Friday, August 1, 2003

What I stand for

So, you know, I check the Sitemeter to see where you folks are coming from. And lately I've seen a couple from this site, so I wandered over to see what it was all about. And lo and behold, I'm linked there. Because the owner of the site (Biff the Troll? Kevin the one-armed boy?) says that he (she? it?) disagrees with nearly everything I stand for."

Well, I'm honored, really. But it got me to thinking what it is that I stand for. I mean, I suppose you can sort of get an idea from reading this site, though not really.

For example, I bet a lot of people who have never met me in person have an idea of who I am. What I look like, even. Because after all, I'm a liberal, right? So I'm probably skinny. Maybe gaunt. Short. With some facial hair.

Overeducated. Listen to NPR and "world" music. Live in an apartment, loathe sports, drive a compact car. Oppose gun rights. Drink wine and eat foie gras.


Let me help you out, here:

I'm 6'3", 235 pounds. Swing at me, I'm swinging right back.

I'm married 10 years (to the same woman, by the way), with a 2-year-old son. A homeowner and taxpayer who mows his lawn twice a week.

I am a major Pittsburgh Steeler fan - much to my wife's chagrin.

I've got a concealed carry permit.

I drink Rolling Rock and IC Light. Labatt's, when I'm feeling rich, which isn't often since the kid came along. Basically majored in beer and minored in pharmacology at college. Drive a small SUV (Subaru Forester, if you must know). Have always been a bit of a video game fanatic - Madden NFL 2004 is coming out in a few weeks, meaning my wife gets to be a football widow before football season actually starts.

I actually used to be something of a Deadhead. Though unlike some Deadheads I've known, I actually bathed.

I believe in 12-string Rickenbacker guitars - and on my 50th birthday I've told myself I'm going to buy one as a present to myself. Though I haven't told my wife about this yet.

I believe in not sitting your kid in front of the TV all day long, though if the kid wants to watch Sesame Street so you can catch a break for an hour, there's nothing wrong with that.

I believe in conservative clothing. The only time my pants have hung down my ass is when the elastic has gone out of the waistband.

I believe in the same things, act, and in fact look like your neighbor. Which of course makes it all the more insidious, right? That someone so seemingly... normal... could harbor such subversive thoughts, right?

But the point I'm making is that those thoughts are not really that subversive at all.

It's not that I'm against retaliating after someone smacks you. It's that I'm against retaliating against all of those who look like the guy who smacked you, on the theory that some day, possibly, they just might want to smack you and you've got to head it off at the pass.

It's just that when I read Thomas Jefferson's line about all men being created equal, I took it literally. I don't recall ever looking and seeing some fine print that noted those words didn't apply to those who happened to be gay, or black, or whatever other minority people are reviling these days.

It's that I respect a deep, abiding faith, but that isn't to say that exactly what works for you works for me, and if you try to codify what works for you in the law, I'm going to oppose it.

It's that I think America is a wonderful place, but that this does not permit us carte blanche to do as we like. We are citizens of the world, and therefore must act as citizens of the world. Which, at times, means not getting our way. And getting over it.

It's that I think that deep down, most Americans are kind, good and generous - but on the surface, they can be vindictive, stubborn buttheads.

It's that I believe being informed is always, always, better than thinking you know the answer without having really researched the question. It's that for every black and white you've got gray, for every day and night you've got dusk.

It's that there are no easy answers. And to insist there are is to not use your brain.

And I do very much believe in standing up. Though I'm faceless here on the web, in real life, my picture runs right there alongside the column. I'm always amazed at nasty e-mail I get from people who "forget" to sign their names. Which is the sign of a true pussy.

So there you have it. Ideas, perhaps, that are different than yours. But overall, strange and un-American?

Not on your Rolling Rock, pal.

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