Vail Daily column: America’s greatest polarizing rivalry
June 19, 2017
Polarizing is an overused word.
Typically used when people have no idea what they are talking about (I prove this on a weekly basis), it implies two sides are as far apart in a thought process as humanly possible, like today's America appears to be concerning Republicans and Democrats.
I compare it to the analogy of which was a better band: The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Admit it, the second you read that sentence you either answered in your head or shouted it out loud.
Whatever your answer, now recall the immediate media response to last week's tragic shooting involving Republican members of Congress, and by "media" response I mean "social" as well as "news," since the two seem to be interchangeable these days.
Republican-themed media sites rushed to find a connection, no matter how thin, between the deranged shooter and anything whatsoever that could possibly be linked with the Democratic Party.
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Re-read that sentence switching "Republican" with "Democratic" and you will have the only two ways media has responded to every shooting and outrageous act of violence during the past few years. It's all so predictably silly, yet most of us quickly fall in line with our preferred perspective.
Like The Beatles or the Rolling Stones, whenever the opportunity arises, people feel the need to immediately choose a side, never allowing any wiggle room to possibly ever consider the other.
Allah forbid a Beatles fanatic admits he or she likes "Gimme Shelter" or a Stones fan confesses to enjoying "Hey Jude."
Oh, the horror.
But then we witness fascist Paul Ryan encouraging unity while saying, "One of our own …" was gunned down in yet another senseless act of American gun violence, with comrade Nancy Pelosi bobbing her head up and down in determined agreement.
So for once they are not polarizing, right?
Wrong. Yes, it begins with a "P," but in this case, it is patronizing. In order to appease a tiny percentage of their constituents and, more importantly, keep their high-profile jobs, they constantly play whatever tune the masses desire whenever it is needed. These two nitwits know that each and every American is "one of our own" every time one of these tragedies occurs, and playing it for the media should insult us all.
Like when a Stones fan pretends to acknowledge the melodic mastery of The Beatles in public, we know privately they will never admit to liking a single tune.
But of course, the truth of the matter is that all Beatles fans are not idiots any more than all Stones fans are morons, and attempting to polarize one over the other in some grossly stereotyping manner is the same thing politicians from both parties do on a daily basis. Yet both are full of Americans that care about their country, their families, jobs, the economy, the environment and, yes, their music.
To be perfectly honest, it's OK to like a little of both without feeling obligated to always definitively choose one over the other, as we are all Americans and RepubliCrats to some degree.
As for The Beatles/Stones question, of course it's The Beatles — duh.
If you insist on arguing the point, meet me this weekend at KZYR's "CoverRock: The British Invasion," and I will be happy to tell you why you are wrong, but in a non-patronizing manner, of course.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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