Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not A Thing In Common

(Warning: This is a fair and balanced political opinion piece. Only read if you are a sane and rational person)

If you believe the news, whether you want to label it conservative or liberal, we have nothing in common and the evil from the other side is coming to get us. You're either a bleeding heart liberal or a right wing conservative. Obama is the devil or Mitt Romney will send us back to the 1950's with his crazy Mormon views. Labels, labels, labels. It's how our politics are spoon fed to us, and I'm absolutely through with it. It's incredibly lazy and shame on us as a nation for accepting it. I'm not deluded enough to believe that we all have the perceived time to research every issue, every candidate and every media source, but please don't regurgitate something that Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken spouts on the air. They're cashing large checks because they move your meter with ridiculous assertions and hyperbole, and by how they manage to stratify us as a nation. We are taught to despise that which does not match our own identity: Judeo Christians vilify Muslims, Republicans disparage Democrats, blacks accuse whites. All to distract us from the great truth: The ties that bind are deeper and stronger than the chasms that seperate.


We all struggle for the same things. The writers of the Declaration of Independence put it this way: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It seems so simple, but its really what we're all after and most of us are struggling in the same way to get there. The vast majority of us either pay rent or a mortgage, have utilities to pay, and then add cars, amenities, food, school. We all struggle with how we're going to support ourselves, our children, our aging parents. We consume, we pay taxes, we work. Most of us would want to pay less in taxes, earn more, have less unemployment, have a safe secure future for ourselves and our families. Yet, we still have nothing in common? Oh wait, I forgot. Your faith, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation. That is what makes us different? Don't we all just want to practice our faith without fear, be treated as equals in our society, allowed to love who we are compelled to love. So if our differences are what is used to divide us, shouldn't our acceptance be that which unites us. If I expect the right to express myself in my own fashion, should I not be the first to defend another's right to the same. In a sense we have forgotten what it means to be a true American: the right to civil dissent and civil discord should be defended by every citizen and on every account, even if they disagree with the point of view of the one they are defending (i.e. I am a Pro-Life supporter and express my opinion vehemently but I must defend the Pro Choice supporters right to express their opinion and even more so I must defend their civil liberty to practice their choice unimpeded). Imagine how much more could be accomplished in our Great Society if we were all committed to reaching a common ground. If the idealogical precepts we held dear, were those of defending the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of our fellow citizens and not the promotion of our own individual ideals.
Yes, its a brave new world, and maybe our candidate won or maybe he lost. Maybe that ballot issue or levy that was important to us passed or failed. Either way, remember that we are all Americans and have one President, one Congress, and one Supreme Court. We make change through healthy debate not derisive assaults, through coalitions not demonizations, through partnerships not fractures. Together everyone achieves more, that is what makes us a team. We're passionate because we care, but we're all on the same team.