I’ve been thinking about revolution a lot lately. Specifically, what would it take for me to actively participate in a revolt against established authority. While the recent crisis swirling around “Obamacare” and the government shutdown had the wing nuts fortifying their bunkers and stocking up on ammunition, I have to say that my fear takes me in a drastically different direction. While the Affordable Health Care Act has its issues, as does any program enacted within the confines of our corporately funded, two-party governmental system, the real danger appears to come from behind the scenes of the law’s fierce opposition.
Politically, I identify myself primarily as a libertarian. As in I believe the main functions of government are to protect us from each other rather than from ourselves, and to provide a functional infrastructure. However, I hesitate to use that term for fear of being associated with the fundamentalist theocrats that are the driving force behind the Tea Party movement. These powerful influencers of public opinion claim to want a more limited government, but at the same time work to impose their own restrictive beliefs upon the American public and enforce the standards of a “Christian nation”. This is in fact the most dangerous threat to American freedom, and one that I will actively work against: a worldview that operates with the rhetorical disguise of family values and good, old-fashioned American conservatism but one that fully implemented would rather disturbingly resemble the fascism and oppression of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. I’m sure to many this will sound like hyperbolic rhetoric. If you need examples of where it could end up, here are two things I read just today: this and this. The first is an example of legalistic overreaction, and the second is a disturbing threat to free speech, both of which have the undeniable effect of limiting personal freedom for no reason other than ideology. *UPDATE* I just found this, to further emphasize my point: http://www.teapartyunity.org/
What it really comes down to is that I am exhausted. I’m tired of political hypocrisy, I’m tired of theologies that promote bigotry and misogyny, I’m tired of self-righteous moralizers. It wears me out that I had to leave a Facebook group for my neighborhood because people are so unreasonable it made me want to fight my neighbors in the street. Is it really that hard to disagree civilly? To genuinely listen to an opposing viewpoint to make sure yours isn’t wrong? To treat other people as equals worthy of respect rather than reducing everyone to fit into predetermined ideologies?
It’s gotten to the point that I actually told my wife I’ve legitimately considered running for political office just to contribute another (relatively) sane, reasonable voice to the debate. I’m more than happy to entertain other ideas that could help push us out of this defensive, oppositional rut into which our society has fallen, so if you have any, please share.