Example two, in a much smaller scale… Traverse City, Michigan has a yearly Cherry Festival. It’s the biggest event of the year, and the town of 30,000-ish swells to over 100,000 people for that week. It snarls up traffic, it packs the sidewalks…and it brings in beau-coup tourist dollars and puts Traverse City on the map as a destination.
One of my friends up there complained on Facebook about the traffic — in itself a “locals good – tourists bad” black and white piece, but not my point. I was appalled by the shortsighted comment:
“Ahh, the joys of cherry festival! This is exactly why I do my shopping in Manistee the first two weeks of every July… LOL!”
This person dutifully avoides the biggest event of the year, with its free concerts, children’s events, midway, downtown sales, parades and car shows — every year. And feels superior about it. Because of the traffic. It would be like living in Hawaii and proudly spouting, “I don’t go to the beach, because of all the sand, ewww. I don’t know why anyone would!”
Could this person even-handedly opine that the Cherry Festival sure would be fun, if the traffic weren’t so bad? Could they consider that the traffic for one week is a small price to pay for the national attention and boost to the economy? They could, but they don’t — the town is rife with “tourists, go home” bumper stickers.
Let’s see…Are you a Republican? Well, the Democrats must be nothing but baby-killing, Socialism-loving, tax-raising stupids who want to give all your money to those too lazy to work.
Wait, are you a Democrat? Then the Republicans MUST be war-mongering, gay-bashing billionaires who rape the environment and eat baby seals for lunch.
- Ford vs. Chevy.
- Vegetarian vs. Omnivore.
- Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice.
- Conservative vs. Liberal.
- Christian vs. well…everyone else.
I could go on…but why bother?