Posted: April 03, 2013
Rundles wrap up: CrazyBy Jeff Rundles
I think I might be crazy. Or insane.
Off my rocker. Looney tunes. Nuts. Barmy. Mental. Tetched. Psycho. Daft. Schizo. Unhinged. Cuckoo.
Why? Because the zealots on either side of so many of the nation’s debates these days – pick one: gun control vs. the Second Amendment, billionaire tax cuts vs. entitlement spending cuts, defense of marriage vs. gay rights, “illegal” immigrants vs. undocumented workers, ad infinitum – are so convinced that they alone speak the truth, that they alone are the voice of sanity, that it must be that anyone who sees at least some merit in each position and would seek compromise must be the crazy one.
I should seek political asylum, but I’m afraid that as a moderate that’s just where they’d put me – in an asylum. I just want to talk, but oh no, that won’t do; pick a pigeonhole so we know whether you’re with us or agin us.
They’d all tell me to shut up but they don’t have to since moderation can’t be heard above all the yelling in any case. Besides, who would listen? Listening is crazy.
See? That proves it. I listen, I seek out the logic of any and all arguments before forming an opinion, and the older I get the less sure I am about anything. God, I must be crazy.
As I write this, it is the 50th anniversary of the plane-crash death of Patsy Cline, who was, of course, famous for a song called “Crazy.” I have a friend who absolutely hates Patsy Cline and she thinks I’m crazy for liking Cline’s music, so I guess that is more proof positive. I woke up hearing that song on the radio and it has further solidified for me all day that crazy is my condition.
I got to thinking about all of this because of the gun control debate in the Colorado legislature, not to mention around the country, and all of the people packing the state house in absolute support or absolute opposition to the gun control bills wending their way through the house and senate.
Everyone seems to understand that we need to do something to combat the senseless slaughter of innocent people, and innocent children, but there is absolutely no consensus on what approach to take. Or rather, there are two absolute consensuses, and never the twain shall meet.
In what must be the most poignantly ironic twist to the debate in Colorado, a man named Sain (rhymes with “Sane”) has been charged with various crimes for sending profanity-laced, racist and allegedly threatening emails to Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, herself a victim of gun violence and involved in sponsorship of gun control legislation. Sain apologized for the tone of his messages but defended his staunch pro-Second Amendment stance by saying he “was far from being a whack job.” There you go. He is a self-proclaimed sane person and if he isn’t a whack job then I am, indeed, crazy.
Another thing I was thinking about was the nuclear war survival drills our schools and the Office of Civil Defense used to have us school kids do back in the 1950s and 1960s.
We’d go out into the hall, sit against the wall and put our heads between our knees to, as they told us, protect us from a Soviet attack. Of course, had there been a Soviet attack, we would have all been little balls of ash, but we all then thought our government knew what it was doing and that we were protected from harm.
When I think about gun control laws, the sequester, immigration and many other issues of today, I am reminded of sitting in the hallway of my school thinking about Russian missiles. It was all crazy, of course, but it made me feel better.
That’s what I want. I want a government, and a society, that makes me feel better and displays some sense of civility.
See? I am crazy.
Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.