Peace in our Lifetime

It has come to my attention, and to the attention of anyone reading this blog regularly, that the venom being spewed in the comments section is getting pretty heavy from both right and left. Now, I’m not going to dare suggest that I’m not part of the problem… I most certainly am. I’m in there with the rest of you slugging it out and gnashing teeth. However, this is my pledge to you… no more.

Now that’s not to say that we can’t all disagree and that we can’t share our opinions, lively debate is what makes the internet (and on a larger scale our nation) so fantastic. Without the free-flowing exchange of ideas we would still be cooking what we killed over a fire in our caves. But we’re all really a nation of people that sincerely believe that we have the right ideas to move our country forward. To those of you that take the time to comment on these internet musings of mine I say thank you. It’s because of your passion and your interest in the future of our nation that we have the lives that we so often take for granted.

However, like any group of people with differing ideas, it’s easy to see things get completely out of hand in a hurry. Passionate people on both sides often let emotions get in the way of reasonable discourse, and that threatens our nation much more than it helps. So, starting today, I’m asking for all of us to take a second and think before we speak. Politics matter to me and they matter to you, but they aren’t so important as to cause us all to lose our way and lose our heads in conversation. Nobody knows this more than me. On more than a few occasions I have let my passion for what I believe to be right interfere with what’s really important, causing fights and blow-ups that could have been better handled by just calmly explaining our differences. Political discussion should look like Meet the Press, not The Jerry Springer Show.

Now I want to be clear about something. I will not be censoring your comments or telling you what you can and can’t say. If there is one thing in the world that I hold above all in the highest regard, it’s our freedom of speech. Whether or not I agree with what you have to say, I would never do anything to prevent you from saying it. All that I’m asking is that when we disagree, let’s try to stick to the issues at hand and not lob grenades at the other side that while we feel might be justified, they are in actuality just broad and sweeping declarations that try to paint every member of one group with the same brush.

For example:

Republicans hate poor people. This isn’t true. While I’m sure that there are some Republicans that do actually hate poor people, to declare that everyone in the party is anti-poor is an unfair and baseless attack. Republican economic theory differs widely from a Democratic economic theory, but I assure you that the vast majority of right-wing economists do not have an agenda in mind that includes starving every poor person in the country to death.

Democrats hate Christians: Another falsehood. The Democratic Party is a big tent, just like any other party. There are atheists, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Christians and probably even a few Scientologists in our mix. While there are certainly Democrats that DO hate the idea of any organized religion, there are plenty of Republicans that feel the same way. Saying that all Democrats hate Christianity or that the Democratic Party as a whole is anti-Christian is akin to saying that all Muslims are terrorists. Sure, some are, but certainly not all.

Republicans are racist: I know quite a few racists, and if there’s one thing that I can say about them it’s that party affiliation is the last thing on their mind. I know racist Democrats, Republicans and Independents… none of which chose their party affiliation because it was the “racism party.” Just because Neil Cavuto suggests that banks shouldn’t lend money to minorities or Rush Limbaugh questions Donovan McNabb’s ability as a quarterback, it doesn’t mean that ever member of the Republican Party is a racist. Racism is a very real problem in our nation, and shouldn’t be a political talking point for anyone.

Democrats support terrorists: There is nothing wrong with attempting to understand the mindset that fuels your enemy. Gaining an understanding of what breeds terrorism is not the same thing as appeasing or endorsing the actions of these psychotics in any way, shape or form. We all felt the sting when our country was attacked by terrorist activity, whether it was Oklahoma City, New York, the USS Cole or any other modern tragedy. There is no reason to suggest that because of opposition to certain aspects of foreign policy, Democrats have a warm and fuzzy feeling for terrorists of any kind.

Republicans are dumb, Democrats are snooty intellectuals: Republicans aren’t dumb. Some of the most intelligent and successful men and women in our nation’s history have been proud Republicans. Politically they see the world differently, but that doesn’t make them dumb. While there are CERTAINLY dumb Republicans, there are just as man dumb Democrats. Furthermore, somehow we have allowed the idea of “intellectualism” to become a bad word in this country. I doubt that Thomas Sowell or Henry Kissinger would look at education and information as a bad thing. My only issue with intellect is that I don’t possess enough of it, and never will (to my satisfaction).

Republicans are warmongers, Democrats are cowards: I wouldn’t call Dwight Eisenhower (one of our nation’s most respected military leaders) a warmonger, nor would I call Max Cleland a coward. War, as a generalized issue, is often unavoidable. Both sides will always have issues with how such a thing is conducted, and rightly so. Any time that blood is being spilled here or abroad in combat we should all question every decision, not as an effort to undermine the military, but to ensure that our sons and daughters are being looked after to the best of our ability. Republicans have worked for peace and Democrats won WWII, I don’t see a problem with either of those things.

Republicans are knee-jerk jingoists, Democrats are anti-American: Whether 2009 gives us an Obama administration or a McCain administration, it is the patriotic duty of every American Citizen to question the policies and actions that will shape our lives at home and be branded with our name across the world. There is nothing unpatriotic about dissent or protest over any issue… it’s in the constitution. In fact, whether your party holds the highest office in the land or someone else’s, blind loyalty to the consonant in parentheses next to their name is the exact opposite of patriotism. Republicans understand that our nation isn’t perfect, as do Democrats. We just happen to have differing ideas as to which way is best to correct these imperfections. Whether you find yourself railing against President McCain or President Obama in a few months, the very fact that you care enough to care is evidence that you are, in fact, a patriotic citizen of this nation. Those who do nothing and are led by their own apathy are the real danger to our society.

So, let’s try to be nice to one another. Some of you like McCain’s health care plan, some of you don’t. Some of you support Obama’s tax policy, some of you don’t. But let’s leave the broad attacks and generalizations in the past where they belong. We can, and should differ on the issues. We should get in the trenches and argue it out, backing up our points with research and facts and making our cases for why our ideas are the best ideas. But we don’t need the personal attacks. That’s the lowest form of political discourse, and as damn near all of you are my close friends I can safely vouch for the fact that each and every one of you are better than that.

Let’s all just agree that being trapped in a POW camp would suck, and that arugula is a tasty treat.

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4 Responses to “Peace in our Lifetime”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I’d like to say this: Republicans DO care about poor people. We just care about rich people more.

    And for those who think all Republicans love Jesus, allow me to offer you Mitt Romney. No, really, please take him. We don’t want him.

    If we’re going to argue about things and get personal about it, let’s save it for important things, like the 1994 Philadelphia Eagles and their place in the annals of NFL history.

  2. Ramona Says:

    Sorry Cory that my comments got out of hand. I will not make any more posts because i do get passionate about my cause. I will save them for a face to face conversation. Off the topic dont forget my party saturday night. I am certain is going to be blast. After all “ITS MY BIRTHDAY” :).

  3. shane Says:

    I love each and every one of you!

    But to my Democrat friends, you’ve got to stop hanging out with those terrorists. I’m telling ya, they’re bad people. Ha! I’m just playing!

  4. Aaron Says:

    Really, as far as this whole politics thing goes I’m just scared to death right now about Sarah Palin. That is my foremost concern. The “human being” formerly known as John McCain is scary by himself, but Sarah Palin… oh my. When you have one member of a major party’s ticket running for President and Vice President of the United States of America in the year 2008 — 2008 — being captured on video just three years ago as the subject of a sermon asking that she receive holy protection from… witchcraft (literally, witchcraft)… that is just downright frightening to me.

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