Sunday, January 29, 2012

not my enemy

The presidential campaign and the sideshow that accompanies it has taken a turn towards the absurd. Some commentators have shown beyond a doubt that they have tin ears and blind eyes. It is one thing to be cynical but quite another to be inflexible. I don't think I have to name names, 'cause I think you know who I mean.

It is bad enough to view efforts to provide healthcare for all as dangerous or to portray seeking to have peacemaking a key component of our foreign policy as weakness. It is harmful to characterize calls for civility in our political discussions as censorship. But when an appeal from the president for teamwork and basic fairness is denounced as an appeal for class warfare we have reached the stone ear stage indeed.

We are all Americans, we are all in this together. I think we need to pause and remember that, no matter what our political, religious, or social views. We share this country, and we must remember to share. No one gets to hog it all and whoever is elected in November will be President of all and deserves our respect. That is the American way.

I am a Democrat. I believe in an active government, acting as "we the People" in carrying out the desires of the nation for a "more perfect Union", providing for the "common defense", and promoting the "general welfare" espoused in the Preamble to the Constitution. I believe we have a moral obligation to provide for those less fortunate and not hold ourselves aloof and simply blame them for "not trying hard enough". And I believe that government is "us",not some distant "other" to be feared, opposed, or "limited".

As such I obviously have serious differences with all of the GOP presidential candidates and their supporters in media and in elected office. I will work to oppose their efforts and argue against their positions. But, and this is a very big "but', they are not my enemy. We are not in a war, not for the "soul of America" nor for"civilization", and I refuse to portray our political disagreements in such militaristic terms.

Even when others may slip into that mode, I refuse. If the (to my mind) unthinkable happens and a Republican wins the White House I will respect them as President , just as I have any other President. I will have discussions with those with whom I disagree in a spirit of mutual respect. I will walk away from, but not demean, those who seek fights and refuse to even listen to opposing views. I may brand opposing views as absurd when warranted, but will work to refrain from making personal attacks. As I have said before, we are all Americans and we must all work together for what is best for everyone.

This holds true for our actions in the world. Make no mistake, we have real enemies out there, folks who have taken up arms against us and would seek to do us harm. We must actively oppose that. But we must not go around looking for trouble, nor brand those nations who may differ with us on policies as "not our friends" (like the attitudes of many in the US toward France and Germany over the Iraq war). For those of us who hold to faith in God we have a divine mandate to "seek peace and pursue it" and "as much as it depends on you, live at peace with all men". Blessings are called out for peacemakers, not warmongers, and we should not take that lightly. We all must "share" this world.

Set your "weapons" down and let's all work together to make this nation, and our world, be the best it can be, where nobody goes hungry, or sick,or homeless, or friendless. We all can make a difference...if only we try.

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