It was surely a sign of the times: a middle of the road conservative was staring across the table at a hard line Democrat. I often wondered how our country got to this place where there was such a division. Neither party would come to middle ground even if it was for the greater good because each party would rather slit their own wrists for their agenda. Not too much made sense anymore to me. And civil unrest feels like America is driving in reverse to the 60's. Not only are hard lines drawn in the sand, but the party labels have become rules for discrimination all on their own.
If you are in a blue state, the reds have to get at the back of the bus and vice versa. Party affiliation is now near the top of the list for marital compatibility. Gone are the days where people could cohabitate but differ on political opinions without killing one another. How did we get to the point where communication stops or becomes aggressive when you disclose which party you favor? It was a mystery surely to go unsolved just like fixing the national deficit.
The Chairman shooed everyone out of the room, but I knew people were standing behind the glass window. So this is how politicians deal with those who disagree with them. It really didn't matter if I made sense or not, I was a Republican. Even if I agreed with the man, he would probably still beat me into submission.
"Fargo. Your kind make me furious. Imbeciles! You would argue with a pencil."
"I'm not sure what that means, Mr. Chairman."
He threw a chair into the wall. Like I hadn't seen that trick before.
"You know what gets my goat, Fargo, is people like you who are too stupid to see the writing on the wall. We got kids killing kids and shootings everywhere. We have to stop this anarchy. Damn Republicans are going to stall things to a point we get nowhere. You are bringing this country down. How many kids do we have to lose before you gun toting psychos will get a clue we need some changes? Huh? How many is too many?"
With calm resolve, I answered his questions, ignoring the stabs at Republicans. "Mr. Chairman, one child is too many. But what has changed? The availability of firearms? Are they breaking into a sporting goods store and stealing high powered firearms, high capacity mags, ammo? Not likely. The reports I have seen the firearms are coming from the suspects' homes or associates, mostly. And what can you tell us about the behavioral profile of the killers? They are all disturbed boys who were "different", "loners", "bullied", or "mentally disturbed." Not one of them had serial killer mentality nor were they the nice boy next door. So what does that tell us? That tells us we have some psychological problems going on with our youth. They are disconnected. Your solutions are to ban guns and lock up gun owners because they didn't keep their firearms out of the hands of killers."
"Fargo, the guns they are using are not necessary. They have no purpose."
"That statement says a lot about the way things are heading in this country. Ban these words because they are not politically correct, say it this way. Ban these words or those words because they have no purpose or the purpose has changed. People can't stand up and speak anymore because they might have repercussions. Although the word thug has no color, we must not use it anymore because people will assume you are talking about black suspects. What words have you banned because they are too white? And firearms are evil-ban them all and then the police won't have to carry them. Yeah. That makes sense. Let me fart rainbows. Even though the pledge of allegiance was recited in schools for decades and we grew up just fine and respectful, thought nothing of it other than it was required and part of our patriotism, we must stop saying it. Why? Because the word 'God' is in it. Stop spending money because 'In God We Trust' is on there. When are you going to stop flying the American flag in front of government establishments? Not only do you ban God in school, but it's almost to the point of walking down the street and singing Jesus Loves Me will get you crucified."
"Actually, we have been tossing around an idea like that. We have got to stop being so offensive."
"Are you going to blow sunshine up everyone's ass? Spread your happy, happy-joy, joy? Why can't we embrace each other's differences and appreciate one another for them rather than all conform to be the same. That's actually what I think you Democrats are up to is an elite race where we are all the same...wear the same clothes, talk the same. Shit, what color are you going to describe the new race-we are the Achromatics?"
"Your smartass comments disturb me. It's heathens like you who can't see progress."
"Oh, I like progress, I just don't understand where you are going with this country. I don't understand the race baiters, the civil unrest, and banning everything you disagree with. I see the racial tension and I know it is there, but where did it come from? Why have we reverted to a time where color lines are defining us? Oh, I know. You blame it on the cops. They did it. "
"Law enforcement must be reformed! Guns have to be controlled. People need to be controlled. We have Neanderthals everywhere and hate running amok. If people can't change on their own, we need rules, laws to make them comply. They must conform."
"That's all good and well, but just because they comply doesn't mean they agree and they might be drumming up a way to revolt or change the law when you aren't in office. You can't change the stripes on a zebra. Make positive change which makes sense. People are motivated and inspired to do good things by positive influence and leading by example. Most have it within them. But how do you address the ones who are a negative product of their environment?"
"That's what I'm talking about. We control them. Control the guns. Control the religions in pubic and in schools. Control how you treat people and what they say."
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. "
"Another reason why you conservatives are screwing everything up. "
"Ralph Waldo Emerson."
"That's who said that. "
"So what. He was probably Republican."
"We might finally agree. He was an abolitionist who were mostly all Republicans. Democrats mostly comprised of the KKK and the opposition. What do you think of that?"
"I think you are bending history, Fargo."
"Funny how you would say that. I think we could say the same of you. Nature is so busy making individuals and uniqueness, and you want a single mold. I am pretty sure that is bastardized from U.G. Krishnamurti. "
"Stop your babble!"
"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."
"Fargo. I don't want to listen to your fucking nonsense. I want you to convert to my way of thinking on this gun control matter."
He slammed down Stangard's notebook which he left behind when he was ordered to leave. Now I was curious about the notes on that paper. It was going to be an unsolved mystery. Nuts. That was going to bother me the entire time. Now I knew what a suspect feels like during interrogation. What are they writing? What are they thinking? I had always been on the other side. I focused my attention back to the circus act in front of me.
"John F. Kennedy. He said that. Oh, wait. I think he was a Democrat."
"You are getting us off track."
"I'm merely arguing my points of difference with you."
"We have to have common social rules and norming which includes values and laws. This includes guns, health care, discrimination laws, amnesty, laws against one religion, etc."
"I agree we should not discriminate. I mean, people are people. I don't agree with everyone. Sometimes we can change people's ways or minds, but sometimes it is more than that. Sometimes we have to let them be even if we don't agree with them. How far do you squeeze a person? You were one of those who always put the square peg in the square hole. I know it. You never tried to put the round peg in the square hole. You never even attempted it out of curiosity or mistake. Why? Because that is the rules."
The Chairman's face was turning read and he pursed his lips.
"See, you liberals can't even laugh anymore at something funny or smile at something amusing not even at yourself. On a serious note, you are trying to put everyone in the same box. It isn't going to work."
"Fargo, you are crazy, you are a misfit. Nothing you have to give is a viable solution. It's easy to ban the guns and take away the means."
"Misfits and crazies are going to change the world. You can glorify us or vilify us but we are going to change the world. We are genius."
"Shut up. What nonsense you spew."
"Could you please address the issues at hand. I could care less about the past, history, or quotes."
"So how can you come to a sensible solution for our societal problems? People. Fix the people, fix the kids-but not by conforming everyone. Stop trying to control religious freedom. Stop trying to stifle speech. Refocus your energy on something you can fix. The more you try to give out restrictions, the more people revolt. Give them services, reach out, vocational rehab, rebuild neighborhoods, community centers, parks, activities. Get some industry up all in these states. We are pitiful as a nation. We have outsourced everything and cut our own throat. You know where we can regain their trust, reach our kids? The arts, literature, and sports. Farms, good food, organic, fix the food. Fix the schools. There. You have my opinions."
"Fargo, that all costs money."
"Since when did money stop you? When it was corporate? Lobby costs? Personal gain? These implementations cost money, volunteers, expertise, buy-in from the communities, more money to sustain all of it, and personal investment. But let's not count all the billions America throws away. We don't invest in our own nation. How do you expect to have positive growth if you won't endow our youth with a future which is prosperous and healthy?"
"Blah, blah, blah."
"Take your balls out of your purse."
"You need to get your head right."
"You need to conform, Fargo.
"When do I get those green M & M's?"
"Isn't that what you give people for the magic conversion?"
"Ugh, Fargo. Green M & M's are for something else."
"Is it the blue ones?"