When Did Politics Become a Measure of Character?
One headline described how an Arizona gun store owner posted a sign saying that those who voted for President Obama are “Not Welcome” in his store.
While another headline, also from Arizona, told of a woman who ran over her husband with a car because he didn’t vote for Romney. Ouch!
Have you noticed that politics has really become personal in the last decade? Amazingly, it is now a badge of honor for many to wave the flag of their party while castigating their very neighbors for wearing the Scarlet Letter of the other party. It isn’t funny and it isn’t cute. Instead it is driving a wedge between human beings on issues of personal preference.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our society is not more civilized for drawing irrational lines in the sand merely to defend a notion that exists solely in the eye of the beholder. Science cannot determine the “correct” political party any more than it can determine what makes a woman beautiful, or what the objectively best food is. The simple fact is that going to war over politics is just as stupid as battling to prove that beef tastes better than chicken. Simply put, things upon which reasonable minds can differ cannot, as a matter of law, be considered objective—for example, political preference. (What’s that? I can hear someone in the audience telling me that anyone who doesn’t believe as he does isn’t reasonable, so his differing opinion doesn’t count. Okay, I am going to excuse this brainiac to consider what he just said—let’s the rest of us move on.)
The pitch I am making is that it is okay to think differently than your neighbor. To do so is, or used to be, the major hallmark of the American way of life. But now the water has turned to cider and hate and vilification are unceremoniously shining through. Political signs now appear at places of business—once a major societal taboo for fear of alienating paying customers.
I wrote of this “civil discourse” disappearance last year as a commentary which appeared in three major newspapers:
As if to prove the point that civility in politics is disappearing, responses I received to that article ranged from bad language calling me a rabble-rouser, to outright threats to my safety. Exactly which party do you suppose gets all lathered up if they don’t get exactly what they want—even if the result is that of a democratic vote? Hmmm. Want a hint? Just click here.
By the way, if you are getting red in the face and physically mad by simply reading this blog post, then I suggest that you may have just proven my point. I’m sure you’ll find some grownup way to vent your frustrations—like signing a petition asking your state to secede from the union. This link will get you started.