Hi. I’m Brad. I’m an alcoholic and addict.
This line has crossed my lips a thousand times over the last 25+ years.
I’ve been sober since February 24, 1993. I haven’t had a drink…not one sip, or a toke…not one puff, or a snort…not one line in twenty-five fucking years!
But I’m still addicted. I’m addicted and I find myself looking for it daily. It’s hard to get away from this one.
I’M ADDICTED TO HATE!
I caught on to this craving a few months ago. And as I scroll the endless feeds of my Facebook and Instagram friends, I now believe we’re all suffering. Maybe to differing degrees and for differing reasons, but it seems to be there. Everywhere. We thrive on it. We search for it, read it, watch it, scroll it, share it, and digest it with vigor.
I detest it…and I love it.
It pains me to see my friends tearing each other apart. We grew up together. We played together. We spent most of our younger years together, many of us from kindergarten to senior year. But now we believe we’re somehow different. I’m the US. You’re the THEM.
I see the hateful words. Both “sides” are guilty. Right. Left. No middle.
I have friends on both sides of the fight. My progressive friends call themselves open-minded, enlightened, forward thinking. My conservative friends call themselves moral, patriotic, Americans. My progressive friends call my conservative friends backwards, rednecks, racists, zealots, deplorables. My conservative friends call my progressive friends elites, anti-American, socialists, activists, mobs. And while there may be some of these elements woven through each group, and throughout our country, it doesn’t describe any of you…my friends.
I love it when I hear folks say “Washington is broken”. I mean, come on. How the fuck do you think it got that way? We broke it. We smashed it. We became spoiled and were easily manipulated by the powers that control each political party. They need us to hate each other. They need us to hate something. They know us. We’ll vote against almost anything…but seldom vote FOR something. And most of us don’t even know this about ourselves.
There once was a thing called a moderate. We’d elect this person from among ourselves and send them to Washington to represent our needs, and sometimes our wants. They were adept at making deals – they had to be. We knew that half of the country didn’t believe exactly as we did and our representative’s job was to go sit down with the other side, express our needs, listen to the other side’s needs, and make a deal. A deal that we knew certainly wouldn’t include all of our needs, but would be good for a majority of Americans…and us.
Well, that model is gone. And I fear it’s gone forever. We’ve become a country of spoiled kids. We think we can get everything we want. Our representatives now go to Washington and they promise us the whole show. All of it. Everything. And fuck the other side. They’re not REAL Americans anyway. They don’t care about our country. They’re out to destroy us. So let’s leave them out of the discussion.
If our rep walks across the aisle and compromises, our rep is gone. We’ve become so spoiled, and so gullible that we don’t want someone who makes deals. We don’t want someone who includes all Americans in the plans and laws of our country. We only care about us. We only give a shit about our side. We’ve been told that we are right and moral and important and somehow superior. And THEY can all go fuck themselves. If our rep dares to vote with “them”, it’s suicide. We hack them off at the knees. They’ll never make it past the primaries. Who’s parents ever taught them this shit? “Oh well, if your friends don’t want to play the exact game you do, just pack up your marbles and go home.” Really? Not where I grew up.
And it’s hard to get away from. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t…I don’t try very hard. I tune in to the channels that make me feel good and justified and validated. I tune in to the channels that mirror my feelings and vilify the other guys. Doesn’t matter whether you watch the big M and get your fill of liberal hate, or the big H and choke down as much conservative dogma as you can in one sitting, it’s the same. M and H are the same! They only care that you tune in, get pissed, and support their show and their advertisers…and hate the “enemy”. And we do. We watch them torch good people with super-personal attacks, just because they disagree with this stance or that. And we believe it. Sometimes we believe it. Sometimes I think we know it’s bullshit but we’re okay with it because it makes our side look smarter, or feels more in line with what we might believe.
As a moderate, it’s tough for me. There are things you ALL do and say that piss me off. There are things you ALL do and say that I agree with. I’m your friend, and you don’t even realize that you’re talking about me when you talk about conservative douchebags and liberal fucktards. I’m both. I lean left on many issues, and right on many others. I’m not a fit-in-this-box kind of guy. There’s no “D” or “R” by my name. I’m an independent thinker and I find fewer and fewer good candidates to vote for these days.
I think we’ve all forgotten, or we just don’t care, that on any given day in this country, at least half of the people in it don’t agree with us on this issue or that. It’s America. We’re supposed to be a melting pot. Free people. Free to choose who we are and where we live and what we like and don’t like. But, it becomes a problem when we start believing that our way is the best way, or the only way, or the right way. You can believe something with all your being, and your neighbor may believe something else. You’re both free to believe as you wish and you both should be represented equally in our country. You’re both Americans.
We’ve been lied to. But the sad thing is…we know it. No matter which side you’re on or what you believe…you’ll never get all the marbles. Your party may have power for two or four or six or eight years. You may change all the laws and regulations to suit yourself and your followers. But, as we’ve experienced in the past, the other guys will eventually win. And when they do, they’ll just come in and undo all the shit you’ve done. And you’ll get pissed and come back and do the same thing in a few years. No one does anything permanent. No one seems to want to make laws and regs that benefit everyone. Laws and regs that include all sides and all opinions before they’re finalized and passed. Those that truly represent AMERICA. Those would last. Those would remind us that we’re all in this together.
But…those kinds of laws wouldn’t keep us divided. Those wouldn’t keep us electing the same partisan assholes that keep reminding us of our differences and reminding us that we should hate our neighbors and their kids just because they go to a different church, live in a different part of the country, or root for a different fucking NFL team.
So…I’m trying to wean myself off the hate crack pipe. I try to find real NEWS and not the opinion shows on either side that call themselves news. I’m trying to remember that when I see my friends on the right and left call each other douchebags and thugs and assholes and anti-American, and traitors…I’m trying to remember that… they’re…you’re addicted too.
Now, I’m asking you – Remember. You knew me. You know me. We grew up together. In the long run, we need to work together. We need to include all of our classmates.
We used to like each other…before we hated each other.
Big Love to you all. I don’t hate you!
I’d love to hear your comments below. Do you feel connected to the people on your friends list? The people you went to Jr. High and High School with? Your childhood playmates? If yes or no…why?