I am constantly receiving forwarded emails - you probably do also. Some of them puzzle me and sometimes even upset me because I do not understand the spirit in which they are sent. Many of these emails have a political opinion attached to them and I suppose the sender either assumes that I agree with them, is trying to convince me of their superior understanding of the sad state of this country, or it is just their way of bitching. I find many of them insulting and lacking respect for opposing viewpoints. One recently depicted all those Americans that would identify themselves as liberals as lazy, good-for-nothing, parasites on society. (It actually compared them to a lazy dog that lays around the house all day, takes handouts, and does nothing to support himself or deserve his comfortable life.) When I made a brief response to this I was basically told that I don't know what I believe.
My viewpoints have changed drastically over the past 10-15 years and I contend that this change has taken place as my own life has changed, and as I have observed life in my own particular situations at home and at the workplace. In these years I have been exposed to a more extreme diversity of experiences and people than all the years before that. Because I understand that about myself, I also can understand that someone else may have a completely different set of beliefs and opinions than I do based on their own unique life. And I respect their opinions. Those opinions do not anger me. I'm sure they are justified.
There are some conservative views that I may agree with, but when I receive emails with a conservative bent they, almost without fail, are full of name-calling, hatred for those who do not agree and a doomsday mindset about our country. When I see certain conservative talking heads on certain television networks (which I attempt to listen to so that I can hear both sides) I always hear those commentators using their platform to attack other people. They use venomous, hateful and often sarcastic language to make their point(and I change the channel.
One of the things we all treasure about America is freedom of speech, and yes, these folks are using their freedom of speech to attack the president and the opposing political party - but to what end? To me, any fool can get in front of a camera and spout vitriol. How is that helping America? I believe our president should be respected whether he's George Bush or Barack Obama. Snarky emails and rhetoric only serves to divide our nation further. If you think that America is in such a mess - then make it better. Blame and division will certainly not make it better. If you desire the patriotism we had after September 11 then why are you sending emails that portray our country as doomed? I don't get it.
If your political beliefs include Christian morals then why do you vilify those who do not agree with you? Jesus loved the outcast tax collector - He didn't go around preaching about what an awful person he was. In fact, I don't understand at all how Christian principals are being upheld when a politcal party excludes certain Americans from their own pursuit of happiness and rights as equal citizens of this country. WWJD? Anyone with a miniscule knowledge of the bible can use a piece of scripture to prove a point one way or another. The new covenant of love and forgiveness that Jesus brought is what matters.
Personally I don't think America is in any worse shape than it's ever been. We have been through wars, depressions, recessions,energy crises and low morale before. We have crime and poverty and children not graduating from high school just as we always have. And we need to continue to fight these fights. These are all part of an imperfect country in an imperfect world. We all want our individual circumstances to improve for ourselves and our children, but espousing hatred, demonizing our public officials and taking sides will not make it happen.
I wrote this quickly, but I was inspired by an outstanding essay from Newsweek by Theodore B. Olsen. PLEASE read his article HERE.