I’m an unapologetic Pee-wee Herman fan and especially enjoyed the comedic search for his beloved bike in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. In an exchange over the whether his bike was for sale, Pee-wee resorts to the juvenile phrase “I know you are, but what am I?” as a come-back line while trading insults with his nemesis Francis.
Sadly, it seems to me that our national political debate has degenerated to the level of Pee-wee’s argument with Francis. As a Democrat who most closely identifies with the Blue Dog Coalition and moderate Republicans (labeled RINOs by some in their own party), I am vexed by the hyper-partisan politics that dominate our country today. I strongly believe that the solution to any challenge is rarely (or never) found at either end of the political spectrum.
However, I have also fallen into a trap. Like the gradual, inexorable descent into an abyss, I have gravitated toward news outlets and political commentary that supported my world view and ignored or trivialized all others. Like millions of others (on both sides), I was caught off-guard by the results of our national election and left wondering how my country could have gone so far off the rails of common sense and decency. How could a man who, in my view, represents and caters to all the very worst traits of American culture rise to the most powerful office in land?
I’ve watched corporate media of all political bends as they spent hours and hours spinning the results this way and that, justifying their positions (and their very existence), and pointing accusing fingers in all directions. But these machinations are little more than junk food for political junkies – and I want more. I want to understand and challenge my own world views to better understand and appreciate the world views of those with whom I disagree. Without better understanding myself, I can I possibly understand them?
So it begins today. A quest to find myself. I going to start with an article in The Guardian entitled “Burst your bubble: five conservative articles to read this week“.
I’ll let you know how it goes.