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We and They

“So you are the ‘they’ in that’s what they say!”, a classic Gary Larson “Far Side” moment depicting a furtive looking man crouched against a very dated phone. Good stuff, but really, who the hell are ‘they’ supposed to be anyway? In today’s world of combative politics, ‘they’ are all over the damn place and working in diabolically efficient unison to ensure that whatever is worst for everyone becomes incontrovertible reality from now until the Big Crunch, the Rapture, or whatever uncontrollable event happens to wipe us out. If they have their way, it’s going to be a real piss of a time until then, except we assume of course, for them.

Anyone reading this is assuredly not part of a they. We all know they are far too busy watching Fox News, plotting to blow up the Occupy Headquarters in the back of that Staten Island Denny’s, oiling up automatic weapons to guard against the liberal military, and installing holy water sprinkler systems in all the public schools. They want concentration camps for all illegal immigrants, forced public conversion of all the Jews, illegalization of all homosexuality to eradicate the unnatural desires, restoration of Jim Crow and smallpox blankets, and the enforced manufacture of all shitty plastic pieces of crap here in the good old US of A. Preferably all before the second coming of Christ, expected literally any second now.

Not one to stand around and wait for them to get me, I decided to see what’s what. If I can understand them, I can defeat them. Also, if I can dodge a wrench, I can dodge a ball. Oh, the agony of cherished sacred beliefs found untrue! I nosed around their camp and heard tale of an even more terrible them lurking about. They are dedicated to the destruction of America, an imposition of Stalin era atheism, Castronic socialism, mandated sodomy in schools, redistribution of all firearms from private citizens to convicted criminals, sensational televised abortions for every woman, Taliban erections, and a Spanish option on bank ATMs. Dear god! How did we not hear about this? This new ‘they’ are just as bad as ‘them’ we oppose!

I’m sure by now you are all rolling your eyes and saying, “Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the old ‘we met the enemy and they are us’ bit lifted from antediluvian comic strip ‘Pogo’. Can we now assume it’s kumbya time?”. Um, nope. Yes, I do like to emphasize the commonality of all humans, but there is no denying that some severe polarization going on and people have strong opinions regarding many of these issues. What I’m saying is that it’s gotten ridiculous and it’s long past time to dial it back a bit because what is being advertised is not a good representation of the average.

I am by no means non-partisan, but can admit my side does it as well. I myself get riled up at the idea of an evangelical American Taliban regime dedicated to scourging the earth of LGBTQ scum. In reality, everyone who falls in the highly religious or evangelical spectrum I have come out to has been very nice about it and supportive. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to vote that way, especially when it seems the most batshit crazy folks seem to be running. The kind who do go and label the Girl Scouts, arguably one of the sweeter and more wholesome national organizations, radical left wing terrorists, based simply on a quick internet search optimized to their preferences. Don’t even get me started on “men of god” who advocate punching innocent children in the face or creating electrified compounds here in America. OK, maybe the time finally has come around to start flinging about Hitler comparisons again.

We are never all just going to get along. In fact, we are going to go head to head over issue after issue until the end of time, and every time we do, we are going to assume the other side is secretly in cahoots with the evil fiery eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. It’s going to happen, but by bringing guns to knife fights the real point of contention gets lost quickly. Personally, I don’t want to wait longer for equal rights because the other side brought a level 28 vorpal sword of ultimate nullification to my game of checkers. That last bit was a nod to my gamer geek friends, who let’s face it, are so terrible they make the Mexican drug lords look like the Care Bears. No exaggeration.

Sorry for the ramble. It’s Memorial Day here in America and I get a little miffed when after serving honorably in the military, and being a swell stand up citizen for 40 years, there is a significant portion of the population who still doesn’t think I deserve the same Constitutional rights as the wacky lunk who’s going to be shouting at me through a megaphone next weekend.

Pride Protestors

Yeah, I know I talk about Pride Fest a lot, but it’s coming up soon, and if you can’t tell, I’m kind of jazzed about it. Now that we are on the same page, in case you were unsure of this before, let’s talk about the strange phenomena of people coming out to protest thousands of people celebrating together in the joyous harmony of self empowerment. Seriously, what’s up with that?

Last year as we stood around waiting for the parade to begin, my friend’s spouse came up to me and suggested we take a short walk and check out the other floats. After a little bit, she stopped me and said, “Michelle, there is something I need to warn you about…” Just great. I have probably been walking around all morning with the hem of my skirt tucked into my pantyhose. No, phew, that wasn’t it. “During the parade there are probably going to some groups of people shouting some really mean things, so I wanted to warn you so you aren’t surprised and have hurt feelings.” Can you believe how sweet that was? Really, I wanted to hug her on the spot it was so nice when she barely knew me and was already looking out for me. I assured her I would be just fine.

Sure enough, my side of the float passed by two small groups of people, with cardboard signs and nasty writing, plus megaphones for shouting out biblical verses and whatnot. Funny enough, they all looked like people one would naturally assume are in the hand painted sign and amplified ranting business. I was really tempted to jump off the float and dump some change in the hat I assumed they had in front of them. If anyone looked like they really needed a beer, it was these guys. Unfortunately, I was wearing the exact wrong shoes for vaulting off a moving vehicle, so reconciled myself to waving at them cheerfully and enthusiastically. Mooning would have also been fun, but that one guy who had been following the float from the get go and looked way, way too excited to see us was still there. He still had film left, even though I saw him reload his old timey camera like six times already.

I tried to get into the heads of these protesters and failed miserably. Clearly this wasn’t some kind of impromptu thing. They must have had the date and time marked on their calendars. They stayed up late the night before with their little pots of paint and repurposed sides of appliance boxes, using their open King James to make sure they got the wording and spelling just right-ish. That morning they woke up, loaded their cars up with the signs, hopefully dry by now, put fresh batteries in the megaphones, made sure they had some good zingers of quotes memorized right, found parking a mile away from the parade route, and set up early enough on a clear patch of sidewalk. Lots of time, energy, and even some cash just to… what?  Shout helplessly into the din of Gaga on every speaker? Hoping to get on the news? Receive a hand signed note of approval from that jackass Phelps? The reasoning is beyond my comprehension.

We can guess that this is something they feel Jesus wanted them to do, even though he didn’t have a big rep for razzing people from the sidelines. Even if this had a heavenly driver, I’d have to wonder what the big guy was thinking in the first place. I mean Pride Fest? I don’t think I saw many people there who looked even a smidge unsure of themselves. The tee shirts printed with ‘I Dunno, Can I Hear Both Some Gay and Super Duper Ultra Conservative Options Please?’ were pretty cold sellers. Buffalo isn’t exactly backwoods, so I imagine everyone in attendance was well aware already of the really crabby god these hucksters were flinging about willy nilly. I’m also guessing this wasn’t a onetime deal for them either, so I would think expectations could not have been good. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. And there you have it. Insane in the membrane. Case closed!

This year I think I’ll print up my own pamphlet to hand out to them. ‘You And Your Crabby God: 11 Ways To Please Him At Home (Not Here)’ I think they’ll like it.

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