A guy I met through our local occupation, with which I have since been pretty disillusioned and even disgusted, just posted this to Facebook:
It is truly amazing, considering the odd rift that seems to be between Occupy and the Tea Party, how many ideas and concerns we have in common. I also find it funny for people to classify one group or the other as all being a certain way, when both groups are open to anyone who shows up. I think it has to be artificial. It must be, when we have so much in common. Yes, of course there will be differences, but when anyone is free to join, there will be differences. It’s our similarities which are important. Sure, the groups tend to be left leaning or right leaning, but it only makes sense to come together on what we agree on. The NDAA and fascism, drone attacks, inflation, GMOs, corporatism, corporate media and the failure of the 2 party system are all issues which I see on Tea Party pages. Honestly, I believe that if we came together on all that we do agree on, and put aside for the greater good, those things that we don’t, then we can achieve so much. We’ve all had that experience when we needed to work with someone who we didn’t always get along with, but most people are able to put that aside to get things done which need to be done. I know that occupiers have that issue just within our own group. If we can do that with individuals, we should be able to do that with other groups. We can simply agree to disagree on those issues. It’s important for the good of our country to come together. It’s important because together, we are stronger than we are alone. It’s important because our country needs us to help it rather than fight among ourselves. I’m not going to let petty differences separate us, when it’s the important ones we agree on. In the end, if we are willing to be open minded, it is only labels and media produced stereotypes that keep us separate. I believe it’s for our own good to be open minded and join the parties.
Sadly, some of those “petty differences” are a matter of life and death for a lot of people. There are commonalities, but a couple of the disagreements I have with TEA Party activists are dealbreakers for me. It’s okay to say that they’re trivial to you, but that doesn’t mean they’re objectively trivial or that people who refuse to treat them like they’re trivial are somehow hurting our country.
Everybody has to make a stand where they care. Sometimes we care about different things. I think we need to be able to admit that without calling the things other people care about “petty” just because some people aren’t affected by them.
Well they are petty distractions in relation to the big issue. the issues that both political parties agree on that are destroying our country.
I’m sorry you feel that way.
You should probably delete all the LGBT people and women and rape victims on your Facebook friends list, because if you think that the things they are fighting for (in many cases against the TEA Party) are petty distractions, you should re-evaluate whether you are really the friend they deserve.
He was an asshole:
That’s an awfully extremist idea… Because I want to work together with people who have some of the same core beliefs rather than focus on our differences makes me automatically aligned with the extreme right wingers? I’m a bad person because I think compromise is the better plan rather than infighting and division? A group which has 99% of the population in it is never going to agree on everything, and we cannot expect them to.
I told him so:
You can agree to focus on different issues without treating the things affecting people you call friends like they’re petty. You can value one thing without treating others like they’re hurting the country by valuing something else.
If we’re going to suggest that extremism is inherently evil, isn’t it a more extreme position to say, “I am fighting for the only issues worth fighting for, and everything else is petty crap distracting us from the important stuff,” rather than to say, “These issues are important, too, but we all have to choose how to focus our energies.”
You fight for what you want, but don’t you dare dismiss the survival struggles of people you call friends… and still presume to call them friends. That’s my problem. I don’t pour my heart into every single worthy cause in the world either, but the difference between you and me is that I do not call those other causes “petty.” You just did, and then YOU called ME an extremist.
That’s not how solidarity works. We don’t have to be fighting each other’s battles all the time, but we can at least stop short of dismissing each other’s battles as trivial distractions. Please give that much respect to the people you know and allegedly love who are literally fighting for survival.
That’s all I have to say. I hope that you’ll consider your words more carefully next time. Good night.
Gross. Gross gross gross.
These are the kinds of people we have here. We have a group that explicitly rebuked LGBT and feminist activists for bringing “divisive identity politics” into their occupation when we simply asked other activists not to give us the same shit inside the movement that we get outside of it. I’m not surprised that the last vestiges of the Indy clusterfuck are a reflection of that.
You know what, though?
The next time they’re looking for publicity, they’ll show up at an LGBT-focused rally. The next time they’re looking for women to use to do their political work, they’ll suddenly notice that politicians are mean to women. (I almost added something about the next time they notice that they have scarce to no people of color at their events, but we all know they’d never notice.)
Generally, though, next time they want something, suddenly we’ll be worth their time again.
Isn’t that always the way it fuckin’ goes.