Criticisms From All of Us to All of You

Can everyone just stop being so disenfranchised and overly critical for just one day?

I’m a skeptic and probably a bit of a cynic, too, but I’m actually tired of hearing everyone’s moans of disapproval (said disapprovingly). PZ Myers and Chris Hitchens ripped the Rally to Restore Sanity
to Shreds. It’s not enough that this rally broke the record for the most passengers in one day on the metro. It’s not enough that people were there because they wanted to engage in civil discourse. It wasn’t political enough or it was too Liberal! People were disappointed in the music, the content, the posters…

First of all it was political satire. It was meant to be a sarcastic jab at Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor. Ridicule is the only way to handle the Tea Party, so Jon Stewart’s rally was one glorious collection of ridicule against the extremism of the Right. I thought it was extremely encouraging, even if it wasn’t as profound or [fill in the blank] as everyone would have liked.

As everyone on the right and the left levels infinite criticisms of the president and his administration, I’d like to know what they have done to support or encourage him… or us as disturbed U.S. citizens? What has anyone done but complain and complain? At least Jon Stewart roused people to some kind of action, even if that action was simply expressing “Be reasonable!” At least Barak Obama has fought tooth and nail to get where he is; has fought tooth and nail to pass the bills he’s managed to get past the Republican filibuster; has defended himself with dignity and without spite.

I feel that people are just ungrateful. They’re too busy finding fault with everyone and everything to see what good has come from the Obama Administration; to see what good came from the Rally to Restore Sanity.
Can we at least wait a week before everyone pisses on the parade?

I was feeling really encouraged by the turn-out alone! I didn’t care what bands played or even what was said on stage. What I cared about was seeing people from all walks of life gather together to say in unison, “Stop being crazy! Be reasonable! We're in this together!” It made me feel hopeful that maybe the GOP won’t take over and ruin the nation; it made me feel that there might just be a chance for REASON to take a hold. But there’s just too much discontent and in-fighting.

I really wish people would find the GOOD in this rally… and in Obama. I wish people would stop acting like movie critics; thinking they’re superior for disapproving of every word uttered or stance taken. Support each other, for the love of everything worth fighting for! Have each other’s backs! One of Obama’s main mission goals was to unify the nation, but we’re all just acting like a bunch of bickering, spoiled five-year-olds.

If you don’t like what’s being done or how it being done, organize your own rally!

P.S. Yes, I am complaining about the complaining. And now I'll stop complaining and write a blog about how awesome the Think Atheist meet-up was!

Views: 56

Comment by Kim on November 1, 2010 at 4:39pm
I agree. Though I see the point that the critics of the rally are trying to make, I still think it was/is a giant step in the right direction. This rally is merely setting a foundation for reason and rationality, and one that can be progressively built upon and improved. Perhaps the critics should focus on building up rather than tearing down. It's not an all-or-nothing world.....that's what the Tea Baggers want. Freethinking, reason, rationality, and sanity isn't about that! It's about "Let's try to slow down this train of humanity going toward destruction and turn it around", not "Let's derail this train and then try turn it around!" (I know, I analogies suck and are nonsensical at times, but I try.)

I hate the lies and ignorance of the religious right just as much as the next liberal, but merely a select few cannot make changes without getting others on board! As important as exposing lies and false information is, it's also important to remember that believers (conservatives, etc) are people too. They have these beliefs....that bright shining light that blinds them to being able to be open to other ideas...and trying to make them feel stupid or disconnected is not going to open their minds. They will feel devalued and lash out. You've got to start at a place where everyone feels welcome to at least make a connection. Then let the respectful dialogue begin.

I know this because 19 months ago, I was a Republican and a Christian. I was one of them! It took someone with time, knowledge, and a helluva lot of patience to help break through this with me just so I would get on board and open my mind. But if he would've started with, "You're delusional, your beliefs are stupid, and I don't give a damn what you think," I would still be that Republican Christian today.

Compromise and accommodation isn't about giving's about moving in the right direction with as many people on board as possible.

The religious right only want tolerance and accommodation for themselves. And that's not tolerance and accommodation.....that's control. I see nothing wrong with starting at, "We're not about control...we're about We The People. We The People is not about which side is right or wrong, it's about what it says: We The People." Some may look at that as manipulating the moderates to get on board and then convince them to pick our side. Yeah...and? Give these people credit for having their own brain!

Ugh....I could go on I'll stop while I'm ahead.
Comment by Gaytor on November 1, 2010 at 4:41pm
I'm gonna go out on a limb here, but Atheists are Self-Righteous Assholes too. I've wanted to write about this but there is an aversion to controversy here on TA now. If you don't go with the flow you are a problem. It's exactly why I've been backing off posting.

There is a dog pile mentality to attack anything that doesn't sit well with atheists. Take a look at my Vick post. All of the facts bear out. But it doesn't matter because the chink in the armor is that part of the info comes from a Right Wing propagandist. Even though the info is true I should reject it? Ridiculous. It even spun into a second post in response that in reality shows exactly the dog pile mentality. Even before the information is vetted, attack it! "No need to take on the facts at hand, I'll attack the source!" In the end the dog pilers were wrong on virtually all of their points but it sure sounded good at first and you don't want to miss the criticism train!

PZ Meyers and Hitchens make some great arguments in general. That doesn't mean that they are always right. In this case they come off as the old crumudgeon's complaining, "You didn't go far enough." Exactly. We don't want to push the pendulum sirs. We'd like to stop it from swinging so far and just keeping the cycle going. Remember when you would have pushed it incredibly far to right Mr. Hitchens? When you were pro Iraq War. Pro Paul Wolfowitz. Pro George Bush. I'm sure that you thought that you were dead on then too. Life is full of moments where you don't get exactly what you want. Instead, you push to the middle and keep pushing the middle in the direction that you'd like to go. This all or nothing attitude of his is detrimental and quite short sighted.

Atheists need to calm down as much as the next group. There is a fervor here, on TA, on Reddit, Unreasonable Faith, and sounds like it's on Nexus as well. There is more criticism than there is discussion and acceptance that we all have different backgrounds and life experiences. Hitchens and Meyers are a prime example of why many Atheists should be looking in the mirror. Being right doesn't mean that you should shout it. And if we push everyone until we only have people just like ourselves to talk to, then we simply have a circle jerk, and that's nothing new or particularly useful.
Comment by CJoe on November 1, 2010 at 4:58pm
Cass, of course my complaints are not targeted at you. You can express your opinion, and my blog is not meant to be a deterrent to people that would like to express theirs... complaint or otherwise. I'm definitely not defending the rally's reputation, just the aim and intention. I would like to know how I exaggerated the good the rally accomplished; all it did was give me hope, and what gives an individual hope is subjective. I didn't say I expected the rally to cause change, only that the people at the rally gave me reason to believe a very large majority of people are not part of the Tea Party simply because this rally is full of people who are not a part of the Tea Party/GOP.

I wasn't close to the stage; I didn't hear ANY of what was said by Stewart or whatever entertainers were there. I was wandering through the crowds and soaking up the spirit (if an atheist is allowed to use the word). With or without Jon Stewart, it's the people that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. There are always "couldah wouldah shouldahs", but I was happy that people showed up and showed themselves to be advocates of reason. I don't need a giant talking head to entertain me or inform me. I want my finger on the pulse of the PEOPLE, and they were at this rally. And I'll I'm bugged about is that everyone is raining on the spirit of the people that showed up to demonstrate. From my vantage point at the rally, the people were center-stage, not The Daily Show.
Comment by CJoe on November 1, 2010 at 5:07pm
Gaytor, I couldn't have said it better. I'm definitely not trying to advocate that people stop discussing, but I'd like the intense criticisms of everything to simmer down. I would like to enjoy listening to the president speak without even those who are supposed to be his supporters smearing him. I feel bad for him; how could someone endure the kind of backlash he's gotten?

We have to support each other!
Comment by CJoe on November 1, 2010 at 5:26pm
Cass, I wish you had the same experience I did, too. I was bummed I wasn't closer, but maybe that turned out for the best. The few times we tried to squeeze into the fray were pretty abysmal. I felt bad for the little kids and babies stuck in strollers underneath the crowd. How awful!

I think it was somewhat close to a "liberal fair". There was a literal Tea Party on the lawn. A group of 5-6 people were dressed as tea cups, tea bags and one tea pot; one was holding a boom box and they were all dancing! I loved it! I also saw a couple sunbathing in the grass dressed as flowers. It was sooo cute! Their sign said "Save the flowers. Recycle!" I thought people were really creative. You really should've walked around... there were some amazing displays. AND a little music on the sidewalk, too :)
Comment by Dennis Bailey on November 1, 2010 at 5:50pm
I didn't see the rally and have just been picking up bits and pieces of its description from online sources...what exactly was the reason the rally was held, its purpose? Was it to provide entertainment, was it a call to political action? Or was it just a lot of ways of saying what Rodney King said after being beaten by police and the ensuing riots, "Can't we all just get along?" The trouble is we can't just get along; there are too many political, religious and idealogical differences.
The religious right will reject any attempt to agree with a President who supports killing unborn babies, as well as a myriad of other issues that their interpretation of the bible does not allow. I say, we have to fight fire with fire, the Democratic Party and Obama as President have been wimpy too long....we HAVE to reveal the bigotry, racism, homophobia, etc of the ultra conservative/teaparty agenda in no uncertain terms! These people are dangerous and we expect them to play by the rules? The time for acquiescence is over! Get real everyone, this is war and the future of our country is at stake! This rally would have been a good place to start...
Comment by CJoe on November 1, 2010 at 8:11pm
Just briefly, the message was not necessarily "Can't we all just get along?" but "Stop being insane and calling everyone who disagrees with you Hitler." The GOP and Fox News are fear-mongers and, frankly, we're tired of being mongered. We're tired of being told we're unAmerican because we support civil rights, gay marriage, abortion, separation of church and state, etc... We're tired of having people picket the funerals of soldiers because the U.S. "harbors" homosexuals... We're tired of people questioning the president's citizenship and accusing him of being Muslim... We're tired of hearing about death panels and the apocalypse... We're tired of slogans like "Drill Baby Drill" or "So how's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya?" We're tired of the far-right thinking have a monopoly on what constitutes patriotism, and pushing science out of science class and replacing it with woo.

We're tired of the insanity and if the only way to combat insanity is through mass ridicule, so be it. The Tea Party is a joke and we're all laughing... until they take over the government, then it stops being funny. Then it's scary because we have clowns running the show.
Comment by Ryan E. Hoffman on November 1, 2010 at 8:47pm
I support all complaining, especially if it's complaining about the complainers. Of course the media is going to rip the rally. They're the ones being targeted. A large portion of his speech was about the 24 hour punditry of the United States making problems harder to solve. Every pundit in the nation is going to take offense and get on their little soapbox and say "your rally stunk!" Their feelings are hurt. I was really disappointed with Hitchens reaction to it. I hoped he would have liked it.

I really didn't like the choice of Yusuf Islam now looking back. I was very young when he said those things about Rushdie and had I known I would have booed him on the spot. That's a worthwhile complaint imo. He is not a reasonable man, and should not have been included. At the meetup we were talking about how there was too much God in it too. I think those two are very reasonable complaints, but overall, in the scope of things, this rally accomplished a great deal. We were all there, from all walks of life and philosophy to appreciate dialogue and discourse, WITHOUT CALLING EACH OTHER EVIL HITLER STALIN TERRORISTS. A quarter of a million people to give the finger to Glenn Beck. If for nothing else, it was worth it for that.

Just for clarification and off topic: Gaytor, my problem with your Vick post was that it drew an extremely incendiary non sequitur in its title to get readership, and I felt that needed to be called out. I can't speak for anyone else, but I agree with a lot of what you say/said about PETA, just not the way you presented it. =)
Comment by CJoe on November 1, 2010 at 10:00pm
I can forgive Hitch; I'm sure he's just irritable given the poor state of health he's in.

I expected the media to rip the rally, but Myers and Hitchens? I know I just said I could forgive the latter, but it's still upsetting. And Hitchens said there weren't any clever posters! Has he been scouring the sites like I have, collecting all the witty signs!?

I wasn't able to see any of what went on in the show, and I wasn't able to stay in any one conversation at the meet-up, either. It would've bugged me to hear them refer to "God" as well. I thought Stewart was at least agnostic? And Colbert? As much as they make fun of religion, you'd think they'd leave that part out.

I was pleased with the turnout. I'm happy that I was a part of something like this and can say "I was there" when people refer to it in the future. I'm HAPPY ABOUT THE RALLY, DAMN IT! Eff all you haters. ;)
Comment by Atheist Exile on November 1, 2010 at 10:58pm
You're absolutely right, Cara. Between politics and political correctitude, negative spin will always rear its ugly head.


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