Thursday, July 21, 2005
We're Really Not That Different
After a long political volley on my favorite author's blog yesterday about Bush, the war, and the lame-o stereotypes of both parties ( http://alisavaldesrodriguez.blogspot.com/2005/07/wall-street-urinal.html) I started thinking....
Here we are: educated, talented, bilingual, multicultural, sassy women who classify ourselves as being on completely different sides of the political fence, but are we really that different? I started this discussion with a friend a few weeks ago, that there are so many people that choose one side or the other, further solidifying the polarization in this country, but I think that we come from very similar places. We believe in equal human rights, have interests in several different cultures, champion the American Dream by encouraging and fostering safe but fair immigration policies, respect the men and women in the military regardless of our feelings about the war, (I mean the ones who actually respect them, not the ones who say so to escape anti-patriotic accusations) want our country to be a safe place free from threats of terrorism, paranoia, and meal-free flights. (I'm hungry in the air and peanuts just don't cut it!) What I believe is the primary difference between us is how to actually achieve those things. Some say war is a necessary evil, the lives lost on our side are a "patriotic sacrifice", lives lost on the other side are out of self defense only . Others say war is never justified, and lives lost on our side is a result of money hungry politicians using our men and women in uniform as pawns in an evil game, lives lost on the other side is borderline genocide.
I don't love war. I don't love death. I don't love discontent between nations, and I definitely don't want to be the one on the frontlines. However, other things I don't love include: totalitarian dictators, senseless slaughter of people regardless of their religion, national origin or political affiliation, terrorism, and ignorant do-gooders who think their benevolence overrides the evil in the world. This is where we are so close in ideology, but so far away from a solution. Each side claims they have the "real scoop" that the media is hiding. Conservatives think the media doesn't support it's troops and tries to expose them as murderous torturers who are capitalizing on opportunities to slaughter and humiliate the enemy. Liberals think the media is a right-wing machine that is hiding the real numbers that could swing the votes to the Left. A common number I've heard is "100,000 civilians" have been killed over there.
The thing is, I don't believe either of those extremist positions. If 100,000 civilians were killed in cold blood as an attempt to annihilate a race of people, I would have a serious problem with that. I also have a serious problem with all the Iraqis and Kuwaitis who have been murdered by Saddam Hussein. I have a serious problem with bombings happening everywhere and then the people who get bombed turning around and apologizing to their attackers for their country's sins. Refusing to believe that there is just pure evil in the world, and not just in the Republican party. I often think that people who are at extreme ends of the spectrum are extremely sheltered, privileged people who either believe that our country can do no wrong, or our country can do no right.
This is where I and others like me come in. What about a political party that really wanted to know the truth? What about a political party that truly searched for the answers and didn't just disagree with information because it conflicted with their ideologies? What about a political party that fought tirelessly for human rights but at the same time recognized that evildoers deserved punishment and not a justification for their actions by the "enlightened"? What about a political party that believed in fiscal responsibility, self-preservation, and provided necessary social services instead of playing into the pockets of lobbyists? (I haven't been impressed with the budget cuts in social service in my area of the country) What about a party that practiced what it believed in and not just knee-jerk reactions to the opposition? (I truly believe some people don't admit some of their beliefs in fear of siding with or being grouped with the opposition) What about a political party in which the very core of ideology was a love of this country and the pride in being American? (I feel the Left has gotten away from this, to say you love this country has come to mean you embrace greed, imperialism, and backwoods Klansmen) What about a political party that recognized wrongdoing but embraced the wonderful aspects of our government and freedoms? (And acknowledged that in order to preserve these freedoms, unsavory acts such as war and restricted liberties are sometimes necessary) What about a political party that got rid of abortion as a political platform? What about a party that strived to fulfill the American dream for immigrants and didn't group them into the "other" category? What about a party that truly examined our motivations for war instead of automatically praising or criticizing it? What about a political party that recognized that they don't speak for God all the time, (using religion as a political platform introduces an unnecessary and dangerous component that excludes some and elevates others to infallibility) but that religious freedom and the ability to openly express one's faith is a necessary and important right?
This is my dream...this is my hope that we accept that we will not always agree but our binding thread is the land we live upon, the air we breathe, and the freedoms we love and share.
The problem is choosing who to believe.