I was visiting with a close friend recently, who also happens to be a staunch ... well, let's put it this way: she sits very far on one side of the political aisle.
Which is fine. Some of my other best friends are sitting staunchly way across the other side of that aisle.
This dear woman wanted me to watch a DVD outlining the evils of ... well, it doesn't really matter. If I told you, some of you would be furious that I know someone who would watch THAT, and the rest would be saying "Well, yeah! You SHOULD be furious about THAT!"
No matter; it was going to be an hour of listening to a diatribe about Evil, as this close friend defined it. I declined, because let's face it: life is hard enough without looking for more stuff to be ticked off about. I get enough of that on Report Card Day.
Conservatives rant about bleeding-heart liberals. Liberals rant about selfish conservatives. Entire magazines, television shows, radio (oh, Lord, the radio talk shows!) are devoted to ranting about The Other Side, dedicated to the proposition that The Other Side is wrong, wrong, wrong, contributing to the end of civilization as we know it, and, of course, EVIL and while we're on the subject, why aren't you angry, too?
Oh, the agony for us moderates, listening to this. Here we are, trying to take the best from either side and asking everyone can't we please just get along, and all we get is All Anger, All The Time, from Radio Free Rage.
But with all this anger, no one is asking me to do anything. They're ranting about how horrid The Other Side is but no one's suggesting an action. They're just asking me to be angry.
I don't know about you, but I was raised by nuns and I have listened to enough ranting for ranting's sake. You want to have your socks in a twist? Fine. Just be twisty with a purpose. Ask me to do something, or sit down. I don't want to be angry. I want to fix what's making me angry and go back to laughing!
I have decided, then, that I am boycotting pointless ranting. From news media, from friends, from relatives, from anyone. Don't get me wrong: it's OK to be ticked off. There's a lot to be ticked off about. But ask me to write a letter to my congressperson; ask me to donate to a cause; ask me for more information; do anything, up to but not including, asking me to hire a hit. I will consider all reasonable suggestions. I might say no, but I'll at least consider it.
But if you don't have an action you want me to do to support The Fight Against The Other Side, whatever you define The Other Side to be, then you're just gonna have to talk to the hand.
The hand that is reaching for the dial to change the station from Radio Free Rage.
And because I realize that I just ranted myself (and a rant about needing moderation is a rant, nonetheless) I will ask you to do this: Join me, won't you?
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears monthly.