Thursday, April 12, 2007

Have I become polarized?

First, the disclaimer: I was very hungry while driving. And when I'm hungry, I have no patience for anything that isn't food going into my mouth.

While driving to the Oakland Airport yesterday to pick up K's mom (who's in town for K's 40th birthday celebration) (Yikes! I'm dating a 40 year old!) (who cares, she gets me), I noticed a few cars. And I found myself hating/ fearing their occupants.

Car number one had both the Jesus fish and a NASCAR sticker on the back. I thought, "the people at the intersection of NASCAR fan and proud Christian are not folks with whom I'd expect to share much in world view". On one hand, I felt bad for being hasty in my judgement. On the other hand, I've spent most of my professional life figuring out how much one can legitimately infer about someone from just a few known facts. Most of us stereotype based on truth. And evangelical Christian Nascar fans haven't made a name for themselves as a hotbed of socially progressive and environmentally friendly thinking.

Then, crossing the Bay bridge, I saw the rarest of sightings: An actual "W '04" sticker used in a non-ironic fashion on a car in the Bay area. Closer inspection revealed that the large SUV was from Virginia. Mystery solved.

I just couldn't imagine what kind of moron would remorselessly advertise that he likes the monkey in the oval office, and, in fact, helped put him there. It seemed almost an affront. It was at least a denial of reality.

I wondered, then, if I was in TX, would I sport "What would Jesus bomb?" and some flavor of "Bush is an evil monkey" stickers, knowing it would piss off the majority of those around me?

I've always thought of myself as moderate. Aside from the Second Amendment nut jobs who think we should all be allowed our own monogrammed nuclear weapons, if we want them, I'm rather libertarian. Free markets, free people. I do think a few laws are in order. Heroine shouldn't be legal. You can't own and carry a concealed bazooka. Thou shall not pave wetlands.

I've been against the Iraq crap from the start. Yet I was open to the possibility of being wrong, and there being WMD facilities there. I was open, also, to being wrong about the war being a big mess when the troops hit Bagdad fast. But at this point, it's clear that it was a bunch of lies backing up a plan hatched by unsubtle minds that had inhaled too much of their own exhaust.

So how anyone can actually display a W sticker baffles me. It requires a smug arrogance, a refusal to admit mistake, error, wrongdoing. "Iraq is just weeks from total victory!" "We'll find those WMDs!" "Saddam was in al-Qaeda!". Blind allegiance frightens me. I'm just wondering if I'm on my way to blind allegiance to the opposition.