As is well known around the world, America is waist deep in the election year carnival. The issues are out there, lines have been drawn and philosophical battles are being fought. The rhetoric is particularly nasty this time around. Our sitting president is a terrorist-sympathizing Muslim Communist who wants to throw this country into civil war. His presumptive challenger is a tax-dodging, flip-flopping racist whose bat-shit crazy ideas will take us back to the Stone Age. No lie, those are real insults that I’ve read (and double checked for this blog).
I’m a Democrat. I make no secret of that. I wholeheartedly support strict separation of church and state, the right of ALL Americans to marry the people they love. I think our country needs social programs that help the unfortunate and the elderly, and I am willing to help pay for that. I also support a woman’s right to choose if, and when, she has offspring; I think in this day and age of global economic instability it is incredibly irresponsible to pop out children like Pez candies. I think we should NOT be the world’s police force, and think war is evil, but I wholeheartedly support the men and women who wear the uniforms of the United States Armed Forces. I just don’t support Presidents who make up reasons to go to war.
So that’s me. There are, obviously, many more issues than the ones above, but those are the hot button topics most people are discussing this year.
In response to my attempts at civilized debate, I have been disparagingly called a Liberal, stupid, ignorant, an asshole, uninformed, a fool, a Marxist (my favorite), and a Communist. Heck, even my own husband spoke disparagingly of me the other day. Even though, in retrospect, it is amusing, it highlights the seemingly growing trend of Americans to hurl labels at each other without knowing anything about each other. That’s dangerous. That’s divisive. It creates an atmosphere of hate and intolerance for anyone who is different, which brings us right back to the 1950s, when people thought nothing of calling each other by pejoratives related to race and color. Legally sanctioned cyberbullying at the national level cloaked in the guise of free speech. Whatever happened to civility?
There’s also an increasing mob mentality in this country, where people band together and are PROUD of their labels, PROUD of their ignorance, PROUD of their bigotry, PROUD to be on the “other side”. (Consider the recent Chick Fil-A circus.) This strikes me as incredibly dangerous. How are we going to move forward as a society if we revel in our compartmentalization, revel in our stupidity?
I think there needs to be a moratorium on labeling. We need to stop being an angry, bigoted society. There is room in this country for immigrants and gays and atheists and people who don’t speak English. Heck, our families were all immigrants at some point, we all have gays in our family trees, we all know people with religious beliefs that are different, and – shock of all shocks – English was not the native language here when the Europeans arrived. We are all human and deserving of respect and honor. It’s far past time that we remembered that.
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