- Politics and Social Issues
Evidently I Hate the United States: A Moment with Bill Reflection
The Impetus for This Article
I had a pretty good friend recently call me un-American. The exact sentence went something like this: “All Liberals are un-Americans.”
It was such a ludicrous statement that I didn’t even know what to say. Finally I told him I was a Liberal, to which he responded, “then you hate America.”
But he wasn’t done. He then proceeded to really get himself worked up, and eventually his voice rose and he was screaming about political issues.
He was screaming!
I was afraid he was going to blow a gasket.
I was also saddened.
How did it come to this in the United States? How can my political beliefs be such a threat to the serenity of an otherwise fairly rational human being? Why was it so important to him that he be right and I be wrong?
We See It All the Time, Right?
No, this was not an isolated incident.
Turn on the television and watch some of the political pundits. Read some of the editorials in the newspaper. Hell, stop by the forums on the writing site HubPages. Get into some of the discussions on those forums. I promise you it will eventually become a name-calling shouting match between two polar-opposite viewpoints.
What’s the point?
Why is the name-calling necessary? All Democrats are idiots! All Republicans were dropped on their heads at birth! Greeners don’t care about this country; all they want to do is hug an owl!
Has the level of political debate really been lowered to that of an average elementary school playground?
For that matter, have all levels of debate on any topic been similarly lowered?
Pick your poison: abortion, taxes, religion, immigration, gun control, all guaranteed to bring out the worst in many voting Americans.
Where Does This Irrational Behavior Come From?
I have to assume that there is a feeling of being threatened at play here. How else do you explain irrational behavior like that? How are my Liberal beliefs a threat to any of you? Really, I want an answer. This country was built upon the backs of men, and women, of opposing viewpoints, so why do my beliefs suddenly cause otherwise rational human beings to have strokes?
The responses are so out of proportion to the threat as to seem ridiculous.
It is, quite frankly, illogical, insulting and laughable, all at the same time, and that’s not easy to do.
My thoughts go back to 1960. I was twelve years old that year and it was an election year. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, was running against Richard M. Nixon, a Republican. Two men sitting at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but what I remember as being the bigger issue that year was the fact that Kennedy was a Catholic. I remember one of our neighbors saying that if Kennedy was elected he would seek advice from the Pope. I remember another neighbor severing ties with our family because we were Catholic and that made us….are you ready for this…that made us devil-worshippers.
Again, illogical, insulting and laughable, all at the same time.
Let Me Tell You What Is Definitely Not Going to Work
Allow me to give a tip to those who feel insults and shouting are necessary. You will not convince me of anything by calling me names, nor will you convince me of anything by shouting at me. It just won’t work. In fact, what you are going to accomplish is to broaden the gap between us. Maybe that’s your goal. I don’t know. I’m just telling you, with certainty, that my first response to that kind of political or religious or ideological debate is to tune you out completely.
The only chance, and I mean the absolute only chance, you have of getting me to listen to you is to present your arguments logically, rationally and respectfully. If you can’t bring that to the table then don’t sit down.
If you are a rational human being, you know what I say is true. None of us enjoys being screamed at. None of us enjoys having our patriotism questioned. None of us enjoys being called names. You are every bit as loyal to this country as I am. The fact that we disagree on how this country should be run does not change that fact. I know you love your country, as do I. I’m fine with that. I don’t give a rat’s patootie that you disagree with me. In fact, I welcome it. How incredibly boring it would be if everyone believed as I do.
I can only think of two times in our history when there was near-unanimous agreement on anything….right after Pearl Harbor and right after 9/11. That’s it! All the rest of the time, on all the rest of the topics, this country’s citizens and political representatives have disagreed. And that’s how it should be in this country.
So there is only one logical path to take.
A House Divided
President Lincoln told us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. For that time, and that issue, those words held great truth. I would go a step further and say that those words need to be remembered today as well, but in a slightly different vein.
A house divided on issues, today, can most certainly stand. A house unwilling to work for compromise and solutions has no chance of standing.
Here is one point I think we can all agree on: this country, the United States of America, has some serious problems. You may disagree with me about the nature of those problems. You may disagree with me about the cause of those problems. You may even disagree with me about the solution to those problems, but there is little doubt that problems exist, from homelessness to the treatment of veterans to the economy to immigration, there are serious problems to tackle and they need to be tackled by serious people.
Not by playground bullies!
Are you interested in solving these problems or are you interested in calling me names? I sometimes wonder.
In the Meantime
While you consider my last question, I’ll be here in Olympia discussing serious problems with serious people. When I’m done with that I think I’ll go burn the American flag because hey, everyone knows I hate America, and then I think I’ll go sign up with ISIS because hey, everyone knows I’m un-American. Then I think I’ll scream at my wife because she disagreed with me yesterday on a matter, and then I think I’ll go slap some little kids for annoying me when I was trying to take a nap, and then…….
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)