Monday, September 14, 2009


Same-same. I was so surprised to see this title on a children's book cover last week. It was an expression that many of our neighbors often used oh so many years ago in Yalova, Turkey. It could mean, "I get it. I understand. We do things that way too." Same-same.
A new front has opened in the war we seem to be waging against one another as fellow Americans. Last week, Rush Limbaugh said, "This administration is not your average presidential administration. This is not a garden party. This is not a lecture at Harvard or any other university. We are in the process, we are in the midst of an administration that is trying to totally tear down the institutions and traditions that have made this country great."
Really? Totally? Even a half percentage of hyperbole there?
A few days ago, there were Tea Party demonstrations around the country. Hey, I guess you could call me a liberal; but I've been for fiscal responsibility since long before conservatives seemed to adopt it--and then abandon it. But the Tea Party folks had more on the table. One man across the river in Vancouver said, "Our freedoms are under attack."
If either of the above quotes are true, or even partially true, then let me be the first Minuteman taking to the streets to cry, "Not on my watch!"
But what institutions and traditions, specifically? What freedoms are under attack? Substantively how and by whom? If those questions don't have specific answers are are not supported by hard evidence rather than opinion, are they helpful? Isn't that how Germany ended up with the Holocaust of 11 million people (6M Jews, 5M non-Jews)?
"Demand to be shown," said a card included with the first life insurance policy I ever bought back in college. If somebody told me they had something better, or that what I had was no good, I shouldn't just believe their words. I should demand to be shown. Sage advice in any age.
It was once a tradition in our country that women could not vote or own property. Once we had an institution known as slavery. At the time, many folks would have said those two things supported our economy and made our country great. But if instuitutions are not working, are actually keeping us from being what we are to be, shouldn't those be torn down? Shouldn't a new tradition replace an obsolete or destructive one?
Are there times when we can't afford to be real same-same? Is our current struggle over the cost of health care in the U.S. precisely one of those times?
There are a couple of "freedoms" that I hope actually are under attack in our country because they don't work in a free and modern republic like ours:
1. The freedom to be ignorant and uninformed.
2. The freedom to act on opinion and suspicion rather that solid information.
3. The freedom to let fear keep us from actually taking a hard look at new ideas.
4. The freedom to refuse to hear and respect each other.
5. The freedom to be dishonest.
These "freedoms" aren't in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I hope they never are. On that score, I hope we're always real same-same.

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