Naked Party Animals Be Damned | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Naked Party Animals Be Damned

"We all evolve." That's what Marcy Nessel told Maggie Neff about the Jewish Film Festival in this issue.

As the country prepares for President Barack Obama, I've been thinking a whole lot about evolution, progress, moving forward. I don't know the new president personally—sure would like to—but I feel oddly in sync with his approach to politics. (I like to tell people that he is two months older than I am, so maybe that's why.)

This one-sided kinship is what made me believe to my core that Obama was not the partisan that many people on "both sides" believed, or hoped, he was. Sure, he is technically a Democrat, but frankly you've got to be a member of one of the two major parties to win that office. Now, anyway.

I liked Obama from the beginning because I sensed he's not a party animal. I think he wants to help the country transcend naked partisanship.

Naked partisanship is a very bad thing. A naked partisan—images of a shirtless Obama aside—both defends and criticizes politics and people based solely on party. Facts be damned. Country be damned. Recession be damned. World standing be damned.

I don't like these people. Or at least not their politics.

Of course, we have them in both major parties. Naked partisans defended Bill Clinton no matter what he did, and were outraged at me that I supported his impeachment. Naked partisans defended George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's lies about Iraq regardless of the evidence. Naked partisan Democrats are mad at Obama for not just appointing naked partisans who all believe the same way. Naked partisan Republicans are looking for something, anything to whine about before Obama even takes office, and are mad at Republicans willing to work with him and his mandate to, well, reject naked partisanship.

Naked partisans do not want compromise and bipartisanship; they want to "win" no matter what. When they're proved wrong, as they were dramatically with Bush-Cheney and Clinton before them, they just try to change the subject. Or, if they think you're one of them, they bash you for treason for daring to disagree. (I apologize for any images of a naked Ann Coulter that may have just popped into your head. Gross.)

Worst of all, naked partisans do not care about facts. Witness the fear-mongering over the Fairness Doctrine pushed by naked partisans on the right, and the people too naive to fact-check them before spreading their garbage. The FOX News hysterics, joined by Coulter looking for attention as her relevance wanes, and even elected officials like our own Sen. Roger Wicker are pushing the idea that Democrats in Congress are going to take away their right to be right-wing hacks in media. (For those of us who remember the right-wing assaults on the Dixie Chicks for daring to question Bush in public, this is precious.)

Suffice it to say, there is simply no evidence to support this particular scare tactic. Congressional Democrats have more important concerns right now, as should Republicans like Wicker, and the Fairness Doctrine has lost its relevance in a world where the Internet allows divergent views to reach most corners of our country.

Using the Fairness Doctrine bogeyman to spread "FUDԗfear, uncertainly and doubt—at a time when our country desperately needs to unite is despicable, mindless partisanship. We should all roundly reject anyone trying to do that. Likewise, we must all question attempts to paint us with a partisan brush because, for instance, we support the policies of Barack Obama, at least and until we see actual evidence that we shouldn't.

Here's a good way to determine if someone is a naked partisan and, thus, not to be trusted: Do they defend members of one party regardless of facts and criticize the other one no matter what? Or, are they willing to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, regardless of where their personal ideological beliefs fall on that dated and ineffective left-right spectrum?

People who reject partisanship anger partisans on "both sides"; I should know. For me, people on "the left" get angry when I question their actions—say, like putting up fake "Republicans" against Haley Barbour or when they try to out-bigot their "alien"-bashing opponents—and people on "the right" tried to pigeonhole me politically as a Democrat because I dared to question Bush-Cheney and their Iraq obsession from day one.

I am a political independent. Where my current endorsements and support lie are about people, facts and the level of partisan malarkey they attach themselves to. It's a big reason I was against Hillary Clinton for president, and I supported Obama. I believe he wants to transcend partisan politics as best he can in a two-party system, and that she didn't.

His actions, so far, support that notion. I'm a supporter of gay rights and believe in civil unions—while churches can condone any type of marriage they want, or not—but I rather liked that Obama asked gay-rights opponent Rick Warren to pray at the inauguration, the same event that will be blessed by an openly gay bishop. I see it as an act of faith to reach across an ideological divide and look for what unites us, and in so doing, try to build bridges. And one would have to live in a partisan cave to not know that Rick and Kay Warren are going through a bit of an ideological revolution of their own in recent years.

I want to see more of these acts of faith, party be damned, and I want to participate in more of them. I do not expect to change a lot of my basic world views—I believe in a woman's right to choose, a person's right to pledge fidelity to whomever they please, the world's need to solve more disputes peacefully with war as a last resort, the planet's need to be sustained, humans' need to help the less fortunate. I do not apologize for my views, which are based on love for people and the Earth. I believe that we all put here to make a difference and overcome division.

I also believe that we don't get there—we don't evolve—surrounded by people who worship at the same altar or believe the same tired rhetoric. We evolve by coming together despite our differences, not because we reject people who respectfully disagree with us.

I believe Obama wants to lead us to a less partisan place, and I sure am ready to do my part to help us get there. I hope you are, too.

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(I apologize for any images of a naked Ann Coulter that may have just popped into your head. Gross.) I need a drink now.

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