This weekend I was out to dinner and a friend that I rarely see came up to me and pulled me over to her table. Immediately she descended upon me.
“I can’t even be your friend anymore. You are so stupid and your blog is so idiotic that I de-friended you on Facebook. I don’t want to have to see your trash anymore!”
“And….how are your drinks?” I replied.
A friend of hers at the table asked: “Is he a liberal?”
Caught off guard by this unexpected assault, I smiled and said: “So, I’m guessing you guys like…President Trump?”
“Anyone is better than any liberal!”
I was more than willing to have a sensible conversation and eventually settle into a few laughs, but this group was enraged by the mere fact that I was a liberal. They were not about to offer anything except: “You’re stupid and we can’t talk to you!”
Feeling a bit too defensive at this point, I countered with, “We can disagree on some issues, but I don’t think stupid is something you can call me…”
I feigned a laugh and walked away. I heard someone say: “He can’t even make an argument.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t do this to incite anger. I do this for civil debate where ideas can be argued, even aggressively, and more often than not, where we can disagree civilly. But what I encountered was hate.
I always make an effort to find a clearer perspective and so the next morning, I opened up my blog and re-read a year of posts looking for unfair analysis or extreme bias. I will concede that if I were a Republican/Conservative I certainly wouldn’t conclude that Gary Kroeger loves my politics, but I didn’t see anything without thoughtful research.
I am not a Democrat or a liberal without reasons, just as the Republicans and conservatives I respect are for their reasons. But a lion share of the public is finding their position from emotional allegiances without logic.
Information is how we calibrate our compass when navigating the waters of opinion and the overwhelming evidence in my observation is that the Republican party is being steered by extremism following a theocratic, imperialist doctrine.
Therein lies the problem. If you look at modern Republican-Conservatism there no consistent connection to even their own history.
Lincoln, it can be argued, was socially progressive. Eisenhower embraced many progressive ideas that are anathema to today’s Republicans: Social programs, social security, unionization, healthcare reform. Eisenhower even warned, having been the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in WWII, against the growth of the “Military-Industrial Complex.”
Barry Goldwater understood that Christian zealotry could not be allowed to control conservative philosophy. Nixon gave us the EPA and proposed health care reform similar to “Obamacare.” Ronald Reagan (the standard by which every conservative is now measured) supported social security and was quoted to say, “Church and State are, and must remain, separate.”
You’ll find very few touch points by which to compare today’s Republicans to a consistent ideology that connects them throughout history.
“God and the Bible” is a familiar rally cry to crystalize conservatives with their beliefs, and while there is nothing wrong with being a proud Christian and believing in the Bible, what is fundamentally wrong is to believe you are a truer American because of those beliefs.
This is the difference I consistently observe between political affiliations and why I align with liberalism and the Democratic Party. Liberals and Democrats define themselves with terms of inclusion, not exclusion. We don’t say, “I am a Democrat because I am a Christian.” We are more likely to say, “I am a Democrat because I believe all religions, or even lack of faith, belong in a free country.”
We are more likely to say when identifying our adherence to the Constitution that “Liberals believe in the civil rights the Constitution guarantees to all Americans regardless of personal orientation.”
We are more likely to say, “I love America because of the nobility of her promise of Freedom” than we are to say, “America never apologizes.”
This brings me back to the confrontation this post started with.
I’m not stupid because I’m a Liberal or a Democrat. I’m stupid because I can’t do algebra.
I’m not a Liberal or a Democrat without reasonable, thoughtful and researched information and observations made throughout my life. I am compelled to align with what I believe to be more relevant platforms in the fight for human rights, and peaceful and healthy existence. If you are a Conservative and a Republican because you believe history reveals a better realization of your values, then fine, you’re not stupid either.
You just might require…less evidence…in my opinion.