You know, I’m a pretty liberal gal. Have, actually, become more progressive as I get older. A lot of this is based on economics, some of just a general sense of likin’ them humans, some on common sense and sustainability: a general feeling that looking out for those around you, in the broad sense and in the immediate sense, has both reciprocal and kharmic benefits.
Call me new agey, call me a hippy. I really don’t care.
So why is it that I HATE going to political talks? What is it about me that hits my critical and cynical peak when going to an event centered around a movement?
Last night I went to see Jim Hightower speak. I acknowledge with complete confidence that Mr. Hightower delivered an incredibly effective speech. It was moving, it was informative, it was clever. I acknowledge that there were as many points and specifics as there could be and that such talks serve a very important purpose, specifically among liberals: to motivate and focus. To create a sorely lacking cohesion and goal oriented process among a group that tends to get caught on specifics and details, on intellectual rehashings and interpersonal pride.
So, there I was listening to Mr. Hightower, thinking my cynical thoughts “yep, cheer here…yep, we need a change” and I began to wonder: why? I mean, I was in an audience of my peers. I agreed with the cheering, I agreed with his points.
And I realized that such events have begun to have a very numbing and disillusioning effect on me. Years of living in very liberal areas and attending rallies and gatherings and meetings and symposiums has made me more than immune to their enthusiasm, it has made me skeptical of their efficacy.
I think if I were in Virginia, or Texas, or Ohio, or even DC and heard enthusiastic backing of such rhetoric I might have a different reaction. Maybe I would be shocked at the disparate groups agreeing on such broad and common goals. I would assume dedication behind the leap from what is popular thought to innovative approach. But, here, where it evident in every newspaper, flier and pamplet I see that people not only claim to want better wages for the common man, social liberalism, and so on, but they better want it if they want to keep getting laid, I accept it as a given that such events will exist and wish to hear a little bit more about the means than the end.
Because that is where we get tripped up
Sure, we all want peace, love and an equal share of the pie. But why is it that the easier it is to agree on the goal, the harder it is to compromise on how to get to it.
And why is it that in a room full of people cheering, nay STANDING and cheering with determination to oust the current administration and encourage social change in the new, I doubt the ability for such dedicated souls to make the compromises necessary to remain focused and effective.
And further, I question the critical thought and acknowledgement of work and compromise behind it. When someone yells “healthcare for all” OFCOURSE we all cheer. But will they cheer when they say “access to healthcare for all, but open air MRIs for none?” Will they cheer when they cry “de-prioritization of organ transplants for disabled people in lieu of life saving prescriptions for many?”
Will acknowledgement of prioritization or more pointedly temporary de-prioritization for the sake of strategy allow the masses to make the necessary efforts towards their goals?
And so I sit there and I wonder…
I wonder if all of these people, with their buttons and their liberal pride, necessary as they may be, go home and sit back and think about it. And what they think about. And do they really care, or does it just feel good to think they care? And whether such mobilization creates strategy and follow through where it is needed most.