Bi-Polar Politics

It was another auto trip today and more talk radio but this time with a liberal twist. I had enough of my current book on tape saga and was rapidly approaching my next stop - Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ann Arbor has always been my home away from home. I was raised in a village just 8 miles from here. A2 was the big city when I was young, the University of Michigan is here and the theatres, movies, museums, even one of the very early McDonalds. I also lived in A2 for several years in the early 70s and again from '00 to '06. Approaching this bastion of liberalism, a university town don't you know, I felt it only appropriate to tune in the local NPR station.

What I encountered filling the airwaves was an interview with activist Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicut, we were told repeatedly). Mr. Farrell is nearly the perfect liberal. He dedicates his life to issues of social justice. He is soft spoken, open to debate, agreeable to a fault but avidly critical of Obama for not doing enough on health care, immigrant rights and the remainder of the liberal agenda.

Now most of my readers know that I myself have been called a liberal once or twice in my life and therefore the agenda Mr. Farrell epouses is not unfamiliar to me, nor do I oppose it. However, the tone and tenor of his positions reminds me of why liberals so often lose to conservatives. Liberals lack fire. He advocates action over talk, while he talks on NPR; not entirely his fault and he is known for his political participation. But his audience is usually a large group of nodding listeners. The conservatives are angry now but they were also angry while Bush was in office. The venom from the right wing radio is just as nasty today as it was a four years ago. Those folks get worked up and they take action. Liberals really don't want to go down that road, they want a kinder, gentler fight.... Oh, not a fight? Perhaps a spirited debate because that is what democracy is all about.

I am reminded of another political conversation I was involved in back in the early 90s. One often quoted panacea was by the poet Rumi, he wrote:

Beyond right-doing and wrong-doing is a field;
I will meet you there.

Whenever someone made that suggestion, I told them that while they were out in the field, dancing to the orchestrations of the universe, the other side was stealing their chickens.

I had reached my limit of liberal bemoaning, so I hit the fast forward button to lo and behold land on the king of right-wing vileness, the great Limbaugh. It took about three sentences for good olde Rush to remind me that no matter how touchy-feely the left-wing gets, terms like rancid and bilious will always be owned by the conservative militia of the mouth.

For those who would like to explore more of the liberal suffering and conservative confusion. I went shopping at the new monster Whole Foods and found that there is a nacent boycott of chain, set off by a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece by the WF CEO.

A quote from the boycott literature: "Whole Foods has built its brand with the dollars of deceived progressives. Let them know your money will no longer go to support Whole Foods anti-union, anti-health insurance reform, right-wing activities."

For a reply to the WSJ piece from the Austin News, see this article. And be sure to have a nice, quiet, middle-of-the-road day.
photo credit: cellcultureclash.com