Is tolerance reserved only for those we agree with?

I was really hoping i could make it thru the next week without having to make any political comments. I really didn’t want to sink to that level. And although i still refuse to waste bandwidth with some msnbc-style gibberish about polls and electoral colleges, i really couldn’t leave this alone.

Apparently people (democratic Kerry-supporters in this story on Power Line) who feel so strongly about their political opinions as to become violent are trying to harrass and intimidate others into voting for a particular candidate. I’ve noticed in my own personal sphere that people are either planning to quietly vote for Bush based on an ideological view or they vehemently hate George Bush and plan to vote for Kerry to spite the current president (and not because they particularly identify with Kerry). That second group of people is also (and this is a huge generalization) more prone to getting angry with people that don’t agree with them. Not just argumentative – actually angry. Like a vote for Bush is a personal attack on them. And they strike back, verbally or otherwise in what is often a totally inappropriate manner, as is evidenced in the above and on Captain’s Quarters. Since when do we allow political campaigning inside the polling places?? How about aggressive threatening inside the polling places? Should single women and the elderly be afraid to vote, fearing an angry mob outside the polling place might single them out? Juicee News even has a report of two jokers throwing pies at a speaker (they only grazed her shoulder, cause they suck). I don’t know who Ann Coulter is (i gather she’s a conservative of some sort) but i don’t think 1) throwing pies at her will help your cause, whatever that cause may be or 2) resorting to physical assault is going to make anyone take our political process more seriously.

And that’s the part that really disturbes me. There are people in this country who feel so strongly about their politics that they are willing to act violently towards their fellow citizens just to express their views. This isn’t a heated debate that turns into fisticuffs; this is random acts of violence towards strangers who believe something different than you. This is verbal and sometimes even physical abuse, striking out – not in frustruation, misunderstanding or divisiveness – but in hatred at someone who has done nothing to the aggressors personally and possibly done nothing wrong at all other than to believe something different. That’s terrorism, people. No witty political banter is going to argue that away. We’re terrorizing our neighbors and fellow citizens because they don’t agree with us. Is this really what we’ve become, America? Are we sure our troops are stationed in the right country, looking for terrorists? Maybe we need marines posted outside our libraries and elementary schools on nov 2nd, making it safe for Americans to live in a democracy? What happened to “land of the free” and all that tolerance we are supposed to exhibit? Or is tolerance reserved only for those we agree with…??

You can pretend that you’re a crazy, exciting thrillseeker too

Ian and John headed downstairs for a smoke break (which, thanks to both of them being here and not needing my accompaniment to the sidewalk, i am mercifully excluded from today), so i have a quiet moment for an update. The work schedules have changed a bit – mine is no different, but now John comes on at 3pm and is here for the evening. Not really sure how the three of us are going to trip over each other in this fast-shrinking room all afternoon, but as Ian leaves at 5 there really isn’t a great deal of overlap. Today, however, is wednesday, which means staff meeting at 6.30p, which means Ian stays late, and so do i. At least, this week – next week, i come in early on wednesday and will leave at 1p, only to return or call-in for the evening meeting. I know, it’s very confusing; it’s only thru the magic of digital calendars that i even get to work on the correct days.

My car is in the weirdest state of half-repair right now – i’ve spent the last few days (and will spend the next couple) doing a brake job. Usually it doesn’t take this long, but delays in ordering parts, having the rotors re-finished, and trying not to work in the dark (as i don’t trust my crazy-driving neighbors not to hit me when i’m crouched in the street inside a fender well) have made what is normally a few-hour job into a week-long process. Right now, there are no brake pads on it, but it’s all ready to go – the new rotors are on, the pistons in the brake calipers are compressed back enough to permit the install, and the rims are gently installed with 2 lug nuts each (car’s not going anywhere – doesn’t take five to fight the forces of gravity). Hopefully if UPS is correct, those nice (low-dust!) Hawk SP pads will arrive thursday and i won’t have to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary out in the street in the dark after work finishing the job. All the tools i should need are already in the trunk, including the jack, to further minimize delays. See, i really do think like an efficiency engineer and would be great at that, i just don’t have the job experience to prove it. Sigh… never heard that before.

Almost had lunch with Sara yesterday – yes, almost. 😉 We just missed each other coming and going at her redmond office building, so i hung out with her building’s security guard (who was pretty cool) and we rescheduled for next week. That’s fine, gives me time to finish my car and drive it instead of the truck, which is badly in need of a bath, a detail job and an oil change.

Apparently there’s some sort of presidential debate foofahrah tonite – the tv news is counting down, 28:24, no! 23:23! Whatever. The political opinion i agree with most so far is that of Rich “Lowtax” Kyanka of, which is “If you’re like me, and I’m fairly confident that at least one person in my house is, you’re terribly sick of the 2004 Presidential candidates. America transforms into a whining, bitching, irritable toddler every four years, fueled by two middle aged white men who spend all their free time calling each other names or complaining about how they are being called names. I don’t consider myself either a Republican or Democrat on account of the fact that I still haven’t found somebody from either party worth voting for. I am a Novotatarian and I refuse to cast a single ballot until some party decides to produce a middle aged white guy who appeals to me and doesn’t conduct himself in the manner of a complete butt.” I think Lowtax has the issues pretty well wrapped up right there. I may vote for him.

I’m bored, and i’m just staring down a long tunnel of boredom here with no foreseeable end. I’m not even exciting enough to buy lotto tickets, much less win one, and i missed my chance at being a famous when i took band instead of choosing drama or choir in middle school. The perpetual throbbing mass of knots and soreness that is my shoulders and neck is playing it’s usual games today, excluding me from any chance of a fidget-free existence, and the buzzing computers, flickering flourescent lights, yammering television and general sensory overload and likely radiation overdose that is my office is pounding on my brain like a tenderizing mallet on reconstituted chicken parts that are long past their suggested serving date. It’s the kind of day that makes me want to just get blazenly drunk and forget my own name. Unfortunately, i’m still at work for another hour and 45 minutes. Also, i’m too much of a control freak to really do that. But Luke Schmaltz isn’t. And he hurts himself a lot while drunk, and it’s pretty funny. If you’re not offended by occasional crass-ness, his piece for Modern Drunkard Magazine is rather entertaining.. And you can pretend that you’re a crazy, exciting thrillseeker too, just like i did when i read it.