Tag Archives: choice

2 sides to every story

There are two sides to every story, or so the conventional wisdom goes. And if you watch or read or listen to my colleagues for any length of time, you’d think that was exactly true.

But the second side to that story — that there are always two sides — is that there rarely is. Most of the time, there are multiple sides to every story, and sometimes — more often than you’d think — there really is just one.

For example, when TeaPublicans started clamoring about “death panels” in the health care reform bill, my colleagues dutifully reported it. And then they dutifully pitted a TeaPublican up against a Democrat to argue the point. Presto, two sides to the story. But you and I know there is just one side to that story — the TeaPublicans lied because there are no death panels.

Shirley Sherrod — there’s another one. One side. Shirley Sherrod told an inspiring story aimed at getting people to see they needed to get over their own racism. The rest of it? Bullshit, pure and simple. In her very nuanced tale — and we all know how nuance goes over in the black and white world of the TeaPublicans — Sherrod admitted that there is racism in the black community, otherwise why would she need to tell a story about overcoming her own?

That’s not something you see among the TeaPublicans. Nope. They busy denying the very existence of racism in their movement. All those signs and hurled epithets, they say, are from infiltrators trying to give them a bad name. According to them, not one single person in the movement is opposed to Barack Obama because of the color of his skin. It’s just his policies. That’s why they have to lie about the policies, y’know. Because they can’t argue rationally about the policies and programs and bill and such on their own merit, and they can’t admit to any racism. Lying is all that’s left. Socialism! Death panels! Fascism!

Yeah, they get confused too, because you can’t be a socialist and a fascist at the same time, no matter that the Nazis had socialist in their name. There’s a difference between socialists and national socialists, you see, but the TeaPublicans are fixated on that word “socialist,” probably because it contain the word “social,” which reminds them of the contract with “society” that we all have that they don’t want to honor.

Whew, that’s a buncha sides. Over in Europe, and a lot of other places, they understand that idea. But here in America all we’ve got are Republicans and traitors. All those other parties — the Green Party and such — they’re big liberal jokes, because only conservatives can have more than one party and still be serious in politics.

The conservatives are stuck in a really rigid dualism with absolutely no room for the slightest variation. Marriage must be between a man and a woman. The United States is a Christian nation. Republicans must vote “no” on every bill Obama and the Democrats put forward.

And the really funny thing is, if you put any stock into such things, that the source of their dualism is written right into the bible. It is. In Genesis. That whole eating the apple thing. This serpent tells Adam and Eve that if they go ahead and eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that they’ll be like god and that that’s why god doesn’t want them to do that — he’s threatened by the idea of humans having knowledge of the difference between good and evil. So they eat, but there was one thing that the serpent failed to mention: Puny little humans just aren’t capable to understanding the world the way god can. Trapped in physical bodies on a physical earth, they just can’t see anywhere near enough of the big picture to comprehend the nuance involved in detecting the sometimes minute differences between good and evil. God wasn’t threatened at all — he just knew what would happen, what did happen.

Humans who bought into this monotheistic thing think they know what god wants. They arrogantly believe that they know what’s right and what’s wrong for everyone in the world. Dualism. Black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. Two sides to every story. Oh, how wrong they are.

And right there it is in that book they swear was inspired by god, despite all the contradictions and just plain ugliness. Humans ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but, without the ability to see the universe from god’s perspective, they had nothing more than a perverted sense of right and wrong, and they went about applying to everyone because their arrogance told them that they and only they knew the way.

Sad, isn’t it? For millennia, these folks have tortured and killed and imprisoned their way around the planet, convinced of their own righteousness even though the bible they claim as the word of god tells them plainly they don’t have a clue. How many millions have died and suffered because of this?

And it still goes on today — I’m right, you’re wrong. Two sides. No room for variation.

If I were of their ideology, I’d be scared shitless, wondering just when god is gonna have enough and wipe this place clean to start again.

That’s the other side to the biblical story of creation — that the monotheists got it wrong, and we’re stuck with the ramifications.

But I don’t share that ideology, although it does seem to me there’s a bit of truth in the idea that the god followers blinded themselves to the great variety that is this life on earth. I sure see very little evidence these days that they have any comprehension at all that two sides is just too limiting.

If you have a choice to make, and the choice is between two things, you really don’t have much of a choice. You have a dilemma.