For once, a coupling has taken place which is more disturbing to conservatives than any gay wedding can ever be.  Yes, Republicans and Democrats decided to get together and make a budget, and all day long, the sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth was heard on the talk radio airwaves.  The conservative dog had awkward interspecies sex with the liberal cat, and the resulting litter doesn’t appeal to anybody.

One could see the budget as a Christmas miracle, a moment when two sides which had long been warring with each other came together in peace.  But right wing radio listeners think this really is a war, so a deal isn’t just a deal, it’s abandoning your position to the enemy.  And so Paul Ryan, formerly the golden boy of the Ayn Rand brigade, is now being dragged through the mud by his own followers for consorting with the other side.

Mind you, there are things in this budget that I don’t like at all, as a progressive.  But, well, that’s the nature of compromise–you get things you don’t like.  It’s a sign of where we are as a country that a compromise is considered an apocalyptic event.  Perhaps, for all the talk about our desire for bipartisanship, we–secretly or not so secretly–prefer the drama and division?

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As our government continues down its path of paralysis, now embroiled in endless scandal hearings, I’ve been struck by an interesting contradiction.

We know our country is polarized.  In fact, we hear about it all the time.  We’re polarized polarized polarized.  We’re divided like we’ve never been divided before (although that’s not entirely true…I can think of a time in our history when were so divided we were at war with each other).

And yet we’re unable to acknowledge reality–that in order to get anything done in a polarized country, we have to force ourselves to do that dirty deed:  compromise.  Instead, it’s a battle–on both sides–to convince the rest of the country to think like us.

It’s amusing to hear both conservatives and liberals go into complete denial about this.  The majority of red-blooded Americans agree with the Tea Party, it’s just a small liberal elite that brainwashes them into believing lies.  The average working man supports the Democrats, but a small wealthy elite helps the Republicans push their agenda.

But the truth is, the country is split about half and half right now.  This means that neither side will get exactly what it wants.  And good luck persuading the other half to think like you do–I’ve seen enough online political debates by now to know that it’s impossible to change anyone’s mind.  The only solution would be for us to try to meet each other halfway.  And that is just not happening.

So instead, the futile struggle to overpower the other side goes on.  Some of the crazies on the conservative fringe seem to harbor fantasies about taking out everyone who disagrees with them–either deporting them, or shooting them, or…making them go away somehow.  Even that wouldn’t work.  Civil wars are messy and complicated, and in the end, you won’t be able to make everyone with a different opinion disappear.

I believe in my principles, and would love to see a society based on progressive ideas take shape.  But right now, that’s not reality.  Failing to acknowledge reality causes what we see in Washington.  Stalemate.  Nothing.  And since there are people who can use stalemate to their benefit, that probably won’t change anytime soon.