Yes, my fellow Americans, I have come out of the proverbial opinion closet. I have linked to one side of the political discourse.
I wasn't always like this. I used to be respectful, courteous, open-minded. Now, I have just lost my way. How? How did I manage to let myself become like this?
You may have noticed that I recently enabled the "favorite sites" sidebar on this blog, and that it is filled with assorted political web sites. I did this because, well, I'm sick of the whole thing.
Anyone who has read more than an entry or two here knows which way I lean politically, especially since March 2003. However, I am not a die-hard Democrat. There's a lot about the party that I am not happy with, and I don't agree with everything they stand for either. I like to consider myself a moderate. Hell, I'd like to consider myself an independent, but I think that might be stretching it a bit.
I do know, however, that there is no way I will ever consider myself a Republican. Simply writing that word gives me the willies. Fortunately for myself, the one or two issues that I tend to think conservatively on (mostly fiscal responsibility) are no longer important issues to the GOP. I have to admit that I did not think I would ever see the day when it was the Republicans who felt the answer to every problem was to toss money at it.
Deficits? What deficits? I don't have to show you any stinkin' deficits!
Now, my biggest fault in any circle (not just political) is that I tend to spend way too much time on keeping informed. This means that I read a lot of newspapers and magazines, and I watch for too many news programs for my own good. Recently I have also been visiting too many right-leaning blogs. In a never-ending search to know just how the other half thinks, I have OD'd on, well, crap.
If I were to sub-title this explanation, it would be:
"I Fought the Armand, and the Armand Won"
Lest I continue to be labeled as a trouble maker, I would like to make it clear that indeed, I like Armand. Really, I do. I think he writes well. He expresses his opinion and he sticks to it. And the man can argue like there is no tomorrow. I was not aware of who he was until his unfortunate encounter with the TOS police this past summer, but I caught up with him in a hurry. I got the impression that he welcomed and encouraged debate in his comments. And I think I was very, very wrong about that.
I'm not going to turn this into an Armand bash-fest. Let's just say that he and I do not see eye to eye on much. Recently, he wrote an entry about the mayor of New Orleans and his idea to build casinos in his Katrina-devastated town. Armand wasn't in favor of it. I happened to read the article about Nagin before I read Armand's entry, and I felt that he left out an intricate part of Nagin's words, and probably did so to make his point stronger. When I left a comment about that, it unleashed a back and forth between us, and that has happened probably ten times or so previously.
I can get a little rough around the edges when trying to make a point. But then, so can Armand. So we go 'round. And around. And around. He doesn't bend. Ever. The man can argue until your head spins.
But it's his blog, and he is entitled to do that. However, I am starting to question whether it is my right to persistently "bug" him about his opinions (note that I said "opinion" and not "fact." That, I feel, is the gist of where any and all problems arise). It probably isn't. I don't know how tolerant I would be of someone constantly coming over here and disagreeing with what I have written.
So I think that I am done speaking up over at Armand's. I will still visit, and visit often, and probably feel my blood pressure spike now and then, but I should leave the dude alone. His blog is not about me. He's never said anything to me about that, never commented on anything outside whatever the issue was, and I have no idea if he even cares about it.
I have left a lasting impression over there, though. During one of our debates, my head exploded. I had to stop, find the million little pieces, and put them all back together. Afterwards, my head still hurt. My next comment to him simply said that I was done talking about the issue, because debating with him was dangerous to my health. I also said "debating with you is like trying to fend off a rhino with a whiffle bat."
If you go to Armand's blog, you'll see he now refers to himself as "you're friendly seeing-eyed rhino..."; the man evidently has a sense of humor. I think that is hysterically funny, both in how it sounds and in the realization that I am somewhat responsible for that moniker.
Back to reality...I can't take all the right-wing stuff coming at us from all over the place anymore. It's ridiculous. I am particularly tired of being told that I hate George W. Bush. I don't hate him. I hate that he is president. I hate what he has done since he has been in office. And, most of all, I hate what he has made America into. He is supremely unqualified. No amount of jargon from television, print or the blogosphere is going to change my mind on that. The happiest day of my life will be when he is finally out of office.
But I digress. I think I am going to lay off the rants on the political side for a bit, and just let those of you who want to experience it seek it out. That's why I put those web sites in my sidebar. "Newshounds" dissects just about everything that appears on Fox News, and is quite informative. "Crooks and Liars" does a good job of analyzing television news shows. "Media Matters" does that as well as radio. I'm not a huge fan of "The Huffington Post" so far and as such that may go. It's a little too left. Andrew Sullivan is about as liberal as I am conservative, but he has a gift in that he is able to honestly analyze his own party and is not afraid to call it out. I disagree him sometimes, but he is as good as it gets. "The Blue Voice" is a group of people who cut their blog teeth on AOL and got together to counter "The Red Voice," and you can imagine what that is.
I think "be very afraid" is a good way of thinking as you venture over to "The Red Voice". If you so desire, you can find a plethora of other conservative sights there as well. Don't say I didn't warn you though.
I'm all for debate. I'd be happy to link to sites that debunked liberal television and radio IF THERE WERE ANY OF THE FREAKIN' THINGS ANYWHERE!!! Sorry, I got a little intense there. We are bombarded it seems 24/7 by the Limbaugh-O'Reilly-Hannity brigade, and I'm a little sick of it.
So, in closing, I guess I have chosen my side of the fence. And at the very least, I invite you to see what it is like over here.
Despite what the louder people say, dissent is healthy. Dissent is normal, and most importantly, dissent is patriotic.