Reason #623,948 Why Pete is a Liberal Whackjob

At some point during the 2004 primary campaign season, I declared that support for Bush is a character flaw. I remember at that time, some people became angry at what they considered to be me making a broad generalization about Bush supporters, and knowing how I myself hate broad generalizations, thought me to be a hypocrite.

On Saturday night, in celebration of Mikey’s birthday, we went to see The Neo-Futurist’s production of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, a series of 32 unique, individual plays performed over the course of an hour, in a random order chosen by the audience, with the list, or menu, of plays to choose from changing from week to week.

I had seen a sampling of the shows back in high school, but it was nothing compared to seeing the full production in their apartment turned theater above a funeral parlor. Although a few of the plays were overly artistic for the sake of being “artsy,” overall I was very pleased with the production. We’ve usually gone out to comedy clubs for birthday and the like, and although improv and Second City are usually very entertaining, I have always had a desire to go see other forms of theater.

T.M.L.M T.B.G.B helped satiate that desire by being a pretty good combination of comedy, drama, politics and social commentary. From one 2-minute play to the next, you may go through a pretty broad range of emotions, from deep introspection, to sadness to, of course, humor and happiness.

There is also something to be said about the audience. Being in Andersonville, and thus far-ish from the bars of Lincoln Park and Little Village, it seemed to draw both a much younger crowd, and a much more urban crowd. Sure, it had a definite hipster feel to it, but hey, I’ll take high school hipsters over post-frat yuppies any day.

In one of the plays, an actor played the role of a polster, clip board in hand, asking the audience to answer a series of yes or no questions by raising their hands. The questions had a definite political theme to them: Raise your hand if you voted in 2004, Raise your hand if your mother is a Republican, Raise your hand if you drive an SUV, etc.

Midway through the play came the question “Raise your hand if you voted for Bush.” Out of an audience of between about 100 and 125, maybe 5 or 6 people raised their hands (immediately followed by a girl in the audience delivering a deliciously timed “Fuck you!” to the hand raisers). The polster continued on, now asking a series of questions tangentially related to various foreign and domestic policies of the Bush administration: Raise your hand if you own a cell phone, Raise your hand if you believe anyone has the right to listen in on your cell phone calls, Raise your hand if you think Iraq is all about oil, Raise your hand if you think Iraq is about freedom, etc.

Finally comes the last question, Raise your hand again, if you voted for Bush. At this point, the rest of the cast runs out into the audience, camera phones in hand, and takes pictures of each and every Bush voter with a hand raised.

So, apparently I’m not alone in thinking support for Bush to be a character flaw.

Back in 2004, I never said being a Republican is a character flaw. I never said being a conservative was a character flaw. Unless you believe that as a Republican, or as a conservative, you HAVE to support the Bush administration. All I said was that supporting Bush is indicative of some sort of flaw.

Security? Family Values? Flawed judgement. Pro-life? Pro-death Penalty? Flawed values. Iraq? Terrorism? Flawed logic.

Yes, it is a personal opinion. It is my opinion that there are zero legitimate issues on which you should be inclined to choose Bush over someone else, Democrat or otherwise. Some might consider this to be a flaw of my character. I can accept that, in fact, I expect it. We all choose our own values and moral standards. Don’t we naturally consider those who oppose them to be in some way flawed? If you say no, well, your flaw would be an inability to think critically. Or maybe my flaw is an inability to explain myself clearly. But hey, that’s what the blog comments are for.

I still consider support for Bush, and more generally a broad range of “Republican” policies to be a character flaw.

I really wish I could find out what they did with all of those pictures…

6 Responses to “Reason #623,948 Why Pete is a Liberal Whackjob”

  1. gregh Says:

    Pete is referring to me, at being shocked at voting for Bush as a “character flaw”. My philosophy differences from Pete’s. I don’t view different opinions as a character flaw. Everyone has had different experiences, are in different stages of their life, and have made different choices, all these shape a person, their beliefs, and ultimately if they vote republican, or a democrat.

    I am pro-choice. I do not view someone who is pro-life as someone who suffers a character flaw. I understand their viewpoint, and can understand how someone can have that opinion. I just disagree with it.

    While the women’s cry of “Fuck You” was comical, it was the wrong reaction. We need to come together. We need to compromise. We need to stop viewing the opposing viewpoints as idiots. If 2004 election results represent the feelings of this country, we are divided down the middle. Outside of civil war, we will always have a large population of the opposing viewpoint. Shutting off the other sides mic, is not a solution.

    On the other hand, maybe I just suffer a character flaw. I’ll go work on increasing my IQ, so I can think critically about this topic.

  2. kowgod Says:

    How I wish WordPress had a quote function.

    >>Pete is referring to me, at being shocked at voting for Bush as a “character flaw”.

    You weren’t the only one I told, nor the only one who was shocked.

    >> I don’t view different opinions as a character flaw.

    Nor do I, nor did I say I did. I respect a person’s right to an opinion. It is not the concept of differing opinions that I view as a character flaw. I just feel there are certain opinions which when held by someone, indicate some sort of disconnect between perception and reality.

    I am pro-choice. I understand that there are people who are anti-abortion (please, let’s drop this bs pro-life label). But when it comes to the issue of abortion, I see it as a character flaw when someone feels the need, or even worse, the obligation to force their restricted view of the world upon myself and others, especially those who are not necessarily in the best position to defend themselves.

    I hate to make such a simplistic argument, but it all comes down to “if you don’t like it, don’t do it.” If someone is anti-abortion I would not expect anyone to ever force them to have an abortion. Just like I am anti-gun, but I do not favor abolishing the 2nd Amendment. But at the same time, I would never expect anyone to ever force me to handle a firearm.

    The character flaw here isn’t being anti-abortion, the character flaw here is choosing to support Bush with the expressed purpose of advancing an agenda of criminializing choice.

    This argument applies to a whole host of other topics, mostly domestic.

    I myself am straight, but I support the struggle to allow gays to marry. By allowing gay marriage, no one is going to force two dudes to get married (especially since there is little chance some guy is going to get knocked up). If your argument for supporting Bush is that he will help to defend the institution of marriage, the character flaw isn’t that you take issue with men marrying men (or women with women), it’s that you feel the need to force that restricted view upon others, and so you choose your candidate with the understanding that he will advance and agenda.

    There are also topics where the character flaw isn’t solely your opinion, but rather how you formulated that opinion. Since 2002 I myself have been ardently anti-Iraq war. There are those who make a whole host of arguments for supporting the war: Saddam has nukes, Saddam supports Al Qaeda, We’re bringing freedom to the people, we need to fight the terrorists there, etc etc.

    Take any one of those arguments, and to me the character flaw, indeed, is ignorance. The flaw is some inherent characteristic that allows the arguer to be easily manipulated or just unwilling to look for or hear the truth. It’s sad that we’ve gotten to the point where you have to second guess everything the media or a politician tells you, but we have. And if you are unwilling to ask those questions, then that, to me, is a character flaw. Yet we still have sizeable percentages of the population who supported and voted for Bush because they think that he will protect us, or we can’t change presidents in war time.

    >> We need to stop viewing the opposing viewpoints as idiots. … Shutting off the other sides mic, is not a solution.

    I love the Bill O’Reilly reference there. You really need to lay off the FNC. Did I mention I think that people who watch FNC are SEVERELY flawed? Although, I do long for the day where we can replace the hyperbolic Hitler comparison with the more appropriate O’Reilly comparison.

    Anyways, I never said anyone was an idiot. Character flaws do not immediately need to be equated to stupidity. Nor did I say that we can’t work with people who hold flawed characters. It’s just that in the end, hopfully by working together, we can try to mend some of these flaws, rather than just compromise on what are really core democratic (as in the form of government, not the party) principles. Surely I hope no one would want to compromise away our rights?

  3. Taz Says:

    Why must we always talk about world politics. Let’s all just TALK about local ones. Starting with Glenview’s ruling on the Muslim house of worship build plan. We should support it and let the “terrorists” move in next door!

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0602270211feb27,1,6381988.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

  4. gregh Says:

    I may not have been the only one to be shocked at voting for Bush as a character flaw, but was I the only one who didn’t feel voting for Kerry was a character flaw?

    I believe you over simplified the anti-abortion, and pro-abortion argument. To the anti-abortion crowd it is not criminalizing choice, it is criminalizing murder. If you believe abortion is murder, and one candidate was advocating murder, wouldn’t that be a strong factor in who you gets your vote?

    On the topic of gay marriage, some people believe homosexuality is an amoral act. Our forefathers believed this to such a degree that acts of sodomy were illegal in several areas of the country. Our laws have always been based on what the majority of society views as moral. Choosing a candidate, who has the same moral views as you, is not wrong. If you believe that homosexuality is amoral, why wouldn’t gay marriage be an issue to you?

    I have only watched FNC a total of 30 minutes in my life. I was trying to convey that neither side appears to listen to other. All I am trying to convey is dismissing the other side is not the solution. Claiming they have a character flaw can lead to you easily dismiss the other side.

  5. gregh Says:

    I wasn’t able to follow Taz’s link, but found some articles from last year. The location is around Gold and Shermer. The house of worship will not have a call to prayer, and the major concern from residence was traffic.

    Seems a little silly, why not let them build their hosue of worship.

  6. kowgod Says:

    You should be able to follow the link now. It got messed up due to it’s length. Should be fixed.