Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teach Us to Care for People, For All--Not Just for Some

it's a rainy tuesday here, and, like last tuesday, my schedule hasn't allowed me time to compose a post until now. i prefer to prepare my weekly posts a day or two ahead of my usual tuesday morning posting time or to write in the early hours of tuesday morning, but that hasn't been possible for the last couple of weeks. in the past, this would have been upsetting to me, but i find that these days, i'm able to accept the day's schedule as it happens with less stress than in the past.

today, i'm going to comment on what's going on in the political arena. it's no secret that i'm a liberal democrat and have little in common philosophically with conseratives of either party. as i've observed the republican primaries and listened to comments of the candidates and their supporters, several positions have been disturbing to me: the intolerance for opposing ideas, the disparaging attitudes toward women and the lgbt community, the suggestion that the poor and the unemployed are in those conditions by their own choosing, and the underlying racism of the opponents of the president.

as i grew up observing politics in the usa, i was impressed by the respectful tone of the debate by those of opposing viewpoints. it was expected that accomodations would be reached between the majority and minority parties that allowed legislation that benefitted the country to move forward. those who wrote our constituion were wise enough to create a system that makes it more difficult for the majority to tyrannize the minority, and legislators worked together to find common ground, resulting in laws that could be supported by both parties, which is often the most sound legislation. now, we find ourselves in gridlock, where a republican majority in the house passes legislation that has no chance of becoming law rather than working to find a middle way that enables bills to be passed by a bipartisan majority. in the senate, rules enable a republican minority to hold the country hostage, even when the democratic majority seeks to find common ground that would permit bipartisan support. we've watched time and again as the president has reached out to the minority party, only to be told that republicans will support him only if he accedes to all of their demands. several legislators are retiring because of the poisoned political climate in the capitol, and from my vantage point blame for this situation can be placed at the feet of the republicans in congress.

i want to write about issues affecting women and the lgbt community and the thinly veiled racism in the current primary campagin in another post, not because these issues are less important, but because i make an effort not to write over-long posts. it is the attitude of intolerance for the ideas and perspectives of others and the role that many conservative christians are playing in promoting such intolerance that troubles me most, and these other issues largely grow out of that intolerance. the claiming of the "moral high ground" by conservative christians that asserts that "since i am right, since my view is supported by bible proof texts, since i am the inheritor the 'christian tradition of the founding fathers,' you must be wrong when you disagree with me" is particularly dangerous in what was intended to be a secular democracy, free of religious intolerance and bullying.

my prayer today is that we can return to the mutual respect and tolerance that has characterized our country during its best and brightest periods and that citizens of the usa begin to look toward the common good, that which binds us together, rather than dwelling on our differences. shalom.

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