Monday, July 09, 2012


An old friend from high school said this as part of a comment on this article I posted on facebook earlier today:

I think you have too much time on your hands trying to stir up controversy on Facebook.

Here's how I responded: really think discussing the important issues of the day, in a democracy, no less, constitutes "stir(ring) up controversy"? And that this is something that is only done when one has "too much time" on his hands? On the contrary, in a democracy, it is every citizen's patriotic obligation to discuss vigorously the important issues facing the nation. That we don't do this is our nation's shame. That most people couldn't care less about what happens to this country, and that others describe relevant comments and observations about our nation's affairs with which they disagree as "stir(ring) up controversy" is really why the United States is now a democracy in name only. That is, the citizens have relinquished their responsibilities leaving rule to a self-appointed elite.

Personally, I think I'm doing everyone a favor by "stir(ring) up controversy." At the very least, I'm being a responsible citizen.
Bill is, indeed, an old friend, so I tried to phrase this as nicely as possible, but the more I think about it, the more fucked up his notion of "stir(ring) up controversy" becomes. For starters, I'm not the one stirring up controversy, at least not for this particular post. I was simply making an observation about it; the controversy already exists, and I'm just joining in the debate about it. Second, the issue, about public money going to private religious schools, is one that gets to the very essence of the establishment clause of the first amendment, a philosophically enormous issue that has faced America for a half century. To suggest that trying to engage fellow citizens in discussion about such an issue isn't much more than rabble rousing is downright anti-American.

Yeah yeah, I know we're not supposed to talk about religion and politics, as surely as the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but avoiding talk of religion and politics immediately cuts the legs off the entire concept of democracy. That is, you cannot have democracy, cannot have an engaged citizenry, if society considers engaging in democratic activities to be impolite. I mean, really, this is pretty damned weird when you get down to it. Acting like a free citizen in a democracy is somehow impolite.

Nonetheless, lots of Americans really are turned off by such discussion. Well, fuck 'em. No sympathy. I'm not going to let socially driven ignorance shut me up. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, talking about the fate of our nation. Just as you should be doing, too.