I was sitting in traffic yesterday, doing 85 in the left lane like everybody else, when a little sports car cuts behind me from the right and flashes its headlights, the cretin's way of asking me to move. My first thought is, "move where?" There are literally hundreds of cars in front of me all doing their best to maintain 85.
Long story short, after a round of hand gestures, some violent, I cut over and let him get in front of me, where he instantly repeats the process with the fellow to whom I was recently giving up a two-car-length cushion. I chuckle to myself, incredulous. I can only imagine what he's thinking, but I believe it goes a little something like this:
"THIS IS MY ROAD AND THIS IS MY WAY OF DRIVING AND I WANT TO GET HOME SO GET OUT OF MY LANE AND OFF OF MY ROAD SO I CAN DRIVE THE WAY I WANT TO DRIVE."
And then it hit me.
This is what's wrong with society.
We've forgotten to relate to one another, and in turn forgotten any benefit of any doubt. When differences abound, we instantly go on the defensive, and our stance is instantly right. We've confused moral authority with the authority of opinion.
Have you noticed?
We don't see eye to eye on anything anymore.
Glaring example. The Passion of The Christ was never meant for you. It's not your movie. So don't go see it and quit complaining about it. It touches a lot of Christians in a place they decided they want to be touched. I refrain from a priest joke.
Maybe your movie is Anal Rangers from Planet Spankula. But it probably isn't. So can you see why all those puritans get their shorts all twisted over Janet's left breast? (Or was it the right breast? I was on a plane that night.) And don't you think maybe they shouldn't make such a big deal over it? But you know what? You keep disparaging The Passion. You keep referring to the Jesus Freaks when you discuss this movie. Guess what. The Jesus Freaks hear you. They're not idiots. And if you won't quit, why should they?
So how about you stop exposing women on live family television and they stop selling Passion merch outside the theatre. Can we truce here?
48% of the country likes George W. Bush. 48% of the country does not. I don't care what the polls say or what the 2000 election said or what the Times says or what Fox News says. It's pretty much split down the middle.
If a Democrat wants to take back the White House, the first thing they will do is make a valiant attempt to understand the red states. But it's already too late. Stupid southerners! Mad midwesterners! We know better and all we have to do is win Florida again but for real this time!
Look, Clinton didn't win because he was a pot-smoking former hippie draft dodger. And Bush didn't win because he was the execution express specialist. Both won because they understood the other side. Can't you see that going into Iraq head-on was a proactive strike? Can't you see that a proactive strike doesn't play well on either coast?
I'll tell you this. The Republicans have the equation right on this one as well as the moral upper hand. Yes. Yes. I know. I know. They do. And if Kerry doesn't get off Iraq, and quickly, the election is already over.
There's nothing wrong with gays getting married. And if there is something wrong with it, you haven't come close to correctly or even sympathetically stating what it might be. We know you feel edgy about it, and you're not alone. In fact, a vast majority of the country agrees with you.
But a vast majority of vast numbers of folks have vastly agreed on other things that, upon further reflection, were vastly wrong. This is the stance you're taking, so you'd be wise to back up. There are millions of people out there who are starting to feel like second-class humans. And it's your fault.
Wouldn't it help to figure out why they want to get married, see what all the fuss is about? Would it help if they qualified the difference between marriage and gay marriage, in some manner that would make you feel comfortable?
And hey, you on the other side, do you realize that you're scaring them? And it isn't just the backwoods rednecks and northeast traditionalists. It's more than half the country. Can you just cool it with the illegal stuff until we can get this all figured out?
Hmm. I probably just stepped over the idealist's line with that last one. The reality of it is, the further we mature as a society, the less of a motive we have to unite. But I'm telling you, unless we bring ourselves together soon, we'll face the inevitability of having someone do it for us. Again.
Or, even worse, we won't.
Having spent most of the eighties in and out of various colleges, Jonas Foster ducked the 9 to 5, wrote a book, and then made a mint selling the right information to the right people. He once dated a supermodel, although he refuses to offer which one, and now habitually combs Manhattan in search of the next.
ABOUT JONAS FOSTER
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3.22.04 @ 8:10p
It's not really the point of your column, but when some jackass is tailgating you on the freeway like that, aren't you tempted to just slam on your brakes, have him rear end you and total both cars. And then have it be 100% his fault because he was driving too close?
3.22.04 @ 9:26p
The rules of the metaphysical road are simple. No matter how fast you are going everyone else, except the car directly in front of you, is going faster.
And notice, it took a resurrection of undead zombies to unseat The Passion from its top box office position. I could wax philosophic and suggest it is the way of the world now that evil will win out over good, but considering Mel stands to make enough money off his film to put him in a league of his own I guess he wins long term, while evil wins short term.
3.26.04 @ 9:45a
STOP it. You're scaring me!
Regarding the traffic issue, I love being the one that doesn't let those bastards over. They can plainly see I have no where to go but into park, all lanes are packed with cars, and yet they still flash their lights. Nope. Not gonna happen until there's an opening on the right, and maybe not even then.
3.26.04 @ 1:51p
I just wave at them with a big old grin and don't budge. Kill 'em with smiles...
As far as the column, rock on brother! Let's bring back individual responsibility and rights and stop letting the Republocratic schism divorce us from reason. Viva la Independence, baby!
3.26.04 @ 2:06p
Since the human race is just barely self-aware, we seem to have a lot of difficulty grasping the "big picture". It doesn't help matters that most of us live in a society that encourages the expression of individuality to the point that we will argue with people who agree with us.
Truce isn't possible, we're hard-wired for battle.
3.26.04 @ 2:24p
"Why can't we just all get along?" with the logical extension "and show each other some respect?" I'll tell you why: because our brittle little egos jump up and get in the way. Those evil little voices in our heads say, "You're right. You know you are. Don't let 'em get away with that!" and off we go galumping toward Mount Olympus to eat ambrosia and drink nectar with the other gods and goddesses because that's where we BELONG. We all do it, or at least have all done it at some time or other. Pity. We can try to unlearn such behaviour. Trying might help. We might actually become more humane if not more human. See, I'm right, you know I am......
3.27.04 @ 7:03p
By the way, it was the right breast.