Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Systematic Insanity

G.K. Chesterton is someone you should get to know, and this is something great that he said: "Original sin...is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved," because you can see it in the street. And a quick theology lesson: The doctrine of Original sin is that most reviled doctrine which provides you the comfort of knowing that everyone around you is an asshole, but then has the audacity to tell you that you're included.

Chesterton told us we can see it in the streets, but I think it is no more uniquely and beautifully distilled, like a tarantula pinned down in a display case, than in the American presidential election cycle. I don't know, it could be as bad in other countries, I've just never had the pleasure of being present in another country during an election. But let's compare notes, you foreigners: Do your country partisans accuse the other side of the most vile untruths that most felons would be ashamed to utter? Here are a list of about 70 awful untruths or distortions that have been published about Sarah Palin. It also turns out that the right-wingers (of which I am a proud one, as long as I don't have to be ascribed everything that has ever been uttered by one of my bretheren) are equally foul in the garbage they spew about Obama. So you could say that the lie machines are good proof that our tortured souls are bent in the wrong direction, but I want to pull back the curtain a bit further.

What I find highly suspicious, highly telling, highly convicting—is the way that you and I react to these peices of filth. You and I are very quick to dismiss an attack against our candidate, and very credulous when our opponent is smeared. I think the concept that we're not even being fair never crosses our mind. And the thing is, even if you're not sure if these things are true, you want them to be true. I wanted it to be true that Obama had called Palin a pig, it filled me with glee because I figured there would be no way he could recover. And of course he didn't, and that is clear to any fair-minded person, but don't ever accuse the bulk of us of being fair-minded.

So many of us are rabid in our love for our team and our hate for the other side. The mindset and behavior is so entrenched that we just refer to it as "politics." No, it isn't politics, it is unpleasantness that resides in your soul that you'd rather not acknowledge. We stand proud with our team and point our fingers at the other side, how nasty and divisive they're being, how they're making up lies—we're all pointing into a mirror that's reflecting our opposite that is our equal.

The candidates are not the problem. The media is not the problem. The bloggers and "smear-merchents" are not the problem. Our goverment, our media, our society is all made up of just a bunch of me and you's.

You and I are the problem.

All except for those noble, angelic political independents. Apparently you were unscathed by the Fall, always acute in your political judgements and apt to consider others more highly than yourselves. Go to hell you self-righteous bastards. (My wife would want me to tell you that was a joke, but I feel you should have gotten it, that it was obvious, so I'm not going to say anything.)

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