Bryan Caskey brings this to my attention as being “right in your wheelhouse of looking past partisan politics and seeing people as people,” and I very much appreciate it.
Sorry, Miss Manners, but this easily qualifies as the best thing I have ever read in a newspaper advice column. No contest.
It starts with a letter from a young man who describes himself as “ more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values,” who “just can’t deal with my father anymore” because “He’s a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics.”
Right off, you want to give this kid a slap upside the head. Or I do. Figuratively speaking, anyway. But Andrew W.K. (born Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier) does something much, much better, and along the way gently makes me feel guilty for wanting to slap anyone upside the head, even figuratively. He begins:
Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn’t one. You’ve reduced your father — the person who created you — to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don’t consider your dad a person of his own standing — he’s just “your dad.” You’ve also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that’s left in its place is an argument that can never really be won. And even if one side did win, it probably wouldn’t satisfy the deeper desire to be in a state of inflamed passionate conflict.
The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen….
But you should just go ahead and read the whole thing. It’s amazing. It runs the gamut of things that ought to be said again and again with fierce conviction, from the UnParty view of politics to a theology of Love.
Who is this sage, Andrew W.K.? Well, Wikipedia describes him this way:
Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier (born May 9, 1979), better known by his stagenameAndrew W.K., is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, entertainer,motivational speaker, and music producer. He was the host of the television seriesDestroy Build Destroy. As a musician, he is known for his singles “Party Hard” and “We Want Fun“.
Apparently, on the side, he also dabbles in wisdom. And at least in this case, does so better than anyone I’ve read recently…