As I get ready to head to the polls this evening, I’m feeling very sick at heart. Not because of the choices. We’re *fortunate* that we get to choose between two qualified and capable leaders in a free and fair election. I believe both of them honestly want what they think is best for our nation. Terrorists and dictators don’t run for President of the United States.
Maybe it’s this contentious election bringing out the worst in us. I really hope it’s not a comment on our true natures. But I’ve been shocked, saddened, and hurt by recent posts from a wide range of friends from both ends of the political spectrum.
Atheists, I love you. You make me really think about what I believe, you educate me about the rich diversity of the human experience, and you challenge me in ways that aren’t always comfortable, but make me grow. I really admire you for striving to be good and ethical human beings who are good purely because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether anyone’s watching or there’s any otherworldly gain. But I am not stupid because I believe in something beyond this earthly existence. I am not a brainwashed, misguided child for praying, hoping, or striving to model my life after those of people of faith who have done tremendous good in this messy world. I would never tell you that you are wrong or bad or dumb because you don’t share my beliefs. And voting for Romney would not make me a bad person.
Christian conservatives, I love you. You make me really think about what a faith journey means, you educate me about the roots of faith, and you challenge me to strive to grow spiritually. I really admire you for the passion of your convictions and your striving to surrender personal gain to a higher ideal, as well as your earnest search to discern the will of God. But I am not un-Christian because I don’t experience the Divine in exactly the same way that you do. I am not a soulless, misguided heathen for not reading the entire Bible literally, or for believing that there are many paths to God. I would never tell you that you are wrong or bad or dumb because you don’t share my beliefs. And voting for Obama would not make me a non-Christian.
I want to learn from *all* of you. I care about *all* of you. But if you honestly view me as misguided and unintelligent, if you honestly think I can’t be a deep thinker or a Christian or a decent human being if I’m not just like you, then I’m afraid that this country is divided beyond repair.
Let’s be bigger than this. Let’s be better than this. Republicans, please tell me your awesome ideas for making the world a better place. Democrats, please share with me your profound thoughts about what’s good and true. Let’s do this with mutual love and respect. Let’s do this without accusation or reproach. Let’s make sure the American people are the winners in this election. Let’s set the tone and start a little revolution from the grass roots up.
ps–I’m going out to rock the vote now!
3 thoughts on “Dear Friends,”
There was a young man who is a friend of my family who I had to quit corresponding with because every time I tried to have a logical discussion with him about some of the things he was posting he would insult me, call me socialist, and just be rude. It’s unfortunate how defensive people get when you try to have a discussion with them about what they believe, if you don’t have enough strength in your convictions to be able to discuss them logically then something is wrong.
Thank you, Cara. I am completely passionate about my beliefs, but I can’t wrap my head around being willfully nasty to others. I totally agree with you–if you can’t discuss your convictions respectfully, then they’re probably not worth much.
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