I’ve decided I have a split personality. But I don’t think it’s the kind that can be fixed by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or an exorcising priest. It’s a political split personality. I’m just not sure there is a political side that I’m definitely on.
And the Internet is to blame. The Internet and Nielson ratings. They conspired to inflict this condition on me and I think they’re happily inflicting it on everyone. Oooooo, look! A new conspiracy theory!
Once upon a time, when our source of information was television news, television news that was not interested in viewer ratings, being able to figure out where you stood on a particular issue was pretty clear cut. Everything was black and white, even though the news was broadcast in technicolor (I’m not that old. Oh, those were the days. Now, it’s not so easy. Now we all suffer from information overload, whether or not we want to admit it. Now many of us are distressed by the signs and symptoms of analysis paralysis–a condition brought on by getting so much information that you are unable to make a decision.
For example: I no longer know to what political party I belong. I used to say things like, in my heart I’m a libertarian, but intellectually I know the human race will never evolve to a point where we all take personal responsibility for every aspect of our lives. So I was a kinder, gentler, progressive democrat. I thought I was so smart. I used to be full of opinions and the issues of the day and willing to spout them off as if they were carved in stone, burning bush nearby. I still do that sometimes, but not as much as I used to. It’s partly because I feel like I’m on both sides of the fence now and it’s partly because I’ve been blessed with so much “news” that I just don’t know whom to believe and what is the ultimate truth.
Take the health care bill. I’ve been blasted with so much opinion, and opinion presented as fact, and fact presented as opinion, that I don’t really know what’s true. Once I looked up parts of the bill because I received an email from a “trusted source” telling me horrific things were hidden in it. Things like the government would have instant access to my checking account to make me immediately pay for my share of the bill. I looked it up, and that’s not what the actual document said. The actual document said that I would have instant access to knowing what my exact financial responsibility of the bill would be. Which sounds like a pretty good idea to me, as I’ve received bills from doctors that were a year or so past due because it took them that long to figure out what I owed versus the insurance company. And they’re never worded pleasantly. Of course by the time I was able to look it all up and figure out what it meant, the health care reform bill changed and I’m now no longer sure if my instant outrage and fear is still a moot point.
Anyway, this morning I heard on the “news” that by 2014 all people will be required to have insurance or they will be fined for it. It riled my libertarian feathers. I mean, since when did the government have the right to demand that people buy something, maybe even something they cannot afford? And if they can’t afford it, how the hell will they afford the fine? And suddenly I was adamantly against the bill. BUT, later in the morning, I read a blog of a student who works as a pastry chef in Philly (I really wish I could figure out how to post links to this site; one day I will and you’ll be able to read what I read, too). She’s in her last year of working on an MFA and will be on her own insurance-wise next year. She has a medical history none of us want as it includes childhood leukemia. And now she doesn’t have to worry about insurance companies refusing to cover her next year. So the progressive in me raised her hackles and was all for the health care reform bill because now insurance companies will not be allowed to exclude that student from coverage.
So which political party does that put me in? Is there a split-personality party? And I don’t want to belong to anything named after a caffeinated drink. The world doesn’t need any more jittery fingers pointing at all and nothing. But it makes me wonder if there’s a party named after an alcoholic beverage. The Brewer’s Party, perhaps? It might make sense in this day and age and it would bring us back to our origins. If you read the journals and personal letters of our founding fathers, you’ll quickly learn they were all piss-ass drunk when they were debating our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Maybe if we create a party based on the “I love you man!” philosophy, we’ll all just get a long a little bit better? Maybe even get along long enough to figure it all out?