I Would Encourage Unity If I Were President
Today I had the chance to talk with a friend while our children played at a popular trampoline place. She was lamenting how divisive our nation has become. She is right! Because of so many social justice agendas, Americans are taking sides at an alarming rate. We start to join “groups” of people and then it becomes an attitude of “US” vs. “THEM” each and every day.
Blacks and whites feel more racial tension now than they did in the 1970’s. The LGBTQ and religious groups face off all over the nation as a battle of freedom vs. hypocrites. You see division and dissention everywhere:
pro-life vs. pro-choice
tech savvy vs. Luddites
educated vs. uneducated
rich vs. poor
breast-feed vs. formula
fit vs. fat
city vs. rural
working moms vs. stay at home moms
anthropogenic global climate change vs. natural global climate change (these are the supposed climate deniers that some people want to put in jail).
Oh no! I don’t fit neatly into either category! I’m some of the items marked in green and others marked in red. Now what? It feels as though one must either adopt the “correct” point of view (read: politically correct point of view) or risk being labelled as a hater who deserves to lose both job and livelihood for merely owning and expressing a point of view that marginalizes, invalidates, or insults someone. The same people who go around spouting off about how you “cannot legislate morality” apparently believe they can either legislate or coerce congeniality. Gone are the days when we might say, “If you don’t like what’s on this TV channel, then change the station.” Today, anyone who is not “all-inclusive” in his or her thinking MUST be made a villain in society.
People Are Allowed to be MEAN!
Don’t get me wrong – kindness is sort of great, but people in general are not always kind. It’s not even realistic to expect that to be the case, especially when passions are inflamed. When people feel passionately, it is not always easy to contain feelings of anger, so we must try to focus on the message. But again, society and the media want to TELL US what the message means. Otherwise, why must we pretend as if being FOR an idea obviously means being AGAINST those on the other side of the issue, to the point of hatred? (I’m thinking of the Black Lives Matter movement here – they’ve been labeled as anti-police and anti-white). Why must we behave as if any expression of dissent is actually an expression of HATE for the opposition? (I’m thinking of support for traditional marriage here – they have been labeled as religious zealots, bigots, and racists – not my words – but improper labels that have cropped up). But why? It’s not, or at least it’s not meant to be. So why must we allow society to stomp on those who disagree until they are coerced to conform, even when the idea they are being asked to conform to is contrary to their religious beliefs and morals? You don’t think that is happening?
You Can Please Some People Some of the Time, But You Cannot Please All the People All of the Time!
Isn’t that what happened to the president of Chick-Fil-A? He expressed that he supports traditional marriage, and now LGBTQ people (and LGBTQ friendly people) everywhere MUST boycott that establishment. And it happened to Target recently too, when they publicly affirmed a bathroom policy they’ve had for quite a while now and religious people everywhere vowed to boycott them as well. First, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but I’ve recently been to both establishments and neither boycott seems to be hurting business all that much. Now, personally, I don’t care if others choose to boycott Target or Chick-Fil-A, so long as they are not going to condemn me for continuing to patronize those establishments, because to me, that is the true meaning of pro-choice. I choose – not everybody else. And if people don’t like me because of my choices, that’s okay with me.
Recently, I checked my pocket copy of The Constitution, and I have more NEWS: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and free expression all remain protected. They are NOT conditional statements. There is no “IF” written into the Bill of Rights! But I know, if we have the right to say what we think, then our bosses have the right to fire us at will, and we have a right to protest points of view we don’t agree with. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that if I can be “punished” by society merely for holding an unpopular point of view, it is an infringement of my constitutional rights. It might be different if I were the public face of a corporation or organization, but outside of that level of notoriety, bullying employees into silence on issues with which they disagree seems contrary to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and FREEDOM in general! But hey, let’s not let those pesky details get in the way of metaphorically beheading everyone who does not conform to our rigid belief systems! That’s just what America needs are more social justice terrorists! [/sarc].
Mutual Respect for Differing Ideas and Opinions Goes a Long Way!
Personally, I don’t like being bullied into silence about controversial topics because silence seems too much like acceptance of the opposing point of view. I like to talk about politics, religion, and other third-rail conversational topics. I will eagerly tell you what I think, and more importantly why I think it. And anyone who converses with me would be free to speak his mind too, so long as he could explain the reasons why he thinks the way he does too (logically – do not come at me with some hair brained feeling that cannot be articulated). There is no need in my mind for us to agree. I may be swayed in my thinking, or I may be immovable. But rest assured that in my world, we could disagree and still go out to lunch, or have ice cream together, or watch a movie some time. I don’t need others to think like I do in order to care about them, for them, or take an interest in them. I wouldn’t love others any less for thinking differently from me, and I’d expect the same courtesy as well.
This world of division – it’s hurtful, and it’s hateful, and it’s just not for me. I can’t worry so much about how unpopular my opinion is that I will compromise what I really believe just to gain acceptance from those around me. I have always believed that we can unify as a society if we focus on what we have in common rather than how we are different. I think this societal push to “embrace diversity” is harming America because it only embraces one narrow view of diversity: non-traditional culture. We are the United States of America, with a society of 330 million people; we are never going to all agree on anything! The rich diversity of ideas should be talked about, debated even, but at the end of the day, we should end each disagreement firmly rooted on what we have in common because if we allow our differences to divide us, we will fall. Isn’t that what Abraham Lincoln said? A house divided against itself cannot stand.
The Wisdom of Lincoln Still Stands
If I were president, I’d be ripping off bits of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech. One main message of my administration would be:
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this country cannot endure, permanently, divisive politically correct policies that silence dissenters or pit groups of Americans one against the other. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. Let us unify around the basic principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens of these United States.
Of course, I’d no sooner get that statement out before the media and the pundits would start attacking me and one another over who I mean by citizen (legal vs. illegal). Then the La Raza hate group would call for my resignation, it the whole vicious cycle would leave me shaking my head once again.