Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wait Can I Do That?

Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.

-Haruki Murakami

There's often a debate that takes place between opposing viewpoints that goes something like this. One person supports an aspect of government policy. They argue for it. Another disagrees, and argues against it. Sometimes, the other person will be accused of hating America for opposing a government policy or two. Usually a conservative person accuses a liberal person of hating America. I'm not sure why this is; it seems like opposing health care reform could be hating America as easily as opposing a military action, but whatever. That's the way it goes. I don't especially care. Because I think I really do hate America.

Am I allowed to do that? I think I might be.

Of course I don't hate people. Or the land. I like the forests and the mountains. Right now there is a foot or so of snow on my lawn, and I am quite fond of the snow. American snow. But I hate the government. I really do. I want to like it. I want to like roads and water pipes and schools. I think they're great. But I have to hate them, because they are all jumbled up with laws and customs and habits that don't work for me. It's a shame. It seems like roads and water pipes and schools could really work together to make a natural space suited to human habitation. I guess it doesn't work out that way in practice.

There has been a lot of talk in the wake of the Tucson shooting about civil discourse. I don't think that's such a good idea. Discourse isn't going to make any of the pieces of this country work together. We probably should just disband. There's a way to divide up the infrastructure that still survives, right? Maybe our zoning committees could become unzoning committees, and we could have an orderly division into millions of separate households with no legal obligation to each other.

It means all those conservatives who said I hate America are right. Of course, they hate America too. We just focused on slightly different parts that we hate. Some of what we hate overlaps. That's nice, even if it's inconvenient for the dividing up part. Maybe the unzoning committees have a solution for that.

It makes the entire United States experiment a somewhat philosophical enterprise. We are a group of disparate individuals who tried to get together based on our uniqueness. Very meta. But not terribly sustainable. Oh well.

I wish we could get together and make a country. I'm not sure how that would look. I think a country might include education, health care, roads and hospitals. A nice transportation system. An energy grid that balances need and waste. That sounds fun. Too bad. We could have tried that. If we didn't hate America.


Sean Williams said...

Interesting perspective. As a conservative who loves America I might suggest an alternative. How about we all share America. Let's not ask more of one another than each is willing to give. For instance, you mentioned health care. How about instead of breaking America up we just break healthcare up into individual policies where each person can choose as much or as little care as they can afford. Seems easier than dividing up a functional nation... nobody in this nation is sent away from an emergency room without care. More than that is up to each person to provide for themselves in my opinion. And we could even consider choice in education too. Let's break up the school monopoly into little parts that each parent can choose for their child... I favor choice in insurance and education. I still support shared responsibility for highway maintenance. =) Can we agree on that?

Sean Williams said...

It occurs to immediately upon submitting my comment that I could have expressed myself much more clearly. Here is another attempt:

Perhaps we can find those things we both value, and agree to include those things in our America. And leave all things that we disagree about out of the realm of government control.

Less argumentative and perhaps clearer, no?