mikey and me

THIS JUST IN:

I hate stuff like this, which is why I am writing about it.

You’ve heard of Michael Moore, right? Of course you have. You probably either love him, or loathe him, or maybe you’re kinda foggy.

I don’t hate Michael Moore. I think a lot of what he does is really great. I like people who have big ideas and then go out and accomplish them. Plus, he was born in the town I live in. I even met the guy this past winter. We shook hands! How can you hate someone once you understand their handshake?

What I dislike about him – and not just him, this quality is found in far too many people, and I shall get to the “group” of them later – is the way he goes about telling his side of the story. Or, how he shows his opinions to the world. As he’s a movie maker, I get that this is what he’s good at. As a political activist, I get that this is the norm.

And that, I think, is where I find my problem.

I hate political language like this. This sort of thing probably has a name in the political biz – I’ll call it… propaganda? This sort of thing is surely found throughout all political issues, but – probably because I’m paying closer attention to this issue – I find it most often in discussions over abortion and woman’s rights.

First, let me be clear where I stand on this. Maybe you don’t care, maybe you do. You’re reading this, right? You have something to say about it. Everyone does. I believe that people just go about it in the wrong way. They make “the other side” seem horrible. So you’ll pay attention. So you’ll listen to them. And only them.

Abortion v. Woman’s rights. These are two separate issues, but so closely intwined that we as a society will probably never stop squabbling over them. Even I’ve written about this sort of thing before. Who knows if a satisfying solution will ever be found.

So, what do I think? Well, let me be honest: I don’t know. On one hand (or, on the “one side”), I could   easily say that I’m against abortion. 100% no. Stop killing babies. What are you doing?! Don’t you know that that is a person you’re murdering?

On the other, ceasing all abortions would take away the right a woman has to control what happens to her body. Also, making abortions illegal wouldn’t stop abortions. If a lady doesn’t want to be pregnant, she will find a way to stop being pregnant. Taking away the safe option of a professional operation will not stop people from wanting abortions. (Maybe that’s the problem. But that is a topic for another time.)

So, I’m not sure where I stand. Well, yes I am, you just read my opinion. It’s not very flashy, is it? Does it make you angry, does it make you want to hold a protest at a state capital building? It’s definitely not one-sided. And if I became a politician, or a political activist, like my friend Michael Moore, I would probably have to choose a side.

Black and white, no gray. Left or Right, no Middle. Republican or Democrat, no Independent.

So, what would he tell me? That that’s just the way it is? That the politicians on one side of the aisle are correct, while the others are wrong – evil, even?

I hope you will take a look at the article he’s linked to in his tweet: http://mmflint.me/NnYFPT 

I think it’s a good article; well written, and, most importantly, seemingly unbiased. It tells the facts. Like news should. There is no “poltical agenda” in that article. And when I read it, I see a complicated story. I see two groups of people with very different opinions, fighting against one another in two completely different wars.

Maybe you shouldn’t include the word “vagina” in a speech in the state House. Not in the way it was used. Or, maybe you should be able to say “vagina” when discussing abortion and woman’s rights. However, is this quandary as complicated as the original issue? No.

It is, however, a new piece of the complicated puzzle. And it can, and was, and will be, used in an attempt from both sides to sway those who may be indecisive, as well as strengthen the ignorant view of those who blindly and wholeheartedly agree with one side of this issue or the other.

Like I said, who knows if “both sides” will ever be able to come to an agreement. What I do know, however, is that using language like this – “propaganda”, or hate-speech, or blind one-side-fits-all imagery – is not the solution. Drawing those who are like-minded around you does not win the war – it makes the battle larger, with more bloodshed, and more ignorance. And even if you do win, it will not be because you were right, it will be because you had the greatest number of warriors.

“War on Women”. “Pro-Abortionists.” “Baby Killers”. “Michigan Republicans not only want to control your uterus, they will punish you if you say “vagina.””

I know it’s no fun to say stuff like: “This is a complicated issue. Both sides need to come together in order to come to an agreement.” But that’s what I say. And you can’t get people to follow you that way – not on Twitter, not in political beliefs. That wouldn’t make a very good breaking news headline.

But why do we need to find more to argue over in complicated matters like this? Why do we, as a society, as humans, why do we need “propaganda”? Why do we like when people, people with influence, people who matter, why do we like them to be this way? When you get down to it – why are we all this way? Is it because it’s easier to brush off other people’s opinions? Because it’s easier to shoot people down than try and really understand where they’re coming from? Because deep down we all feel that the major belief systems that we hold on to for dear life are correct? Because to take into consideration a totally different viewpoint – to really consider it, would be dismissing all that we like to pretend we stand for?

Why? This one is hard for me, because I just can’t comprehend it. Why does a smart man like Michael Moore use his words this way? Why do so many smart people use their words this way? Over and over and over again.

Because it works every time? Because writing a one-liner is easier than writing a lengthy article, like this one? Because it is seemingly simple? Because the world is black or white, no gray?

I don’t have an answer. Or maybe my question is more complicated than I thought. Just like everything.

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