Race, religion and politics are usually subjects that people stay away from discussing in “mixed” company: i.e. around friends that are of a different political party, religion or race. But given that this is an election year and the issues are heating up, discussions are rampant and heated. The news coverage in the past week about how the election has devolved from discussing true issues to “you’re a liar”, “you’re a greedy so and so”, mudslinging and backbiting. The rapidity with which some people take an actual discussion and drag it down to the level of name calling is just appalling and given that it’s because of perceptions based solely on political party really ticks me off. It just shows that if you can’t win an argument on the merits of your opinion, you should just bow out instead of derailing the entire discussion by calling names. Name calling just shows a complete lack of intelligence!
I am a conservative. I vote republican, for the most part, and value the Constitution as written, as opposed to how it is “interpreted”. I want small government, less taxation and to be left alone to raise my family within the Judeo-Christian values that we as a family hold dear. I also want others to be left alone to raise their families with the values they hold dear, Judeo-Christian or otherwise, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.
I want to give to the charities of my choice to help those who are in need, and I don’t want to be forced to support organizations who offend my moral compass. If I was taxed less, I could and would give more to help those who are in need. Even taxed as I am, I do give what I can. What is worse is that my forced charity –I mean tax money — goes towards many “causes” that I find particularly abhorrent: Planned Parenthood for abortion services to name one. Yet I have no say in how it is spent and I am forced to support something that provides services that I find completely immoral. How is that ok?
Let’s also be clear that Christ said to care for the poor, not “let government do it” and being forced to “help” others through taxation isn’t “charity” or compassion. It’s abdication of your responsibility to compassionately assist others by giving from your time, talents and treasure by foisting that responsibility over to government (read “everyone else”). Forcing it out of my pocket through taxation is instead just laziness, not compassion. Telling others they don’t give enough is pompous and arrogant. Especially by people who generally give less to charity than the rest of us.
The minute that I argue or protest any of these things or others the name calling begins. Have a problem with illegal immigrants or welfare reform? “You racist xenophobe!” Support traditional marriage? “You’re a homophobe!” Want lower taxes? “You greedy, uncaring racist!”
I am not, as a conservative, a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, greedy, uncaring person who believes what is mine is mine and the hell with everyone else. That, in a nutshell, is a quick synopsis of the epithets thrown at conservatives, and at me because I am one.
I have heard the “greedy, uncaring what’s mine is mine” epithet directly from an author that I admire, who accused me of being anti-Christian because of her skewed view of the conservative “agenda” against the poor; the “racist, xenophobe” epithets from an acquaintance because of how this person perceived my views on illegal immigration and reverse discrimination, taking a comment made on an internet discussion and twisting it to fit their liberal sensibilities; and constantly by the media and the left just because they can.
This, of course, isn’t one sided. The right does its share of name calling and making assumptions. A group of very close friends of mine all consider themselves “liberal.” Does this mean they are all socialist, baby killing, constitution haters? Of course not! Does it mean they support policies that are socialist, support abortion and “interpretation” of the Constitution until it’s unrecognizable? Absolutely. Does it mean that I always let it be when an issue that I am passionate about is maligned by one of my friends? No. I get rather hot under the collar too. What I try and keep in mind is that they are people of varied backgrounds and family situations, who have made decisions about their opinions based on their experiences. Do I agree with their politics? Absolutely not, but it doesn’t stop me from being their friend. It also doesn’t mean that I jump to conclusions about who they are based solely on their political leanings. I, like them, formed my opinions based on my experience, background and family situation. So why is it when I say something in protest to the slandering of my stance on the issues I am told I am being “unkind and unfair” and that it is “unbecoming of your character and intelligence” (and those are the nice comments)? So, I’m unkind and stupid for holding conservative beliefs and opinions? Really?
Why does anyone feel that disagreement gives them license to personally attack others, instead of just saying that “I disagree with your assertion.”? None of us should make assumptions and personal attacks because of another’s opinions, politics or religion. Shame on those who do so. Maybe the person you are arguing with is wrong, but calling them names and getting nasty certainly won’t change their minds, and may just permanently close their minds to your point of view.
Flies to honey vs. vinegar? Your grandmother had the right idea!