Remember back to the Gonzales nomination?
Well, at the time, a bunch of bloggers — around 500 or so — put up a banner on their site protesting the Gonzales nomination. I was one of those bloggers. After the dust had cleared, a bunch of the bloggers started talking via email and decided to keep a loose affiliation together — the Indie 500 — to attempt to coordinate and share information to help get news and articles spread more quickly through the blogosphere. It was a great idea.
Unfortunately, I’ve since been watching the mailing list with a slowly growing sense that I really don’t belong with this group. There are a few participants who seem to delight in going for the throat of any opponent who gets in their sights. Namecalling, personal attacks, Photoshop photo edits — stuff I’d expect out of fraternities. What’s worse, though, is that nobody seems to call anyone else on it and say, “I don’t think that’s the right way to get the point across. I think you are doing more harm to us collectively than any good you may achieve.”
So maybe this isn’t the crowd for me. I dunno. I happen to think that this continuing trend of demonizing our political opponents is more evil than anything else that is happening to us today — and hate seems to be the only truly bi-partisan value in this country of mine. As I’ve commented before, polarization seems to be the order of the day and it shows us all to be idiots. I want no part of contributing to it and I want no part of endorsing it. I am adult enough to disagree with someone on major issues without needing to personally despise them. I am educated enough to handle the fact that thinking adults can make decisions I don’t agree with without somehow becoming instantly stupid, uninformed, lazy, or apathetic. I value my integrity enough to stand up for principled behavior wherever I see it, in whomever I see it.
I don’t need tags of Red State, Blue State, conservative, liberal, or other pigeonholes to direct my thinking and tell me who the enemy is, thank you very much. I don’t believe I have nearly as many enemies as people seem to be trying so hard to get me to think I do. People who live in Iowa aren’t my enemy. People who vote Republican aren’t my enemy. People who want to legalize gay marriage aren’t my enemy. People who are dissatisfied with the current administration aren’t my enemy.
People who try to get me to stop seeing other people as individuals — who try to get me to hate others because of their political affiliation — they are my enemy. And they are yours.
I believe that all people are made equal by God regardless of race, creed, color, orientation, gender, or place of birth. Doesn’t that — shouldn’t that — include the place they happen to live, the color of their state, and their political beliefs?
If you expect others to respect your beliefs and the life you have chosen, you must return that respect no matter how much you disagree with their beliefs and choices. When I was in the Navy, they told us we didn’t have to like the officer in order to salute; at the very least, we saluted the insignia on the collar and all it represented. I don’t have to like you or agree with your choices to respect and honor your right to make them. But when I deem you to be my inferior, I repudiate with my every action the high-minded words that flow from my mouth.
I don’t really care who started the fight. This blue/red liberal/conservative he-said/she-said shit, my friends and readers, has got to stop. Because as long as we indulge in it, we cede our country, ouselves, every gift God has given us, and every fine thing we have made, to those who would abuse them. We willingly place ourselves into slavery to evil.
All over a color.