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Flying Squirrel

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Member since: Fri Aug 20, 2010, 05:40 PM
Number of posts: 2,637

About Me

I am the same DU member who formerly posted under the name FlyingSquirrel (no space). I killed this profile by changing both my password and email at a time when I felt I had developed an unhealthy addiction to the internet in general and DU in particular. Not sayin' I'm any better now ;-)

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A challenge to my Republican friends who may be reading this

(and I know it's ironic that this is my first post after returning from being TS'd as an 'obvious troll')

I know what you're asking: "Friends?"

But with me it's true, though I probably don't know you. I consider people I haven't met to be friends until proven otherwise, and political orientation does not (in and of itself) disqualify someone from being my friend.

I have one such friend in "real life", whom many here would dismiss as a 'wing nut.' He has a pickup truck with a dog in the back and an Obama sticker that says "Does this ass make my truck look big?" He was over a few days ago, and I introduced him to my very liberal landlady, who has a "Mama for Obama" sticker on the back of her car, as my "Redneck Right Wing Crazy-ass friend" or some such thing, to which he grinned and said "You bet your ass!"

I consider this man extremely intelligent, funny, engaging, perhaps even charismatic. Sure hope he never runs for office. But I digress.

I've never heard him mention anything about his religion, so I assume he's probably not a fundamentalist, since you can never get that type of person to shut up about their religion (whatever it might be).

Generally speaking, as far as I can tell, he's also normal in the kindness department. He's human. He's not rich, but he's doing ok. He smokes pot occasionally. He's happily married. He's a nice guy. He'd make a great Democrat

What I'm saying here is that I don't believe half of the entire country is stupid, or insane, or motivated by religious fundamentalism. I do believe that there are a large number of people in this country who, while intelligent, are being played like violins. As Mark Twain once said, "It's easier to fool someone than to convince them they've been fooled." But I don't believe they're bad people, and I would be happy to call most of them my friend if I met them in person.

While this person was at my house we did engage in a small amount of political banter. He said something about how it bothered him that there was so much disinformation out there in the media and elsewhere. I hesitated, but decided not to engage with him on the subject . Being an intelligent person, and knowing as he did that I was also intelligent, he was quick to add that he understood there was misinformation on both sides. I let it go, since I felt it was unlikely I could change his mind and I value his friendship.

The thing about this guy is, he enjoys getting people riled up. The vast majority in my area are Democratic, so he's in the clear minority. He gets a kick out of it. Hey, whatever makes him happy. But I then had to wonder, beyond that, what motivates him. And it made me think about how humor is a major motivator for him. We all love humor, we love to laugh. Sometimes we like to laugh while making fun of someone or something. I enjoy watching Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (The 'Daily Show'). I like listening to liberal talk radio. I like reading this site, especially the political cartoons.

Not all of these jokes or cartoons are funny, some just make me angry. But some do make me laugh. I'm sure Republicans are laughing as well about jokes which make fun of Democrats, Democratic leaders, and our ideas and ideals.

But it occurred to me that when I laugh while listening or reading funny stuff about Republicans, it is usually accompanied with an emotion. And having seen some of the jokes on the other side of the aisle, I get the feeling that a different emotion is involved.

The emotion that I get after laughing is sadness. I would venture to guess that it's the same for many who frequent this website and are on the same side of the political fence as I am. We believe we're right, we believe that the things that most Republicans do are harmful to the country, we know people (or we are people) who have been affected by what we believe to be Republican politics or agendas; and we feel it's unnecessary, we can't understand it. So we laugh at the ridiculousness of many things, but we're also sad because of what we believe the end result of these things is, how they affect real people.

So my challenge to my Republican friends is this: When you're watching Fox News or whatever commentary you like, listening to conservative talk radio, or reading a political cartoon that makes you laugh, pay attention to your emotions surrounding the laughter -- before, during or afterward. Is there an underlying sadness? Or is it something else?

Because what I'm getting, for the most part, is something else, and it's this: Meanness.

Now I'm not one of those who say "Mean people suck." I don't agree with that statement. I think most people do not suck, even the mean ones. They're people, they're just as worthy of being here on this planet, there's a reason they are the way they are, and there but the grace of God go I.

However, I do believe that mean people make the world suck. I also believe that people can change -- most of them, anyway.

So here's my challenge to you. Examine yourself, question the emotions that are involved in your laughter, and if it's meanness, ask yourself if that's the kind of person you want to be. Ask if you want to have any part -- even if it's a very small one -- in helping make the world suck.

Ask yourself if it's possible that the little jolt of pleasure you receive when you laugh at something which is intended to be mean, is the way you're being controlled by those who are putting out the message you're reading or listening to.

Question what you perceive as being reality; question what part or role you'd like to play in life. Question what you'd like the people who knew you to think about you after you're gone.

Wishing you the best,

Posted by Flying Squirrel | Wed Jun 13, 2012, 07:12 PM (3 replies)
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